Gets Lonely, Out There on the Range

Willie Nelson Personally, I am sick to death of all the jokes about “gay cowboys” flooding society and late-night television in the wake of the film Brokeback Mountain. Director Ang Lee’s movie brings Annie Proulx’s short story to the big screen, and anyone (with an open mind) who sees and really gets it knows the genders aren’t the real issue — the real story is about love.

And it’s no laughing matter. This tale of forbidden love between two shepherds – not cowboys – shines a light on real tragedy: the pain of loving someone knowing that vile, judgmental society won’t approve – yet not being able to quit it; the stress of having to pretend to be someone else day in and day out; the horror one feels upon discovering one’s spouse is feigning affection; losing one’s true love. Not exactly ha-ha material.

Well, expect more homophobia-inspiring jokes from Letterman and Conan and friends. Country-music legend Willie Nelson has released a new song, songwriter Ned Sublette’s 1981 piece “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other).”

From the Associated Press:

Available exclusively through iTunes, the song features choppy Tex-Mex style guitar runs and Nelson’s deadpan delivery of lines like, “What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?” and “Inside every cowboy there’s a lady who’d love to slip out.” …

Someone passed a copy of the song to Nelson back in the late 1980s and, according to Nelson’s record label, Lost Highway, he recorded it last year at his Pedernales studio in Texas.

Is Nelson singing with tongue in cheek or taking the matter seriously? I can’t say for sure, though he did contribute a serious love song to the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack. I suspect that his point is to tell society to grow the hell up and accept that love is love. After all, there are gay cowboys and gay shepherds and gay athletes and gays in every profession. We are everywhere, like it or not.

GLBT people and their families and relationships deserve the same respect as heterosexuals’. With any luck, mainstream society will get over its collective childishness and/or control-freak nature, drop the jokes and demeaning, and get over itself. And hopefully, they will accept Willie Nelson’s song for what it is: a fine country song that offers a story about life.

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