The Different Communities of Gay

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    Dec 02, 2010 6:28 AM GMT
    So I'm thinking about the different gay communities today, and the only reason I find myself thinking about the niches that we all, in some way or another fall into is because I'm having a hard time finding a mate, though not all of it for reasons of gay culture.

    For instance, some folks my age want to spread their wild oats, whereas I need more of a commitment or fidelity, but this is not mutually exclusive from gay culture. There are elements in gay culture that embrace promiscuity, which don't get me wrong, an orgy dungeon never hurt anyoneicon_rolleyes.gif but I have a feeling that's backed up by other research in related fields that would say excessive promiscuity leads to, among things like disease (the obvious consequence of carelessness) is an emotional immaturity. Anyway, irregardless of this pro-monoamorous argument, I find there to be two types of large gay communities and within the different niches.

    We know them as twinks and bears. If we were to continue this, we would say twinks are the largely visible or "loud" gays, whilst bears are more masculine and hence, their sexual identities better concealed.

    What interests me is where the real jock is. I watched an episode recently of Canada's investigative journalist show "The Fifth Estate" about Brendon Burke, the openly gay son of Toronto Maple Leafs' manager Brian Burke, who tragically died during a winter storm.
    http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2010-2011/thelegacyofbrendanburke/

    Gay athletes are largely closeted. I have to wonder how many here are closeted, the ratio, but I can imagine many more gay athletes do not have the online support community we have here.

    This, I think, feeds the dichotomy of twink/bear but athletes are largely missing, and the show does a great job illustrating how hard it is for gay athletes to come out, especially in the NHL or other sports where a culture of machismo exists. This is quite similar to the military culture of masculinity that makes it hard for gay members to serve openly in the American forces.

    So what we have are the very loud gays, who admittedly I think make the rest of us look bad, and then we have bears which people mind less but give no less an impression. There's a saying that the loudest people in the room are also the craziest, so where's the regular guys? Specifically, where are the real jocks? From the sounds of it, it could be the most closeted gay community, pervasive to all cohorts of closeted gay men and women, in the South, in marriages, in schools because any of them could be athletes.

    It's an interesting thought, because it assaults the precepts regarding the gay community.
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    Dec 02, 2010 2:30 PM GMT
    Oh the flack ill get for this one...

    The guys who don't seem "twink" or "bear", haha, are the guys who don't care for the light. We go on about our lives, no need to stand out, not afraid to have mostly straight friends (seeing as 90% of people around us are straight), and yes, we tend to look down on those that give us a bad reputation but we don't disrespect them - unlike the other way around. In a way ... more evolved?
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    Dec 02, 2010 3:08 PM GMT
    irregardless?

    That is so not a word.
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    Dec 02, 2010 3:23 PM GMT
    Lostboy saidirregardless?

    That is so not a word.


    It's a combination of 'irrespective' and 'regardless' I guess, but you're right it's not a word!
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    Dec 02, 2010 3:23 PM GMT
    I think it's very easy to accept the old "twink & bear" catagories, but really there is a much wider pallet then just those two fallback favorites. Us gays, like every one else, seek to identify themselves with, or defy the ideas of, a particular subculture; these days we have "muscle bears" & "party boys," as well as a ton of other "groups," and many of us that defy description. I think titles and labels run the risk of limiting people. All of us probably closely fit the description of some group or another, but I doubt that's all we are. We gays often have the added pressure to trump the stereotype of the "fag" so much of the world accepts as fact, and I think maybe the fabled "gay jock," is still getting ingrained in the old line up... I guess we embrace it & continue to mess with peoples idea of "a gay." Play ball boys!
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    Dec 02, 2010 3:37 PM GMT
    Remember that some of those loud people that you say "make us look bad" are some of the loudest and strongest voices for our rights. They marched when their lives were threatened, they spoke out when no one wanted to listen, they took action when no one else wanted to get involved. Labels aren't good.

    That said, I work in sports. Yes, professional sports like the NHL, MLB and the NFL are more closeted than the US military. But, that too will change. There are gays in lesbians in all the organizations I work with. In time, and with someone with a loud voice, they will come out.
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    Dec 02, 2010 4:46 PM GMT
    you are talking more about human conditioning and dna in what makes us extro/introverts. That happens to couple with how we handle our sexuality in a large way.

    As far as twinks and bears, i always thought one was cute and hairless and one was hairy and rugged. didn't know the descriptor had anything to do with personality................mho Keithicon_cool.gif
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    Dec 02, 2010 4:47 PM GMT
    Irregardless is not a word, I know. But I like saying it, so tough noodles.

    Anyway, I like the responses here, and for the record I think labels are bad because they relegate us to what others think of the label, and not the person. This does not mean there are not any communities within the gay community, and I was going about describing a couple of them in relation to gay athletes.
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    Dec 02, 2010 5:05 PM GMT
    pat3rob saidOh the flack ill get for this one...

    The guys who don't seem "twink" or "bear", haha, are the guys who don't care for the light. We go on about our lives, no need to stand out, not afraid to have mostly straight friends (seeing as 90% of people around us are straight), and yes, we tend to look down on those that give us a bad reputation but we don't disrespect them - unlike the other way around. In a way ... more evolved?


    I was nodding approval word after word reading you, until I felt on the last word.

    I don't feel more or less evolved, I just feel lucky, that my path in life allowed me to be like that.

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    Dec 02, 2010 7:28 PM GMT
    You know I am the only fag in the Village.
  • Descamisado

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    Dec 02, 2010 8:03 PM GMT
    There are gays in lesbians in all the organizations I work with.


    Gays "in" lesbians?

    Not a pretty picture.
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    Dec 02, 2010 8:35 PM GMT
    pat3rob saidOh the flack ill get for this one...

    The guys who don't seem "twink" or "bear", haha, are the guys who don't care for the light. We go on about our lives, no need to stand out, not afraid to have mostly straight friends (seeing as 90% of people around us are straight), and yes, we tend to look down on those that give us a bad reputation but we don't disrespect them - unlike the other way around. In a way ... more evolved?


    Evolution is the description of a process. Specifically in your case that your parents were able to reproduce and since you are a product of their components you should be more likely to reproduce. That's all. It's sort of a recursive argument.

    What you mean when you say more evolved is that you are better.

    And when all this is said I think the original post was horribly reductionist. Either you are a twink or a bear or you are closeted. OP probably also thinks that all gay men are either a top or a bottom. You're narrow-minded dude.
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    Dec 02, 2010 8:43 PM GMT
    Stop categorizing and life will be much better "Twinks" "bears"
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    Dec 02, 2010 9:09 PM GMT
    UberBane saidStop categorizing and life will be much better "Twinks" "bears"


    Leather queen; muncho marrys. Masc, fems, bi's, gays.
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    Dec 02, 2010 9:25 PM GMT
    Unfortunately, the spotted gigantic elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about is money and social status. If you get to know a little on major cities in North America, find out where the highly gay populated neighbourhoods are, you'll see that the cost of living is so outrageously expensive that only those with the highest levels of post-grad education and incomes get to live there. Good for them, but what bugs me is it appears they want to keep it that way. They do not want other gay people living in their trendy neighborhoods they've carved out for themselves. If this were mainstream society I wouldn't be surprised, but seeing that gay men alone only make up 5-6% of the population, I guess I find it curious as to why we constantly feel the need to further separate from each other when, as a whole, we barely make up a speck of the population as it is.

    The gay people who dropped out of high school because of anti-gay bullying are probably the most at risk, because it's going to be harder for them to find a niche of any kind. In the past, gay kids were told that 'things get better' once they enter college. Now that most colleges enroll just about anyone with a heartbeat and a student loan, that's no longer true - bullying and intimidation at institutions of higher learning is worse now than ever. At some schools the gay student groups have stopped meeting all together, because nobody is willing to go, and only 10 years ago the groups were so strong and high in attendance nobody saw this coming. Now everyone is hiding online waiting for someone else to 'go first' and do the work, which has created a gay community of very scared, alone, and isolated young men who will likely never develop the social skills needed to keep friends and find relationships that will make it past three months.

    As someone who came out at 15, during a time (1990) when I was told that I should expect to either be dead from suicide or AIDS by now, I feel like it's my duty to do SOMETHING - but here's the thing - I have my depression too. I still have my own battle scars and insecurities and there are times I feel like I can do a lot to help those just coming to terms with who they are, other times I feel like I would only make things worse by telling the truth. Which is why the 'it gets better' campaign, while noble and well-meaning, needs to be brutally honest - it WILL get better, but you have to realize it might be 10 years from now, it might be 20. You have to understand that when there's so few gay men now - fewer than ever that are actually coming out in real life and ready to get involved with someone - it's going to be a very long wait to find someone. I think that is what stirs up our anxiety, our insecurities and fuels our addictions. We buy things and try to look good to cover up the loneliness that none of us want to talk to each other about. Because gay men have no trust for other gay men. Until that is fixed, our ability to get married, should it be legal, will mean as much as giving drivers licenses to people and then telling them they'll never be able to afford a car. These programs are only as good as WE, the gay men who are still alive and still talking, make them. We can't expect our (fabulous) straight allies to do the work. We have to show it.

    As far as different gay communities, gay life right now has never been more isolated. The LAST thing that young gay men need to see is further isolationism going on within this tiny percentage of people. The last thing I'm gonna say before I get off my soapbox is about despair: gay men don't kill themselves because of anti-gay bullying by straight society necessarily. It's a combination of that coupled with continued rejection from other gay men who constantly expect you to be more than you'll ever be - so now, we have no perceived acceptance from straight society, and even less from gay society. It is at this place where life gets very dark, and life doesn't feel worth living. You feel like you came out for nothing because the whole idea of coming out was to express that being different is good, and okay, only to find a gay community who expects you to fit a very superficial and materialistic image that isn't based on who you are. You feel betrayed and you feel like the gay world was a fraud, and that's devastating, especially after you've waited for so long to finally find this group of people. And so when you look to both sides and find out you fit in nowhere, you feel like it's over.

    It's our job to STOP this division of our communities and welcome gay people no matter what they look like, how much or little money they have, or where they are in their life's path. Who the hell are we to judge someone else's place in this world when we've been told for years that we aren't worth anything.
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    Dec 03, 2010 4:43 AM GMT
    A thousand disclaimers I suppose would have helped.

    Anyway, this was a curiosity question, that got started out of something more personal, it is in no an attempt to diminish people's lives (despite how good I am) to the level of category.

    With categorical identities comes categorical dismissals of people's humanity.


    Now, for DuluthMN's point he brings up an aspect of disinclusion within the gay community. I feel responsible in my way because of my pursuit of labels and categorizing, which despite my intentions, may only feed the disinclusiveness of our community. For this I apologize, I do not want to contribute to any sort of exclusion in what should be the most beautiful, most inclusive, most empathetic, most loving community around.

    We may need a political party.
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    Dec 03, 2010 4:52 AM GMT
    This is possibly the only gay community I'm a part of and even here I feel like a 3/4 or half member.

    I don't mind being gay or hide it (or flaunt it) but haven't really felt welcomed by any community or feel like I fit in among most gay guys. I have met some gay friends over the years but only recently.