What the Hell is the Gay Community?

If there’s a gay community, I’ve been excluded from it.

OK, this may be an ironic question to ask when this blog is posted for a gay magazine, but I stand by it. What the hell is the gay community? Conservative media makes it seem as though all gay people attend weekly meetings to keep all of us gays up to date on how to destroy the fabric of society or on the intricacies of folding decorative napkins. Did somebody forget to CC me on the e-mail about the gay community meeting times? Are we supposed to be meeting in the VIP conference room of the Hilton? Did I miss the memo that we’re all forming a community in some tropical place, hopefully with cheap and plentiful rum-based mixed drinks?

It seems to me the religious right thinks LGBT people have an intricate sub-society where we all know each other, follow the same agendas, are militant recruiters of children, have rampant anonymous unprotected sex, and have some elaborate and readily-accessible plan to take over the world. The simple fact of the matter is that the gay community is not well connected. We don’t have a media figurehead to make us fight for our rights; we’re just too diverse of a group of people to all unite under one political endeavor.

If there’s a gay community, I’ve been excluded from it.

So I ask again: What the hell is the gay community? I don’t conform to gay stereotypes, personally. It’s not out of distaste for gay stereotypes, it’s just that I’ve never been effeminate, fashionable, catty or really into many of the things that seem to define what most people view as a gay man.

Let’s be honest, many parts of the gay stereotype are pretty much true. It’s not a bad thing, but a lot of gay men are effeminate. Try and combat me on this, but don’t tell me that the gay stereotype is completely false while simultaneously professing an aptitude for “gaydar.” What gaydar essentially means is that one has the super-amazing power to know when people are effeminate or butch. The same people often say that they are opposed to the stereotypes set forth by the media that apparently apply to all gay people. If anything, “gaydar” enforces gay stereotypes. Whether negative or positive isn’t the point; I, in fact, have no point. This is simply an observation that confuses me.

Stereotypes aren’t always bad, but they are usually negative. That doesn’t go to say, however, that they aren’t still true some of the time. This makes it even more annoying when people make use of the term “gay community” because it automatically applies a stereotype to all non-straight people.

Frankly, I hate the term “gay community” because it lumps all LGBT people into one big category without taking into account personal interests, personality and other defining characteristics that make one unique. A lot of people assume that all gay men are attracted to the “twink” body type, when that is not in the least bit true. Gay people are just as varied in their attractions and interests as straight or bisexual people. There’s also a strange assumption that gay men are attracted to all men, or lesbians are attracted to all women. I’ve noticed that some straight men get uncomfortable around me when I tell them I’m gay or they notice the rainbow necklace I wear. How unbelievably conceited one must be to think that just because I’m gay means I’m attracted to them.

I think the point that I’m trying to get to here is that I’m generally sick of being lumped into a category that I don’t identify with. I’m friends with lots of other gay people, but we’re all just as diverse a group of friends as any other.

Can we just stop saying “gay community” and replace it with “loosely-connected LGBT community”? It’s all encompassing, sort of like the alphabet soup that is LGBTQQ2IAB”S.” That “S” in parentheses meaning “Straight.”

I want to be part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Two-spirited, Intersex, Ally, Bar-sexual, “Straight” community. That’s a pretty damned inclusive community.

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