QUEER FOLKS, DO YOU HAVE FAVORITE VIRTUES?

To the Queer Man in the Mirror: If Nothing Else, Be Honest

I can’t undo the damage done, nor am I the least bit proud of the hurt I caused.

Rand Bishop
Prism & Pen
Published in
9 min readMay 22, 2024

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Honest Abe informs his wife that, yes, the dress makes her backside look a little bigger. Screen capture by the author from a GEICO car insurance ad on YouTube.

From my experience, the word virtue rarely passes through queer lips… at least not in a complementary context. We’re far more inclined to openly acknowledge each other’s all-too-human weaknesses, to commiserate about and poke fun at our mutual frailties.

So, it seemed particularly odd, dizzying even, to receive the latest Prism & Pen prompt: What does virtue mean to YOU? Which virtues (by any definition/framework) do you find helpful in leading a fulfilling life?

Still, the prompt sure got the windmills of my mind turning. So, here goes nothin’!

Let’s face it, virtue is a snooty word. It reeks of moral superiority and monkish self-sacrifice, while boasting of stronger willpower. Ironic, because so many of the traits and qualities that fall into the mixed grab bag of virtues are precisely the opposite of snooty: modesty, generosity, and kindness, for three instances.

When it comes down to it, isn’t it at least somewhat egotistical to claim a virtue for one’s self? At the very least, it makes for a humble brag. Ah, the…

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Rand Bishop
Prism & Pen

Bishop's latest book, the semi-autobiographical novel, Long Way Out, is available in e- and print editions through most major online booksellers.