Instead of waiting in her tower, Rapunzel slices off her long, golden hair with a carving knife, and then uses it to climb down to freedom.
Just as she’s about to take the poison apple, Snow White sees the familiar wicked glow in the old lady’s eyes, and slashes the evil queen’s throat with a pair of sewing scissors.
Cinderella refuses everything but the glass slippers from her fairy godmother, crushes her stepmother’s windpipe under her heel, and the Prince falls madly in love with the mysterious girl who dons rags and blood-stained slippers.
Persephone goes adventuring with weapons hidden under her dress.
Persephone climbs into the gaping chasm.
Or, Persephone uses her hands to carve a hole down to hell.
In none of these versions is Persephone’s body violated unless she asks Hades to hold her down with his horse-whips.
Not once does she hold out on eating the pomegranate, instead biting into it eagerly and relishing the juice running down her chin, staining it red.
In some of the stories, Hades never appears and Persephone rules the underworld with a crown of her own making.
In all of them, it is widely known that the name Persephone means Bringer of Destruction.
Red Riding Hood marches from her grandmother’s house with a bloody wolf pelt.
Medusa rights the wrongs that have been done to her.
Eurydice breaks every muscle in her arms climbing out of the land of the dead.
Girls are allowed to think dark thoughts, and be dark things.
Instead of the dragon, it’s the princess with claws and fiery breath
who smashes her way from the confines of her castle
and swallows men whole.
What is sad about the Castro (and similar gay neighborhoods across the country and around the world), and indicative of what gay people do with even a little bit of power, is that these same smiling gay men have failed to build community for queers (or anyone) outside their social groups. Many gay men (even in the Castro) still remain on the fringes, either by choice or lack of opportunity. But as the most “successful” gays (and their allies) have moved from outsider status to insider clout, they have consistently fought misogynist, racist, classist, ageist battles to ensure that their neighborhoods remain communities only for the rich, male and white (or at least those who assimilate into white middle-class norms). They’ve succeeded in clamping down on the anger, defiance, flamboyance, and subversion once thriving in queer subcultures, in order to promote a vapid, consume-or-die, only-whites-need-apply version of gay identity. Homo now stands more for homogenous than any type of sexuality aside from buy buy buy.
In 1992, there were still a few slightly interesting things about the Castro: a gay bookstore with current queer ‘zines, and freaks and drag queens on staff; a used bookstore with a large selection of gay books; a cafe with live cabaret shows; a 24-hour donut shop with a rotating cast of tweakers; a tiny chocolate shop filled with delicate creations; a dyke bar; and a cruising park where faggots actually fucked. These meager (and mostly fag-specific) resources have disappeared, as rents have skyrocketed and corporate chains have replaced local businesses. A glittering Diesel clothing store now dominates Harvey Milk Plaza, the symbolic heart of the Castro, and the historic Castro Theater shows Eating Out, a movie about a straight guy pretending to be gay in order to get the girl with the gay friends (The tagline reads, “The fastest way to a girl’s heart is through her best friend.”).
Gay bar owners routinely call for the arrest of homeless people, many of them queer youth, for getting in the way of happy hour. Zephyr Realty, a gay-owned real estate company, advises its clients on how best to evict long-term tenants, many of them seniors, people with HIV/AIDS and disabled people. Gay political consultants mastermind the election of anti-poor, pro-development candidates over and over and over.
“One question that has always intrigued me is what happens to demonic beings when immigrants move from their homelands. Irish-Americans remember the fairies, Norwegian-Americans the nisser, Greek-Americans the vrykolakas, but only in relation to events remembered in the Old Country. When I once asked why such demons are not seen in America, my informants giggled confusedly and said ‘They’re scared to pass the ocean, it’s too far,’ pointing out that Christ and the apostles never came to America.”—