Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Wild, Visible & Proud Wednesday

Is being gay a small part of your world? Is it pretty much everything in your life? Or is it somewhere in between?

In Mardi Gras season we tend to see a lot of the icons of gayness, the perfectly buffed and preened bodies, varying levels of lavish and minimalist party costumes, leather S&M wear, drag and more. Its certainly what the crowds come to see, and sometimes experience. And with any big festival there's a great hype in the lead up to it all that excites and enthuses everyone to be a part of it all.

But not everyone fits the icons that Mardi Gras illuminates. I certainly remember as a teenager feeling incredibly detached from the whole idea of being gay because I certainly didn't feel I had anything in common with those icons I had come to know. Maybe I wasn't gay, I would think, despite the fact that I was attracted to men. Being gay though is not about being an iconic figure, it's about loving someone of the same sex. The rest is irrelevant really.

A parade with just normal looking people doing normal every day things isn't exactly going to get hearts racing though. But it's nice to know they're there and if I knew more people who were gay when I was still questioning where I was at in my own world, I think it might have made life considerably different.

In time, I've learned to appreciate the various aspects of the gay community and the significant diversity of it all. It doesn't mean I'm always comfortable with it all, and while I don't walk the other way when a drag queen approaches me these days, I still think about doing it... Some things I think are fantastic, like seeing people finally being able to be themselves, not having to hide sexuality or personal preferences. Other things I still find distressing, like friends suffering from substance abuse problems.

While Mardi Gras has evolved from a civil rights protest into more of a celebration of sexuality, it's still important to continue with the quest for civil rights. And probably the biggest thing people can do is to be openly gay in their own world, and be positive role models in those places.

This is all a long winded way to introduce today's Wild Wednesday - which is a challenge to look at your world and be who you are - without facades, without barriers - not who people want you to be - and to be proud of who you are. Let the world see it, and come to appreciate it, and ultimately people will demand change.

Visible and Proud, and comfortable in your own skin.
It is a challenge for more than just today.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely support your views on this, lets hope that in our experience, saying I’m gay becomes much the same as saying I’m colour blind or left-handed, and hopefully that gay men in the public eye learn to have the courage to embrace who they are and not just be “gay friendly” ( is that like badger friendly honey?).

Tom Cat from Bondi Beach said...

a really interesting and thoughtful post, Dr. T. I read an interesting news article about Paul Burrell the other day. It said some thing along the lines of 'being Gay is not an issue anymore, but hiding it is ... especially if you are a married man'. As you say for we bi married men = that is a challenge for more than just today. Happy Mardi Gras.

Monty said...

I'm so with you there Trevor. I was just talking to Muzbot the other night about the past year and I realized how much more comfortable I am with being identified as gay. Like you, I'm not into all the cliches/icons that are stereotypically gay...I still feel like I'm just a guy who likes sleeping with other guys...that's what makes me gay, not the other stuff. Anyway, Happy Mardi Gras mate! Maybe I'll run into you and the Frenchman there?

Monty! x

Martin said...

Lying on Clifton 3rd on Saturday my thoughts ran very close to the theme of this week's challenge. I looked around and really did wonder where amongst all the gay clicks and cliches I fitted.

It's taken hard work for me to be 100% happy with who I am and I'm busy writing a post in response to this challenge...