Sorry for the recent lack of postings. Besides having brain freeze, I’ve had a lot of personal business to attend to. Hopefully I haven’t lost too many of you!
Anyway, today’s blog is actually a continuation of a comment that I made on another blog. It really got me thinking about some things and I thought I would share them with you.
So the following is my “mini-thesis” on the diversity (or as some say discrimination) within the gay community.
As many of us have experienced throughout life, as humans we tend to congregate with others who share our same interests, likes or dislikes. Whether they be religious beliefs, political persuasions, or some other socio-economic tie we seem to form clicks or sub-cultures based on our preferences and hang around others who share our current stage in life.
And gays are no exception. However, ours are mainly based on one’s sexual proclivity or body type preference. Hence we have our own sub groups such as twinks, bears, cubs, wolves, circuit boys, leathermen, dad and sons, pigs, queens, party boys, straight-acting, or preppy etc. There are others and I could go on, but I think you get the picture. However to be labeled as a “troll” is one of the lowest and (IMHO) most hurtful labels within our community. A troll is generally someone who is over 40, sometimes overweight, and out on the prowl because they haven’t someone who they are with either on a temporary or permanent. Many are also older married men, who are not out, but are looking for that hook up to fill that need to be with another man. You find them at all the usual cruising spots, bars, clubs etc. They are usually alone and many have that desperate sad look on their faces as they watch everyone else hook up.
To be honest, I think that 95% of us don’t fall into any one specific category. Many of us can go through the list and realize that we don’t fit into one specific “sub-culture” but rather a mix or none at all. Many of us are just ordinary men, who forget where the gym is, don’t have subscriptions to the A&F catalog, and love the bargains at Wal-Mart or Target. Some of us also stink at decorating our living spaces and eat heat-n-eat meals or “do you deliver” local deli specials.
Over the years, I’ve come to learn that’s what part of gay “is” and that’s not fitting in. I don’t know about you, but I know I haven’t fit in or even made to feel part of the crowd since I was a kid. I was always the different one in school, play, work etc. The last to be picked to play any sport, (more than once a girl was even picked over me!) the last to be chosen for school “team” projects etc even though I was a straight A student. And I think that again, many of “us” can relate to that!
As a gay male I believe we are different from day one. And that fact alone should at least unite us. But yet, we tend to be our own worst enemies. As a 49 y.o., gray haired, pot-bellied, semi-hairy man the only category that I fit in (as I have been told by others) is that of a troll, even though in my heart I picture myself more as a “wolf or bear”. So in following the gay sub-cultures, there isn’t even one for me (and many others like me). And again, I feel like I am in school and made to be an outcast all over again.
It’s sad to see how divided the gay culture is while at the same time we strive to be included in the mainstream and clamor for our rights to be married and not discriminated against by the general population. We cry for our right to be respected and recognized as any other human being and yet we discriminate against our own. We ask for laws to be passed so that we could adopt kids, make health decisions for our partners, buy a house and leave it to the ones we love, not get fired from our job for not being gay etc., yet we look at each other and assign a label.
Although I am not “out” yet, I am still a proud gay man. During this month where we celebrate our “pride” to me it also means that we celebrate our diversity. However in my mind the celebration of our diversity should be how we are diverse from the mainstream and not each other. Sure all the categories are represented at our festivals and parades and we try to feel that each and every group somehow represents us but who are we fooling? Surely not the general public as many of them lump us all into one category and that usually has to do with who we have sex with rather than who we are as individuals. We on the other hand view “them” as self righteous homophobic bigots and like “them” in many cases we are equally wrong. Because it’s not only unfair but also wrong to label an entire group of people that is made up of many individuals of varying degrees of acceptance.
But to do this also within our own “culture” is wrong. Not only does it show others that we too discriminate, but it also weakens us. After all how can we ask for respect from the “other” side, when we can’t even respect those on ours?
So, all we can do is to be ourselves and learn to be proud of who we are and not what we are or what category we fit in. We have to come together first as a united group accepting of all before we demand the respect and acceptance of others. In the meantime, I have more things to worry about than being a label. I just want to be free.