One of the fun things we bloggers can do is view the stats of our blogs. Among those is a stat that tells me how many pageviews my blog receives per day (an average of one hundred to one hundred fifty, over a twenty-four hour period). They also tell me in what countries those page views took place (from all over the world, some you would not expect, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China). And they tell me which posts receive the most attention (varies from one day to the next).
An additional stat I receive under Traffic Sources is what search keywords people from around the world use to land them at my blog, on a post that may be useful to them. Some of the search keywords I found recently were: "vintage pictures of gay relationships," "strong gay men," and "become a gay person is good or bad?" Obviously, in the case of the last one, I see what's on people's minds, what they're interested in learning about during the quiet hours of their days.
Then I read the following search keywords: "Is there anyone out there who would like to meet a nice gay man?"
Wow! My heart broke when I saw that. I read it several more times to digest everything in it. Then I decided to put those same search keywords into Google to see where my blog came up in the list of selections, and at what post. It didn't work for me. After pages and pages of options, I didn't see the name of my blog, so I couldn't be sure if the post that came up was helpful or not.
The reason why my heart broke is because I imagined someone, somewhere in the world, acknowledging he's a nice, or good, or decent gay person (and there's no reason why he shouldn't), feeling isolated and alone (emotions common to the gay and lesbian experience), and seeking help to remedy that situation (how many of us don't want to be with someone else?). And it was too easy for me to put myself back in his place, starting to build a sense of my own self-worth, after years of being derided, and needing to meet the right person for me.
What a shot in the dark. "Is there anyone out there...?" Anyone in the whole wide world, anyone at all, in any country? Those search keywords could just as easily have originated from a young man--or, for that matter, an older man--in a major city, like London, or Sydney, or New York--where, presumably gay people are more accepted and better able to find each other--as a small town in the middle of the Canadian prairies, where homosexuality is not spoken about, except in negative terms, and where one believes one is the only gay person around for possibly hundreds of miles.
Whatever the case may be, gay men and women want the same thing non-gay men and women want. They want to be seen. They want to be heard. And they want to know that what they say, and how they feel, and what they do, matter to someone. In other words, they want to feel validated. They want to know in their hearts that they mean something to someone, that their being here makes a difference. And, of course, they want to be loved, which encompasses everything all together.
It's not because people are gay that they want anything less than everyone else. Just because one is gay doesn't mean he doesn't have feelings or needs or desires. Just because one is gay doesn't mean he doesn't want dignity and respect. Just because one is gay doesn't mean he can't be hurt by the hurtful things said to and about him. Just because one is gay doesn't mean he doesn't want to settle down with the person he loves, build a life, grow old together, and, yes, even get married. Just because one is gay doesn't mean he doesn't want to worship a loving and compassionate and accepting God, not the God of many people who judge us.
And it's not because people are gay that they should expect or settle for anything less.