#25: Pride and Prejudice

The gay community.

Where to begin? For most of my life, I’ve had a pretty negative view of the gay community as a whole. This isn’t because I have a problem with people who are gay (obviously), but I have always felt that they’ve misrepresented themselves. Gay pride parades were the biggest thing to elude me. I couldn’t understand how a group of mature people could behave in such a ridiculous way.

The gay community is comprised of human beings, just like every other community. I have to believe that most of these human beings are sensible to some degree, and that plenty of them are intellectuals. So why do they parade down the streets of San Fransisco in assless chaps and biker hats, holding a leash attached to men crawling before them dressed in leather with a collar around their neck? This may be an overdramatization, but I have a feeling it isn’t.

But my point here is that the image of gay pride that circulates is one of shirtless men in leather pants, trouncing down the streets and behaving like whores. The image the gay community in general portrays isn’t one of dignity, self-respect, and a desire to be recognized as equal to everyone else, but one of promiscuity, perversion, and a quest to be accepted, regardless of how freakish their antics may be. And that is ridiculous. If you don’t want to be called a perverted community, don’t act like one.

I am gay. This is not a personality trait per se, it’s simply a part of who I am. Straight men (I’m only using men in this example because most of my experience has been with males) are just as much defined by their heterosexuality as we are by our homosexuality, when you get to the truth of it. The gay community presents itself as being just that: gay. Nothing more. Not people with opinions on subject other than sexuality, not human beings who feel every emotion that every other human being feels, not people who ponder the mysteries of the unvierse, just gay people. It’s the only aspect of ourselves that we a community show. Gay pride parades are really only benefitial to the people the parades are focused on. How many homophobic people would go to a gay pride parade, and walk away a changed person? If the image gay pride parades presents is EXACTLY the image of gay people that homophobes fear and dislike, I’m thinking not many.

Gay men are almost entirely defined by sexuality, and that’s wrong. As a community, homosexuals seem to have a problem seperating the personal from the sexual. If you’re gay, your entire identity as a person isn’t made up of that one fact. A good example of this is the “classifications” gay men have for themselves, based entirely on pornography: twinks, bears, etc. And there are twink and bear conventions, if you can believe it. Now, a pornography convention is fine, but I get the feeling that the people who go to these conventions don’t consider it a porn convention, they just consider it a gathering of people who consider themselves bears and twinks. The core of your personality should be “human being,” not “bear”, “twink,” or anything else.

Sexuality is a huge part of being human. Sexuality dominates a whole area of your life as a person, and that’s okay. But it’s important to understand that being a person isn’t just about being sexual. I am gay, and I am indeed a sexual person. I also enjoy swimming, playing trading card games, reading fantasy novels and manga, listening to music from many genres, playing video games, Greek food, and I like cats. I also have anxiety problems, I struggle with panic attacks, I have obsessive compulsive disorder, I believe in God but I think organized religion causes more problems that it solves. See? I am a person with many facets, opinions, and feelings, and I present myself as such. Sure, I like sex just as much as EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. It doesn’t define my entire character.

These are the matters in which I find the gay community to be at fault. There are many other matters, however, in which gay men and women are needlessly blamed and persecuted.

Many people, including some in the gay community, feel that gay men who are flamboyant present a negative image of their community. While I see the logic behind this, it’s still very wrong. Gay men are flamboyant because they are, not because they choose to be. I was a flamboyant child, and now I am a grown person with a good head on my shoulders, but I still love being whimsical and childlike, it makes me feel free and happy. So gay men speak with a lisp, so what? You can’t expect gay men to act exactly the way straight men do, because it’s not a matter of “They’re both men so they should act the same way.” Gay men really are a whole different breed of man than straight men. We don’t act the same because we’re not the same. While being gay means that you are a person who happens to be attracted to members of the same gender, it doesn’t mean that you’re exactly like every heterosexual man, just as no two people are alike. Certain behaviors, like flamboyance, are more common within the gay community, just as certain behaviors, like a love of sports, are more common within the straight community. Over time these examples have become stereotypes, and of course not every gay man is flamboyant and not every straight man loves sports, but these are two behaviors that are prevalant within their respective communities, and not because either of them are wrong. It’s not wrong for a straight man to play football, and it’s not wrong for a gay man to play football. It’s not wrong for a gay man to be articulate, dramatic, and a musical theatre performer, and it’s not wrong for a straight man to be articulate, dramatic, and a musical theatre performer. Straight men actually suffer from almost as many stereotypes as gay men do.

The message I want to get across to everyone today is that to be human is to be human. Some humans are attracted to men, and some are attracted to women. Some are attracted to both. All of this is just fine, and natural. If anyone disagrees, take a good look at homosexuality throughout the course of history; it isn’t something new, it’s been around since the times of the ancient civilizations and well before. It happens within nature. Homosexuality is natural. This is something our society has yet to fully understand, but as a community we have to peacefully and reasonably help them to. Presenting ourselves as being defined by our sexuality isn’t going to help.

The answer to just about every social problem is to calmly and rationally think about it, discuss it, and find truth. Things are not so black and white as society would have you believe. In many cases, problems in society are merely misunderstandings, perpetuated by people who want control, and this most definitely includes the religious community. In a democracy there is compromise. The campaigns against what some perceive to be immorality are unnecessary and formed out of spite and ignorance, but you can only add fuel to the fires of their movement by presenting yourself as one-dimensional and perpetuating the stereotypes that drive their efforts. In the end, society only has hope when people are willing to be reasonable, and most importantly when a situation is approached with a necessary amount of objectivity, but a greater amount of compassion, and love for those who share this journey of life with you, and who live in the same human body you do. We really are all in this together, and discord among family only serves to break it apart; humanity can only progress when it comes together with a common goal, and my hope is that that common goal can be peace.

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3 thoughts on “#25: Pride and Prejudice

  1. I love this post. I identify. I personally fall hopelessly in like with flamboyant gay men, or flamboyant people in general. That is the one aspect of my own personality that I identify with, that I am most comfortable with.
    I have been to pride a couple times and while some of it does center around the shock value a lot of it is about love and acceptance. It’s a shame that one must get passed the shocking aspects to see those things. I’m always confused by the show of men leading other men around on leashes and collars. We wouldn’t tolerate that with any race, religion or gender, yet it’s a staple of gay culture.
    I’m completely for gay rights, including equality and marriage. But I don’t understand how our community can fight so hard to be seen as equal and yet so readily embrace such practices of degradation.

    • And that’s really the point. Flamboyant gay men are one of the sweetest breeds of people, and they get a bad rep for being who they are. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with partying your ass off to celebrate the freedom to be whoever you are, and to fight for that freedom. Heck, straight people act just as crazy at Mardi Gras, I’m just always baffled by the obscene amount of sexuality that pervades gay pride.

      Being gay isn’t just about sexual orientation, it’s about being a community of people celebrating freedom. It’s a bit of a puzzle, because on the one hand gay pride is literally, by definition, about the pride of being able to have a relationship with another member of the same gender, and while a relationship certainly includes sex, like any other relationship, it’s also about the actual relationship. I suppose without graphic sexuality to show off, they’d have little to really put on the float though.

      I guess what it comes down to is that Gay Pride is what it is, and while it may be missing the mark in some ways, at it’s core, it’s about joy, freedom, and self-respect. The partying and sexuality comes because there’s a crowd gathered, and if you gather enough people of any orientation, they’re going to start getting sexual. I didn’t really mention in this post that I’m not AGAINST Gay Pride.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Looking back on this post now I think a lot of the things I said were pretty narrow. I mean I was making a point, but the seemingly conservative slant of this keeps me from even re-reading the entire thing now. People should be themselves, be loud, be flamboyant, and be as absolutely, outlandishly, overtly “FREAKY” as they can be. It’s fucking fun, and amazing. We live in the age where we must stand up, in heels or no, and be exactly who we want to be. There’s no such thing as gay and straight, male and female, we’re HUMAN BEINGS.

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