Sometimes my own Gay Community can piss me off as much as the Religious Right or Conservative communities.
I have issues with intolerance in any community and I’ve seen quite a bit of it in the Gay Community both recently and over time.
The specific example that is annoying me right now is some of the comments I’m seeing about a talented young, Gay musician named Steve Grand who has published an excellent music video called “All-American Boy”
He has become a bit of an internet sensation with over 200,000 YouTube views and about 12,000 likes to his Facebook page in less than 48 hours. And the nasty comments have begun to annoy me.
First of all, I must say that most of the comments from both Gay and Straight people, men and women, have been very positive and supportive. Steve Grand has touched a lot of hearts with this video and I’m so glad for the support he is getting.
Steve is telling a very personal story. That is a right we all have and only a few have the talent to do it so well. That may be part of the problem- jealousy. He also happens to be a gorgeous young man and I’m sure that has something to do with some of this jealousy as well…
The main complaints can be summarized as a) it doesn’t have a happy ending, b) it makes gay people look like hard-drinking, smoking predators trying to steal straight men from their girlfriends and c) it looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch ad.
The shallow end of the Gay pool is in a frenzy of pique.
This may not just be a Gay thing. It may be based, in part, on our national obsession with ourselves and the incestuous points of view that grow in the little bubbles we all live in. We sometimes forget not everyone thinks like we do or lives like we do. Or has the same problems, experience and issues we do. Or has the same journey….
I hate to break it to this vocal little Gay minority, but all Gay People aren’t alike. Whether we will admit it or not, we all still struggle with the repercussions of the societal and internal homophobia that has impacted us from birth. We aren’t all well-adjusted, post-Stonewall Modern Gays living in harmony with our world. We aren’t all living in New York, San Francisco or other big, accepting cities. We don’t all have all the same experiences. And if any group should have learned not to judge, it is us….
And these people also seem to forget that this is one young man telling his own very personal story and taking a very big risk with his fledgling career. The entire Gay Community ought to be applauding him and wishing him well.
I am forever annoyed at the Gays who spend all their time worrying about the “image” of the Gay Community. They are the ones who clutch their pearls and tear their well-coifed hair over Drag Queens at Gay Pride Parades, transgendered people being included in Equality initiatives and Butch Lesbians. I hate to tell them, but we will not have really arrived, as a community, until we can embrace all the many kinds of Gay people and their right to live their lives and tell their stories.
I’m not perfect. I have my issues with the frequent popular media assumption that all Gay men are rich white boys, with perfect bodies and perfect clothes-when they are wearing them-who live to take drugs and have wild sex at Circuit Parties. Or decorate. Or want to get married and have children like middle-class straight people.
We are more diverse than that and don’t need to support these stereotypes by applying our own stereotypes or tearing down people trying to live their individual lives and make their individual dreams come true.
By the way, have you ever been to a Summer Solstice Celebration? Those straight people give Gay Pride Parades and Drag Queens a run for their money in the outlandish categories. But they are open and accepting. They are secure. They are enjoying a celebration.
We have to be secure enough to celebrate all the many types of Gay people. We need to accept there are Redneck rural gay men and women, Black Gays, Asian Gays, Latino Gays, Married Middle Class White Gays, Fat Gays, Drag Queens, Elderly and Middle-Aged Gays, Transgendered People, Handicapped Gays, Dykes on Bikes, Lipstick Lesbians and yes, gorgeous young Gay Men and jealous, petty, evil Gay Bitches who need to be called out.
And some of you probably are thinking, right now, that I am one of the latter….if so, too bad.
We also need to understand that homophobia does still exist in the post “Will & Grace”, post Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, defeated DOMA and post Prop 8 world. And most of us have been damaged by it by some degree or another. That’s the reason we should have more tolerance, more sympathy and be more willing to support our Gay Brothers and Sisters than other groups.
The Gay Community is a maturing community and an assimilating community, but we still have young gay people, like Steve Grand, growing up facing some of the same challenges we all faced.
Those of us who are older need to be the biggest cheerleaders for those who are coming along. They may not realize it, but they are standing on our shoulders and the only way they can learn from us is if we talk to them, support them and listen to their voices.
If we all share our stories and listen…..
The Gay Community, if there really is such a thing anymore, needs to understand that we are diverse. We need to accept and celebrate that or we are no better than the Conservatives and the Religious Right who try to force everyone into their own little stereotypes of appropriate behavior.
And we need to learn to celebrate and support one of our own when he’s on the way to making it big.