23 April 2006

i was fretting...

(that's the best way to put it)

...after reading an article [Society now accepts gay men as equals. So why on earth do so many continue to behave like teenagers?] in the April 21, 2006 Guardian Unlimited. There was a gnawing in the back of my head from it. It hit home yesterday when I made an infreqent trip to the cemetery to visit the grave of (though I won't use the word, others do) a lover. We were no longer together, if we ever had been, when he died, but we were closer being apart than when we were.

RT died 16 years ago last Tuesday. He died of complications from AIDS. I was holding his hand at the moment he died. A promise I made to him about his greatest fear - dying alone. His entire family was in the room except for his current partner. (I think RT planned it that way.)

I had forgotten all about the date and, yet, I was in a funk all last week. I put it all on a return from France the previous week and to overcoming jetlag. I'm sure that did have a major part in it but when I realized on Friday that I forgot this anniversary [the first time since that April 18, 1990], I was still surprised I didn't remember it. I also wondered if this hadn't helped the funk along unconsciously. Though it is true that time does heal old wounds.

However, when I visited the cemetery, I immediately thought of the Guardian article I read the night before. I thought of it in terms of myself and also because of RT. I hoped over the last 20+ years the community had become more adult, yet I realize from the article neither the community nor I really have, and I'm not sure I want it to either.

I've written other posts on this blog on how I truly believe the beauty of the LGBT community is "diversity." Yes, I know, just like any other community there are going to be some who will decry diversity and harbor prejudice, but that is part of the diversity in the community.

As a result, you have the more conservative members condemning the more flamboyant trannies or effeminate members as a bad image for the rest of the country, and they have that right. They say that this is the image that the rightists and others see when reporting is done on Pride events and on TV programs. Maybe it is. What they don't have the right to do is wish them away and I hope many do not.

You also have them censuring young gays, and others who hold onto the concept of youth, best described by Simon Fanshawe, the author/creator of both the article and documentary [The Trouble With Gay Men] as: ... living the lives of teenagers, still obsessed with sex, bodies, drugs, youth, and being "gay". (sic) Excuse me, but hasn't Mr. Fanshawe or the rest of the world been watching any television lately? Except for the "being 'gay'" part, that's all that's on the tube, especially if you're hooked on the so-called reality shows, and most all of them are not gay-oriented they only have an occassional token.

With all of this, there is nothing wrong; only things that are missing. Everything is all right just the way it is.

There is something that all of us need to do. Each of us must find the things that are missing and put them into place.

The conservative wing of our community has the responsibility to protect the right for ALL members to be who they are. After all, it was the drag queens at the Stonewall who pushed the organized movement for the LGBT community into being!

The drag queens have the responsibility to make certain that the conservative members of the community have the right to be who they are. They are the ones keeping the organized movement going.

We all have a much bigger responsibility. We have to make certain that everyone has the right to be who they are - rightist, islamist, athiest... everybody. We must put into place the things that are missing for everyone to see that.

So, if you read the article you will see that the author/documentrian sees members of the community, most especially the men, behaving as if not giving up their teenage behaviors. And his point is...? We need to grow up.

Why? Who is deciding the standards for growing up? What is the definition of an adult?

In my drive to the cemetery yesterday, I realized that RT, though in a relationship when he became positive, was not a saint. Neither was I. Neither were many other people of my generation. Neither is anyone today.

I felt guilty very, very briefly when I had this thought. I mean briefly. In a very fleeting moment I rued the things I did; I remembered the survivor guilt trip; I thought of RT and how much I still miss him; and I laughed at the irony of what it all meant.

I was not raised gay. I was raised straight. To the best of my knowledge and observation, so was everyone in the LGBT community. What was the major difference that happened? Genes? Chemistry? Psychology? Who knows? Who cares? We are what we are. Everyone is who they are. What I am not is someone else's idea of who and what I am.

That's where the diversity comes into play and that's where I'm going to restate what my reaction was to the article in the fourth paragraph above: I hoped over the last 20+ years the community had become more adult, yet I realize from the article neither the community not I really have, and I'm not sure I want it to either.

It is what it is. Everyone wants to give meaning to what it is. It just is what it is. It is not good. It is not bad. It is.

As far as the best reaction to the article, I think one of the commenters said it best:

My guess is that, like me, most gay men don't do Crystal Meth, don't cruise, don't use rent boys, don't moisturise, don't live in London... I could go on. I've nothing against the minority who do behave like this, but to assume we all do is pretty foolish. My guess is that most of us live in suburban neighbourhoods where the main difference between us and our straight neighbours is that we're less likely to have kids. This article is irrelevant nonsense.

no more fretting...

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