Friday, April 1, 2011

Skeletons in the Gay Closet

In response to an article I read on recently--about how circumstances for gay men don't always get better once we graduate from high school, as projected by Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" Project--was this comment from Daniel S. in New Hope, PA:

Being gay in America is kind of like a layer of Hell wherein we are forced to live in high school for our entire lives. I am very much in agreement with David [Michael Connor in his March 23rd commentary titled "The Trouble with Happy Endings"]. No, it does NOT always "get better". In many ways I understand and sympathize with the lost souls who seek out the Ex-Gay movement because they can no longer endure our shallow and superficial "gay community" with it's body obsession, adolescent fixation with pop culture, and tendency to prize bitchiness as a virtue. While I do not believe that I can ever be "cured" of being gay, I have in recent years come to genuinely despise "gay culture". As a less than physically-perfect man in my late-30's, I am not really welcome in it. Truthfully, I have a lot of pity for gay kids because they really do not have a lot to look forward to. The bullying they get now from straights will be coming from gays later. Unless of course they grow up to be very hot.

What impressed me about this comment is how packed it is with stuff about our gay culture that should be unacceptable to us.      

Let what you read here sit with you for a while.  Then I encourage you to do something to help make being gay a little easier for someone else.  Often, all that's needed is an attitude shift.


  1. I don't know if this comment from Danile S. is an accurate description of "gay culture," if such a thing can be defined. Maybe it describes a lot of people he knows. Maybe he needs to meet new people. It seems like a superficial description at any rate. He is being just as critical as the people he claims to despise. Are gay people less kind than the general population? I doubt it. Do some of us lack self confidence, making us overly critical of others... perhaps. Let's give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, and love each other anyway. We should try not take ourselves so seriously : )

  2. Doug, I admit when I read Daniel's comment, it resonated with me. Hence the reason why I borrowed it to use here.

    I don't mean to suggest every gay man is like the ones he describes, because they're not. That said, I've known enough of them, and even been victimized by more than a few, to know they're around, and they need to have their eyes opened regarding how they treat other gay men.

    I guess I have this idea that since most of us were bullied and discriminated against. we should make more of an effort to love and support each other. Maybe that's unrealistic, I don't know.

    At the same time, I appreciate the more balanced viewpoint you have, which is measured and a truer picture of the gay community and gay culture.

    If there's one take-away from this post, I hope it's to increase awareness around how we come across to each other from time to time. And how simple kindness is one of the easiest things for us to extend, not always leading to a "fatal attraction" situation.

    Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.

    Thanks for your comment and for keeping me honest through your moderating point of view.

  3. I wonder if the things those people in the article/comments are experiencing are focused in fairly narrow places? I can imagine if I hung out in clubs that were populated primarily by the young and beautiful, I wouldn't find much in common with people who spent 4 hours getting ready to go out, and then spent hundreds of dollars to have bottle service, which, I guess is what the "cool kids" do (my daughter did this briefly, then tired of spending her whole paycheck on an evening out, surrounded by people who were largely pretty superficial.) I've noticed that away from the glossy magazine pictures, the gay guys I know are just ordinary people, much like the straight people I know. The kids in the youth group look like an average bunch of high school/college students, not like Hollister models, or watch the video of the men's chorus Dan Savage has up on Slog right now, they look like a bunch of average Joes, not models or gym bunnies. Straight people can find vapid, superficial people to hang out with, too, if they know where to look...maybe the person in the article isn't looking in the right places?

  4. Before I respond to your comment in detail, Sarah, I want the chance to write another post inspired by your words. I suspect most of what I plan to say will address your points, or, at the least, will help you understand me better on this subject.

    Once again, I have to thank you--and Doug--for presenting me with something that gets me thinking and prompts me to dig deeper into my experience as a gay person, and what I know to be true for so many others.

    Thanks again for your interest in my blog and for taking the time to share your thoughts. My blog is what it is because of caring and compassionate people like you.

    And, by the way, I'm still keenly interested to hear how your volunteering with LGBT youth in Calgary is going. Anything you care to share with us would be greatly appreciated.

  5. miss u guys....

  6. Hey, Aries Boy. We miss you, too. I've thought about you so many times since we last heard from you, wondering how you were doing. It's wonderful to hear from you again.

    You know, you don't have to take so long to get back in touch with us. Write any time, even if what you have to say has nothing to do with the post you attach it to. You can connect to us whenever you want to. It's up to you.

    Don't be a stranger. Stay in contact. We are here for you, believe me.

    Hope to hear from you again very soon. And thanks for your ongoing interest in my blog. I really appreciate that.

  7. @Doug, Sarah, and Rick:
    Hi. How are u guys?

    I don't know what happen to me, Rick. It feels like I'm lost again in this maze we call life. I had some nightmares recently. About dying people. And I couldn't sleep in the night. I'm afraid with the darkness too now. I couldn't focus on my job either.

    Is it 'loneliness' or 'madness'?

  8. Hey, Aries Boy. Good to hear from you again.

    I'm sorry about the troubles you're having. You didn't provide any detail about what is going on in your life that might have led to your nightmares. So it's hard for me to understand why they happened.

    All I can say is this: Believe me, ALL of us go through the same type of thing at one time or another. Every one of us. I don't care how good your life is otherwise. It happens. And it's tough.

    You know what always, ALWAYS works for me? To write about it. Aries Boy, I've kept a journal since 1993. I write at least one 8.5" x 11" page every night. Sometimes more than one page, depending on what I'm going through.

    And I credit my journal writing with getting me through what you call madness. I might have lost it by now if I hadn't written about it. Writing allows you to pin it down, to sort through it, so it all makes more sense. And it usually does when you see it in words. Usually, when it's reduced to words, it doesn't look nearly as scary.

    Journalling is one of the best things you could ever do. You might be able to talk about it to someone, too, if you trust someone enough. If you trust me enough, I will listen to what you have to say. Either way, you are not alone. We are here for you. Don't despair.

    I hope I've said something to help you. Write about it, in a journal or right here. We'll listen. I promise.

    Take care.