Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why Sexuality Isn't A Choice (This Will Be Short)

I see a lot of people squawking about whether or not sexual preference is a choice, and I'm sad to say that a lot of people on both sides are doing a lot of the kind of red-faced yelling that changes nothing. I'm sure everyone knows by now what side of this particular argument I'm on, but since this is the United States and we just can't go about anything civilly, peacefully or intelligently the way people do in the UK or Canada or just about anywhere else on the planet, I'll present what I hope is a solid argument based on my own experience.

I've always liked men. Boys at an early age, then slowly men as I figured out what sexuality actually was. I remember being as young as four and liking boys. I'm sure if I could remember before that, I'd remember liking boys then. There is no big crossroads in one's life when one says "I need to decide whether I want to go my whole life being gay, straight, bi or whatever because that's what society wants me to do." No, no one says "I'm going to be straight." None of you straight assholes claiming sexuality is a choice decided one day to be straight. It wasn't a hard choice between sucking dick and munching boobs, was it? No? You didn't think "Hmm… dicks are tempting, but I'm gonna stick with vagina." Gay men didn't think "God I love boobs, but liking dicks is going to make me a lot more popular in the long run, especially with republicans."

There is no choice to be made about sexuality at four years old, and if you think there is, maybe you ought to stop playing Naked Moviestar with the neighborhood kids. A four year old does not have a concept of sexuality as adults know it. It's a shame that we as adults figure that people who deviate from the very vague but narrow social norms of a world drenched in shame and self-doubt made a choice to do so. Surely everyone fits into a narrow slot. Everyone. Absolutely everyone. It's a shame that we teach children that certain interactions with certain other children are wrong rather than letting them figure out who they are. It's a shame that we stand there with a shovel, ready to bury them in shame and self-hatred and guilt if they show any sign of being abnormal.

We aren't always entitled to children who grow up to fit a flawed, narrow moral ideal simply because we had it beaten into us that that's how life is. No one is entitled to a life raising a child on easy. Sometimes, you're wrong. Sometimes the way you were raised is bullshit, and to perpetuate it is a pretty legitimate form of abuse. You're the adult, but you can still be wrong. It's up to you to make sure you're not teaching your children to hate themselves. If you teach them to hate themselves, they aren't going to have much capacity to love anyone else, especially you. 

You don't get to wonder why they hate you for all those years of making them feel bad about who they end up with. That's just reciprocity at work. They aren't going to thank you for trying to beat the gay out of them or leaving them to die on the street. They aren't going to understand that Jesus told you to drop them off at the bust station and tell them to sit and spin because you deserve a normal child. No, you get what you deserve if you send your child down that road. You don't get to wonder why they don't visit and why they shove you into an old people home and leave you to die. They're just returning the favor. 

If there is sin, you're the archetype. If there is a hell, you bought your ticket. Burn.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Privilege is a Funny Thing

There are a lot of men, especially of my generation and younger, who see women as something they are entitled to. It's really funny, because this attitude is becoming too common. There are men who have this attitude toward women, and they do it with a straight face. If a woman decides that she doesn't want his advances, suggesting thereby that she wants to make her own choices, he becomes obsessive and, with the blessing of early 2010s pop culture, he becomes more aggressive. 

How dare she deny him his suddenly urgent need to have a wife and make a family? How dare he have to find someone else, do some work, sort through the endless milling faces of society as a whole to find someone who actually enjoys his company and is happy and comfortable with the idea of becoming part of a family. The best part is that this is how we've been taught to be as men. We've been simultaneously taught that women are independent creatures when it comes to dressing and feeding themselves, but that they're also not quite human compared to us. They can make their own choices so long as they don't go against our choices.

It's sad when I really think about it. I am almost directly impacted by this attitude, and I see it every day. The majority of my friends are women, and I get to watch this happen from both sides. For whatever reason, women are also taught to be more forgiving and tactful than men, and society tells them to accept advances or be known as a bitch. It always hurts to see your friends in pain, and trust me, having someone insist that you have no right to reject them, it's painful.

This whole blog is essentially the hypothetical story of someone with straight and male privileges (which are real only to those outside of such a privilege, apparently. That's another, more hateful blog directed at straight, white, heterosexual men, and it will occur at some point) who treats dating as acquiring property rather than getting to know someone. I cannot see that being a happy life situation, and it's usually not. Unfortunately, men are taught to acquire and women are taught not to argue, even if those men are silly, talentless, worthless, undesirable, smelly bitches.

I have to say that in my experience, this attitude also extends into homosexual situations, but it meets an equal and opposite reaction. It usually goes one of two ways: either the two are mutually obsessed for about a week, then they hate each other; or one is not interested, and the other becomes more and more obsessed, and he starts to actually harass the other guy. I've been there. I've been on both sides of it, I'm embarrassed to admit. It's a sense of entitlement, and when it comes up against opposition from an equal sense of entitlement (that men have this singular ability to make their own dating choices, reinforced by society), it becomes a new creature. It becomes silly, unattractive, and almost cartoonish. Men are taught, ironically, to resist any attempts to control them.

I'm going to go back to privilege for a minute, talking about it not existing to those within it. This is something that I've seen discussed online in many, many places, and some of the discussions are informative. Others are screaming matches between straight, white, heterosexual men and the rest of the world. The thing about existing within male privilege or white privilege or straight privilege is that you're born into it. Most privileges start out as birth rights. It's all you know. It's not privilege to you, it's just the way it is. Everyone screaming at you about privilege are telling you that you're being an asshole on purpose just by living the way you've always lived.

But that's the thing, isn't it? Those of us who haven't grown up in that world get to look at it from the outside. It's a glass wall. We can see through it, but it's not our world. We see it as a box. Those on the inside can't see the box. They think the whole world is made of the same material that they live in, because the box moves with them. It goes where they go, and it's just large enough to fit around them without including anyone else. This is why privilege as defined by those outside of it does not exist to those inside it. That's why those inside it insist so hard that they have no such privilege. They can't see it. There's almost no use trying to point it out. Some of us who exist within certain privileges but not within others are able to see and recognize the ones we live outside of and therefore realize that there must be others.

Perhaps this blog has turned preachy. I suppose I might feel bad if I weren't so absolutely fed up with watching the way people behave toward one another. I guess I feel some burning need to sort things out for everyone, because the people doing it right now turn into illogical, screaming walruses when confronted with a solid argument from either side. Allow me intervene.

I don't know what I am as far as activism goes. I'm certainly not someone who goes to conventions or participates in many discussions. The word feminist has come up a few times, and I like that word a lot. I don't know the true definition of it, so I might do some research just to make sure. I do actively believe that we all need to stop living in the world we inhabit now.

I really started to cringe when the "cool story, babe, now make me a sandwich" internet meme started, followed quickly by many more almost-not-joking memes suggesting that women shut the hell up. In the last five years alone, I've watched the attitude of men toward women swing from annoyed to violent to entitled. It's almost as though women are viewed as a necessary inconvenience if one wants to have a family and pass on his DNA. That's another thing I hear more than I can stomach as a reason for chasing after a woman: "I want to have kids" or "I want a family" or "I want to pass on my genes " In gaming terms, women are an achievement to unlock. This attitude sometimes comes up with gay men, too. Occasionally, a gay man goes on this rampage to find a fag hag who will let him impregnate her so he can have a family. In my opinion, this is the most disturbing thing I've ever witnessed.

How ridiculous is it that we have all forgotten that the purpose of love and relationships is not to command and conquer Risk-style, but to get to know someone for who they are, find a friend you can live with and not kill, find someone who can stand to be in a car with you long enough for a trip to the Rocky Mountains and so on. People are not prizes to be won. People are not entitlements. People are not awarded to other people like participation trophies. That's the worst part. My generation is the worst generation in regards to this attitude because we're all used to getting awards and ribbons just for participation. Men of my generation think that merely showing up having showered and slapped deodorant on ought to be good enough. Talent is not necessary, nor is a compelling worldview or anything resembling a personality for that matter. They also don't consider what might happen if roles were reversed, because my generation also lacks the ability to step outside of their own experience. We see the rest of existence as the background of our selfies, nothing more interesting or alive than that. We lack the ability to recognize good leadership, and it relates directly to the last item, so that the people we choose to represent us have no debating skills. They scream, yell, punch and claw their way into power, and that's just how they treat debates. Discussions about abortion, feminism, gay rights or marriage equality are conducted like WWE matches.

It's unfortunate the state we find ourselves in. We're really lost, folks. The word "privilege" has almost been hijacked in a sense, because it's become a dirty word, and rightfully so in the way it's used. The actual definition of "privilege" fits the meaning we've given it recently. It's something that's a benefit of being a part of society not subject to certain rules and hardships applied to others. That's very close to the dictionary definition. The main difference is that this particular privilege seems unrevokable unless it is done willingly, and if the offending party doesn't recognize the privilege, there's nothing to revoke. You have to know you have something for it to be taken away sometimes. Isn't that sick? And you can't make someone aware that they have privilege by screaming into their face that they most certainly do or opening the argument with bullshit tiny examples like the position of someone's hands in that one movie no one but you watched. Start with big, obvious things so you don't seem like a reactionary asshole right away and discredit yourself. Trust me. You'll get fewer eye rolls if you start with the big stuff. I'd give you examples of the big stuff, but I'd like to think that Tumblr hasn't turned us all into microcomplaining social justice zombies incapable of remembering that at one time, people had problems beyond the first world PC outrage nonsense we busy ourselves with now.

This is where I get all preachy again, because people who don't know the privileges they exist within are the ones who say things like "shemale" and "talk a little more urban" and "you talk too white" and "how do you know you're gay if you've never done it with a man/woman?" and "there are plenty of women in power. Look at Oprah." People who say things like this make me want to punch them in face until they're dead. Seriously. I want to throw them off a cliff, run them over with a car, toss them into the East River and watch them sink. I dislike racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. It makes me physically ill, no matter how jokingly it's said. We ought to be a society of adults, not a society of entitled little white boys.

Yes, I said it. And if you think otherwise, that's fine. I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong. I'm not necessarily subject to the black-and-white view of the world we as millennials exist within. I'm saying that if you do and say the things I've talked about, you're probably one of the little white boys I mentioned. You're an infant Godzilla, and the world is your sandbox. When the sandbox rebels, you wipe it clean. Am I right?

Privilege: that's how it's done. That's how you define it. That's how you address it. You have to explain what it is at the most basic level. Assume the person you're addressing has no idea what it is. Don't get into a screaming match because you think they're just being an ass and pretending they don't know your pain. It's likely that they actually don't know. Tell them, because you can scream at a brick wall all day every day until your throat bleeds, and the brick wall is not going to change. However, painting the wall will at least change it in some superficial way. It's a start. Go from there.

We are adults, even we millennials, and we need to conduct ourselves in a way that conveys this. We need to say to one another: I get that you don't get it, and here are some big obvious examples of why you need to change how you think.

Don't scream at one another. Don't live inside a box where everything is PC and friendly so that going outside requires sunglasses and ointment. Don't let Tumblr shape how you argue, because some of the material is good and some of it is just too aggressive for how tiny the examples are. If you scream and yell, expect to be more of a spectacle than a catalyst, because no one learns anything from being yelled at, regardless of what you think you learned growing up. If you want to remake the world into a kinder place, make sure you aren't identifying as a hostile takeover. No one walks willingly into a dictatorship anymore. That shit's ugly.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Hard Veto Toward Trigger Warnings

I've always censored my writing. Starting with Antioch, I began refusing to write sex scenes because I wanted to prove that, contrary to popular opinion, a book could be written without dicks plunging into holes every five seconds. I had moderate success with this idea, and it encouraged me. Eventually, though, suggestions of sex leaked into my stories. It only happened if it moved the story along, and I always felt the need to warn people. I have straight male readers, and somehow, in my mind I always pictured them coming across some mention of gay sex and turning into this immature, disgusted asshole and making a huge deal out of how disgusted they were. After all, that's what society expects. Or rather, it did during the Bush era, I suppose. The gay rights movement really moved back about ten years from 2000 to 2008, didn't it? We're almost back to the level of acceptance we were at in 1999. That's another story, though. I'll get to that in another blog at another time.

It occurred to me that when I come across a straight sex scene, I survive anyway. I have no reaction to it, in fact. Why should anyone have a visceral, violent reaction to a written scene unless they are so uncomfortable with their own sexuality that they simply cannot stand how much a scene like that functions as a mirror. In which case, sad day. However, I suddenly have no fucks to give. If there's a sex scene that moves the story forward, it'll happen. You'll not be warned.

Also, trigger warnings are officially gone from my writing. I was informed a long time ago by a friend of mine who simultaneously rallies for equality and talks about "damn Mexicans" that I ought to warn people when a particularly upsetting scene is in a story. Rape, for instance. You know what putting a rape trigger warning on Spin the Bottle did? It made it my most popular story. People see words like rape and death and sex and molestation and suicide and they immediately want to see it. It is not my problem that triggers exist for people. I am no longer going to do trigger warnings. You'll read my work as it is written without warning and you'll either freak out and kill yourself because you just can’t deal with reality, or you'll see the purpose behind the scene and examine your own life. It is neither my fault nor my problem that my writing a story with a rape scene causes you to have rape flashbacks. Maybe that's what I'm going for. I'm a fucking artist, and I create worlds with the purpose of disturbing, causing emotion, causing a reaction. I personally have triggers as well. It doesn't stop me from reading if the book is triggering. Quite the opposite.

Trigger warnings are a bullshit invention of millennial hippies, telling you that you can indeed write a scene of incest, but you have to make sure everyone knows beforehand that it's there. As though life itself needed warning labels. As though every aisle in every grocery store needed a warning label saying TRIGGER WARNING: PEOPLE for those of us with social anxiety. Trigger warnings are cruise control for people who lack the ability to control themselves when exposed to triggering stimuli, and I don't write specifically for people who cannot keep their emotions in check. If someone cannot find within them the maturity and sense to be able to read one of my stories without having some kind of strong reaction that is so bad they can't stand it, they ought not read my stories. They're about to get worse. I'm releasing one of the darkest things I've ever written on Halloween, and I am through holding everyone's damn hand through their personal set of triggers. If it's a trigger for you, don't pull it and you won't get blown away. It doesn't pull itself. That's not how it works. Learn how to control yourself or get medicated. We all have to do it at some point. I am not here to hold your hand and make the world less scary by warning you of what's going to happen next. That defeats the purpose of writing. We call those things "spoilers" and they're generally frowned upon. In Spin the Bottle, the rape scene was the part of the story known as Rising action and climax. It was pretty much the end. By putting a “trigger warning” at the beginning, I let everyone know how the story ended. I am bitter, bitter, BITTER about being told that I need to use trigger warnings, because in the end, I censored myself even harder.

I realize that sounds hostile. I didn't intend for it to sound that way, but I have started to resent the idea of having to hold your hand through the experience of reading my work. I understand issues. I get them. Writing is supposed to reflect them like a mirror. Art itself is supposed to cause a reaction, sometimes unpleasant, to the world around you. In my opinion, my generation is so busy trying to avoid triggering events that we forget how to be truly moved by anything. My advice is to take some pills, calm the hell down, and enjoy the ride. The things that you consider triggers shan’t be going away, and you can’t always prepare for them. If life is really so upsetting that you need to be warned that it’s still happening around you, maybe you should retire from the internet. And reading. And movies. And social interaction. And life. I am no longer censoring myself, putting up trigger warnings, or in any way indicating to my reader what’s going to happen at the end just because it might cause some particularly unstable person to freak out. I refuse. This is art, not therapy. I am an artist. I am not here to smooth the world over for you.

Expect changes. You can accept them, or you can leave. I'm not doing this anymore. I may continue my spiral in person, but writing is my one safe place, and you will not make me put up warning signs because something makes you uncomfortable. These are my stories, and you've invited yourself into them. You wouldn't go into someone's house and insist on warnings that some of the carpets are green, and you'll not be doing something similar in the only safe place I have left to express myself. Fuck your triggers. Grow a spine or stop reading altogether, because there's a whole world of literature out there with triggering scenes. Art is what it is, and I'd rather create art that stays true to life than make sure your stupid fucking life stays free of irritants. Veto. Absolutely not.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Asshole-grade Snark With A Smile is Still Asshole-grade Snark

There's this unfortunate belief that expressing negative emotions toward life is bad or wrong or drags you down or whatnot. I see people who have decided to fake happiness and contentment because they think that's the only image they ought to be putting out into this world. In a work situation, especially working with the public, this is understandable, but there are people who get off work with hate and fear and anger roiling inside them and smile like there's nothing wrong. We call this "bottling up your emotions," and it's probably not healthy.

Humans are not meant to be perfectly content and happy and free of negativity all the time. We have the ability to express everything, and the fact that some people suppress whole aspects of how they feel to maintain a calm appearance is sad.

You can be angry, sad, unhappy, distraught, fearful or whatever and the world will still spin on the same axis that it did when you were happy and vibrant and full of kittens.

When you fake being happy, it shows. I don't care how well you think you do at it, there are clues in your demeanor that say "I hate the world right now," even if you're smiling and talking about how happy you are. In some cases, it comes out as biting remarks and snarky little asshole-grade comments to the people who take time out of their day to be around you because they want to be around you, and doing it with a smile and a positive attitude makes it that much more offensive and confusing. Eventually, people learn to avoid you.

You can pretend to be happy if you want, and you can convince yourself that you are happy. Maybe for you, smiling with murderous thoughts and grinning when you want to run away screaming is happy. Maybe that's normal. Maybe you don't know what it is to be happy. For the rest of us, we let our emotions come and go as they please. Some of us only post negative things on Facebook. Some of us only post positivity. Some of us do all or none.

The internet is a lovely place, full of free speech and consequences and a world of eyes, all watching you. Faking happiness does not always lead to real happiness. I should know. I tried it for a while during the lowest points of my early 20s. I was no more happy, I just wore a smile while the world took a shit on my forehead.

Own your emotional state, and it will eventually change.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

All the Rooms You Left Behind

People live their lives as a road map to a terminal illness. It looks from one's teenage years like a one way ticket to Hollywood, but it's actually a hallway to a waiting room, an operating room, a recovery room. In the end, your life becomes a single room wallpapered in pastels and grip bars, with all of your things collecting dust in the rooms you left behind. You lived your life as a series of packed suitcases, unwashed dishes, becoming a stranger that even you didn't recognize. The face in the mirror was a ghost, a relic, a ruin dug up every morning and mislabeled by future archaeologists as a smile.

The walls along the way were the most amazing holographs, all James Dean and teenage rebellion, marriage and kids and therapy, and all you wanted was some God damned peace and quiet when they left, but the silence was so loud.

You folded into chairs and couches and told your story to strangers with eyes glazed as Krispy Kreme donuts. You worked in more factories than you can count. You made car parts and litter boxes while the world slept, and you said to yourself: "this is a temporary gig." You said to yourself: "I'm out of here once Hollywood calls," and you pictured yourself, suitcase in hand and boarding a train.

The pavement along the way was scarred by one-week relationships and potholes and delusions and speed bumps, but you made it; this is Hollywood. The glowing light at the end of the tunnel was an atom bomb.

This world was over before the zygote became a human, before the fumbled proposal in a small town bar, before you watched your kids, these adult children, walk across the graduation stage and out of your life. This world was over before you knew your own name, echoing in the dark hallways and the musty rooms behind you: a boring classroom here, a sex-smelling bedroom there, a car accident with glass in your skin, healing and returning to the assembly line.

The problem was that you could never admit you worked in the factory, so you could never really leave. All those suitcases you packed mean nothing, now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Ode to All of Our Stupid Pictures and Memes

My generation is the generation that thinks the apostrophe makes an item plural. It’s on billboards, slipping past professional editors onto those roadside ads I see on my way from Muncie to Anderson to Indianapolis to wherever. “Hot dog’s” and “burrito’s” the signs say. Or even better, “our student’s are the best” says one sign for a school. We don't capitalize or punctuate. We use commas like meat cleavers and exclamation points like crack. We've replaced periods with ellipses because three periods are better than one. Twelve years of school and a high school diploma and most of us still write like LOLcats.

We are the generation of pretty fonts, and they aren’t even ours. Our fonts are mutations of the fonts our grandparents drew by hand and carved into steel and wooden blocks to be pressed in ink onto paper. We can make a punk variation of Helvetica in five minutes and call it art.

We are the generation that communicates via text message in the same room, sending signals across a party to ask where the bathroom is. We take pictures of our excrement and post it to facebook. We turn everything into an acronym, but not to be clever so much as we can’t be bothered to say the whole name of anything. We make slang words of the slang words our parents made. Totally becomes totes. Adorable (in modern context) becomes adorbs.

We create internet memes of cats talking in textspeak, and our ADHD is unmedicated, so we repeat them in our heads like mantras, and aloud like catch phrases. Hot topic is where memes go to die, after everyone has sucked the fun out of them. Once it’s on a T-shirt and some green-haired hipster is trying to sell it to you, it’s little more than bones rotting in a grave, and if you buy it that makes you the undertaker. Recycling is what happens when memes come back. It has nothing to do with trash.

We’re the generation of the duck face, the surprised face, our sunglasses larger than God himself. We would never consider not making some posed, stupid face in any picture because we ourselves are posed and stupid.

My generation is lost. We’ve got nothing. We see the world around as that other stuff around us in the mirror or the backgrounds of our selfies. Nothing more.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Am Not Fooled, Indianapolis

The thought has occurred to me that I might move to Indianapolis at some point. Following all the other gays out of the smaller places, you might assume. No, no. Not exactly. You see, I am not fooled by this giant fake city in the middle finger of the south. Sure, it has towers and all that other shit cities have, but it’s full of plastics. Credit card junkies, shiny gay fools who drink too much to go home, and people who didn’t make it to Chicago.

Indianapolis is where you go when you’re too good for Detroit or Cleveland, but not good enough for New York or Los Angeles. When one of those cities eats you alive and spits your corpse out on the sidewalks of your shitty little hometown in the Hoosier state, you go to Indy to pretend it never happened.

Indianapolis is a place of crowded sidewalks and cars parked in turn lanes and sparkling midnight glass and steel towers rising to the sky. Not quite Willis Tower or the Empire State Building, but the Chase Tower will do I suppose, right?

I suppose anything’s better than cornfields and lonely nights and a car that wants to go, but no roads to take it away. I wanted to leave, so I came to Muncie. I suppose I didn’t go far enough.

I am not fooled by Indianapolis, with its thousand dollar fake German sausages and its spider web capillary freeways extending to the horizon and sucking small towns dry of future rock stars, bringing in more refugees. I am not in love, but I will hold Indy’s hand for a while. I merely want the experience.

Monday, January 20, 2014

This Is Not An Apology, Folks. It Is Merely Clarification

I'm sorry if anyone got all rolly-eyed about my semi-activist rants today. Some days it just happens. There's a lot I disagree with in the gay community, and I have a hard time coming to terms with a number of different things about it, but there are times when I am able to make a connection, relate, and put my writing skills to work for the greater good.

Ordinarily, I cannot feel comfortable in situations where I am immersed in gay culture. It's my own culture by default, yes, but it's also a stereotype. I cannot in my mind gloss over all of the annoying, catty, bad things and say "that's just the way it is, let's settle for gay stereotypes" or even better just try to blend in and say "what stereotypes? There are no stereotypes here" and attack people for pointing them out because sometimes, those very stereotypes are the ones that hold us back. Quite often, try as we might to present a bold, varied, and intelligent front, we are represented in the media by stereotypes. Those stereotypes are then applied to all of us, which at least in my case starts a cycle of "how do I change this?" and "how do I fit in?" (I must have said the word "stereotype" a million times just now.)

The answer is: you can't. You can only make of it what your brain can construct. If gay bars and pride parades make you uncomfortable, I am right there with you. I take a lot of heat for my criticisms of both, because if it makes people happy, shouldn't we leave it the way it is? Well, no. Half of the community is not represented accurately by the things ordinarily associated with being gay. Sexuality is not the only card to play, but some people play it to death. Some people put it as the first card they draw every time. Maybe it's because we are a minority, and we feel cornered by politicians and ordinary citizens working against us, so we throw it out as a last resort. It seems to me that more often than not, the gay card dictates everything anymore.

When I say I take a lot of heat for my criticisms, I mean I really do. I am talked down to about it, as though I am betraying my own kind. I think a lot of it has to do with people, who are ordinary people like everyone else, not being able to see the world through a stranger's retinas. How someone else feels is wrong, because their own opinion is the only one that makes sense.  In my rants, I am not in any way saying that Pride is awful or that gay bars are awful. I don't think that will ever be fully understood when compared to what I say about them, but what I am expressing is my complete and utter frustration that I am expected to conform and go to these things when I can just as easily create my own institutions which better represent me and at least a fourth of the LGBTQ community, though admittedly it is a very quiet forth. There are people who want their sexuality to be a secondary trait, and want to be able to meet others like themselves outside of a bar or a parade or some app like Grindr, so they do. The problem that I have as a whole with my own community, and this is a problem in all communities, but especially in mine because of the issue of gay marriage being totally up in the air and OMG WE MIGHT NEVER GET TO MARRY BUT WE MIGHT SO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO MARRY WHILE WE CAN is that there is this huge emphasis on being WITH someone. You don't have to like them, or know them, just have someone. People are willing to live in misery as long as they have someone. As long as they don't have to descend into the plasticity of old age as a gay man alone, that is literally all that matters in some cases.

This is my issue. Well, this is ONE of my issues. The emphasis on partnership excludes a lot of people and creates apathy in the community among people who don't want to marry someone, and also creates this impression that you have no part in any of it if you're single. The things I want to do for my own cause do not have GAYGAYGAYGAYGAY sprinkled in rainbow glitter across the packaging. If I were to do something for the LGBTQ community, I would want to somehow tell everyone that you don't have to label yourself like freezer contents so that none of us forget who you are. You don't have to conform to stereotypes if that's not what you want, because if it takes you away from what you actually want to do in life, there's no amount of pride in the world that can recover that.

You have the right to be who YOU are. Don't let people tell you you're bitter or wrong for speaking out against being shoved toward glitter and rainbows. Maybe from an inside perspective, Pride isn't a giant sparkly penis-shaped excuse to drink and get away with public nudity. I know what it actually stands for, but I just can't get around the over-the-top image. Maybe it's a good time, and everyone has fun, and maybe it's full of awesome. I've been, I've seen. I was freaked out by the sheer number of people. My brain could process nothing, so all I saw were dongs, which is not exactly what was really there, but my point is that I can't feel okay in surroundings like that. I need something quiet, non-alcoholic (I do not drink in public), intelligent (as in artists, writers, historians... people who teach basically) and small. I may agree to go back to the Mark, but I won't do it. I may agree to go back to Pride, but it's not likely. I am not going to go somewhere that I don't have fun in order to have fun. I don't get a laugh out of stressing myself out, and those two particular places stress me out. You cannot make a one-size-fits-all definition and expect a huge, highly diverse community to happily fit into it. Being human entails at its core a uniqueness which cannot be defined singularly. You can't say "you just haven't been to the right pride parade," because isn't that like saying "you just haven't found the right man" to a lesbian? Maybe I'm not like you; the world continues despite this.

Don't knock it if it's not for you, you might say. Well, give me something I can deal with, and I won't be so bitter toward people who aren't bothered by the current representation. Until then, I encourage change. I encourage someone to create places that take the LGBTQ community out of its comfort zone and into a place where we can work toward common goals without biting each other's heads off for having opinions within the community instead of without. I really really really get exhausted having to defend my rants. If you don't like my rants, you are welcome to create your own or simply stop paying attention if they don't apply to you. I respect that, and I mean no one any offense. This is a country, though, where we are free to have opinions, even about our own demographic. It does not make us bitter queens or self-hating. It makes us desiring of change.

And for the love of fuck, if you are going to speak out against my rants, you WILL put the Q on the end of LGBTQ. It is not optional.