End Racism and Homophobia in the Gay Community
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Gay School 101
By Gay & Invisible
One of the problems that kept me in denial, was my heavily internalised homophobia. I grew up in a conservative society, in which hetero-public kissing could sometimes be deemed obscene. Being gay was heavily associated with the effeminate stereotype due to the majority of gays here who felt the need to let their sexuality define who they are by projecting themselves in that image. My friends and family always felt the need to “make a comment” whenever a transsexual or seemingly gay guy comes into view. Until this very day, after having been unconsciously brainwashed, I couldn’t help but hold a mild grudge to my family and societal upbringing for instilling my internalised homophobia. However it was only when I left home and started travelling and living abroad that I finally met gay guys from all walks of life who were beyond positive. They were good-looking, confident, intelligent, virile and very successful which has prompted me to look up to them as role models. For the first time, I saw us all in a very different limelight and felt so positive about myself. These guys who are still guys, has shown me that being gay should only be a subset of us and not completely define who we are. In fact, they make me and other regular guys seem so un-cool. Growing up, I’ve never had any positive experiences about being gay. Having never explored or be properly enlightened about being gay, I needed to see things under a different light. When I first started coming to terms with myself, I was stagnant, depressed and didn’t know where to turn. However I knew very well that the first thing I needed to do was surround myself with gay people in order to dispel my homophobia. I did my research and started going to a social queer gathering as I thought it might do me some good. (This for me was truly one of my boldest step, as I refuse to go anywhere near gay venues for fear of being associated and outed while my internalised homophobia was in full swing). Days leading up to the gathering, I hesitated so much. However after years of being afraid and closeted, I was sick that it got me no where. In order to move on, I desperately needed to do myself some justice by throwing myself into something new and get out of my comfort zone. As a person on constant contemplation and struggling from insecurities, I was vulnerable and very prone to being influenced. Therefore the crowd in which was to be present was crucial as it would either change my perception about myself and the community, or push me deeper into the closet. At the gathering, I was exposed to a spectrum of people, which also gave me a general idea about myself. There was a mix crowd, met attractive guys who bring out the optimist in you and also guys who make you want to remain in the closet forever. Although my invisibility was still depressing, but being in the presence of gay people was still doing me good. It’s been 2 months and I have been enjoying myself, up until recently when my usual chit-chats with one of the regulars at the gathering inevitably turns to him and his friends finally pressuring me to open up. I although uncomfortably declined and chose to remain reserved, they never cease to try and openly analyse me and make assumptions at every opportunity. In fact, the whole conversation focused heavily on the very shallow aspects of being gay (dating a certain good-looking race, internal politics and discrimination, being fashionable, parading their sex life) which was a little too much and really off-putting. In addition to this guy sharing the same nationality as me, he was the exact shallow stereotypical gay person that I didn’t want to be. But yet in reality, because of who they are, they are indeed playing the game better than I am. I find myself feeling negatively depressed and wondered if my difference would truly mean anything. I am soulful, sophisticated, educated, artistically talented, culturally rich, loyal, witty; in other words, I am a nice guy who is real and deep. But yet, I am a long way from achieving success, “to be” the guys I idolise, and “to be with” the guys I idolise. I took a good look around the room full of people and had no idea where I stand. While walking home, I found myself feeling depressed and completely in doubt once again, which immediately swayed me into wondering if I really want to go down this path.
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