Culture

Junk Explained: What is LGBTIQ Wrath Month And Why Are We So Angry?

LGBTIQ Wrath comes after Pride.

There’s a good chance you’ve seen your local internet queer talking about “LGBTIQ Wrath Month” recently, and wondered “what the heckin’ heck is that all about, Barbara?”

So, let’s explain: As we know, the June was for LGBTIQ Pride Month in the US. The month commemorates the famous Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. But it hasn’t gone unnoticed that Pride has become somewhat more… tame in recent years. The message has changed from rebellion and resistance to a message of acceptance and love.

Now, marching alongside the queers, we’ve got police and politicians who decide to make nice with the LGBTIQ community for one month of the year. We have brands angling for the pink dollar. And we have certain subsections of the community with more rights and visibility than others. While Pride isn’t as huge a thing in Australia, we have the same discussion every year during Mardi Gras and other queer celebrations around the country.

Whether or not Pride has evolved along with the needs of its community or become a twisted more beige version of itself, it’s clear that the queer community still has a lot of reason to be angry, and to use that anger.

Enter LGBTIQ Wrath Month.

Where Did Wrath Month Come From?

Wrath Month is one of those jokes that’s funny because it touches on something real and raw. As far as anyone can really tell, the meme sprang from the obvious connection between Pride and Wrath being two of the seven deadly sins, which you might know from the Bible or the movie Se7en.

Obviously, Wrath follows Pride, so people began joking about what a Wrath Month might look like, and the consensus was ANGRY GAYS.

One of the overwhelming signifiers of being queer in 2018 is the urge to be palatable, to not make waves, to be the kind of happy, friendly, “love is love” rainbow queers that are easier to sell to a predominantly straight audience. Obviously, this isn’t something that a lot of people want to do all the time.

Sometimes, people want to be angry.

What Does Wrath Month Actually Mean?

The meme has hit a chord with queers everywhere. It’s nice to remember that we’re allowed to be angry. What started off as a joke began to filter into a legitimate point, because there’s a bunch of reasons for queers to be angry, and to feel legitimate in that rage.

Overseas, the Trump administration and the Supreme Court are trying to strip rights from LGBTIQ people. Closer to home, we still have brutal attacks on gay and trans people, members of our government endorsing conversion therapy, and money given to school chaplains rather than safer schools for queer youth.

Anger didn’t disappear with marriage equality, as much as some people wish it would.

“We do not know what ‘love is love’ means when you say it, because unlike yours, ours is a love that has cost us everything,” writes Anthony Oliveira in a powerful piece for The Washington Post.

“It has, in living memory, sent us into exterminations, into exorcisms, into daily indignities and compromises. We cannot hold jobs with certainty nor hands without fear; we cannot be sure when next the ax will fall with the stroke of a pen.”

He specifically calls out “the beer brands that used to mock us, the banks that denied us loans. The bachelorette parties that use us as props…” as targets for anger.

“You have co-opted our pride, but you cannot have our rage.”

“Wrath Month is a chance to remember that before our symbol was a rainbow, it was a hurled brick.”

How To Celebrate Wrath Month

While you’re certainly valid, and even encouraged to spend the month stewing in rage like a deliciously angry oven-baked chicken, other places are starting to put together handy lists of ways you can channel that wrath productively.

US website them has put forward some ideas, including registering to vote, attending protests, abolishing ICE and supporting Aquaria in her feud with Bebe Rexha, which are all good things.

Other people are buying swords, so there’s really a lot of scope. Perhaps in Australia we could all tell Lyle Shelton to eat shit again — and there’s never been a better time to take to the streets and protest for your chosen cause.

One good thing to do is use Wrath Month to call out examples of bigotry within the community — it’s not just straight people who we need to be angry at. There’s enough anger to go around, because it’s Wrath Month.

If this all sounds intense, remember that next month is LGBTIQ Lust Month, which sounds like a whole lotta fun, and we only need to wait until December for Sloth, so we can take a nice nap.

Patrick Lenton is an author and staff writer at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.