Let me tell you something. Not only is gay ok, it can actually not suck. You too can have a life where your friends know that friends take care of each other, and you can even know what "help" really is. Cheap advice yes, but listen to this--there is a link between our worlds and I'm not talking about the internet. There is an Natural Urge that connects all of us, whether or not physics can measure it, whether or not you've ever sensed it. The clock ticks on. Its later than I think and thoughts like the above grow with each passing day. If you're skeptical, blame it on my approaching mortality if you like. Still, fortune has jumped in my lap like the cat--in November 2001 I began to "telecommute" and I'm still at it. Giving rise to a novel view of the world--in which people place their faith in me and I've only to make sure its warranted; in which the neighbors actually smile and wave when you drive by; and where kids still deliver the newspaper on a bicycle. If I want to go even further back in time there's the cabin in Boston Bar, B.C. Such visions of a brave new (and old) world.
Just my $0.02 but know this: There appears before me a glimmer hint of what Mr
Campbell was getting at--if your vision is behind your bliss, unforeseen
paths open before you.
Gay people are fundamentally different from straights.
This is in large part a result of being raised to deny our natural inclinations
in a homophobic straight society. I don't think most gay people get this, even
though gay people have dealt with gender issues their entire lives. Straight
people simply haven't. It is time to open societal acceptance and respect to
. The assumed duality of the sexes is an arbitraily standardized, socially
agreed upon set of rather ambiguous rules. How ironic is that?
2. Gay people compose a similar social minority commonly compared to blacks and other ethnic minorities. This is not about who is more or less oppressed; such comparisons are meaningless (and tacky). This is about the fundamentally unique aspect of being gay--and that is that we are able to pass. Such an ability is a set-up for failure; for we may share in all the wealth and privilege available to heteros (if we are willing to deny who we are). Or on the other hand, if we are recognized on the street for who we are, living our day-to-day lives--straight people accuse us of flaunting our sexuality. This is a direct attack on our political power, nothing less. No other minority must confront such a lose/lose scenario.
3. To be a politically active gay community requires gay people to be out of the closet. Closeted gay people are playing into the hands of our hetero oppressors. Visibility is the path to power. Visibility is the path to a lot of things.
4. Gay people define a community to the extent that they identify themselves as gay (i.e. outside the hetero paradigm) within their day-to-day lives. If it is to endure, a gay community must be political, be it brought together through social, sexual, or familial relations. To insure continued survival of the community requires political power. Power for self-preservation, self-protection, and growth must be pursued at all costs.
5. Self identification as Gay inherently demands self-awareness and self-acceptance. It does not, however, imply the end of self hatred. Self hatred, or internalized homophobia, is something very difficult to be entirely without. We were not born hating ourselves, we were taught. These lessons cannot be unlearned, but self-awareness is a necessary first step to self-love. The process lasts a lifetime. And most gay people never even start.
6. Gay people will never cross the spiritual bridge to embrace those buoyed up by superstition (religion). Organized religion, be it Christianity or Islam or cults like Scientology, is often embraced by people primarily seeking stabilization of their tumultuous lives in a world of uncertainty and chaos. Most "out" gay people seek none of this, because we've already been to the top of the mountain, and we know that the only person who greeted us there, was ourselves. Hence we create our own paths to spirit. This is another reason why we are viewed as such a threat by most Americans, why we're usually considered disposable (before being dismissed with a shudder). A few "out" gay people go to church. Usually this can be explained in terms of dating. A handful of gay people feel that only by fully submerging in the dominant hetero paradigm can equality be achieved. Unfortunately, this is bullshit. This is the mistake symbolized by "Gay Marriage"--if they let us adopt their precious rituals maybe they'll accept us more. Fat chance.
7. The only way gay people will get what they deserve (power) is by fighting for it. Part of the fight lies in insuring we are never invisible again. You may cover your children's eyes and look the other way; you may "defend marriage" and oppose "special rights"; you may even misinform young people to the point where they think that executing queers is OK--but we will not return to the closet. We will co-opt your silly religious rituals and your most spacious minivans and infantile reality television shows and even ESPN. No aspect of modern life will remain unchanged. We will continue to create great art. Get used to it. We will be in your face wherever we go, into your very grave, and we will not disappear.
8. Straight people would prefer us either invisible, or non-existent. All straight people. When did a straight person ever proclaim to a gay loved one, and mean it, "I am so glad you are who you are--I'm so glad that you are gay!" Most straight people would be more comfortable without us around; in effect, they want us dead. They talk about tolerance as if that were adequate.
9. In a political age when deception, greed, and murder are featured regularly on the evening news, straight politicos have learned how to join forces with tactical allies when necessary, and craft legislation that doesn't go to far afield in terms of offending self-deluded liberals. Messages of outright hate from Fred Phelps and his ilk are seen for what they are. The trick is to delude the majority of voters. Hence legislation to deny us our basic civil rights has over the years become more sophisticated in order to keep us down. It's still OK for a gay man to cut hair, or drive a fire truck for that matter, but they mustn't be allowed to teach our children! The extent that gay people allow this denial of our basic human worth is the extent to which we hate ourselves, still, as a community.
10. Religious extremism, terrorism, zenophobism, and the rest, can best be explained in terms of fear winning out over courage. In other words, genocide is usually done in the name of self-preservation.
Note--The above words and opinions are
entirely mine; however many of these ideas were discussed by Michael Denneny in
an excellent (and still timely) essay from Christopher Street magazine from the