Gay Republic Daily - international Gay news Hello unlogged user | [ Register | Log in ]  
Main Menu

Editor's pick
UK Gay News
Michael Petrelis
Peter Tatchell



 Log in Problems?
 New User? Sign Up!

Aug 30, 2007 Editorial: Visibility
By R.B.

Visibility is a huge issue for Gay people. It follows that invisibility is also a huge issue, and one of some sensitivity. Call it a 'sore spot.' Pretty much everyone knows where Gay people come from (except for the wing-nuts, and they're just plain irredeemable): with but a tiny handful of exceptions that prove the rule, Gay people are born into straight families. Gays are steeped in straight culture from day one. It's not really until they manage to escape that culture that Gays really start to properly be themselves. Even then, it takes some time to get one's bearings.

It more or less is necessary to escape; you cannot play house with straight people forever... not and have any semblance of mental health. I quite realize that a great many Gays don't view a cultural shift like this as 'an escape.' They see it as just this huge imposition that they'd really rather not do. More to the point, they see it as supremely unfair that they should have to do so. Why can they not just have the SUV, white picket fence in the suburbs, and 2.5 kids they were raised to expect?

Because they were raised to be something that they are not. Had they been raised as what they actually are, their expectations would be somewhat different. Now... maybe the SUV would be part of it, maybe it wouldn't. Most of the Gays I know have pickup trucks, not SUVs. Split rail is a more common fencing choice among the Gays I know who have fencing issues (most do not actually have any fences). Kids? Maybe I should get out more, but I do not know any Gays who have children, at least not in the sense that most people mean when they say that someone "has kids." The thing of it is, there's nothing 'fair' about it at all. 'Fair' doesn't even enter in. I'm pretty sure this concept does not exist outside of the arbitrary dictates imposed on elementary school playgrounds by unaccountably lazy adults.

Probably the most important thing one can realize about Gay culture is that it is a precipitate. We, each and every one, come to it from outside. Like most precipitation reactions, this 'falling out of solution" can take place anywhere. In fact, in certain circumstances, it happens everywhere. You can be "dissolved" as a contaminant of sorts in straight culture or you can "precipitate" out of it and take your place in Gay culture. I strongly advise the latter -- dissolving into something you are not is suicidal. Playing the metaphor just a little longer, precipitation requires "nucleation" -- that which is dissolved needs something to gravitate toward. Once that starts happening, once Gays begin socializing with each other, no matter on how small a scale, Gay culture crystallizes out of solution.

Think the metaphor far-fetched? I don't (obviously, or I'd not have employed it). One of the more striking qualities about Gay culture is how similar it is everywhere it occurs. It's a good place to be, as well... despite it's inevitable faults. What, after all, is perfect? Some time ago I was talking to a lad who had just recently completed a rather harrowing transition from being an alien in someone else's culture to being "at home." We were actually discussing the lamentable problems of some other kid, a straight one.

"But he has no community," the lad said.

It was true enough. In the sense that Gays have a 'Gay community,' there simply is no straight counterpart. They have their own ways of doing things, and 'community' just isn't often in their arsenal.

"Be glad that you do have one," I said.

"Oh, I am," he said.

Good. Membership in the Gay community has its privileges; enjoy them. They are, after all, yours by right. With those privileges come obligations, and visibility is among the first of them. You may not have the Gay community without being part of that community. You may not be part of that community without being seen to be part of that community.

Visibility is a requirement for existence. It is the continuing process of nucleation of the Gay culture. In exchange, you get to have that culture, and you get to help form it with every choice you make.

 | Print this article Printer-friendly page


Visibility | Log-in or register a new user account | 0 Comments
Comments are statements made by the person that posted them.
They do not necessarily represent the opinions of the site editor.