25 May 2012

A Gay Manifesto

The fear of coming out is not paranoia. The stakes are high: loss of family ties, loss of job, loss of straight friends. These are all reminders that the oppression is not just in our heads. It's real. Each of us must make the steps toward openness at our own speed and on our own impulses. Being open is the foundation of freedom: it has to be built solidly.

Hey guys, I'm in a bit of a militant mood...

As some of you may know, I recently had an exam. What you wouldn't know is that the exam involved a number of topics including the media's representation of 'others', including homosexuals. In preparation, I read some things by gay authors and so on, including Carl Wittman's "A Gay Manifesto".

Although "A Gay Manifesto" was written in 1970, I found it to be really interesting. Now, I don't agree with everything he says, partially because he was writing about San Francisco 40 years ago. Nevertheless, the reason why I'm writing about him today is because I highly recommend that people read it.

I won't spoil everything Wittman says because you can just read everything in full by clicking that link but I will tell you a couple of things that I agree with:

  1. Homosexuality is the capacity to love someone of the same sex. For some reason, people seem to think that being gay is so much more. You don't have to be gay like musicals just as you don't have to be straight to enjoy a beer. If you like some things and dislike something else,  it's because you're you, not because you're gay. TV Tropes has a fairly extensive list of the various stereotypes about LGBT issues in film, television, etc. if you want to read it.
  2. Coming out isn't easy. It's not, I'm not going to act like it is and so I'm not going to tell anybody in the closet that I think they should come out right now. I do think that people should come out when they're ready and I think that the problem with coming out is not necessarily your sexuality, but rather how other people view your sexuality. When you plan on coming out one day, I highly recommend that you first come out to friends that you can trust and know will be okay with it. They can support you if things go wrong.

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