Sunday, August 29, 2010

Out of the Gay Ghetto

Recently I was told by a friend that a friend of his surveyed this blog, and said -- and I paraphrase -- what does he [meaning me] know about anything? He stays in his gay ghetto and doesn't get out in the world [or words to that effect].

I have already posted my qualifications for writing this blog so you can click here and I won't repeat them. Except to say that I have never stayed in a "gay ghetto." I have straight friends and relatives whose company I greatly enjoy, have gone to parties where I may have been the only gay person present, have gone to innumerable non-gay bars and so on. Unlike the fellow who criticized me, I have also traveled extensively. [I don't believe this fellow has ever left the country -- or the state!] I've been to all the world capitols and then some, and have also traveled across the USA, although mostly in the east or south. Being a gay activist does not mean that I am a separatist, and I pretty much go wherever the hell I feel like going. [Ironically, I have been to Cape Cod many times but have never been - so far -- to that "gay ghetto" Provincetown!]

My interests are just as far-flung as my traveling. Some of my interests might be seen -- rightly or wrong -- as "gay," while most wouldn't be. Out of my thirty or so published books, none of them have been "gay" books [that may change in the future] and only a couple may have been seen as being of "gay interest" in publishing classifications.

So my opinions on this blog are informed and educated by a wider view of the world than this critic of mine would suggest.

For example, I always see red when I hear people, gay or straight, saying that gays are obsessed with youth and beauty. First of all, that opinion completely ignores the bear community, where it isn't about being young and pretty, and even more importantly, ignores the fact that virtually everyone in the world, regardless of sex or sexual orientation, has a hang up with age and looks. Some gay people are unaware of this because they are living in a ghetto, rarely interacting with people who aren't exactly like themselves. And superficial people tend to have friends who are just as superficial.

In any case, having a gay identity, being Out and Proud instead of a Self-Hating Homo, does not mean you are living in a "gay ghetto." And yes, I do understand --because I have met and talked with many of them -- those men who are homosexual but still feel full of shame, or are married and in the closet, or who are on the down-low and don't identify as gay, and so on. So I feel qualified to advise them as well.

After all, my message has always been It's Okay to Be Gay -- and what the hell is wrong with that?

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