Is there a gay/queer/lgbt community?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 07, 2007 3:03 PM GMT
    I pose this as more of a philosophical question, it is something we discussed in my LGBT studies class. I am interested to hear anyones responses.

    Is there really a "community" sure some of share sexual orientation in common, some of us share gender identity in common. Queer people come from all walks of life, it is as diverse as the rainbow itself. Religion, ethnicity, politics, etc. The only commonality is a minority that faces hurdles based on their true being. This is why LGBT people have banded together as a community. But is this really a community aside from the political struggle?

    Gay men and lesbians seem to be very distinct social groups.

    Bisexuals are often misunderstood and disliked, thought to be confused or promiscuous.

    Transgender people are often considered an obstacle to gay liberation, and many people unfortunately consider them to be "freaks"

    and...

    is there such a thing as community altogether?

    Is there a "black community" "jewish community" just because people share one aspect of life color, religious views, they may be completely different in other areas.

    I guess my question, is what defines community, and where do we draw the line? I like plants, is there a gardening community?

    Please don't take this post the wrong way, I very much support and believe in unity of an LGBT community in order to advance the cause, but if you think about it, the notion of community for any group is kinda just a thing for people to feel better about themselves and make the world a little less scary.



  • Alan95823

    Posts: 306

    Nov 07, 2007 4:02 PM GMT
    I think it depends on how you define "community".
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Nov 07, 2007 4:18 PM GMT
    I think there is such a thing as community, but it is very diverse and isn't everything to everybody.

    We are all individuals and fabulous for being so. But it is natural to want to belong to some sort of group. Many LGBT people have been outsiders for most of their lifes and they look towards the LGBT community for support. They are often disappointed, because they are surprised that the community is full of people who don't represent and/or seem to welcome them.

    My idea of community is that that it is full of sub-sections of types of people who we feel comfortable with. For instance Realjock is a gay fintess community. But the sort of Gay men who visit this site are not representative of all Gay men.

    It's unrealistic to expect a LGBT community to be full of just the same sort of people, we should celebrate our differences and not persecute those different to ourselves.

    Lozx
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    Nov 07, 2007 4:18 PM GMT
    One of the gestures I appreciate most from critically aware, organic feminists is the continual interrogation of the "we." They constantly make claims to a community of "women" or "females" while also always undermining their own assumptions of unity. This way, they can form a solid foundation for social and political action while also remembering that the "we" is always provisional, constructed for a specific purpose.
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    Nov 07, 2007 4:34 PM GMT
    It's probably a community for those to whom sexuality is the defining characteristic of their lifestyle. Most people people probably have other things to focus on in their lives, and have little in common with the sexuality-driven community. Except may for a couple of hours on the odd Saturday night.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16305

    Nov 07, 2007 4:46 PM GMT
    Well I think the issue here is your trying to put specifics on a sort of ambigious term. I grew up in a subdivision (also called a community).. all we really had in common was the location of our homes (but we all lived there and families were raised there). I think its a term that focuses on "traits or specifics in common", and whether that "commonality" is considerable or not depends on the manner in which "community is used".
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    Nov 07, 2007 9:55 PM GMT
    The existence of a "gay community" in traditional terms went with with the Good AIDS of the 80's (when only black and gays had it). With the advent of The Internets, the change in anti-discrimination policy, civil unions and marriage for homosexuals, and the general lack of pure utter hatred these days there is less of a need for a "gay community" in the traditional sense. I mean, you can look at the recent article in the Times.. or something publication, talking about the gentrification of the Castro area of SF.

    It is not that people are less gay, it is that gay people are not longer shoved to the fringes and left to defend their own. I am not saying that homosexuals are fully accepted into the mainstream, but I would say that there is a definite need to re-think this "gay community".

    Laurence has a good point mentioning the existence of sub-communities that are more identifiable (i.e. the club community, the bear community, etc.) although they do all interact and mix for various things. I know that when the GLBT community is threatened it usually bands together quite nicely.

    Also, part of the re-thinking has to be put on those with limited mindsets like Mindgarden who only equate being gay to sex. This is, as for as I am aware, one of the main reason for a change in terminology from homosexual, which focuses on the sexual aspect, to gay, which focuses more on the individual. To think that "gay community" is a sexual one is reminiscent of a time similar to that of the 1980's. It is also something that should raise a red-flag, as here we have an example of what mt_hermit seems to point to (although I'm not sure I entirely understand him). With someone who obvious identifies as gay saying that the "gay community" is a sexually based community he is allowing those people who villainize us to have more power, as they no longer need to.

    Mindgarden statements marginalize what it MEANS to be gay. Yes there is sex involved, but there are other aspects that although everyone else does them (i.e. marriage, having children, etc.) they are not done the same way in the "gay community". The "gay community" cannot marry outside of Mass. The "gay community" can be fired for being gay (even the "str8" acting ones). The "gay community" still need to fight in certain places to keep their children. I could go on, as there are many, many variations in which there is a "gay community" as well as a need for one.

    Personally, I think that those of us in the younger generation see the decline in a centralized "gay community" as a loss to us. It is something that we never got to experience, but are told was a great experience. I can remember when I was a child and my two mothers were extremely active in the "gay community" because there was a huge need for the few, VERY few, gay parents to get together. Now, gay parents are just another type of family. And, we, the younger generation, are left wondering what happened and what to do knowing that the "gay community" as it had been known for so long, no longer exists.
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    Nov 07, 2007 11:10 PM GMT
    If you live out in the boonies, you probably see less of a community. But in a large urban area, there are lots of businesses that cater to our community. Those businesses, services and activities that pertain to us particularly show our community.

    I think we are also a "community" created and defined by by those who wish to oppress us. If that oppression were to disappear, that aspect of our community would dissolve and we would all just go our separate ways and live our lives, save for our desire to interact with others like us.
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    Nov 08, 2007 12:30 AM GMT
    mtnclimber, just out of curiosity being that you had 2 moms and I am assuming identify as gay/bi yourself, do people ever criticize or do you think people feel your mothers "lifestyle" has influenced your sexuality.

    I am always interested in people with gay/lesbian parents, because people claim gay parents make gay kids, which I think is as true as straight parents make gay kids. Yeah, sometimes, sometimes not.