Pride?


  • Jun 30, 2013 7:05 PM GMT
    Pride & Betrayal 30 Jun 2013

    I've got so many strong emotions tied to Pride, being gay, coming out very early (15), feeling good about being gay, then feeling very betrayed by the gay community with their indifference, elitism, expectations for perfection, rejecting anyone who doesn't meet their 'standards' (rich, doctorate degree, perfect body); then we are granted the right to marry when most of us have never been in a serious relationship or even know enough other gay people to know what to look for in a date.

    At nearly 39, I've always felt that most non-gay people, faced with my odds (straight peers who are too busy with career, kids and marriage - lucky them; gay people who've proven to me that just because we're gay does not at all mean we are friends or trustworthy or kind because of a shared experience of being less than 2% of society within a very oppressed group) they'd kill themselves. And I've known suicide - intimately - since grade 5. I don't use those words lightly. It's an extremely lonely, hopeless life when it's discovered these other gay people aren't at all 'like everyone else' nor do they want to be friends because you're both gay. I had a grand total of one relationship from 1995-96; since then, nothing. What I don't think straight people understand is when you've lost all hope of ever meeting someone again (which after 17-18 years, I have), you don't give a shit if you ever get your masters or get a house or a promotion because three things become extremely clear: 1) pass same sex marriage all you want; you're never meeting anyone so it won't apply to you, 2) you will never have kids, and 3) you are in the worst categories possible: gay, single, and poor. Without a supportive gay community that genuinely cares, there's no motivation to realize your potential. Because no matter how you slice it, you are coming home to an empty studio apartment for the rest of your life, by yourself. Again, with that reality, I know no straight person who'd last a month.

    I think I lost interest in all things gay (Pride, meeting someone, getting involved) about 10 years ago. I was at Pride and I was noticing how corporate everything had become. One booth was trying to sell cars, one was trying to sell new condos. 'Pre-approved blah, blah, blah.' 'Qualified applicants only, blah, blah, blah.' 'Fuck off', I thought to myself. It's bad enough that society expects you to have all this affluence and success, now I'm faced with it at an event that used to symbolize our struggle for survival, and to be treated like people? Now the word has gotten out, mostly thanks to the rich gays, that we have 'all this education and all this money' so now the corporate world is nice to us - so long as we are there to spend money? I looked around to see if anyone looked as pissed as I was - how dare they come to OUR event on OUR day to do nothing more than part us from our money. Unfortunately, looking out at the gay men, all wearing Abercrombie shirts, $600 sunglasses, bleached teeth and waxed legs, they had something more important to worry about - themselves. I tried to forget about this when seeing an acquaintance. We spoke for a few minutes, and was looking at the other men around us - not looking at or smiling at us, but looking over our shoulders for the first 18 year old they could snooker into a conversation. Whatever. I left Pride a changed person.

    Then about 5 years ago the gay dating landscape changed dramatically, whether you lived in a huge metro area or the middle of nowhere. Gay.com (and today, the apps for your smartphone have taken over) was the place to find sex, friends, drugs, advice, you name it. As time went on, other gay sub-sites were created (sites for gay men of specific religions, plus-sized men and those who love them, every ethnic persuasion and their admirers, etc). Unfortunately, what was quickly discovered was this: gay men only make up 2-4% of the male population. It wouldn't take long for all these sub-sites to run their course, so to speak, much like gay bars - it's the same 12 guys all the time. There are no big cities when you're gay. No matter where you move, within six months, you know everybody and they know you. The hard part with that is, you can either be really out and visible in the big city (where you'll likely meet more people) but be ready to be lied to, lied about, cheated on, ripped off...while many gay men come out and say 'no more lies!', what really happens is they do stop lying about their sexual orientation. However, that is transferred over to lying TO everyone in the gay community about everything. We are expert liars who did it to survive adolescence. Unfortunately, instead of doing something productive to stop lying we lie about everything to each other. This is what's devastated our relationships, spread HIV, ruined friendships; gay men are the only people I've known who can look me in the eyes and lie about everything. A big part of my problem is I don't trust them. I know their game better than anyone.

    Back to the online dating thing. That's been the worst for me. I had this brief hope that no matter where I lived, I'd be able to meet some nice guys. No pressure. Maybe this would prove me wrong. Here's my feeling of what's happened. Since most of us gay men fantasize about what would be great in a potential partner (rather than think logically, okay, 2-4% of the population to choose from - adjust your expectations accordingly), we look at these pictures of (usually not-gay) young athletes and decide our guy has to look like that. Then we think about everything else (money, higher education, cars, home, career) and being the perfectionists we are, we project ALL that onto guys we haven't even met. So with these unrealistic high expectations, not to mention the guy has to be under a certain age and look perfect, I think that was the moment I said...to hell with these people. Either their opinion of themselves is so great that nobody's good enough for them, or their expectations are something I
    I will never live up to (rejection and never fitting in are very familiar feelings in my life since I was old enough to process what those feelings meant).

    Coming out as young as I did, I believed that this was a statement that being different was okay. Being different was something that's celebrated, and that's what Pride meant. Not earning six figures or owning a $2 million loft, or whatever material extravagances you feel necessary to brag to the rest of us peons about. In that light I'm not proud to be gay because I know the already small amount of available gay men are like this. They don't realize or care that many gay people dropped out of high school and never went back, or are homeless, or live with PTSD, or struggle daily with addictions or mental health conditions. Their focus is on marriages, money and overachieving, because perfection is what it means to be gay. As long as you look good, dress like you've got money and know the right people, then you'll be accepted.

    I don't find that anything to be proud of or to celebrate. Are there other facets of GLBT society worthy of Pride? Of course. But this is my story, what I've seen and what I know.
  • waccamatt

    Posts: 1918

    Jul 01, 2013 3:41 AM GMT
    ^Cynical much? So many expectations, but honestly, why are you so worried about what anyone else thinks?
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    Jul 01, 2013 3:57 AM GMT

    toronto said, " then feeling very betrayed by the gay community with their indifference, elitism, expectations for perfection, rejecting anyone who doesn't meet their 'standards' (rich, doctorate degree, perfect body); then we are granted the right to marry when most of us have never been in a serious relationship or even know enough other gay people to know what to look for in a date. "

    Good grief, man. Stop having anything to do with those kind of people.
    !!

    Surely you don't think all gay people are like that; you're not.
  • O5vx

    Posts: 3154

    Jul 01, 2013 4:03 AM GMT
    meninlove said
    toronto said, " then feeling very betrayed by the gay community with their indifference, elitism, expectations for perfection, rejecting anyone who doesn't meet their 'standards' (rich, doctorate degree, perfect body); then we are granted the right to marry when most of us have never been in a serious relationship or even know enough other gay people to know what to look for in a date. "

    Good grief, man. Stop having anything to do with those kind of people.
    !!

    Surely you don't think all gay people are like that; you're not.
    I think is post does hit on very legitimate questions: To what extent is indifferent becoming the norm?
  • LEANDRO_NJ

    Posts: 1116

    Jul 01, 2013 4:18 AM GMT
    meninlove said
    toronto said, " then feeling very betrayed by the gay community with their indifference, elitism, expectations for perfection, rejecting anyone who doesn't meet their 'standards' (rich, doctorate degree, perfect body); then we are granted the right to marry when most of us have never been in a serious relationship or even know enough other gay people to know what to look for in a date. "

    Good grief, man. Stop having anything to do with those kind of people.
    !!

    Surely you don't think all gay people are like that; you're not.


    Agree! but the OP's points are very valid, don't you think!? I don't think he sounds bitter or overly negative of what having pride means to be a gay man in today's world! he is right in that the accepted image of being gay is distorted by a certain level of his social status, wealth, and materialism, and lets not forget good looks! rarely you come across a gay man with substance, as superficiality seems to be the accepted norm nowadays. Every once in a while we need to remind ourselves of that, don't you think!? we as gay men need to work more on self respect, dignity, love for one another, and work on being a lot more humble and compassionate with one another. And that I think is the message the OP is trying to convey!!
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    Jul 01, 2013 2:54 PM GMT
    toronto647 saidWhat I don't think straight people understand is when you've lost all hope of ever meeting someone again (which after 17-18 years, I have), you don't give a shit if you ever get your masters or get a house or a promotion because three things become extremely clear: 1) pass same sex marriage all you want; you're never meeting anyone so it won't apply to you, 2) you will never have kids, and 3) you are in the worst categories possible: gay, single, and poor. Without a supportive gay community that genuinely cares, there's no motivation to realize your potential


    Blaming an entire community for your own issues, which is the main theme of this very long diatribe. Also, #foreveralone.

    toronto647 saidI was at Pride and I was noticing how corporate everything had become.


    True, but it is true of the world these days, not just pride.

    toronto647 saidUnfortunately, looking out at the gay men, all wearing Abercrombie shirts, $600 sunglasses, bleached teeth and waxed legs, they had something more important to worry about - themselves. I tried to forget about this when seeing an acquaintance. We spoke for a few minutes, and was looking at the other men around us - not looking at or smiling at us, but looking over our shoulders for the first 18 year old they could snooker into a conversation.


    So, EVERYONE was ignoring you and trying to snooker an 18 year old into a conversation. Everyone. Not credible, sounds more like a projection of your own insecurities.

    toronto647 saidThen about 5 years ago the gay dating landscape changed dramatically...gay men only make up 2-4% of the male population. It wouldn't take long for all these sub-sites to run their course, so to speak, much like gay bars - it's the same 12 guys all the time. The hard part with that is, you can either be really out and visible in the big city (where you'll likely meet more people) but be ready to be lied to, lied about, cheated on, ripped off...while many gay men come out and say 'no more lies!', what really happens is they do stop lying about their sexual orientation. However, that is transferred over to lying TO everyone in the gay community about everything. We are expert liars who did it to survive adolescence. Unfortunately, instead of doing something productive to stop lying we lie about everything to each other. This is what's devastated our relationships, spread HIV, ruined friendships; gay men are the only people I've known who can look me in the eyes and lie about everything. A big part of my problem is I don't trust them. I know their game better than anyone.


    Now you're getting somewhere. It's not about everyone lying - it's about your not trusting anyone. Therapy, my friend. You also sound depressed.

    toronto647 said Being different was something that's celebrated, and that's what Pride meant. Not earning six figures or owning a $2 million loft, or whatever material extravagances you feel necessary to brag to the rest of us peons about. In that light I'm not proud to be gay because I know the already small amount of available gay men are like this. They don't realize or care that many gay people dropped out of high school and never went back, or are homeless, or live with PTSD, or struggle daily with addictions or mental health conditions. Their focus is on marriages, money and overachieving, because perfection is what it means to be gay. As long as you look good, dress like you've got money and know the right people, then you'll be accepted.


    So, a bunch of people you don't know don't notice that you're having trouble and reach out to help, so everyone is shallow? People aren't going to stop caring about their lives just because you have issues. You need to take responsibilty for yourself. It's no one else's job to fix you.

    Look, I understand that there are certain segments of the gay community - as with any community - that are shallow. Look elsewhere and stop beating your head against a rock for not fitting in there.

    And to reiterate, get some therapy.

    Good luck.
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    Jul 01, 2013 3:30 PM GMT
    Some random thoughts from the OP:

    I think commercialization and corporatization (is that a valid word?) of gays is a GOOD sign. It means we've gone from being despised to being a demographic, to being pursued and developed as a market share. We're being accepted at last!

    That's a lot better than being ignored & rejected. It means we're being treated like all the straight suckers consumers, and whether we're gullible or not about parting with our money is our own responsibility.

    I'd rather be invited to play than be shut out, the decision mine to participate or not, rather than someone else's imposed upon me. I'm flattered they want my money, because there was a time corporate America wouldn't speak to us.

    It kinda reminds me of the warning about gay marriage, that when we get it we'll also be getting nasty divorce battles and ugly settlement suits. I'll take that chance, along with all the other pitfalls of becoming a first-class "big boy" in the formerly all-straight adult world.

    Online dating was always great for me, beginning in 1995. It's how I met my first BF after coming out. It's how I met my late and current partners.

    Online dating is an art, just like meeting guys in a gay bar is an art, or meeting them at a social function, the gym, anywhere really. Each uses a different skill set, and if online dating hasn't been working, then fine tune those skills, maybe try different online sites. Just like I could always find nice guys in some bars, and mostly sleeze balls in others, and nothing at all in still others. Guess where I stopped going and wasting my time?

    There are certainly snooty & exclusive gays. And there are those who are not. I've had guys turn those noses up at me, too, when I knew they had no more over me than their own inflated egos.

    So I've built a circle of friends who cover all the bases, and who don't play the attitude card. I attend functions where the range goes from blue-collar laborers to millionaire business owners, PhDs to guys with nothing more than high school, those who arrive in luxury cars worth the price of a house and those who show up in clunkers.

    And all are accepted, no one is looked down upon. I've encountered this in 4 gay communities in which I've lived so far, so I have to believe it can't be that rare or exclusive that others besides me can't find it, too.
  • BillandChuck

    Posts: 2024

    Jul 01, 2013 3:33 PM GMT
    To us Pride is simple: we are proud of who WE are. We are
    Men
    Honorable
    Compassionate
    Intelligent
    and
    Gay

    We are proud of ourselves, and we are gay. We don't apologize to anyone for being gay, we don't flaunt it or use it to shock non-gays, nor do we 'claim' it as something we cultivated. It just IS about us. And, to repeat, we are proud of US.
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    Jul 01, 2013 4:11 PM GMT
    Its a party. Its a party to celebrate diversity and should be enjoyed as such. There is a place for everyone in pride and we should stop generalizing pride. I went to pride, I bought my pride t-shirt(made into a sleeve-less), I walked around with my friends and fiance, we took pictures, danced, enjoyed the different shows and ended clubbing all night, then we took a cab home and passed out.

    It is just fucking sad, to have something as diverse and fun as pride, where countless companies show their support for the gay community(too corporate?) where young kids walk around waving a rainbow flag(child abuse?), where straight couples(assholes making fun of us?) wear their "pride" t-shirts, bracelets in support for diversity yet some gay men out there have decided they are too good for pride. Even better, they feel misrepresented. It is easy to judge a party where so many weirdos and stereotypes are involved, but please stick your head out of your fucking ass and realize that you are not better than anyone, you are free to stay home but before you keep judging others, ask yourself how many times you have been judged for being who you are and liking what you like. Do you like it? Please stop. Thanks.


    Happy pride icon_wink.gif
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Jul 01, 2013 4:30 PM GMT
    We are our beliefs. Yours have been shaped by some very negative stereotypes and bad experiences. But there is another side where hope and love are available, where not all gay guys are self-absorbed, elitists pricks. But quite frankly, until you alter your beliefs you will never see that or be able to experience what you seem to seek.

    Do yourself a favor and read, What Happy People Know. I sincerely hope you can find happiness. But realize that it's totally up to you.
  • LEANDRO_NJ

    Posts: 1116

    Jul 01, 2013 4:34 PM GMT
    Ironman4U saidWe are our beliefs. Yours have been shaped by some very negative stereotypes and bad experiences. But there is another side where hope and love are available, where not all gay guys are self-absorbed, elitists pricks. But quite frankly, until you alter your beliefs you will never see that or be able to experience what you seem to seek.

    Do yourself a favor and read, What Happy People Know. I sincerely hope you can find happiness. But realize that it's totally up to you.


    Very true! having this mindset will save you a whole lot of disappointments!