Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Brody's Scribbles... True Pride Comes From Within

Joseph Couture is a Canadian based Author and Freelance Journalist. Joseph's blogsite can be found here: [ Link ]
By Joseph Couture (London, Ontario) SEPT 1 | As another Pride season comes to an end in cities throughout Canada and the United States, it is becoming increasingly clear that the gay community needs to face a few unpleasant facts.
I’ve observed a very disturbing trend.  Rather than the vibrant, healthy and robust community gay pioneers had envisioned for us in the early days, the evidence points to a steep decline in collective morale, psychological well-being and over all health.
Many of the signs point to the same thing—trouble.
If you go out to the nightclubs in any given city you will see many new and fresh faces from the next generation of gay youth. The problem is, many of them are stoned out of their minds on drugs, or smashed into oblivion by the end of the night on a combination of drugs and alcohol. If you talk to many of these individuals, you will hear the same stories over and over again.  They speak of how they are afraid to admit to family and friends that they are gay because they fear rejection.  Worse, on some level they communicate that they actually believe they have committed a crime worthy of such punishment.
Many of the older gays are worse.  They ended up in sham marriages with a spouse and kids to prove their worthiness and make the family happy.  Then you can find them at the local bathhouse on the weekends, often still walking around wearing their wedding rings. If you ask these guys why they do it, they blame society and say they have no choice but to hide the truth.  They say ours is a world of hate which leaves them little option but to deceive those around them.
It is these same individuals, however, young and old who we now see still engaging in reckless unprotected sex.  They do so knowing full well the risks to themselves and others.  It isn’t simply that they are indifferent to the risks.  It seems more like they feel so inherently worthless they simply don’t care about themselves enough to bother protecting each other.
The gay community in Canada fought to achieve the right to marry like anyone else.  Never in all my years of activism have a seen a move back fire so profoundly as this “milestone.” It seems to me there has been a directly inverse relationship between the amount of acceptance we have on paper to the amount of acceptance we give ourselves.  Yes, gays have the right to marry.  But I don’t know almost any who have actually done it.  That’s because the first step in getting to the alter in a gay marriage is admitting to the world you are gay.
For most people that seems unthinkable.  Despite all of our gains, and despite the fact that we have been embraced by the larger society on an unprecedented scale, we still reject ourselves.
It is a documented fact that alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking and other self destructive behaviours are much higher in the gay community.  That is because we as a people are in such pain. But when do we stop blaming everyone else for our problems and take responsibility for ourselves.  Gay pride, real pride, comes from within.  It cannot be bestowed by the larger community or written into law.
The healing has to start with us.  We can’t blame society for all of our troubles forever.  If we want respect from others, first we must respect ourselves.


Trab said...

Dammit. I just spent 20 minutes creating a huge comment, and the system killed it. I am NOT happy.

Desmond Rutherford said...

Happens to the best of us Bart, my condolences.

Trab said...

I know it does, it just did. :)