Gay Culture is dying

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 25, 2009 11:35 AM GMT
    I'm curious what you think. There is a difference between culture as art, and what I'm talking about, so don't confuse this with musicals and Judy Garland. This is what I have been thinking about this:

    In the past we have needed a gay monolithic subculture, or the appearance of one, maybe, to create awareness and develop human and civil rights.

    We needed gay neighborhoods (gay ghettos, gayborhoods, gay barrios) for safety and opportunity (see MILK). For a while they thrived in small, tight, somewhat exclusive, spaces. Then they became mainstream via shows like Sex and The City and Will and Grace.

    It seems that they are dispersing. Or at least morphing, as the needs have changed. There are a generation of gay men who have grown up in these spaces and are comfortable there. But younger and younger generations tend to be more free to be themselves blended somewhat into groups centered around other interests, they have gay and straight friends who are not only women (this is a generalization possible mostly in the west and spaces where there is some kind of tolerance - interestingly not just urban but also rural).

    Gay businesses however make their money from the idea that there is a monolithic gay culture or herd. They need a gay demographic that shops, parties, travels, and lives somewhat stereotypically and predictably.

    It seems they are not doing so well except with the particular generation of gay men who are more used to exclusive gay spaces that tend towards the image as presented by these businesses.

    I can give more examples and specifics for this but want to keep this first post short(er).

    There are 2 things here it seems, one that is happening naturally while both NEED to happen, I think.

    1. The idea of a monolithic gay culture is dying out. it was always not very real as gay is hardly a thing to tie a group of people together, other interests do that. But for lack of freedom, safety, and opportunity for a time we banded together, mostly for night life. This dying out serves two good purposes: 1. it kills off the gay stereotype of Will or Jack that straight people see; and 2. it allows younger gay men or of any age the freedom to be genuinely whatever they are without trying to fit the stereotype. This all seems to be happening naturally. But any acceleration of it by gay men and women being less exclusive and more mixed is awesome, starting with say mixed bars.

    When more people in the general population know gay people without the stereotype, it will be easier to simply be us and get the same rights. We not only need the laws we need social acceptance. This is not to say that there should not be the freaks and flamers, gym bunnies and drag queens, I love them and they have their place. But when they get all the attention, they are not representative.

    2. While we are no longer a monolithic culture or herd, we NEED to be a web or network. This is cause we need to mobilize for rights and freedoms for those who do not have it yet.

    So, where am I wrong or assuming too much? What examples, thoughts, or reactions do you have?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 25, 2009 11:40 AM GMT
    I should say that there are thriving subcultures within the "gay culture" that are really worthwhile and cool, allowing people to be genuine and generally free.

    The examples I can think of are represented such as in this site, built around exercise and fitness, International Mr. Leather - not my thing - but fun, The Drag Queen Festival in Tenerife around Carnival, and etc...
  • junknemesis

    Posts: 682

    Aug 25, 2009 2:46 PM GMT
    I don't mean to offend... but most of what I have seen as "gay culture" makes us out to look like our lives are about nothing but sex, hedonism, attention-whoring displays, shock factor, and deliberately separating ourselves from "straight society".

    If that is Gay Culture, and it's dying... I say Rest in Peace.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Aug 25, 2009 3:15 PM GMT
    junknemesis saidI don't mean to offend... but most of what I have seen as "gay culture" makes us out to look like our lives are about nothing but sex, hedonism, attention-whoring displays, shock factor, and deliberately separating ourselves from "straight society".

    If that is Gay Culture, and it's dying... I say Rest in Peace.


    hm ... * turns to walk away * ... * turns back around and raises finger * ...
    * attempts a retort * ... hm. icon_neutral.gif
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Aug 25, 2009 3:17 PM GMT
    I would argue that the 'monolithic gay culture' excludes as many gays as 'mainstream' culture.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Aug 25, 2009 3:18 PM GMT

    what Timberoo said.
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    Aug 25, 2009 3:26 PM GMT
    I've always had a problem with the idea of a gay "culture." To me, culture suggests a shared history, religion, artistic/creative traditions, language, etc. None of these things apply to the gay community as a whole. I don't quite think shocking displays, sex clubs, men in juvenile underwear, etc. really constitute a culture. The glue that holds the community together is our sexuality and our shared persecution.

    I think your observation is spot on. I see a lot of younger guys breaking free of the gay norms established by previous generations, rejecting the idea of life in some gay "ghetto", etc. No doubt there's strength in numbers, but do we need to live this way any longer? I don't think so. Personally, I find the idea of living in some gay parallel universe where all I do is eat at gay restaurants, shop at gay stores, live in a the gay hood, etc. very odd - and limiting. I'd rather be out among ALL people and be part of my community in a broad sense, not confined to living the "gay life."
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Aug 25, 2009 3:59 PM GMT
    If gay culture is dying, then we are beginning to achieve what we have long fought for, which is broad acceptance, not just tolerance, of our community. In fact, the concept of "gay community" has always struck me as a false note. If we are or have been a community, it has been because we stuck together when no one else would have us. Just like you no longer see an entire parallel universe of "Negro" restaurants, clubs, etc., our own establishments are slowly going by the wayside as their need to exist disappears. (Oddly though, there are still mostly black neighborhoods but this is more likely a poverty issue than a cultural comfort issue.)

    If the gay community as a physical presence vanishes I will count it a victory for human rights. We should bond with those with whom we have the most in common, and frankly, sexuality should have little or nothing to do with who we are as people. Witness the poltical pie fights that happen here every day on RJ as a testament to our cultural diversity, a diversity so great as to beg the question why we are in the same "community" to begin with...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 25, 2009 4:01 PM GMT
    I think it's great that things are evolving.

    To many gay guys think they should be accepted, no matter how bad their behavior, just because they identify as homosexual, or bisexual. That's a huge disservice to everyone, and incredibly stupid, with a capital S.

    I have no interest in opera. I have no interest in being with swishy-assed queens. I'm into computers, bodybuilding, high tech, lighting my farts, slamming some beers, and fun stuff. Just cuz someone is a fag doesn't mean that I have to like them. It also means that I don't have to be supportive of irresponsible behavior just because someone says they're gay.

    Folks that are outrageous get what they deserve: attention. It's not always supportive attention.

    The Internet, as a technology, allows subcultures, whatever they might be, to communicate with immediacy, across great distances. That's a really cool thing.

    I think that guys like me, that aren't flamers, that have a first name; a last name; show our faces; know how to behave properly, blaze the path for many folks who are bi, or gay, by just being ourselves, liking ourselves, and not living in some self-imposed fucked up world. Popular culture, like MTV's Real World, and other shows featuring colorful folks has blazed the way, too. It's now considered cool to have a "gay."

    Recently, a friend of mine was trying to tell me The Gayborhood was my roots. Hardly. I'm just an old farm boy from Nebraska who never had issues about sexuality. It happens everywhere in nature. I've had the good fortune, as well, to not be emerged / indoctrinated into all the bullshit that is false belief systems / superstition / religion. I've never dealt with any of that bullshit baggage.

    My friends, be they straight, gay, bi, often say to me, "You're the coolest gay guy I know" or say "you're a cool dude" with no reference to sexuality.

    I knew I was endeared to my good straight friend one day. He said, in front of his wife, "Chuck, it's o.k. if you're a power bottom." I about laughed myself out of my gym shorts. That's as it should be.

    The outrageous, irresponsible, effeminate, image of gay and bi folks doesn't represent the population accurately, and it's great that it's fading. Gay Pride has become a joke of weirdness that hinders that evolution, and does more harm than good.

    As the public is exposed to more gay / bi folks they'd regard as "normal" they are becoming more accepting, and, that's a very, very, very, good thing.
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    Aug 25, 2009 4:03 PM GMT
    Dying? I didnt even know it was sick! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
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    Aug 25, 2009 4:04 PM GMT
    I just love how people are saying that we are becoming "post-gay".

    Gay culture evolved by necessity, and I reckon that it will continue to exist in some form or another. It's just being hit now since in most developped countries we aren't being *that* prosecuted, and when we are it's not on the day to day stuff that tends to get people to mobilize themselves.

    From what I've been able to see, the bigger the gay popluation in an area, the more they tend to reject gay culture, or it just becomes hyperspecialized.
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    Aug 25, 2009 4:15 PM GMT
    And why is this bad?

    I know more straight people who are fighting for gay rights than I do gays.

    At my college, our gay straight alliance has more straight members than gay. actually many gay people are too busy being into themselves and their friends to join the GSA... which is probably why most gays guys on my campus are more into hookin up than meeting to discuss our problems facing homophobia on campus.


    Anyway... I don't see a problem. I mean isn't thiat the whole idea of gay rights... to make everyone equal? why do we need to interconnect a web of gay people for fight for our rights?

    In Miane, a battle over gay marriage is coming up this Novemeber. I know more straight people fighting than I do gay people... infact many of the leaders are straight.

    We don't need a straight culture, or a gay culture... we need a culture which can come together.

  • SoDakGuy

    Posts: 1862

    Aug 25, 2009 5:34 PM GMT
    I don't see it as dying. I see it as evolving. Continuously changing.

    But that's me.
  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    Aug 25, 2009 5:45 PM GMT
    I think you've hit it right on the head. It is good for things to change, and we certainly do have a network (the web).

    Unfortunately, one of the problems with losing specific gay spaces is not being able to meet gay people without online help (and online these days is nothing but sex, so I guess not much has changed there from the regular "culture").

    Another problem, I think, is that without specific gay spaces, someone who needs to escape persecution may not be able to find a safe haven. If you look at racial minorities, they still have neighborhoods and places. We should have safe places as well.
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    Aug 25, 2009 5:54 PM GMT
    How come gay travel companies such as Atlantis are doing such great business if gay culture is dying?

    How is it that a new gay village - Vauxhall, London, has appeared from nowhere in the last 3 or 4 years if gay culture is dying?

    Or in Spain and Brazil where thousands of people gay fpeople congregate for gay pride? St Paolo, for example attracts more than 3 million people.

    I think you're argument is misplaced. Maybe old gay culture is dying but a new one is taking its place, one that's more inclusive.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Aug 25, 2009 6:02 PM GMT
    It is the nature of human beings to settle into groups. People are comfortable with others they identify as like themselves. That identification can take on many forms - ethnicity, social standing, education, sexual preference, etc.
  • SoDakGuy

    Posts: 1862

    Aug 25, 2009 6:06 PM GMT
    Like I said earlier, it keeps evolving. I have seen in the 12 years I've been out HUGE growth and change in the GLBT. Most hugely positive. And also w/ the hetero community huge positive changes as well.

    Keep changing w/ the times and your gay culture and life will keep evolving.
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    Aug 25, 2009 6:15 PM GMT
    "When more people in the general population know gay people without the stereotype, it will be easier to simply be us and get the same rights. We not only need the laws we need social acceptance. This is not to say that there should not be the freaks and flamers, gym bunnies and drag queens, I love them and they have their place. But when they get all the attention, they are not representative."

    Exactly...
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    Aug 25, 2009 6:17 PM GMT
    acuariosalvaje has got lovely thighs. Have u looked at his profile? Phwooooraaawwwww.
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    Aug 25, 2009 6:55 PM GMT
    redheadguy saidHow come gay travel companies such as Atlantis are doing such great business if gay culture is dying?

    How is it that a new gay village - Vauxhall, London, has appeared from nowhere in the last 3 or 4 years if gay culture is dying?

    Or in Spain and Brazil where thousands of people gay fpeople congregate for gay pride? St Paolo, for example attracts more than 3 million people.

    I think you're argument is misplaced. Maybe old gay culture is dying but a new one is taking its place, one that's more inclusive.


    While a mixed cruise is fun, I personally would also like to have the option of a gay cruise too. icon_biggrin.gif And I want to check out Brazils Pride. Sounds like funnnn. lol Better than here in Ft.Lauderdale. lol
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    Aug 25, 2009 6:56 PM GMT
    acuariosalvaje saidI'm curious what you think. There is a difference between culture as art, and what I'm talking about, so don't confuse this with musicals and Judy Garland. This is what I have been thinking about this:

    In the past we have needed a gay monolithic subculture, or the appearance of one, maybe, to create awareness and develop human and civil rights.

    We needed gay neighborhoods (gay ghettos, gayborhoods, gay barrios) for safety and opportunity (see MILK). For a while they thrived in small, tight, somewhat exclusive, spaces. Then they became mainstream via shows like Sex and The City and Will and Grace.

    It seems that they are dispersing. Or at least morphing, as the needs have changed. There are a generation of gay men who have grown up in these spaces and are comfortable there. But younger and younger generations tend to be more free to be themselves blended somewhat into groups centered around other interests, they have gay and straight friends who are not only women (this is a generalization possible mostly in the west and spaces where there is some kind of tolerance - interestingly not just urban but also rural).

    Gay businesses however make their money from the idea that there is a monolithic gay culture or herd. They need a gay demographic that shops, parties, travels, and lives somewhat stereotypically and predictably.

    It seems they are not doing so well except with the particular generation of gay men who are more used to exclusive gay spaces that tend towards the image as presented by these businesses.

    I can give more examples and specifics for this but want to keep this first post short(er).

    There are 2 things here it seems, one that is happening naturally while both NEED to happen, I think.

    1. The idea of a monolithic gay culture is dying out. it was always not very real as gay is hardly a thing to tie a group of people together, other interests do that. But for lack of freedom, safety, and opportunity for a time we banded together, mostly for night life. This dying out serves two good purposes: 1. it kills off the gay stereotype of Will or Jack that straight people see; and 2. it allows younger gay men or of any age the freedom to be genuinely whatever they are without trying to fit the stereotype. This all seems to be happening naturally. But any acceleration of it by gay men and women being less exclusive and more mixed is awesome, starting with say mixed bars.

    When more people in the general population know gay people without the stereotype, it will be easier to simply be us and get the same rights. We not only need the laws we need social acceptance. This is not to say that there should not be the freaks and flamers, gym bunnies and drag queens, I love them and they have their place. But when they get all the attention, they are not representative.

    2. While we are no longer a monolithic culture or herd, we NEED to be a web or network. This is cause we need to mobilize for rights and freedoms for those who do not have it yet.

    So, where am I wrong or assuming too much? What examples, thoughts, or reactions do you have?


    And I think its evolving. This is exactly what we wanted. I welcome the change and progression.
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    Aug 25, 2009 6:56 PM GMT
    redheadguy saidHow come gay travel companies such as Atlantis are doing such great business if gay culture is dying?

    How is it that a new gay village - Vauxhall, London, has appeared from nowhere in the last 3 or 4 years if gay culture is dying?

    Or in Spain and Brazil where thousands of people gay people congregate for gay pride? St Paolo, for example attracts more than 3 million people.

    I think you're argument is misplaced. Maybe old gay culture is dying but a new one is taking its place, one that's more inclusive.


    Dear Redheaded guy (I like redheads) and others,

    First of all I used the term dying to be excessive, simply to draw attention. Morphing would be more accurate.

    Although the point is other than what gay businesses portray, there really is not a lot of substance to this "image." It is naturally dissipating except for these money making endeavors. I say money making as all the examples you gave are just that, business ventures.

    Also, I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I think change is good, and I hope this is for the better. I agree with Chuckystud's post one trillion percent.

    I'm Spanish and live in Barcelona. I actually do work for some of these organizations who are involved in these things. So I see it from the inside. I also used to own a bar in the "gayxample" here.

    When you take a closer look at say Circuit Festival, Madrid Pride, and other events here in Spain and Europe you see it is not quite the thing that it is advertised to be. It mostly caters to a very limited group of guys who do quite a bit of drugs (I'm not saying this is bad), spend hours in the gym, party in exclusive gay spaces.

    Many outsiders may see BCN, Sitges, and other places/events like this as gay meccas, but in reality much of that is a facade.

    Places like this and Atlantis for example, cater, for more than economic reasons, to a limited, aging demographic. Although to be honest, I think the US from what research I have done is ahead in this coincidentally. The younger generations there are much more dynamically themselves without being in exclusive enclaves (this is also a generalization). Although, its happening everywhere.

    Part of my argument is that the aforementioned get all the attention as the flamboyance and open sexual nature is attention getting. But it is neither representative of what it is to be gay, nor appealing to everyone.

    But the real work is not anti that or anti anything. The real thing going on is the less visible and positive realization that it is now possible and even desirable to be gay outside of exclusive gay events and places.

    The occasional circuit party, if well done, is fun (especially if you don't mind a bit of E, K, or G), as are the prides you mentioned.

    But more and more it seems there are dynamic and genuine gay people far outside the gay spaces being naturally themselves. They are out, whereas before they would've been hidden. In this respect BCN is a gay mecca cause you can be gay anywhere here, and meet people and have fun (I would honestly say avoid the gayxample unless you just want to hang out with other tourists and the hard core). But gay is no longer the defining factor of one's free time and discretionary resources.

    I defintiely see your arguments, and there will always be a place for these businesses and this interpretation of what it is to be gay, but I think it is shortsighted and limited to what is really going on with people who are same sex oriented. It seems many are simply losing interest and finding things that genuinely appeal to them, being free to be gay, but also connecting on other levels. Vauxhall from my visits and friends who are there is really more of a collection of businesses (while fun) and not a community which is my point.

    ALL THAT SAID, I believe it is ESSENTIAL we create and work on networks to mobilize for rights and tolerance. There is LOTS of work to be done yet for gay people to be free to be themselves everywhere.

    I hope that my posts is clearly NOT antagonistic towards ANYONE or anyone's ideas or points of view. I think you are all awesome and appreciate the corrections and counter arguments very much.
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    Aug 25, 2009 7:40 PM GMT
    jarhead5536 said If the gay community as a physical presence vanishes I will count it a victory for human rights. We should bond with those with whom we have the most in common, and frankly, sexuality should have little or nothing to do with who we are as people.

    Yes, most of us can now live in reasonable harmony with the larger community around us. It is a huge "victory for human rights."
    But there's still something to be said for spending some tiime in the remaining spaces that are "ours." Try walking down Commmercial St. in Provincetown with your arm around your bf and you'll feel the difference between being tolerated and being affirmed.
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    Aug 25, 2009 7:42 PM GMT
    AWESOME POINT between being tolerated and affirmed. I hadn't thought of that. That is the real goal, I hope it comes from being more dispersed.

    Also, I want to draw attention to this as that while this evolution of what is now possible in being "gay" is happening naturally, I think and hope we take responsibility and proactively interact with the process so we don't lose the good stuff and together draw ourselves consciously towards better living.

  • nadaquever_rm

    Posts: 139

    Aug 25, 2009 8:05 PM GMT
    There's a big gay population here (Pittsburgh) but no gayborhood. While I love visiting gayborhoods in other cities, I'm glad we don't have one. We still have gay bars, sports teams, events, a community center, etc. but they are spread all over the city. By being everywhere, we get to interact with the rest of the city much more than if we were always in our own place.