Rebel youth dance naked to post-apocalyptic-disco-punk while queer boys fuck for all eternity as pillars of salt. Their faces are lit by digital blue fires. They gather inside the ribs of red brick skeletons and faggot bars to feast on fried chicken, malt liquors, lemon vodka, ganja weed, white syrups, poison nectars, synthetic bliss, cocaine pollen, bareback porn…The boys pop a rainbow assortment of pills. Purple induces cosmic visions of prehistoric orgies. Orange sends one into a manic state of fastforward…pulsating colors…erections…grinding teeth. Blue dissolves into an indigo bliss where time and space become meaningless as a direct psychic connection is born to The Queens on stage.
The music hits you like a syringe. Some new pop diva sings about sex and drugs and all you want to do is dance until the sun rises. The boys around you are beautiful and drenched in lust and sweat. A bump in the bathroom and some ecstasy at the bar gives you all the confidence of David. Goliath stands in a dark corner and Samson dances on stage—his body a temple of muscles and faggot desire. Raw, barebacked Adonis, strung out on coke and pills, dancing nude, fucking in bathhouse orgies.
You’re young, queer and broke but the sun continues to rise…the normies go to work and you wake up hung over and thirsty. Where is the phone? The credit card? The trick you brought home last night?
You look out your window and you see the stainless steel arch’s shadow bending across the sky. It’s Friday and you reach into your drawer to pull out the orange prescription bottle you’ve been storing your marijuana.
“Damn,” you say as the drawer slams shut.
You reach for your phone and pull up your address book. You know just who to call.
Meet Kimberley and Buchanan. They’re your friendly, South City-neighborhood pot dealers. They sell their products in used, orange prescription bottles and write cute notes like “Happy Birthday!” or “XOXO” in black sharpies on the bottles.
The call themselves “Queelers” because they’re queer drug dealers who sell exclusively to other queers.
It’s a muggy, Tuesday night in August and they’re preparing to pawn their wares at a local queer watering hole. It is a generic St. Louis faggot bar: Shirtless, Adonis slinging blue cocktails to drunk fags singing along to pale-American show tunes: JUDY, BARBRA, BRITNEY, GAGA……GLEE.
The task is simple: Find a customer, invite them into the bathroom, take their Rx bottle, fill it with a pre-measured plastic bag of pot, take the Jacksons and head back to the bar for another drink.
They had scale-weighed the marijuana out six hours earlier into sandwich bags on their kitchen counter-top. The two are roommates and self-described best-friends who met while enrolled at met while enrolled at the same university in St. Louis.
“He moved into the apartment above me with one of my best friends about two years ago,” says Kimberley. “We fell in love over pasta dinners together when we’d watch the Summer Olympics.”
“That and lots of Thai-takeout from Grand,” chimes Buchanan.
“I’d say we’re totally cut from the same cloth….a flannel one,” deadpans Kimberley.
Buchanan loads a yellow-iridescent bong with the sticky, green buds. The nugs are covered in tiny, red hairs and they hold a pungent, piney smell. He takes a hit and passes the bong. A thick, yellow-green cloud hangs in the air.
The young rebels reside in South City but hail from opposite sides of the country (Kimberley from the East Coast and Buchanan the West). They self-identify as queer and travel within an unique circle of other queer, twenty-somethings who do everything from bus tables and serve coffee to study feminist philosophy and art history.
“Our friends are working class kids,” says Kimberley. “We work in restaurants or coffee shops or retail shops. Some of us are academic and have college degrees but others have only a high school education…it’s really a gamut of life paths.”
Buchanan says many of those queer people reject hard line attitudes towards drugs.
“You’ve already questioned your sexuality so why not question other social norms?” he says.
He adds, “Most of our friends do drugs but the frequency varies. We know a lot of queer people in the city who also happen to enjoy smoking…Almost everyone does pot.”
That same disregard for social norms extends into their queer identities. They say they, “don’t give a fuck about standard labels,” and that given a choice between conversing between gays and queers….the queers win.
“I definitely think there is a separation between the gay community and the queer/trans community,” says Kimberley. “I look at the superficiality of some segments of the gay community and I think, ‘We have totally different priorities.’”
“I hear a lot of gay people say, ‘We’re gay but we’re not any different than straight people,’ but queer people want to reply, ‘No, WE ARE DIFFERENT,’” says Buchanan.
Their neo-queer train of thought parallels many other young, gender and sexual non-conforming people who look at the GAY community as blind and out of touch with subversive and radical elements of the LGBTQ community. These young, queer people look at the gay establishment and they see a pacified movement that seeks to become a part of heterosexual, mainstream America through the commodification of human sexuality.
Kimberley sees it the most in the advocacy for gay marriage and commercial gay visibility.
“I want to deconstruct marriage,” she says. “People get distracted by it. I think it is such an upper class problem. There are so many important issues that incorporate different parts of our communities but they aren’t pretty enough to make the news or wear a t-shirt about. For example: Trans rights or LGBTQ homelessness. Buying a ‘GAY FINE BY ME’ t-shirt at Hot Topic is a cute first step but in the end it doesn’t really mean shit.”
Her position may not be popular but it is hard to deny that the queer consciousness of many young LGBTQers is undergoing a dramatic philosophical schism even with the past ten years of advancement in LGBTQ visibility and equality. The queer human has gained significant achievements in equality across the country but the gap in wealth inequality has grown across all segments of American society. Young adults, queer or not, are discovering that the American Dream has taken on a new meaning in a Recession that has virtually destroyed the middle class leaving many of them over-educated, saddled with debt and taking on low-wage jobs.
“You can’t sustain yourself on one job anymore,” says Kimberley. “I have two jobs in the service industry and I totally love them but it doesn’t pay bills. It’s minimum wage and tips…I like my life and my jobs so in order to keep them I have to find money somewhere else so yes, selling drugs works.”
Both of the young rebels have bigger and brighter hopes and dreams in their lives away from the red brick skeletons of South City but for now they’ve found comfort in the borderlands of identity and expectations.
Kimberley sums it up like this:
“Did I fuck up? Did I really fuck up huge? Am I stuck here? But I like that I have no boundaries and that no one has any expectations on my life except for me.”
BY: JOSHUA BARTON