I made a comment on my Tumblr account the other day to a friend who had just seen the new X-Men: First Class movie. I told her that the whole X-Men story line was a very poorly concealed “It’s okay to be gay” message. I was later corrected by a friend that told me that, at the time of it’s creation, X-Men was more about racism…which I can believe. However, if you watch the films made in the last 11 years, X-Men, X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, (though not Origins as far as I could tell) you will see that the metaphor has already been easily adapted to fit the plight of the modern homosexual.
It’s obvious in the words of the politicians, the scientists, the parents and siblings of mutants. It’s a fairly obvious, and easily done, shift in the politics.
While I already knew this was true, it had been a while since I watched the X-Men trilogy, and since I’m going to see First Class tomorrow night I decided to rewatch the trilogy to get in the proper mood for geeking out on my date. (Yes, I’m taking my date to see an X-Men movie. We are nerds. In fact, I’m about 50% certain that I got this date because I asked her to see this particular movie…).
Over the course of two days I watched all three movies and I saw something interesting.
Despite all his faults, I have always like Erik Lensherr (Magneto). I don’t agree with him, but I enjoy dissecting his motivations and trying to understand him. He’s a Jew who was caught up in the middle of WWII in Europe, placed in a concentration camp because he was considered to be a lower form of life. He then grows up and becomes exactly the kind of person who he should have been fighting against. He decided he was superior to the rest of mankind, those who were without mutant powers, the un-evolved. He became the mutant version of Hitler and I honestly don’t think he even realized what he had become.
But that’s a topic for another time.
I was tying this in the fight for gay rights.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to come to the conclusion that I’m about to impart to you. In fact it wasn’t until half way through The Last Stand that the following line of thought finally ran through my mind.
You can split the characters in the X-Men movies into three (simplified and generalized) groups.
1.) The portion of mankind that is scared of mutants or hates them, which is basically the same thing in the movies. They want them locked up or “cured” or registered and watched constantly. They don’t understand that mutants are not evil, just by virtue of having superhuman abilities. They seem to believe that ALL mutants are dangerous and should be kept away from the general population.
2.) The Brotherhood, led by Magneto. They believe they are superior and, essentially, want complete autonomy. They don’t really care about mankind, seeing them as unimportant. They also don’t care about politics or the world in general unless the topic directly has anything to do with mutants.
3.) Humans and Mutants, The X-Men included, who don’t want anything other than to be a part of society. They want all the same protections and rights as any other person, but they aren’t interested in forcing people to do what they want…which they could do. Professor Xavier could manage that easily, but that isn’t the way he works. They don’t want there to be any distinction between humans and mutants, because they should be able to co-exist peacefully.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Now let me clarify, I don’t think that the radical gay left is some sort of terrorist organization out to destroy straight people. This isn’t a perfect metaphor.
But can you at least see my point?
I want equal rights, but I’m not willing to sacrifice other people’s free will for it.
I just want to exist. I want to live in a world where people won’t think “gay” if I hold my date’s hand tonight at dinner. I want to live in a world where people just think “Aw, that’s sweet” or think nothing at all about it, the way I think nothing of it when a straight couple does the same thing.
I don’t particularly want to hang a rainbow flag outside my door or make a pointed statement by wearing t-shirts proclaiming I’m gay or get a pink triangle tattoo.
I want to live in world where I’m considered no different from my straight neighbors, because there is no need for labels like “straight” and “gay”.
Maybe that seems like I’m hiding, or I have a problem with being gay…I can assure you neither is true. Maybe saying I want to be “normal” has somehow come to mean “I want to be straight”, which would be the complete opposite of what I mean when I use the word normal.
Because “normal” has nothing to do with being straight or gay. It means “existing” in my vocabulary. It means I get up, go to work, bitch about my job, text the girl I like, make plans for dinner and a movie, go home and eat dinner and go to bed. It means I stress out about student loans and university housing and the drama I hear about from my family and friends. It means I worry about politics and the economy and foreign policy, and not just the ones that might affect me because I’m gay. It means a lot of things, some good and some bad, but it’s never meant “straight” for me.
Because one of the few things in this world that could never be “normal” for me is being straight.
Feel free to disagree with me, I’m just a nerd who likes to over-analyze everything, but I think the world I want to live in as a gay women, is the same one that Charles Xavier wanted to live in as a mutant man.
And he was the hero of the story, Magneto wasn’t. What does that tell you?