“Who cares if I’m gay or not? Why do I need to ‘come out?’ Aren’t we beyond that?”

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“Who cares if I’m gay or not? Why do I need to ‘come out?’ Aren’t we beyond that?”

LicentiouslyYours LicentiouslyYours
Monday was National Coming Out Day and Sinclair Sexsmith had some really though provoking things to say about why it's still important.

We've come a long way—or have we?

Congress failed to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

California banned same-sex marriage.

Kids are still killing themselves after enduring abuse and bullying because of their sexual orientation. It happened when I was in high school (20 years ago) and it's happening today, which, when I stopped to really think about that, was really a devastating thought.

So, have we made any real progress? Or are we still just as ignorant and intolerant as we've always been?
10/14/2010
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Trashley Trashley
Well, as a member of the queer community who's been bullied and excluded because of it, I feel like coming out is necessary in this day and time. I think it's a beautiful statement. Eloquence isn't my forte, so excuse my disjointed thoughts.. Anyway, people expect a prototype. Ever since the freakin' biblical times we've had typological thinking come into play. We're biologically predisposed to "isms". Racism, sexism, all of that. If you're white, you're white. If you're black, you're black. If you're female, you're female. People can generally see these things from birth. This is a whole new type of ism, a kind you can't see. That's why it's so different. I needed to come out to say, hey, I'm not like you, but that's okay. That's how I personally felt, but for you, or someone else, coming out may be a horrible experience. Some people may just think that it's no one else's business. In the words of CokeTalk, "I can make a case for minivans and vanilla ice cream too, but who are we fucking kidding? You’re asking for a value judgement where one isn’t necessary." For me, it was more about accepting who I was than announcing to the world that I should be separated from them. It doesn't have to be negative. I still check mark the box on my census that reads "Hispanic". I don't see anyone up in arms about me "declaring" I'm a Latina. It's not any different unless you make it so. Coming out shouldn't be about anyone else but you coming to terms with your sexuality. And in my experience, queer kids have a much better footing in their sexuality than straight kids, because they explore at a younger age since they're not sure of what they want. An unexamined life is not worth living and all that. Besides, have you looked around lately? Gay acceptance has never been better. It's the kids that have always been terrible. Now being gay is more accepted and it's okay for kids to question their sexuality, but once kids get wind of someone who may be different from them, they're fucking vicious! It has very little to do with a close minded populous, but with the ever increasing depersonalization and emotional isolation children are experiencing with the advent of the internet. Look at any of the statistics. Do some research. But then again, I live in San Francisco. Someone from Georgia would I'm sure have a different answer. I'm gonna shut up now and go study for my neuroscience exam...
10/14/2010
Selective Sensualist Selective Sensualist
Quote:
Originally posted by Trashley
Well, as a member of the queer community who's been bullied and excluded because of it, I feel like coming out is necessary in this day and time. I think it's a beautiful statement. Eloquence isn't my forte, so excuse my disjointed ...
I think your post was very eloquent and agree with everything you've said. This set me on my own whirlwind, rambling musings:

"It's the kids that have always been terrible. Now being gay is more accepted and it's okay for kids to question their sexuality, but once kids get wind of someone who may be different from them, they're fucking vicious! It has very little to do with a close minded populous, but with the ever increasing depersonalization and emotional isolation children are experiencing with the advent of the internet."

This is true. However, this has always been true, even before the advent of the Internet. This is not to say that the Internet does not present all kinds of new ways to propagate bullying -- because it certainly does.

Kids are often vicious to their peers and mercilessly taunt their victims for any reason whatsoever -- sometimes simply due to jealousy. (Remember the 13 year old girl who was bullied online by an ex-friend and her mother who set up a fake Facebook profile of a boy . . . and the teenage girl from Ireland who was bullied . . . until they each committed suicide by hanging?)

Though adults can engage in childish, cliquish behavior, too, they are better equipped to deal with it (usually). But the school environment is absolutely perfect for fostering a groupthink, gang-like, cliquish behavior amongst kids who are trying to establish their social ranking and to test power dynamics.

There really are no kids who are ever 100% safe from being bullied. Bullying is a problem in and of itself, no matter who the target is. It is more about the bully establishing a power dynamic and exercising it by targeting whoever they deem an easy target.

I think, as adults, instead of turning a blind eye toward bullying when it occurs and allowing the kids to "work it out amongst themselves" (which, unfortunately, is the tactic employed by school administrators, as well as by many adults), we should make a stronger effort to call out bullying behavior when it occurs and to hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. When kids repeatedly engage in bullying, they should absolutely be denied access to extracurricular school activities. If they continue with their behavior, then suspensions should be mandatory (with length of time suspended dependent upon the level of bullying behavior they exhibited).

I know these types of sanctions have been employed against bullies before in a few cases, but I don't think it has been imposed regularly enough.

There are consequences to the behavior in which any of us choose to engage, kids or not -- and the consequences of bullying can be tragic. We have to do what we can to nip it in the bud as quickly as possible, instead of letting it go on and on to morph into a gang mentality of beating down the self-worth of those who are unfairly targeted. And ANYONE who is the subject of bullying is unfairly targeted. No one deserves that.
10/14/2010
Pleasure Piratess Pleasure Piratess
I think we have come a long way, but we are still not completely there yet. Especially for men.
10/14/2010
Sir Sir
Honestly, I say this constantly, but I do not think that progress is little by little. Progress, to me, is all or none.

So no. We haven't made progress at all. It shouldn't be accepting variant people as we find out about them - it should be acceptance of others because they're human beings, like everyone else, period.
10/14/2010
Kindred Kindred
I think we've made progress, but there's still a long way to go. Also, I think there's a difference between having equal rights and being fully accepted. What I mean is, take women for example. Women struggled for equal rights and achieved it in the eyes of the law. However, in reality, sexism still exists in the workplace. Women still earn lower salaries than male counterparts despite this supposed equality.

In terms of gays, we have made some progress legally and some progress socially, but there is quite a ways to go still. It feels like it will still take a long time for equality, but who knows? A lot has happened in my lifetime that I would have previously thought would not happen.

I think one of the major differences between "now" and "then" is that there is actually open discussion. Twenty years ago, the news would never have covered the teen suicides like today. And with discussion hopefully comes a degree of learning and understanding.
10/14/2010
LicentiouslyYours LicentiouslyYours
Wow, some really good insights and thank you for those of you who have shared your experiences.

@Sir - I appreciate your perspective, it would be nice if humanity, as a whole had the capacity to just be enlightened—but it's never been that way and never will be. Progress, by it's very definition is growth and development toward a goal, it is continuous improvement.

If our judgment of progress and success is declared only when we reach perfection, we have an impossible, unreachable goal for which few would bother to fight.
10/15/2010
Naughty Student Naughty Student
I think it has progressed and I am all for gay parades (not sure thats the way its called).

My partner thinks that parading your pride for your homosexual orientation is a way of encouraging the prejudice that there is a "them" and "us". Sort of creating even more seperateness. Soemthing like that. What do you guy think?
10/15/2010
Total posts: 8
Unique posters: 7