I came across an article today that described exactly how I feel about being gay and a part of this community. In general, we are fierce, competitive and sometimes ruthless. This can be a great thing when we fight as a group. Then there are times, more often than not, when we turn on each other and bullying infiltrates our camp. If we want to make bigger strides in equality, we have to be willing to accept each other.
Mark Rosenberg, the writer of the op-ed “Are Gay Men A Gay Man’s Worst Enemy?”, says that “what happens after you leave the walls you feel have closed you in for years is very rarely discussed. The truth is, the bullying doesn’t end once you get your diploma, and it doesn’t necessarily better. The faces of the people who make fun of you simply change.
Rosenberg points out that the bullying never ends, even after high school and into adulthood. What makes it worst is that the bullying is within the group. In short, we attack each other.
In my group of gay friends, the few that I have, I don’t really hear the catty remarks. But, like Rosenberg says, “it’s not uncommon to go to a gay bar on a Saturday night and overhear a grown man teasing another from afar on what he is wearing or what he looks like.” We are quick to judge and can be judgmental to a high extreme. Sometimes it’s not even about looks but the way we live our lifestyle choices and beliefs. Even though no harsh words are exchanged in my group, our facial expressions and body language are pretty blatant on how we feel about one another at various times.
Rosenberg also points out the gossip and I wholeheartedly agree with the problems it entails in this particular community. Who doesn’t like to talk about other people’s problems and divert from our sometimes more awful own? Not only that, but it seems like such a strange, yet powerful bonding experience. It just brings up so much turmoil and conflict because we’re talking about the people that we may eventually date and have relationships with. In truth, it may not even be worth it.
However, I do have to refute his claim of “being kind is so much easier than being a bitch.” It’s ideal, but not always the case. At times the ferocity and judging is a defense mechanism because, as a group that is generally so rooted in aesthetics, we can be insecure about ourselves. So in our times of deep insecurity, we throw up our defenses of sass and arrogance as a cover.
Gossip and bullying are present across the board in all groups and communities. However, as a group that is still fighting for equality and acceptance we need to unite and not divide along our very own lines. If we can combine our determination and fierceness maybe our strides towards the common goal will be bigger and more successful. We need to fight the opposition and not each other.