so, as i stated in the original quote: the gay community must fix their perception problem.
it is the gay community's responsibility to prove itself as "active," "passionate" members of the greater society... not simply demanding special treatment without giving back.
it is the gay community's responsibility to show society they no longer support nambla -- and any other fringe group of yore -- and to show its not just about being in a drag parade.
show society that the gay community is not about promiscuity, show that gays are commitment-oriented and hold high levels of morality.
yes, something is messed up, i agree with that term - but only as it is directed at lack of leadership in the gay community. fix that - homophobia vanishes.
eff, this response is not intended to be inflammatory in any way. But I have come to the gradual realization that I AM a member of the community in which you speak, and I can't help but feel your words are directed to ME, even though I'm sure you don't intend me
in particular. Still, I cannot remain silent and hope you will allow for this rather equally assertive response. I intend no disrespect or ill-will, but it must be said...Y
our story is admirable in that you could "take" the homophobia that was dished out to you. You took it like a man, and "won over" your old boss by simply living an exemplary life. You didn't stand up for yourself when you became - in essence - the butt of the "fag" jokes. Yet you disparage the "gay community" for being "no more interested in helping little old 'me' as they were in 1983." Well, like it or not, as a gay person, you ARE a member of the community. Who did YOU help?T
he gay "community" is so much more than the carnival of bears, leather fetishes, and biker dykes you describe, and to define it by those elements alone is to buy wholesale into the shortsightedness of others. The gay community is in fact so deeply integrated into society that most people have accepted their members without even realizing who they are. They include civic leaders, emergency room doctors, pilots, soldiers, politicians, actors, financial analysts ... everyone. The community by and large is enormously discrete and quiet. You are a part of that silent group, as - to a large part - am I.I
myself am like you in that I do not draw attention to my sexuality. It is not a noticable artifact of my personality. But I am proud of who I am, and do not disconnect myself from my community. To buy into the stereotypes, ridicule the community based on it's most flamboyant characters, and quietly blend in may seem the more genteel approach, but make no mistake that community that you shun is the community to which you belong.
i never once felt "entitled" to be treated fairly or equally simply because i existed nor did i demand a law to give me equal rights or protection from his homophobia.
t's not about entitlements. It IS about equal rights. We ask for nothing more. We should settle for nothing less. In the state in which I live, I can be legally fired if my sexuality were discovered. I can't marry the person I love, even though we have built a life together in a committed relationship for several years. If one of us dies, there may be nothing left for the partner after the siblings lay claim. If one of us gets critically ill or injured, the other can be legally barred from hospital visitation rights. And we in the USA have it easy. There are still several countries that execute citizens just for being gay.A
nd homophobia is toxic on so many other levels. It adds to the stigma of sexual abuse - it kept my mouth shut for years. My own sister was being abused by the same guy who was abusing me, and I couldn't turn him in without revealing myself as a filthy little 13-year old gay boy I was convinced at the time I was. So my sister suffered for my sins of silence, and I'm still trying to find forgiveness for myself. I will be silent no more.L
ook deeper than the surface fluff of this community and you will see what the it really
is. Harvey Milk was certainly not afraid to wear his sexual identity on his sleeve. His character, however, belied that seeming superficiality, having arguably done more to advance the cause of equal rights for the community than any single person since. Despite his immersion into the most defining aspects of the gay community, his personal courage and strength were extraordinary. He was not silent. He did not "blend". And gay people everywhere breath a little easier even today because of that.I
know one man who enjoys the pride festivities in our town and marches in the parade. I suspect that if you saw him, you may see him as just another ridiculous member of the "gay community" that hasn't done anything for you. What you don't
see is that this man received numerous air medals, a couple of dfc's and a purple heart for leading F4 missions deep into North Vietnam. What you don't see is that this man - after having been discharged merely because they discovered he was gay - saved a full plane-load of passengers when an engine flamed out on his 737 right after take-off. I know this man - I know him very well, in fact. I know he never shares any of those stories with others. He's just your quiet, unassuming but sometimes celebratory gay. But I just flat read the citations. And perhaps his celebration has a different meaning now - the connection with a community that - in the final analysis - is where he always belonged.W
ould you disparage him for being part of a spectacle? Perhaps. Yet one needs only open his eyes a bit more to realize he ought to salute him instead. There are many like him in the community - the depth can be amazing sometimes...A
nd when I see a gay soldier, risking everything in his life for US, asking a question at a political town hall debate some months back and being booed by the audience, it makes me question my own silence even more. Not one politician stood up for him. Not one. These are the same politicians who are vieing over a job in which they will be empowered to put this man in harms way for the sake of our national interests, yet he deserves not even the respect of a single word by them on his behalf. The silence of support for the gay community is deafening.A
nd so I would argue not to bemoan and disavow the community. Look deeper, and find your place in it. Don't be silent - speak out. And respect that others who have found their own place at least have the courage to be heard, knowing there is almost certainly more to them than meets the eye.