As per this earlier post, the entry below was originally dated February 26, 2006. Although the article mentioned in the first sentence is no longer available online, it pertained to a group advocating the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and I found some of their marketing to be a bit offensive and marginalizing towards gay people who happen to be effeminate, thus the inspiration for this entry. Yes, the title was a Kelly Clarkson song lyric.
There's an article featured as the cover story of a recent issue of The Advocate that talks about an organization trying to take down the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. While I really respect such an aspiration, certain things within the article really bugged me.
Namely, it went to great lengths to talk about how those involved with the organization just wanted straight people to realize gays and lesbians are exactly like them.
Specifically, I found the following paragraph borderline-offensive:
Adds former marine corporal Tim Smith, the [organization's] deputy director for logistics: "I hope we can open people's eyes. They hear the word 'gay' and think of New Orleans and the Southern Decadence pride parade. I want to show that gay people are just like everyone else."
As someone from New Orleans, I've never once run into someone who heard I was gay and told me they thought of Southern Decadence. Southern Decadence is a really, really narrow example of gay lifestyles, and I thought it a little ridiculous that he'd act like they're the same thing.
And, just like everyone else? I, personally, am tired of that outlook.
I do realize that it's well-intentioned some of the time, but in my vast experience with other gay men (lesbians, unfortunately, I have less contact with) this feeling of being the same as everybody else usually comes with the line, "I am a guy who just happens to like other guys." These tend to be the types of guys who ridicule "flamers" and effeminate gay men, hate drag queens, would beat up a transsexual, and generally contribute nothing to the fight for gay rights yet are happy to sit in chatrooms and on personals and talk about how they're "discreet."
That's nothing to be proud of in my opinion. That's being chickenshit and self-loathing.
I came out to my parents when I was twelve in an ordeal that was one of the worst experiences of my life. Prior to that, I was whole-heartedly convinced that if I ever told my parents I was gay it would, at the very least, lead to me being kicked out of my house if not worse. I've half-heartedly joked to people since then that my openness and out-spokenness is due to my realization that if I lived after coming out to my parents then I could withstand anything. I wasn't kidding. I expected the declaration to result in my murder.
Straight people don't have that kindof a burden. There's absolutely no reason they should be made to realize there is anything but constant strife in the life they've forced us into.
And that's really what this aspiration to be just like straight people, with their children and marriage, is. Absolving them of responsibility for their bigotry.
Don't think I limit this just to gay issues, either. It's the same with the way women are treated in our collective societies, the way blacks, chinese, latinos, et cetera are treated. It's just different ways and right now the heat is all on top of us.
Yet there's a double-standard, because the only way we're going to be treated the same as them is when we're all on the same playing field.
There is so much hatred in the gay community itself, mostly stemming to the way we process the vocal hatred of those outside of the gay community. I choose to process it by apparently turning into a militant homosexual, while others process it by working out and yelling into manhunt profiles that they only want masculine men in capital letters.
But that's not an excuse.
I was very interested once in a guy I'd met online. We had brilliant conversations for at least a week while we worked up to the point of meeting; he was madly attractive and immensely funny, charming, suave. Then he asked me "So are you feminine, or normal?" Maybe it was the question, maybe it was his obviously-biased phrasing, but I took incredibe offense to it for the first time ever. While I don't think I'm a raging homosexual, I don't think anyone would ever really be shocked to discover I'm gay either. But the bias we have against ourselves bothers and upsets me tremendously. He and I stopped talking because of it and he was completely obvious as to why I had a problem with what he said. He decided it had to be because I wear heels and shave my legs, and I was fine to let him think that even though it wasn't the case.
But I don't respond to those people anymore. I avoid the keywords, "masculine," "discreet," and I break out in hives when I see any derivative of "str8-acting."
I once knew a guy in high school. When I met him it was when he was grappling with the fact of his homosexuality. He was one of those who got head from gay guys, but that in no way made him gay. Except he knew somewhere that he was, and somehow I was the person that ended up facilitating that transition. He went from straight to curious to bisexual to dating a guy, but constantly would say things like, "All my friends are so shocked that I'm gay, and I tell them I'm who I am, I just happen to like guys. When I came out to them they thought I was going to start wearing dresses."
I guess its our own stereotypes. But things like that offend me.
It's the same way I don't talk to people who say they won't date black guys, or asians, or latinos, or like one guy who in a very grave circumstance proudly declared he "fucks the white bread only."
Saying it's a matter of personal attraction is a cop out. Because it's not. If you put up a firewall to say you'll discount everyone of a particular race then you're a racist. Vaginas gross me out but I'll never discount the possibility that at some point in my life one in particular will interest me. I don't think it's likely, but you'll never know.
Just like I'm not entirely sure of where I wanted this rant to go.
But we as gay people need to really do a better job of not acting like such shit to each other. Don't forget it was a bunch of drag queens in the late 60s getting pissed off because Judy Garland died that enabled us to have bad shows like Noah's Arc and Will & Grace and the freedom to destroy ourselves from within with crystal meth and bareback sex. You know, just like everyone else. You need to realize that and be thankful, because it's fucking hard to kick ass in high heels. Ask Buffy.
PS: For anyone interested in what I think should've been the real cover story, this little interview was tucked away at the back of the magazine on page 58.