07 May, 2012

A Fresh Coat of Paint to a Gay World

As I think about different things that occur in our world, I am taken over by so many changes that need to be made. Most of the things on this list will hit closer to home, for me, as I see things within the world I reside that need to change.

As a gay man, I live in a world that has plenty of its ignorance. Yes, there are people out there who are so stuck in their ways, that they feel that as gays and lesbians, we are vile and disgusting, only because they fear us simply for the fact of who we love. It’s sad, really, that a human being would be scared of someone who loves differently than they do (or be scared that somewhere, deep down inside of themselves, they might be “one of us”, too). But, this is not the only epidemic that sparks within the world today. The ignorance does not just lie with the people on that end of the coin; it does lie with the gay community, as well.

Some that fear the gay community do so because of the reputation that stereotypes would have on us. The sad fact is that while so many people are wise and live above the stereotypical idea of what it is to be gay, so many fail short of the hope that we as a community have been fighting for this whole time.

We are seen as a highly promiscuous people. The ignorance of society says that being gay is equated with a loveless way of life where a person has many sexual encounters with people whose names are unknown to them. In reality, most are not like this, but there is a vast amount of people who are. Plenty of gay clubs offer condoms in the bathrooms, give out condoms at pride parades, have porn and sex stores nearby where condoms are sold, and even some have clinics near that give out free condoms. All this is quite overkill, I feel. Yes, people should be safe when they have sex, but this is more like people expect you to have sex. And it seems that there are some people who go to clubs expecting to have sex in them, as well. The idea of overt sexuality does not give us, as a whole, a good name. Sexuality is something that is shared in the privacy of one’s home, not out in public. Decency isn’t dead. Keep all it all in your own home. There is nothing wrong with having a libido, but there is no reason to have to publicly prove anything to the world with the use of sexuality. It only caters to the witlessness that tends to be something fleeting and fading, something that deems a person incapable of anything worthwhile.

Yes, we have been forced to live our lives in a “normal” way, but that does not justify any of the outlooks that people have adopted as customary within the community as whole. This projecting of our hurt does not allow us to do whatever we want simply because of our sexuality. That is lunacy. That is ignorance, and the only way to cure ignorance is with knowledge and education on the how life really is.

The media, both homosexual and straight, have portrayals of this. It has been just accepted within the community. But why? We are not like that at all. One solution to this part of the problem would lie in the idea of the community taking responsibility for itself and bringing back morality and decency by sifting out all of these things from the make-up of the community:  rid clubs of the backrooms, slutty attitudes, overkill in the access to condoms, use of drugs (though not mentioned above, it is something we need to outlaw in the community), sites and apps that support (and even promote) promiscuity, characters that embody these characteristics within shows and movies (as well as cooperation with gay and lesbian magazines to rid these characteristics from articles and sections of the magazine), and completely change the reputation of the gay and lesbian population worldwide. (Something to note here, there are people who can help you, psychologically, if you are in need of help with inner pain. You do have worth, if you will acknowledge it.)

But changing our reputation would not just end there; that is a major start that needs to occur, but other things need to happen as well. Beyond the overt sexuality aspect, we need to change logic and the way we think on issues. Before we start with ideals that project our sexuality upon people, we should take a step back and rethink things. No, this isn’t a plea to stop our equality struggle, but an appeal to fight for equality in a different way.

Consistency is the name of the game: if it’s not OK for other groups of people to do something, then it’s not OK for all groups to do the same thing. It seems that so many people talk about the ignorance of other groups who shove their hateful ideas down the throats of society in a very negative light. But, when you think about it (though not done in a hateful way), the gay community does that, too. As a collective, we don’t use the Bible to make people hear us, we just flags, but the notion is the exact same: shoving your views and thoughts down other people’s throats will not win a person over, but will make people want to defy what message is being said. Using excessive rainbows, telling people to “just get used to it”, and flaunting of homosexuality does not get the point across: it only makes the person ignore and defy the message even more. For instance, when does it work for a person to shove their ideas on who you can love down your throat and you are ok with that? We need to be a proud community, yes, but that pride should not overwhelm our respect for others (something we demand others have for us; we must have for others) and get in the way of our ultimate goal.

We should show the equality that we want for us. It’s a struggle, yes, but would help the goal. We need to set the example for what we want from society: instead of having things that promote the de facto segregation within the homosexual community, let’s create more things that break the barrier of fear and are more accepting of all people. Fear is a strong thing, understandably so. It keeps us from harm. But here, need to show our wanting equality by having more social gatherings where not only homo but heterosexual people can come together and enjoy co-existence as humanity (this does happen in a smaller scale and needs to continue to flourish and expand to the commonplace).
Along with this, gay and lesbian people would benefit from taking a lesson from history, as our struggle isn’t that different from other struggles for equality of the past. We should take a lesson from the civil rights movement and employ something similar civil disobedience to the effort (while being homosexual isn’t illegal, it still is something that is rather seen as odd in some parts of the world) : hold hands with your love, kiss your love (keeping in regard decency with public displays of affection, as even with straight people, overt displays shouldn’t be overt, but kept in the privacy), and enjoy life with you love, fully. Something to note is that regardless of fear, we are still gay men and lesbians no matter where we are; we should continue to hold hands with our loves regardless of where we are (as the same consistency applies to those that oppose us as it does us) and in doing so, show that we demand equality in this world, without a flamboyance with our actions. These types of changes would stop and make people think about us, especially if our “civil disobedience” is used in a very mild and peaceful way.

Responsibility is something that we need to take for our actions. Yes, we were oppressed. Yes, there are some people out there that don't like us, but that does not an excuse make. It seems that there are many different fingers pointing out to the world, and not enough pointing inward, in a correcting manner. We need to take a step back and think about what we've done in all this and how the ignorance that we, as a whole, allow to occur is a factor in our lack of full rights. Instead of just placing blame on the world for our actions, we need to wake up, get off our high horses, and change what we are doing. The world is becoming more accepting, we should become more accepting with it. Instead of sugar coating things, and feeling that acceptance is equal to tolerating delusional ignorance, we need to wake up and take control of our rights.

I would like to challenge the community, as well, to learn to give up outdated traditions and things that have been going on just because. Like with the rest of the world, and applying to every group of people in this world, these traditions are only holding back the growth of the community as a whole. Traditions of how things should be, before being gay wasn’t completely taboo, needed to change.  The idea of what should be was outdated, since the times are way different from then. The same is said of the homosexual community and the traditions that are held here. Change is something new and exciting, but does have its fears that go along with it. If we demand change from the rest of the world, then we need to change, ourselves. We need to change the mentality of our lives from that of where it used to be, even from the 60s, to now where it is. A lot has changed, and it’s time that the mentality of the community were matched to fit the truths of the time. Just because something is the way it has always been done does not mean that things cannot change. Remember, others would argue that the norm has always been a heterosexual one (hence why some of the pain we feel comes from being forced into a straight world as a homosexual).

We need to change the lingo that we use in our community, as well. Words are used as accepted terms to denoted homosexual related things in society. Things like "queer" and "fag" are commonplace. These terms were originated from negative things. Queer denotes something "odd" or "weird", while the word fag literally is a log used for firewood (hence why that term has been used negatively: gays were burned at the stake for being heretics, and the logs were called fags). Let's think about this for a second: when we want positivity from the community and for people to look at us in a positive light, why would we use terms that came from places very negative? I challenge the community to start something positive and create terms that are not originating is degradation, regardless of what other people will do with them. At least create terms that will denote a more positive outlook for us as a people.

In order to change things for the better, our reputation as a community needs to fully take a turn for the better (something that should have fully happened quite a bit ago). The winds of change have already arrived, and the change that we seek is slowly taking progress within the world, but before we can fully take the joy that will be all of humanity’s to enjoy, we need to open our eyes and learn the question why things are going on, and do something about it. Simply refusing to join the fight is counterproductive to the struggle that we face, and you cannot fully be justified with your part in the struggle. If you do not fight, the goal does not become obtained. This is our world and we have to actively make it a better one, together.