Picking up on something that was mentioned in another forum, I wonder what you all think of the idea of a gay community. Is there one? If yes, do any of you feel like you're a part of it? If no, why not? Obviously, I wouldn't be asking if I didn't think that this idea was something of a sham. I mean, sure, there is a big parade each year in most cities, but what, really holds us together, and makes us a community? At pride parades, most prominent are usually the drag queens, those in leather, and the generally scantily clad. Is this really what we're about? No, it's what some of us are about. If we're going to boast that queer individuals come in all forms, and are in every walk of life, and have different political stripes...then...where's the glue? It just seems dishonest, and maybe hypocritical to paint the 'gay community' as one big happy family, when, in actuality hardly anyone can agree on anything. I realize that in large part, this community exists to fight for political purposes, but can we really say that we're all fighting for the same things, and then in the same breath, say that we're so diverse and all have different interests? It seems dishonest to create the picture of one big happy family because young people might get the impression that life inside of it is wonderful, and will solve all their problems. In reality, isn't life in the gay community much like life outside of it? Just something that's always bothered me...
Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000
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I agree with you, I think the "gay community" is something of a sham, but then, I think most communities these days are...
Perhaps some people are able to find a place in the gay community, perhaps it helps some young people find a place of their own. However, for me, the pressure to fit in with the gay community was not very beneficial. I felt like I had to wear my sexuality on my sleeve, or else I wasn't cool enough to join the big gay family. I was too chicken to "dress the part," but I desperately wanted to be part of the in-crowd.
Now I realize the best way to overcome rejection is to insult the group you're not cool enough for Just kidding of course.
Honestly, I think that part of the reason that "the gay community" doesn't feel as important for a lot of people, particularly younger people, these days is that we've come so far in terms of having the larger culture accept GLBT folks.
It's relatively normal to know GLBT people now, for most people. There have been enormous strides in public awareness of GLBT issues and, in general, GLBT folks really don't run nearly the risks they did until quite recently (within the last 20 years) of being disowned, fired, beaten up, killed, committed to mental hospitals, ostracized, harrassed, etc., just because they're not heterosexual.
The GLBT community, and GLBT identity politics, are what has made that possible. Were it not for a hell of a lot of people working and fighting together for a long time to gain GLBT folks' civil rights and social inclusion, this would not be true.
Among folks who have been activists in the GLBT community for many years (I'm certainly not a real diehard "old-timer" because I'm too young: the Stonewall riot happened when I was a tot), it is difficult in some ways to see the gradual erosion of the GLBT community and to see GLBT community, and the importance of GLBT community in people's lives, diminishing. Sometimes it is hard for me, too, because I have spent a lot of time working within the GLBT community (and still do: I've just been nominated to the Board of Directors of the Bisexual Resource Center (www.biresource.org) ), and it has taught me a lot and given me a lot.
On the other hand, ideally, I think, most of us also realize that in a more just world we won't really need a "gay community" because gayness (or whatever else one is) won't be something that will exclude people from ANY community -- a neighborhood, a school, a group of coworkers, a university, a religious group. Ultimately, that inclusion is the goal of much of the political work that the GLBT community has done over the years.
I don't, however, think that work is completely done. ANd I do still think that GLBT community can be important and good for us. But I also agree that it is not as necessary as it once was... it is much safer now, and much easier now, to be out and non-heterosexual than it was when I came out in the mid 1980's. There's much less urgency to have that 'strength in numbers' feeling. And while I do sometimes miss the feeling of a really vital and close-knit GLBT community, and sometimes I get really peeved at the GLBT community being viewed as an advertising demographic rather than a group of people united by social and political similarities, I also am glad that being GLBT is so much easier for so many people now than it was.
I agree that there are still many contributions to be made by the gay community; I don't think it's obsolete yet. However, at times, it seems like just another snobby clique that replicates the sort of superficial judgementalism I thought it was supposed to be fighting against.
Posts: 582 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Aug 2000
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