Friends of Bill and Dorothy – The Advocate, 8/16/2007

At the last Palm Springs golf classic I attended, I saw two drunken lesbians duking it out in a parking lot puddle. At one of my shows, a woman was so blasted, she thought I was speaking directly to her and actually stood up to answer a question I thought I had posed rhetorically. Club Med now includes drink prices in its vacation package. By 10am Tuesday , “All you can drink” has become, “Drink all you can.” In the middle of a posh fundraiser, I realized the lovely gay male donor with whom I was chatting, was completely smashed and had already left the building.

Alcoholism affects 20 to 30% of the gay population. In a 1982 study, 35% of lesbians surveyed reported a history of excessive drinking compared to 5% of heterosexual women. Thanks to Britney, Lindsay and other fully loaded wild girls, the gap may be narrowing. Almost one third of lesbians and gay men are addicted to drugs. It’s not that homosexuality causes addiction or addiction would just be a gay problem.

We live in a country fueled by alcohol and drugs. What we witnessed after Katrina, was not just a natural disaster but a whole area of the country going through an unplanned detox at an involuntary rehab. The president is a death-denying, dry drunk who once deliriously and mistakenly described Dick Cheney as “a half glass full kind of guy.” There’s no telling what Laura is on. For her sake, I hope it’s something.

Now, I can assure you, I’m no angel. I played in a lesbian softball league, not for the love of the game, but for the after-beer. Ditto, golf. If you had one bottle of wine with friends at dinner, why not eight? I would still be smoking pot if I could find things on my computer. I came up in a lesbian culture that had chem-free seating areas. I thought it was quaint, probably good for those who really needed it, but not for me.

Nor am I Carrie Nation, that old temperance babe of the early 1900s who perfected an anti-saloon direct action she called “hatchetations,” the envy of any ACT UP-per. The only good thing that came out of Prohibition was Mafia movies and eventually The Sopranos. [Cut to black.]

And I don’t mean to bite the hand that gave us Zima. Years ago, when Absolut-ly no one was funding gay anything, liquor companies saw a niche and poured it on. Gay leaders, desperate to keep their doors open, agonized over being taken on by liquor companies. I don’t ascribe malicious intent, but as I walk through the last stumbling, mumbling partiers at the end of gay prides, I think of the Russian czars keeping the peasants pacified with cheap vodka.

I’m not tryin to make you go to rehab. No, no, no. That’s way too much eyeliner for me. The next few years of gay liberation require our consciousness. As we win freedom a day at a time, I promise it’s going to be a real high. Have a $6 bottle of Pride water instead. Have the one with bubbles.