Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Homophobia, my own prejudice.

I have known and understood that I am gay for many years, probably as young as twelve or thirteen. That may be surprising considering I waited so long to come out. Even though I have known for that long of a period I let myself build prejudices towards people in the gay community. I used to dread the pride parades, men in dresses, glitter and leather harness on the evening news, I cringed at the sight of them. I felt it only made it so much harder on people like me to come out. I lamented to myself that if they wanted people to respect us, why would they have to act like freaks in a side show. I did everything that I could never to give even a hint to anyone that I might be gay. Remember for me as a teen, growing up in the eighties being gay was considered so bad that even Boy George and Wham absolutely denied they were gay (no I'm serious). Aside from being awkward I made sure that I did not sound gay, dress gay, look gay. I lived the life of beige, khaki, plain and flew under the radar. When the show Will and Grace came on TV, I despised the character Jack, he was so stereo typical of everything I hated about gay culture. I was terrified of other gay people, I would never be friends with a gay person, especially if they were effeminate. I was afraid of guilt by association and also afraid of them announcing to everyone that their gay-dar went off every time I came near them. I remember when I first started hearing about gay people demanding the right to marry and a gay student who sued his school for the right to take his boyfriend to the prom, I wanted to hide. I did not understand why these gay people want to "cause trouble" and have people angry with us.

I started to understand that the problem was with me and not them. Hypocritical of me to expect people to understand and accept me as a gay person, if I was not willing to understand other gay people that go about life in a different way from me. I realized I was trying to convince myself that I was better than "them". I understand now that a gay man is a gay man, either in pants or a dress, truck driver or hair stylists. These days I have a deep respect for those first gay people to stand up. Not for the fact that some wore a dress but for the fact they said here we are, we are not going anywhere, get use to it. I understand now it took the loud and proud people to hammer it into the straight world we are human, we are not second class to them and we deserve rights. The scary thing is we can't forget that before the seventies a person could go to jail for years for being gay if they admitted any sexual contact. The Pride Parades made it easier for me to come out and not harder. I am thankful to the people that fought for gay marriage and did not stay quiet (as we have it in Canada) and I am so proud of the kid who fought to have his boyfriend at the prom. I realize that nothing is ever going to be handed to us and sometimes we have to make the briefcase crowd uncomfortable to get their attention when we are being shafted in life. As for when asked about why some gay people act a certain way I will say I am just one individual gay man and I am not responsible for the actions of any other gay person, just as every straight person is an individual.

I have not reached a point where I am totally comfortable with the gay culture, most of it I still do not want to be a part of. I still have to work on accepting people for who they are and not how they look or sound. When I started to come out the first thing I asked is could the people tell I was gay and I am always happy when they say no and upset if they say yes, so I take this to mean that deep inside me I still have not accepted being gay, another thing to work on. I just find it odd that homophobia can be so ingrained into our culture that it is even in gay people, that would be gay people like me.


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a really great post. It shows that even among us, there is a separation of sorts. We want to point the finger somewhere else, to draw less attention to those of us who are still in the closet.
Although I don't understand the need for some to wear a dress, a boa, or glitter make-up, I do admire their need to voice their opinions, to say "this is me, this is who I am". These are the people who understand who they are.

Big Lost Guy said...

I have tried several times to come up with something to leave as a comment, But I just can't.

This post for some reason just floored me, I don't know what it is but it has really made me stop and think for awhile. Post like this make my other stuff look like nothing :)

Good work!