[oasis] [columns]

Andrew Downing

October 1996

Many gay rights activists are becoming increasingly impatient with the rate at which advancements are being made in our epic struggle for equality. While this attitude is understandable, I submit that, at least in part, it's our own fault.

Now, before you brand me as a closeted homophobe, let me explain. Have you ever noticed that the gay community tends to be rather hypocritical? Many of us don't realize it, of course, since gay men are the best liars in the world, especially when we're lying to ourselves.

Right about now, you're probably muttering to yourself, "Well? Where's that explanation?" Well, here we go.

We say, over and over and over, ad nauseam, that all we want is complete equality. We say that we don't discriminate. Yes we do! Discrimination, though often veiled, is prevalent in the gay community, and I admit to being guilty of it myself, to a certain degree.

How many times have you seen or heard gay men stereotype lesbians? They're tough, they're all butch, et cetera. In the same way our detractors judge us, we judge them, however unfairly, by a stereotype.

As for transgendered people, most of the avoidance and shunning of TG people stems from a general lack of understanding of them. But when you think of it, how many of them have you tried to understand? I'd wager very few, since I still see confusion between transgendered/transsexual people and transvestites.

That brings me neatly to the topic of drag queens. They're another sadly misunderstood group. People tend to see them as men who want to be women. While I won't go into an explanation of why that isn't true, rest assured that it isn't.

And then there are bisexuals. The eternal victims, bisexuals draw scorn from both the straight and gay communities. Since I recently finished seeing a bisexual man, believe me when I say that I know that this takes a toll. To put it succinctly, liking hamburgers and hot dogs does not make you indecisive or unwilling to admit to yourself that you only like one of the two. Bisexuality is a sexual orientation.

And after all of this, we still maintain, both to ourselves and to others, that we are free of discrimination. We fight and squabble amongst ourselves, and then get annoyed when we are unable to achieve our goals as a community.

Can you imagine what we might be capable of if we managed to hold the beliefs we claim to hold? If we were to present a united front, who could stand in our way? I don't know for sure, but I certainly would like to find out.

Until then, I'll watch, I'll wait, and I'll do everything I can, but at the end of the day, I'm only one man.


[About the Author]

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.