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.