I don't know if I have mentioned it elsewhere; this forum is my first real experience with the "gay community." I will confess that I was niave (alright, blind and stupid) and believed that there would be a "community." What I have found resembles a community only insofar as it is every bit as dysfunctional and broken as every other community.
This is not to say that what I found is not a community- it is. It is made up of individuals who are drawn together because they share one trait; some may share more, but there is only one guaranteed to be the same (and when you consider bisexuals, there are varying degrees of that trait...) I suppose that when I arrived here I had heard of the LGBT community, and arrived with unrealistic expectations. Instead of looking at other communities as an example of what to expect, I came with the expectation of finding a cohesive group of individuals who (for some unknown, illogical reason) would have put aside their differences and crated some strange utopia.
I should have looked to the religious community for an example of what to expect. Christians differ from Muslims. Protestants differ from Catholics. Unitarians differ from Southern Baptists, yet it is a religious "community" even if there are factions who can not stand the sight of one another.
So, what is it that makes this a community? I suppose it is the shared outrage we feel when we think of Matthew Shepard; the sorrow we feel when we hear of another child who killed themselves rather than face the world as a gay man.
I should thank the few people who have reached out to me in my time here... I am grateful to them for the help they have provided. They have made me feel that it is a community; regardless of differences in life paths, beliefs and ideas there is something that ties us together.
Finally, I want to ask if you NEED to be gay, bisexual or a lesbian to be a part of this community? What of the parents who are not only accepting, but take stands for their children? What of people like Anne Hathaway? If they are to be considered part of the community, then all that I wrote above (as well as a few other responses) would not stand up. It would no longer be based strictly on who you sleep with, and we need to broaden our definition and redefine what we refer to when we say community.
I suppose if this is the case, we need to say that it is more than just being homosexual, but what is it? Perhaps it is based strictly on the fact that we choose to refer to ourselves as a part of the community. If we are gay, and reject the "community" would we still be a part of it? Can we chose to opt in or opt out of this LGBT community the same that we can our internet communities or religious communities? Possibly we break it down in the same manner that we do the "community" of humans. We can not opt out of being human, but we can break it down to smaller communities that people feel more comfortable considering themselves to be a part of.
So, the community is made up of straight people who support the cause, lesbians, gays etc. After that, we break it down to sub groups until we find the community that we feel best describes us... the community that we feel that we are a part of. Some people are happy to be a part of the LGBT community, some might need it broken down further- they don't want to be associated with "feminine acting" gay men, so the would only consider themselves to be a part of the leather community; they need the group split into smaller, more definitive parts before they will consider themselves a part of that community.
Pardon my rambling- I started thinking a little and have decided to subject you to my thought process without really coming to any real conclusions.