This is one of those posts I’ve been meaning to write for years, but haven’t gotten around to because it’s somewhat arcane. But I’m unemployed now, and I have a lot of time on my hands for laundry, porn, and writing about arcane things. (My clean-up rags have never been so fresh!) It’s about the belief that HC is an umbrella group for all queer climbing in all the world, or the expectation that it should be so.
Although a few outside of HC may have suggested otherwise, Homo Climbtastic has never had any control over the other queer climbing groups out there. They’ve also never had any control over us. Some of you may think, “well, duh,” but on a somewhat regular basis, people refer to the local clubs as being “branches” of HC, or mention starting another “branch” of HC. Or they ask us (at HC) to get a local club to do something, or they ask a local club’s leaders to make us do something.
We’re all independent of each other. If I were to call up Kris at ClimbMax Colorado, and had delusions of grandeur about our power, it would go something like this:
“Hey Kris, if you could throw an HC event sometime next month in Colorado, that would be great. Also, there’s some changes I want you to make to your web site, and can you make me a sandwich?”
“How about I teabag you and spike this football into your nuts?”
I’ve wondered where this confusion stemmed from, as it predates our linking to the other clubs, or the ambassador system, but perhaps those bolster the myth, so I’ll clarify those too. The ambassadors are simply people we trust to relay important information or to whom we can send people interested in another club. The links are a non-exhaustive list of clubs we recommend for queer climbers, each with a targeted geographical area, user group, or scope that may be smaller or larger than our own.
The HC dictators have yet to agree on a single purpose for the club, so their individual contributions are probably the best expressions of the various reasons why it exists. By some criteria, HC may appear to have emerged as a de-facto umbrella group for queer-friendly outdoor climbers (and friends), but as far as I can tell, that status has been simply the collateral damage of what we actually intend to do, which is bring together people we think are awesome. We don’t do anything to try and dutifully represent all who call themselves queer climbers. Should we? Dunno. But we’re not. It would be too much work, and half of us don’t even have jobs.
This hasn’t jibed with the occasional donkey-nut lickers who think an organization named “Homo Climbtastic”, as some kind of Grand Representative of All That Is Queer Climbing, should clean up its act, be responsible, stop using phrases like “donkey-nut lickers”, stop posting photos of Ashton Kutcher on the toilet, and stop placing commas outside of quotation marks.
Well, we’re not changing, we’re not an umbrella group, and as Miss Kelly Gray has oft expounded, even if our obnoxious behavior meant that it would just be the eight of us sharing a cabin in West Virginia, we’d do it, cause it’d still be the shit. (And yes, regarding the dutifully flaming messages about our grammar, this actually happens.) You’ll have about as much luck with us as flaming Porter Jarrard to re-equip one of the hundreds of routes he bolted thirty years ago. (Also happens! “You want it fixed? You go do it.”)
Nor will you get any further with the local clubs, whose organizers don’t devote several hours a week to volunteering just to get mouthed off at by strangers (happens!) about membership fees (happens!) or not teaching enough people for free (happens!) or not loaning out their equipment (happens!).
Where these people come from, I don’t know. They’re probably the same people on my condo unit’s HOA board who harass me for parking in an unmarked space.
“I’m not blocking anyone in.”
“You can be towed.”
“Is anyone in a ten unit complex actually going to call to have their neighbor towed on a Friday night? Don’t they have lives?”
“Any of the residents can call to have you towed.”
“There’s like ten people who live here. I’m a resident, does that mean I can call to have you towed?”
“I’m legally parked, the HOA board already agreed on who can park where.”
“I’m going to run to replace you on the HOA board with the single platform that anyone with the spare time to blow running for a spot on an HOA board should not be on an HOA board.”
Somehow, perhaps because they’re used to being in neighborhoods with HOAs, student bodies with student body representatives, and so on, borderline personality disordered people have become complacent with the idea that if they show up, that means they can run the place. They’re probably used to running the place, because nobody bothers running against them to decide what day the communal refrigerator gets cleaned out (people have died for this!).
This isn’t to say that we don’t solicit feedback; I’ll politely inform you, for example, that the budget just didn’t allow for strippers this year, or that we’re still working on t-shirts. So don’t let our hateful rants scare you away from throwing your ideas into the suggestion hopper. Except for ideas about how we can move the convention to someplace closer to you. If I put the time I put into HC working a minimum wage job, I could fly to Malorka, so please, please no more of those. If I die from another stress-induced Las Vegas chocotini incident, my availability to plan subsequent conventions will be greatly diminished, limited to me becoming a ghost and haunting other people into doing it. And the convention would still probably end up being in West Virginia, because the person who found “PLAN THE NEXT HC CONVENTION” written in blood on their bathroom mirror would probably just assume that’s where my dead self wanted it to be.
All we’re trying to communicate is that the reason we’ve done such a terrible job at being an umbrella group is because we’re… not an umbrella group.
But we love your constructive criticism. And hell, we love the flaming too, because there’s nothing more fun on the dictator email listserv than passing around hate mail and lol’ing about it.
Now get off the comment threads and go remove “climbing” as an interest from your OK Cupid profile.