Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's all gay men's fault (chapter 12,709)

Here we go again. Yet another Washington Blade columnist lambastes gay men — and gay men specifically — for what I thought were issues of human beings generally, not gay men.

The author proposes an "extreme makeover" for gay men:
Rather, this makeover is all internal – it’s about how gay men relate to and interact with each other. I call it Extreme Makeover – Pride Edition.
So what have gay men done to need such a makeover?
However, as the community began to break down societal barriers, to make gains and take its place at the table, gay men lost an understanding of another side to the meaning of Pride. Beyond rainbow flags and bumper decals, Pride should also stem from our actions. We forget that sometimes. Having lived from Boston to Austin, Texas to Toronto, I’ve witnessed and experienced how gay men can behave. It isn’t always pretty. In a culture of “A-lists” and attitude, where chiseled bodies set the standards by which we are judged, some gay men have forgotten that real Pride is born from within, and not in a gym.
Okay, so gay men can get carried away with the whole gym thing, but are we the only ones who judge people on the wrong criteria? At least the author referred to "some gay men" instead of making the all too common politically correct generalization to all gay men.

What solutions does the author offer?
Make good on your longstanding intention to volunteer. Donate to a cause that’s dear to you. Say thanks to an LGBT elder for setting in motion the civil rights our community has gained over the past 40 years.

* * *

So go ahead. Next time you’re at a bar or club, put a new spin on attitude. Smile to someone you don’t even know. Yes, really. It’s just a smile. You can do it. It may not feel like an extreme makeover, but you may just be making someone’s day, and changing someone’s else’s attitude at the same time. And that’s something to feel proud about.
Obviously, gay men, and only gay men, should do these things. In particular, it wouldn't do to tell a lesbian to smile.

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