A Horse is A Horse (of course, of course)
A horse is a horse, of course, of course
And no one can talk to a horse, of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed
Kids today will have to YouTube it, but queers of a certain age will not only remember the jingle, and the talking horse, but for us mature baby boomers: didn’t you just love that half door that Mr. Ed stood behind? So there’s nothing like a fifties TV jingle combined with a Steve Colbert faux interview on the origins of Olympic horse dressage to get your mind reeling.
In investigating the Romney’s entry of their horse, Rafalca, in the Olympics, Colbert asked about the origin of “horse ballet.” Wondering aloud how the sport started, the funniest man on television asked the equestrian expert a rhetorical question: ”Did some horse just come home one day and say to his father ‘I don’t want to race, Dad. I just gotta dance!’”
How would the Romney’s have handled such a disclosure by Rafalca or his siblings? That depends upon the year. The half door Mr. Ed stood behind is symbolic of the two different answers. Had it been 1994 in liberal Massachusetts, the Romneys would have probably dyed his mane rainbow colors and called a news conference to out-gay Ted Kennedy.
Today, not so much. Today they would have strapped him to the top of the station wagon and taken him for conversion therapy, all the while repeating to us how committed they are to the marriage of one man and one woman.
This is a horse of a different color. They changed horses in the middle of the stream and a gay Romney horse that ran left of Ted would need to tack a huge zig zag to the right of traditional marriage advocate Tony Perkins.
A horse is a horse, off course, off course. Romney may have had an Olympic-sized gay rights flip flop, but the British Olympics went off without a hitch.
In fact, the London Olympics closing ceremony was the gayest event ever in Olympics history. The Queen may have faux jumped out of a helicopter for the opening ceremony, but queens of every shape and size jumped onto the stage for the closing two weeks later. Featuring the music of everyone from Elton John to the Pet Shop Boys, and—by the loudest seance ever conducted—Freddie Mercury, they did rock us. The queen of queens was with us at the finish line. George Michael, the now-out Brit who could legally marry his husband in his homeland—who struggled mightily before he could be honest about himself—joined the tableau. Gays got the gold on the performance stage.
For renowned athletes who lived closeted lives later revealed, I couldn’t help but think about Greg Louganis whose past Olympic feats were mesmerizing. He medaled in Montreal in ‘76, then took gold in L.A. in ‘84. But even after winning two gold medals in Seoul in ‘88, he couldn’t bare his own soul on Oprah for seven more years. Today openly gay and lesbian athletes in the double digits strode into the Olympic stadium, proud of who they are and who they love. But they, like us, struggled to come to terms with their identities and their families.
The point is, that going home to tell your father you “just gotta dance” isn’t easy. For many, those struggles were—still are—a lifetime of work. Those of us lucky enough to have support from our families can compete for our own versions of gold, but we need our rights.
The second verse of Mr. Ed’s funny little jingle is one that all should heed:
Go right to the source
and ask the horse,
He’ll give you the answer
that you (should) endorse.
Brent Mundt resides in Washington, DC, but lives in Rehoboth Beach.