U.S. Gay Community, Summed Up in a Paragraph

  • Eli_jah

    Posts: 1391

    Feb 22, 2015 5:20 AM GMT
    "In the US we like to throw the idea of an ‘LGBT community’ around all the time. But what becomes evident in a lot of places is that this is just political and rhetorical solidarity. Where is our so-called community when we experience sexual violence, find ourselves terminally ill, or processing depression? Community only appears to be there at the clubs and on our sex and dating apps – not actually there day to day. In Palestine the type of family and commitment among queer folks wasn’t actually just some trite “alternative kinship politics–it was about cooking for one another, driving one another, giving a place to sleep. What would it look like in the US if we really practiced the community we pretend to have? Would queer homeless kids still be on the streets? Would queer people be confined in mental institutions? Our community can’t just congregate for the good times – we have to learn how to hold one another more ferociously even if it is boring or painful."

    http://darkmatterrage.com/part-3-the-us-is-so-behind-the-times/
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    Feb 22, 2015 11:19 AM GMT
    Mulignan said"In the US we like to throw the idea of an ‘LGBT community’ around all the time. But what becomes evident in a lot of places is that this is just political and rhetorical solidarity. Where is our so-called community when we experience sexual violence, find ourselves terminally ill, or processing depression? Community only appears to be there at the clubs and on our sex and dating apps – not actually there day to day. In Palestine the type of family and commitment among queer folks wasn’t actually just some trite “alternative kinship politics–it was about cooking for one another, driving one another, giving a place to sleep. What would it look like in the US if we really practiced the community we pretend to have? Would queer homeless kids still be on the streets? Would queer people be confined in mental institutions? Our community can’t just congregate for the good times – we have to learn how to hold one another more ferociously even if it is boring or painful."

    http://darkmatterrage.com/part-3-the-us-is-so-behind-the-times/


    The kind of community found in other countries, especially non-western countries and cultures, is not found here - gay or straight. It isn't a problem with only gay folks. I think is a trade-off for affluence and security. We are not being rounded up and shot. And yes, compared to a lot of the world, even those below the poverty line here are affluent.
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    Feb 22, 2015 12:25 PM GMT
    The only people I know of who live like that are religious people. Even though I am no longer Christian I miss the community I had when I was.

  • Feb 22, 2015 1:37 PM GMT
    What a great question! I've often thought of how apart I feel from the "gay community". I don't always feel comfortable with the self defined groups and I generally float between several groups of acquaintances/friends. As a result, I'm not always in on the inside jokes, I get plenty of invites to things, but If I really truly needed help there's probably only one or two people who I would possibly reach out to; I sincerely think if the situation was the reverse I would do anything I possibly could to assist anyone who needed help - even a total stranger. But I doubt anyone would ask for help from me because most of my interactions don't have that kind of depth.

    For me the only real community I have experienced was when I was involved in church growing up and into my college years. People checking in on one another without prompting or out of sincere concern was one of the things I remembered. Participating in life milestones; births, weddings, deaths, graduations, first jobs, children leaving home, attending kids football games and plays, divorces. Lots a minutiae that created bonds and helped to build an understanding of the each member in community. Individual personality quirks, strengths and weakness, who can and can not keep a secret all emerge over time. And as members generally come to understand one another, the revelation of how has what to offer in times of need becomes part of the web of resources with in the group.

    I have not really experienced any of this as a gay person. I generally feel like i'm on an island or playing a game of life survivor.

    In the south, and I guess in a lot of places in the US, as a black person; I often acknowledge other black people when passing in public. I was never told to do this, however I know it's something I picked up from my mom and dad. I've come to realize that this small thing; a head nod, a brief greeting or affirmative eye contact is something that comes from a time when black people sought solidarity, community, during times when they felt unseen by the rest of society. It is an outward expression that to me says: "I see you, I relate to you, you are not alone here - I'm here too." Among the panacea of GLBT shapes, colors and tones I'm not aware of any way in which a similar small gesture has been communally adopted.

    So what things do I see that are universally communal amongst U.S. homosexuals and the BT's ... the fight for marriage equality (seems more like a human rights issue); hiv/aids awareness (not just an issue for GLBT people); drag shows (the ability to lip sync for your life is not requisite to sit at this table); non-stop fitness focus (while I do enjoy this as part of my life, it's not something that is an across the board thing for all "our peoples").

    So what is the U.S. gay community .. gay bars, gay chambers of commerce? Is that it? I'm really struggling to think of any other things that bind this diverse group of people.

    ... thinking, thinking, thinking??????
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    Feb 22, 2015 2:19 PM GMT
    In my town there is a wonderful community that supports HIV/AIDS charities that provide services such as housing, hospice, meals, etc. for people with HIV/AIDS. These activities are funded by various charity events that occur throughout the year.

    We also have gay carnival clubs and sports teams that provided a way for gay men to socialize and be part of the community. I cannot believe New Orleans is that unique. If you live in a fairly large city there are probably at least a dozen groups or activities you can participate in to be and feel part of the gay community. Just get from behind the keyboard and get active!
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    Feb 22, 2015 2:32 PM GMT
    The US is so big there cannot be one single gay community. every city has their own people who are different from each other. Every city has it's own variety of culture too. Gays in Miami will have different values than Gays in the middle of nowhere Montana.

    I don't understand how you can compare Palastine's population of 6Million to the USA's population of 318Million. and that's just the regular population, not the gay population which is probably ~10% of that.

    Plus the population density of Palastine vs the USA.

    I really think it's just too difficult to try to compare the two.

    And instead of being all negative and jaded like that paragraph is, we should be really fucking thankful to be gay in the USA versus other places in the world.

    You want to see a great gay community? go out and make yourself some gay friends and hang out with them on a routine basis. that's what community really is -- your friends and family and the interactions you have with them.

  • Feb 22, 2015 4:20 PM GMT
    I think Willular may have a pretty good point ... reflection on his comment, reminds me that:

    1. We are all a lot of things and and could be labeled as a part of many groups: tall people, brown people, right handed people, hairy people, southern people, english speaking people .. we can always find defining characteristics that parse us out. The idea of a GLBT community is something that has been thrust upon people who society wishes to collectively characterize. However, G is its' own group, L is its' own group and so on.

    2. The idea that the GLBT community has a specific responsibility to that group would be like stating that everyone in Ohio is responsible for the happiness and welfare of every other person in that state. The reality is, that while you may live within the boundary of a specific state it's really up to you to link up with the people and groups that you have the greatest affinity for. Your community is what you make, what you seek out, what you choose to do.

    3. Good friends and people in your life, is often the result of being a being a good friend and a good person. People will come and go, and that is life. When you move to a new town, you're alone until you start reaching out to other people. It's not always easy, it can be scary to put yourself out there. But if you're looking for a community, it's not always going to just fall in your lap.

    So ... in line with this discussion ... trying to characterize the whole entire U.S. Gay Community in one paragraph will lead to over generalization, there are simply too many variables (regional, urban/rural, age, etc.) too accurately represent so many people and situations.

    Creating the community and support network we need, is mostly up to us as individuals.
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    Feb 22, 2015 4:44 PM GMT
    thiscouldbetheend said...Among the panacea of GLBT shapes, colors and tones I'm not aware of any way in which a similar small gesture has been communally adopted....


    You've got some good thinking in your postings. For this acknowledging in particular I think we do have that only we're much more subtle about it for various reasons: fear of homophobic attack; faulty gaydar; not wanting to overly cruise and make anyone uncomfy; fear of being considered creepy, etc.

    willular said...I don't understand how you can compare Palastine's population of 6Million to the USA's population of 318Million. and that's just the regular population, not the gay population which is probably ~10% of that.

    Plus the population density of Palastine vs the USA.

    I really think it's just too difficult to try to compare the two.


    True there are those differences but I think an even bigger difference is the relative acceptance of society whereby living in a Muslim world today is like living here 40 years ago, if that, out of which would spring such structures. We do have here a history of physical gay ghettos forming and flourishing, with all the support facilities of community and pot luck dinners.

    And we still have that whether or not engaged. Community though is not always physical. There's an overlaying effect of community. And I described that in the other thread on community I think OP'd by Lioneyes, whereby being Jewish, being part of Jewish American community doesn't require going to temple, joining the JCC, etc. Even without participating, we still have that sense of community.

    So a sense of community can arise from within with participation optional.
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    Feb 22, 2015 5:53 PM GMT
    Great post, good thoughts!
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    Feb 22, 2015 5:55 PM GMT
    not sure how hard and much millionaire U.S or western lgbt groups have done for the other lgbts in other countries i.e much poorer countries or violent prone countries but they could take some examples from MANY religious groups (christians or non-christians) who are their lifelong-forever enemies, who actually care for their other followers in other countries...like really helping them and providing them, sacrificing their lives leaving their families and peers from home.

    All i kept seeing MOST and only is constant reverse-bigotry and hatred and clickbait headlines through the big western medias and oh, facebook memes and ranting on the internet...as if marriage is the only important thing too, marriage and making headlines is the biggest talk of the lgbt town.

    When the lgbt community take real actions and collaborating with even christian groups, yes CHRISTIANS or other religions who are willing to help each others..they will be respected by people of any kind since religion is the most powerful identity or thing that control the mentality of majority of people on earth.
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    Feb 22, 2015 5:56 PM GMT
    The support I've received over the years from the gay community, and that I've seen others receive in times of need, is one of the reasons I feel very proud & privileged to be part of it. And why I try to give back in return. It's not all gay clubs.

    When my late partner developed dementia due to AIDS the community rallied around him & me. Visiting him in the home where I had placed him, helping me get daily things done, running errands, cooking me food, because I tried to spend 7 days a week there with him.

    When he died some were at his side with me, at 1 in the morning. They helped me make the funeral arrangements next day, chose the florist, got me through a time when I was numb. Months later when I had what was probably a nervous collapse and virtually stopped functioning they did an intervention. Got me back on my feet and going again.

    Here in Florida my new partner had a car accident. His friends lent him one of their cars, while his was being repaired, and I could arrange to buy him a new one. Then when he's been in the hospital a few times I've had food brought to our home, because people know I don't really cook, nor had the time for it being at the hospital with him all day. When I had my own cancer radiation treatments for 6 weeks, and had to depart before 6:30 AM every day, people volunteered to drive me, to give my husband a break.

    In our community we all keep tabs on who's in the hospital, who's not feeling well, who's got some problem. No one is left adrift if we know about it, and we try to know about it.

    And that extends to formal agencies we've established to help LGBT within our community. Especially youth. The resources don't exist to help everyone, but the attempt is made. At our Pride festivals at least 1/3 of the exhibitor-vendor booths are devoted to LGBT community outreach, support and community involvement.

    I've never known such a comprehensive social safety net in my life. Maybe the advantage of living in a heavily-populated gay area, that I appreciate may not happen, nor even be practical, in other locales. But I do know it happens here in South Florida, and it even happened when I lived in Fargo, North Dakota.

    One of the mottos we had in the US Army was: "We take care our own". I've found the same thing is true about gays, in contradiction of that paragraph.
  • Eli_jah

    Posts: 1391

    Feb 22, 2015 7:04 PM GMT
    willular saidThe US is so big there cannot be one single gay community. every city has their own people who are different from each other. Every city has it's own variety of culture too. Gays in Miami will have different values than Gays in the middle of nowhere Montana.

    I don't understand how you can compare Palastine's population of 6Million to the USA's population of 318Million. and that's just the regular population, not the gay population which is probably ~10% of that.

    Plus the population density of Palastine vs the USA.

    I really think it's just too difficult to try to compare the two.

    And instead of being all negative and jaded like that paragraph is, we should be really fucking thankful to be gay in the USA versus other places in the world.

    You want to see a great gay community? go out and make yourself some gay friends and hang out with them on a routine basis. that's what community really is -- your friends and family and the interactions you have with them.


    Yeah, he's definitely thinking of the big cities and ignoring "flyover country". I'm guessing gay communities are smaller and more tight knight in Montana than they would be in Miami or New York.

    I agree that a small group of gay friends is a gay community as well. The author of that blog is just looking at everything on the macro level.
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    Feb 22, 2015 9:08 PM GMT

    http://darkmatterrage.com/part-3-the-us-is-so-behind-the-times/[/quote]

    True story.

    But in addition I have found in the US there is no Gay community because there is so much racial polarization. The lesson seems to be you have to hate and degrade any ethnicity outside of your own so being gay takes second place to race. Hence you see mostly Latino gays with Latino gays, Caucasian gays with Caucasian gays and Black gays with other Black gays.

    It's not a North American thing either. It's not dependent on $ or security. It's simple race polarization and division. In Canada it's different you actually see a community, however its more here hot gay guys vs average looking gay guys . Much less polarization but some polarization is still there.


    I have a diverse group of friends from all walks of life. But I notice I can never introduce them as everyone drifts off into a superficial rating system group. So I guess we have a shallow barrier in terms of building a true community. Still I rather take that then race. The less nasty of the two.




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    Feb 22, 2015 10:29 PM GMT
    The US has a much broader demographic.

    We share many different backgrounds, religions and upbringings. Palestinian culture is much more closely aligned because of a shared religion and ethnicity..
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    Feb 22, 2015 10:46 PM GMT
    You should visit Toronto.
    Granted certain parts of Canada have more Ethnic diversity like Vancouver and Toronto vs Alberta. But I have never seen a more segregated gay community then the one in US. I find even the gay community in France is more tight knit and supportive despite France being a less inclusive culture, overall, compared to the US .
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    Feb 22, 2015 10:58 PM GMT
    canadian_stud saidYou should visit Toronto.


    +2

    Toronto's acceptance of gays is pretty off the charts adorable.

    Give the U.S. ten more years. By then most straight (at least) city dwellers will have attended a gay wedding.

    The contrary voices are sounding so much more and more bronze age, and not in a Paleo diet kind of way.
  • waccamatt

    Posts: 1918

    Feb 23, 2015 1:13 AM GMT
    There is plenty to the LGBT community in the U.S. besides bars and dating apps. There are Pride events, Community Centers, Business Guilds, HIV Resources, etc. in many cities. If you're looking for the community in the bars or on dating apps, you're looking in the wrong places. Additionally, rather than bitch about what the community doesn't have, why don't YOU create whatever it is you think is missing? I get tired of people complaining about what doesn't exist and then they do nothing to change it.
  • Eli_jah

    Posts: 1391

    Feb 23, 2015 2:51 AM GMT
    I didn't write that essay, btw, a very intelligent Indian kid by the name of Alok Menon did. Y'all should read his essays, he knows what he's talking about.
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    Feb 23, 2015 8:36 AM GMT
    It reminds me of when I was going to the SF gay center doing some volunteering, networking with people. The LGBT community consists of many smaller specific groups such as Ethnicity, Trans, Lesbians, leather, boy-twinks type but yeah ...I remembered this one very specific meeting in SF I went to several years ago. It was supposed to be a networking/job event or something. Then all the guys were like venting **I'm not cute enough, I don't have a boyfriend and he ignored my calls, texts and on Facebook too!**. It turned into a **I want a man meeting **. LOL, I was thinking in my head like **Gee, my problems seem small and not that messed up!
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    Feb 23, 2015 8:49 AM GMT
    There is no gay "community" in the USA. There was a lot more sense of community during the AIDS crisis, when people banded together for support and to fight the government. That is pretty much all now just past history. Gay groups work together for gay rights ,such as same sex marriage, but without a sense of community anymore. Gays have little in common except their sexuality. What does Tim Cook, head of the biggest corporation in the world, or any of the 23 year old techies pulling down $150+ K have in common with homeless gay youth, or just ordinary radical fairies? Nothing, except that they all like guys. They have a common interest in getting equal rights for gays, but a little common interest does not a community make.
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    Feb 23, 2015 8:52 AM GMT
    waccamatt saidThere is plenty to the LGBT community in the U.S. besides bars and dating apps. There are Pride events, Community Centers, Business Guilds, HIV Resources, etc. in many cities. If you're looking for the community in the bars or on dating apps, you're looking in the wrong places. Additionally, rather than bitch about what the community doesn't have, why don't YOU create whatever it is you think is missing?I get tired of people complaining about what doesn't exist and then they do nothing to change it.

    +1
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    Feb 23, 2015 9:27 AM GMT
    I agree to an extent. However, when I do get involved in the community I tend to make friends with straight people.
    Gay guys tend to just want to get in your pants. icon_neutral.gif
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    Feb 23, 2015 9:52 AM GMT
    Chase646 saidI agree to an extent. However, when I do get involved in the community I tend to make friends with straight people.
    Gay guys tend to just want to get in your pants. icon_neutral.gif


    I agreed somewhat, with straight people, there's no sex or expectation involved. It's like safe for us and for them. With gay guys, when you're friends with them, there's a possibility of sleeping and hooking up which make things awkward after if you're not into them romantically. And if you reject or don't want advances from gay guys, then they automatically just cross you off like you don't matter. Urg, gay men, can't live with them, can't live without them.
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    Feb 23, 2015 11:38 AM GMT
    Lol yeah man. Catch 22. And also you have to deal with the huge ass egos of gay guys. Straight guys are way more down to earth and just easier to work and hang out with.
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    Feb 23, 2015 1:40 PM GMT
    Dang some of you need more friends or maybe I need less.
    Better yet, join the military then get back to me on the gay/straight ego thing.

    To the article: I found most of it nonsensical; like when you're padding a research paper to get the word count up.

    All groups tend to pull together when up against a common enemy--basic history: Stonewall, AID's, DAT.
    How many men moved to San Francisco; number of lives saved by the community there?
    Could we, should we do more?
    Hell yes, but when your life doesn't depend on it or it doesn't affect you then there is hardly any motivation.