Blog on the media:
Blog on the media:
Why am I gay? Why, oh why, oh why? Gnashing of gums, wailing and crying … etc.
You may as well ask why am I white? Or male? Or a pompous prick? None of these questions really admits of an answer deeper than “because” … and neither does the question of the cause, or root, or why and wherefore of my homosexuality.
Do I believe our sexuality is an innate trait, laid down for us in the genetic makeup of our very beings? Yes, I’d have to accept that as the most likely reason. Can I rule out environmental factors; upbringing, pollution, pregnant women with a 40-a-day Mayfair habit? Of course I can’t. I’m not a biologist, and even if I were, those questions haven’t been answered definitively!
Perhaps of more interest would be to ask why this question is still being asked? Why does it matter why I’m (or anybody else is) gay? The answer to those questions may be more valuable than a final determination that a certain combination of amino acids led inexorably to my preference for chaps!
Obviously, the reason that the questions are asked is that it is still not seen as “normal” to be gay. Even those who are “tolerant” or “accepting” of homosexuality – words which in and of themselves indicate the basic discomfort of the people who use them – don’t actually feel on a visceral level that we are normal. That doesn’t mean their judgment extends to considering us wrong, immoral or evil – necessarily. But it reflects an “us and them” attitude which, even if not operating on a conscious level, influences a huge range of behaviours and beliefs.
This outlook is on a par with “I’m not racist, but …” or “some of my best friends are black”. The very act of distinguishing denotes the separation in the mind of the person speaking. “There’s nothing wrong with being gay … but why do they have to shove it down our throats?” or “I don’t mind homosexuals … but marriage is between a man and a woman”. It’s all the same shit, different shovel!
I’m not arguing for some undifferentiated pablum world in which we are all the same and Benetton ads are far more monochromatic. I’m not saying that we should live without acknowledging that we are different; among other things, it would be awful to hit on a straight guy and be unable to understand his reticence!
I am, however, arguing that the question “why” – beloved of two year olds the world over – is in this context probably a bad thing. Asking why someone is gay, or black, or female … implies a judgment. Or possibly even disapproval. Until we can move past that, asking why can cause nothing but harm.
So if anyone asks me why I am gay, I can only have one response.
Full magazine here.
On the “delightful” Melanie Phillips …
Please, do visit this site, and do what you can to support the cause – everyone can hold someone’s hand, and moment by moment, we can move to change the way society sees same sex couples!
A Day In Hand announces 1st anniversary of (Same-sex hand holding) Sshh! Saturdays
Saturday 25th September 2010
“If you want to live in a world where you can hold your partner’s hand in the street….
hold your partner’s hand in the street.”
David Watkins, Founder, A Day In Hand
Please celebrate the anniversary with us!
The World. Wherever you are.
Saturday September 25th. Anytime you like.
Hold hands with someone of the same gender. Whoever they may be.
Step outside. Take a picture. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go for a walk. Don’t let go. Live your love. Note your surprise… when nothing happens.
Don’t ignore your survival instincts, but don’t be oppressed by them either.
The site is at: http://www.adayinhand.com/news/1stanniversaryofsshhsat
Oh …. and something that makes me very pleased personally ….
This month’s theme – whether or not the gay print media still have a role – seems an odd one to be set by a gay print magazine. It’s a little like Shell asking whether or not we really still need petrol! Still, a little self-contemplation can be a good thing, as long as we avoid navel-gazing.
Gay magazines and papers are no longer needed, so runs the argument, because the so-called mainstream press now reports gay issues regularly. While this is true, as far as it goes, I don’t think I wish to rely on the Daily Mail to bring me news so important to me! Of course, that particular bile-spewing rag is not representative of the whole of Fleet Street, but it does serve as a reminder of an important consideration; for the most part, the “mainstream” media are reporting ABOUT us, not for or to us. This distinction is important.
After all, the mainstream press is precisely that – mainstream. Its audience encompasses a wide range of views, admittedly, but all generally fairly close to one another on the continuum. For example, people who read the dailies may disagree over gay marriage, but it’s likely that few, if any, would propound the burning of faggots at the stake!
All well and good; let’s be thankful we’ve achieved so much, close down the GScene offices, cancel the subscription to Attitude and spend the last of OutRage!’s funds on a retirement shindig for Peter Tatchell. Aren’t our laurels a lovely place to rest?
Suppose, however, that public opinion changes; the centre shifts, mainstream mood moves and our hard –fought –for –and –won rights become abominations. Who, then, will champion our cause? To have to start from scratch could be as damaging as appointing Jan Moir head of the Human Rights Commission! We are, and should be, happy with and proud of all that has been achieved, and the progressive and liberal reality of modern day Britain. But we should not become complacent, and forget that we are where we are because people fought for our rights.
It is said that a population is never truly free, without a free press. Neither, I contend, is a gay population free without a free gay press.
Hmmm …. was somewhat relieved in the aftermath of the election, and the cobbled together coalition, that there was no sign of Chris Grayling MP or Phillipa Stroud in the cabinet. Perhaps the Lib Dems really were exerting a moderating influence on the “same old nasty party”.
Not, apparently, so. Without fanfare, announcement or acknowledgement of what utter shits the two of them are, he is appointed a Minister of State and she becomes a “special advisor”, both reporting to Iain Duncan Smith.
These sickening homophobes don’t deserve even to be heard by government, let alone to be active at its heart. Please, visit my petition to remove them and sign it!
Yes, I’m worried about the outcome – cards on the table time, I’m staunchly pro-Labour, and think Gordon Brown has been treated despicably by the media at large. I’m not blind to the problems that have occurred, and I’m certainly not going to attempt to justify the Iraq Invasion as some sort of legal war – however, major cock up though that may have been, it’s one glitch. Overall, both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have led a government whose focus has always been fairness, improving the lot of everyone and – crucially from my point of view – a serious commitment to LGBT / gay rights.
Let’s take a moment to look at what that has involved:
Since Labour became Government, it has:
A quick visit to mygayvote will show the difference between the Tories’ voting record and that of the Lib Dems and Labour. How any person in the LGBT community could vote for the Tories remains an utter mystery to me – a veneer of presentability, Cameron’s chameleonic adapting of whatever “position” or “belief” seems best to increase his chances of attaining power, and the great swathes of dark, evil, bigoted, hate filled, selfish and closed-minded members of the same old nasty party … is there no gratitude for what has been done by this Government? No recognition that in some cases past performance MAY be an indicator of future performance in this case? The Tories, the party of discrimination, of special interests, of greed-is-good politics, versus the Labour party which has consistently championed and supported us.
So, please vote – and as a preference, please vote LABOUR!(With thanks to Trevor Love)