Andrew Sullivan's blog has a fascinating letter from a young man who is disgusted by gay culture. He is angry that the older gay generation is nostalgic for their symbols and sometimes debaucherous hangouts. Sullivan, does a good job addressing the writer by explaining to him that we are in a period of transition.
"While we can and should strive to move on, we need not be excessively judgmental about those in the past or present whose pace of adjustment is not so swift," Sullivan said.
If this kid wants new role models, then why doesn't he get off his ass and create them? I'm so sick of gay youth who expect everything to be handed to them on a platter.
And what is there to be accomplished by bashing drag queens? Wasn't it the drag queens who led the revolution at Stonewall? If we'd waited around for assimilationist whiners like him, we'd still be dealing with police raids on gay bars.
posted by Old Coot, at
4/05/2006 12:57 PM
Pfft, someone young lays claim to a generation gap. Groundbreaking announcement. Thanks.
But that is gay culture? Does that mean we're not really gay? Horrors.
Sure -- all he objects to is still available, but none are compulsory. At least they weren't, in my day. And I'd have to say they seen less dominant today than ever.
As a couple -- politically active, liberal, professional, educated, monogamous, partnered, JCrew/LL Bean wearing, HIV Negative -- and twice his age... we've never had any problem saying "No" to the skanky underbelly of sexuality.
Likewise, neither do our straight friends have any difficulty avoiding pole dancing, brothels or wife-swapping parties.
Nevertheless, we are actually pleased to see someone younger take the fact they are gay for granted, and expect to be included within society on equal terms.
One day he may even recognise how the previous generation of identity politics helped make that possible. Time to move on, perhaps -- he's welcome too. Time to forget, no -- not yet.
The day that he and his partner, if they wish, try to apply for a marriage license is the day he'll also notice it's not only older gay men who are obsessed with our "separate minority identity".
posted by grantdale, at
4/05/2006 1:37 PM
Old Coot, Thank you from another Old Coot. Many youngsters these days have never even heard of Stonewall and have no idea of the revolution we "old coots". helped to bring about. Long live Old Coots!!
posted by Christopher's Partner, at
4/05/2006 8:42 PM
Seems to me that the Ivy Leagues are letting just anyone in these days. This guy is smart enough to get into an Ivy but isn’t smart enough to understand his own his history? Furthermore has he never heard of straight vices – gentleman’s club or a swinger club? Does he not know that straight people dress in leather and drag as well? Need we even mention mardi-gras? Has he never been to a straight meat market bar, frat party, stag party? Straight culture has an equivalent to everything he mentions and more. They have a whole state dedicated to straight oriented debauchery – Nevada. Gay culture proudly involves all of that (and it always will – men are men, straight or gay), but it involves so much more. Brotherhood, fraternity, family, sharing of common interests, be it art, sport, work, play, health, love, death, politics… and the particular twist on life that results from being gay. Did he ever stop to think what culture would be without gays? Who would have transformed so many inner city neighborhoods? Where would women’s rights be without the substantial contribution from lesbians? Where would the Vatican get the majority of its priests? Mr. Ivy needs to open his eyes up and look again; he is missing the greater picture.
posted by Sean in Phily, at
4/05/2006 10:40 PM
"men are men, straight or gay"
What does being a "man" mean, anyway?
"...but it involves so much more. Brotherhood, fraternity, family, sharing of common interests, be it art, sport, work, play, health, love, death, politicsâ€¦ and the particular twist on life that results from being gay."
Hate to say it, but that's what many of the ex-gays seem to be saying that their gay identity was to them, and that a true turning point for them was when they stopped letting life revolve around their gay identity.
posted by Anonymous, at
4/06/2006 1:42 PM
Internalized homophobia on the part of the young. More of the "straight appearing straight acting" shite. Or the kids are believing the lies that the anti-gay religious types are telling about 1,000s of sex partners.
Or, just the usual self-absorbtion of the young. So what if you don't like bars - then find your role models among the gay or lesbian choruses, or political activists, or the local running club, or the local gay-friendly or gay-led church, or the pride committee... And if you do like dancing but think the old folks' music/drag/etc choices are lame , gay youth organizations often run drink/drug-free (chaperoned "lock-in") all night dances.
When I was closeted to myself, I hated bars. Now that I am out, well, I STILL hate bars - so? I can still find some gay community activity of serious interest to me just about every night of the week in this medium sized city.
"Hate to say it, but that's what many of the ex-gays seem to be saying that their gay identity was to them, and that a true turning point for them was when they stopped letting life revolve around their gay identity. "
Hey Anonymous, what does an "ex-gay" mean, anyway?!
so if you partake of gay culture then you are letting your life revolve around your gay identity and thus may end up becoming ex-gay?!!! what a twisted bunch of crap.
Look, there is and always will be much more to gay culture than sex, drag and parties. having said that, every culture has its vices and always will. individuals can partake or not. But what this kid is talking about is nothing more than what homophobes have said for decades: if "they" would just go away or stop behaving like that then mainstream society would respect "us". Well honey get over it. Choosing to ingor your culture won't make you any straighter.
posted by Sean in Phily, at
4/06/2006 7:32 PM
I think I'd rather be surrounded by drag queens than ever wear anything from L. L. Bean. I'm only 8 years old than the letter writer, but at the same time, it seems like there's a generation gap. Its as if gay culture exists in such an accelerated pace that what happened 30 years ago seems an eternity. Still, it would be foolish of us to simply cast aside the images of the past becuase they are inconvinient to us. Whether he likes them or not, those campy, cross-dressing, leather-wearing queens he hates so much made it possible for him to BE an out, educated, 21-year-old with a steady partner. Talk about ungrateful.
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