My friend Josh Moon is a mutant. And not just because he has a fetish for X-Men comics. Josh was born with an evolved consciousness that transcends his upbringing. At 14 this seemingly average kid from an orthodox Mormon home declared to his parents that he was gay. He also intuitively knew that his parents’ conventional religion was detrimental to his personal evolution. So he bailed. This is in stark contrast to me, 13 years his senior, who spent years denying my sexuality while wrestling with the contradictory cosmology of Mormonism. What about Josh Moon was special? How did he awaken to such a profound level of self-acceptance at such a young age? And what of all the other gay teens who are now coming out with fully actualized sexual identities? Is there a latent queer consciousness that is awakening young people en masse? And could this be the forerunner of an even greater social transformation?
I’ve written before about The New Gender Nation, a term I borrow from rock star Amy Ray. In her teen anthem “Put it Out for Good,” she captures the spirit of a disenfranchised, outsider class of youth: “All the punks and the queers and the freaks and the smokers” who struggle against an establishment culture that seeks to control their identity. “Alright, I hear what you’re saying to me – alright, I hear what I just can’t do.” Authenticity is the passion of this generation. The song intuits the Gnostic idea of the pleroma – the spark of kosmic knowledge: “But I’ve got this spark I’ve got to feed it something, or put it out for good!” Amy Ray understands the angry nihilism that comes from denying the fire. Suicide and extinction await those who deny the spark of authenticity.
Other artists are also tapping into this youth current. Grant Morrison is a chaos-magician and comic book savant who is a cyborg hybrid of Timothy Leary, William Burroughs and James Bond. He wrote The Invisibles – a Gnostic mega-fable featuring daemonic Archons who work to enslave humanity in simulated illusion (yes, The Matrix ripped off some of The Invisibles’ best ideas). Among his trope of anarchist heroes was Lord Fanny, a Brazillian transgender shaman who could cast spells by masturbating (a post-modern spin on “here I come to save the day!”). As an author, Morrison writes through both time and space. In 2003 he explained, “the last issue of The Invisibles is actually written as a comic from [the year] 2012. It's written for kids who are now about nine or so, the ones that are going to be taking us into 2012. I wrote that issue for them because they'll completely understand it, but their bigger brothers might not. It's really about what we can actually do to change things.”
Morrison went mainstream to write The New X-Men for Marvel comics. In his inspired interpretation of the classic series, homo sapien sapiens is on the verge of species extinction. Homo superior is set to replace their sapien predecessors – just as Cro-Magnon displaced Neanderthal. Morrison’s mutants pushed the edge. He explained, “The X-Men are every rebel teenager wanting to change the world and make better. Humanity is every adult, clinging to the past, trying to destroy the future even as he places all his hopes there.” Many queer thinkers see the X-Men as a metaphor for gay youth – but Morrison evolves this idea into a commentary on establishment culture versus upstart youth imagination – a rising generation with new vision, new fashion and new identities. It’s “in versus out.” Authoritarian fundamentalists may hold the reigns of power now, but a surge of young Obamamaniacs, gender terrorists and eco-teens are swelling. Defiant, self-actualized and optimistic.
In Morrion’s graphic novel Kid Eternity, another youthful protagonist encounters an ensemble of disembodied daemons. They have fallen from their primal non-dual “state of pure being” (the pleroma) and find themselves trapped in “hell.” These entities, working to reclaim a state of bliss, set out to refashion the fallen world by hastening the evolution of humanity. To that end they erect “Chaosperes,” the engine of paradise, to generate pandemonium on the earth to bring about an evolutionary surge. Kid Eternity calls to mind Barbara Marx Hubbard’s idea that crises precede transformation.
The headlines today read like an apocalyptic comic: global food riots, extreme climate change, war and the US economy teetering on the verge of collapse. Hubbard shares a unique perspective on our global crisis. “Problems are evolutionary drivers” she writes, “Intensifying pressure leads either to devolution and extinction or evolution and transformation. Is it possible that from our species, a new human and a new humanity are now emerging?” Morrison and Hubbard are both inspired by the emergence of a universal human.
My friend Josh Moon is just such a new mutant. And others like Josh are waking.
Though homosexuality has always existed, queer identity did not emerge until the early 20th century. In just under a century we are rapidly owning our lives and fulfilling our potential. In so doing we model the human journey toward authenticity. Ultimately, as we evolve, the queer mind will no doubt transcend the binaries of gay and straight returning us to where we first emerged – in a non-dual awareness. The “Big Mind,” “The White Hot Room,” “The Pleroma,” which Carl Jung described as "a state of fullness where the pairs of opposites, yea and nay, day and night, are together…" or as Jean Baudrillard once slyly suggested, “we are all transsexuals now.” Lord Fanny in the flesh. The New Gender Nation triumphant.
Some scientists believe queers are evolutionary dead-ends. Nature would never select queer traits because it doesn’t favor species survival. And yet here we are, defying both Darwin and the Christian God. Pushing the current, challenging the status quo and freaking out the neighbors. Some outsiders may look at gay men and see only a vapid subculture of underwear parties and gym memberships. But we are young. Adolescent Revolutionaries in Diesel. The cyber-dykes and DIY trannies will yet kick us guys into gear. We are all the engine of paradise. Rub up against it until it gets inside you. Who knows what kind of new world we might co-create with our hetero siblings? In the words of Emma Frost, “Don’t you want to inherit the earth?”
Troy blogs at queergnosis.com.