Dangerous Compassions

be gay do crime

I saw some graffiti on instagram–I follow a radical graffiti person, who posts many images a day.  The graffiti said Be Gay Do Crime, which I have loved for a long time.

But someone in the comments asked what it means.  Why crime?  Seemed like a silly question, but I tried to imagine the perspective of persons in other countries, or who were a much different age from me.


The first time I saw Be Gay Do Crime I had an instant joyful reaction.  I was on livejournal, and a zinester friend I admired had a userpic with that slogan and a picture of a teddy bear with a gun, I think.

On livejournal, you had multiple userpics, so you could use a pic that made sense for the content of your post that day.  Normally I do not find guns funny, but it was a cartoonish image, and the juxtaposition of teddy bear and gun was ridiculous.

Yes, that probably helped me understand the slogan.  For me, being gay was vulnerable and wonderful, a charming act of self-knowledge and self-love, to express to the world a deep truth that can get us in trouble.  Gay did not mean gay specifically, but more queer–yes, I am gay, even though I’m not a lesbian.  Being bi-pan-fluid, I’m gay in a certain sense…

The juxtaposition of doing crime was an edgy idea connected to the blissful goodness of being gay.  And true, in some place, gay is a crime.  But mostly Be Gay Do Crime is an attitude.

actually no

Actually, no.  I made a mistake.  My admired zinester friend’s userpic was not Be Gay Do Crime.  It was Not Gay As In Happy, but Queer As in Fuck You.

be gay do crime

Or maybe my friend had both.  Yeah, wait, yeah.  I was wrong.  The gun was on that one.

Sorry–it was a long time ago.  Maybe they both had guns.  My friend was / is a communist, and maybe a type who likes guns?

frog and toad

Oh my god, look at this Frog and Toad of Be Gay Do Crime.  Yes, perfect: wholesome, charming, filled with crime.  They are so adorable.  Their crime is how cute they are, if anything.

be gay do crime

It’s nice to know a cultural thing, because it can help you understand other cultural things.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *