The Secret Queer Ring

Young men holding hands on a street in Dublin.  Photo by Callen Harty.

Young men holding hands on a street in Dublin. Photo by Callen Harty.

So Pat Robertson reported on the “700 Club” the other night that gay people in large cities like San Francisco (the modern-day Sodom) are spreading AIDS by wearing special rings that cut people when they shake your hand and put the AIDS virus right into your bloodstream. No need for scary gay sex, scary shared needles, or living in scary Africa. It’s an absolutely diabolical plot by the LGBT community to sicken the entire world. Obviously anyone living the “gay lifestyle” wants to see all straight people die and would like to destroy the world before global warming has a chance to do it. If it wasn’t clear before it certainly is now.

Every time Pat Robertson makes a report like this about “the homosexuals” I think to myself, how does he learn all our secrets? Who is his source? It must be someone pretty high up in the “gay community” (you know, that Borg-like group of people who are all alike and think identically about everything) because whoever it is has been spilling some of our deepest and most closely-guarded secrets. They clearly know about our all-consuming agenda. On the other hand, there is always just a bit of misinformation. His stories have kernels of truth, but oftentimes miss the real story.

As an insider (I don’t often acknowledge this but I’m an admitted homosexual) I can tell you the full story, or at least enough of it to amaze and possibly frighten you. If you are gay none of this will be a big surprise. As a gay man or lesbian you already own the secret queer decoder ring that lets you read hidden messages on specially marked box tops of Fruit Loops cereal. Once you get a large enough odd number of them you send them in to Queer Central and another secret ring is sent to you. This is the special ring that Robertson apparently learned about for his report. But he got the story a little bit wrong at this point. The special ring doesn’t give you AIDS by cutting you–that would leave evidence. In fact it doesn’t give you AIDS at all. Contact your local AIDS resource center to find out how that happens. (Please). The special ring does, however, do two completely different things that are likely even more horrifying to Robertson and his ilk.

Here’s the true story. When a homosexual man like myself sees a good-looking gay guy (this, by the way, we can tell by an artificially implanted mechanism known in the community as gaydar) all you have to do is go up and shake the gay guy’s hand with the special ring on and electricity is passed back and forth between the two of you. I think some straight people may have stolen a few of our rings because I’ve seen this happen between men and women, too. It’s a strange electricity that happens between two people. Oddly, I’ve even seen it work sometimes without the ring. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I’ve seen it. Well anyway, you never know where that electricity might lead, ring or no, but it will most likely be on a path toward hell.

The other thing the secret special ring does is this. When I see a good-looking straight guy–which we can generally just tell by the clothes–I can go up to him, making sure the special ring is on my finger, and extend my hand to him. If he shakes my hand “the gay” is passed on to him. The danger is in forgetting the ring and accidentally gaying up an unattractive straight guy. Most people don’t know this, but we don’t consider every single person of the same sex attractive. Shocking, right? And the surprising thing is that we don’t have to recruit people into our lifestyle–we can just pass the gay on to them with these rings. That cute straight guy will be so full of the gay he’ll start singing show tunes or he’ll want to bend over right there on the street corner because it really is that easy to convert someone to homosexuality and make him limp-wristed forever.

So that’s the real story behind our secret rings. Someone please tell Pat Robertson to call me the next time he needs to verify a story about the homosexuals. I’ll be happy to set him straight.

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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