I only wish I could have seen this piece on Thanksgiving when it came out. It deserved – and earned – mockery then, and I only wish I could have been part of the crowd of historians and commentators dragging it. The progressive pop-culture site VICE ran a story on Thanksgiving Day entitled, “The Pilgrims Were Queer.”
A couple things to address immediately:
(1) I will forever be perplexed by the frequent and affirmative use of the word “queer” by allies of the LGBT revolution. I don’t know the precise moment when the term went from being a derogatory insult to an appropriate identification, but it apparently happened. What I’m still not clear on is whether this is a word that is only acceptable when used by those who are LGBT or whether it’s for public use. Personally, I’m going to play it safe and not use it myself although I admit to being confused as to whether that choice will actually be interpreted as an insult itself – I’ve largely given up trying to keep up.
(2) I understand the desire of social revolutionaries to rewrite history and recast its figures in a way that affirms their cause de jour. But the Pilgrims? Really? Pilgrims?
Here was some of the “evidence” for this patently absurd claim:
The author writes of a 1625 colony called Merrymount (originally called Passonagessit) surmising it was a gay enclave, writing, “In fact, as historians note, the name "Merrymount" can also refer to a Latin phrase meaning “erect phallus”—quite a coincidence, given the men erected an 80-foot pole in the center of town.” Except Morton said of the pole that it stood as a “fair sea mark for directions,” describing it as “a goodly pine tree of 80 foot long, was reared up, with a pair of buckshorns nailed on, somewhat near unto the top of it; where it stood as a fair sea mark for directions, how to find out the way to mine Host of Ma-re Mount."
Okay so “Merrymount” can also refer to this Latin phrase, but by the author’s own admission, in this case it didn’t. So the historical evidence for this claim is: “Well, the Pilgrims named their colony something that could have meant something perverse even though it didn’t in this case…but since it could have, it’s fair to say that the Pilgrims were into unconventional sexual conduct.”
Of course, you have to just assume these days that any historical article so detached from reality is going to have a college professor linked to it somehow. And sure enough, it appears the driving force for this bizarre “queer Pilgrim” narrative is Michael Bronski, a professor at Harvard who teaches Activism in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Bronski claims, without evidence, that “there was a considerable amount of gender fluidity” in Pilgrim society.
The encouraging part of all this is has to be the response VICE garnered for publishing this terrible hackery. Just go check out the tweet thread that emerged under their title.
But beyond that, it was so ignorant that even significant voices in the LGBT movement were aghast at the stupidity. Author Ana Mardoll who identifies herself as, “Bi, ace-spec, transgender, autistic, and oh-so-queer” and announces her preferred pronouns as, “xie/xer/xers/xerself” (I’m mentioning all this not because I understand what any of it means or believe that anyone else should either, but because I’m establishing her LGBT bona fides), railed against this silly article:
This is bull**** and it’s a very specific type of bull**** that needs a name: a thread.
“Merrymount could’ve meant ‘erect phallus’ (even though it didn’t)” is a type of pointless fanfic rewriting of history where we ignore all actual context in favour of a shallow surface level skim.
The Pilgrims were not queer friendly. At all. No amount of “but they could’ve been, if you forget all the important details” changes that. Fanfic isn’t historical canon.
(The Pilgrims were also terrible people and why the f*** would we want to reclaim them?)
Her hatred of the Pilgrims notwithstanding, she raises an interesting point: for years the left has pushed the (false) narrative that the Pilgrims of Plymouth were awful, immoral people. So why would they want to now claim them as their own?
And there’s one other curious point about all this. The LGBT lobby and its allies like VICE repeat regularly that LGBT people can’t and shouldn’t be defined by sexual conduct. Yet here is an article where the solitary evidence for the Pilgrims’ alleged “queer” status seems to be based around their sexual conduct.
This Thanksgiving article was a mess. But it does make me look forward to VICE’s Christmas article on how the Three Wise Men were actually gender nonconforming male prostitutes looking for the group orgy hook-up with some shepherds.