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Two Of Ten Suggested Ways To Sustain A Uniquely Gay Culture

GayTradeWorried that a unifying gay culture will go the way of the dodo if everyone mainstreams, Brian Moylan at The Guardian offers ten "key experiences every gay man should experience to draw them together."

Here are numbers five and ten:

5. Protest: Get out there with a picket sign and some anger and fight for your rights. Even before Stonewall we have a long history of fighting the man, and that should never die. You can collect signatures for marriage equality or you can join an Occupy protest and fight income inequality, but never stop fighting. And if PDA (public displays of agitation) aren't your thing, there are plenty of causes that need fundraising, which can easily be done over brunch (a gay art that somehow is not on this list).

10. Come Out Of The Closet: In our age of Gay Straight Alliances in schools and celebrities who live in a perpetual glass closet without ever making a final announcement, coming out seems it's going out of style. "Why should gay people have to come when straight people don't?" While in some distant gaytopia that might come to pass but until then it's probably the only unifying experience every gay person has.

We all have a coming out story, whether it was when your mom says she knew already, your father stopped talking to you, or your boss just didn't care and told you to go back to your desk. No matter what else you may or may not have in common with another gay person, you can always fall back on this. It's like talking about the weather, but far more interesting, and often with more tears.

Moylan also suggests adopting a diva as your own. I suggest fictional "old lady" Gemma Teller Morrow.

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Comments

  1. I agree with 9 & 10. Number 5 I could agree with if it was either reduced to campaigning for LGBT rights, or expanded to a broad 'societal improvement' category.

    The rest - particularly 1 through 4 - are silly. Not offensive, but an expression of woefully dated values, a lament for a culture that I don't identify with.

    Gay culture comes from gay men, not from particular archetypes within that culture. Not doing drugs or going to the bathhouse or having a diva does not make someone less gay, or less a part of gay culture than someone who does.

    I wonder if Moylan realizes that his arguments are the same that many homophobic and closeted gay men often employ - they don't think they're gay simply because they don't do 'gay' things - they simply have sex with men.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 17, 2012 2:03:12 PM


  2. Agree with Nat. The list is idiotic, the only parts I relate to are portions of 9 and that's giving to a good cause.

    The rest is a hodge podge of 80s gay habits that simply don't apply to most gay men's situations or attitudes today. It's horribly dated and tacky.

    Posted by: johnny | Aug 17, 2012 2:43:25 PM


  3. gay culture is what you make of it.

    those who rail against it most are, frankly, those who've barely dipped a toe into the various cultures and choose to complain and whine about "what they've heard" as opposed to what they know.

    go out and find your place. if you can't find it, MAKE it! after all, it took people "making it" for decades for any of these cultures, congregating places and more to even exist.

    now go out and do it :)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 17, 2012 2:53:07 PM


  4. Ugh - this thread is a perfect lure for Towleroad's resident troll Rick and resident troll-feeder Little Kiwi.

    No matter how hard either will entice you with

    "DA FEM GEYZ! DA FEM GEYS"

    or

    "DA URL! DA URL!"

    DO. NOT. FEED. THEM.

    Thank you. That is all.

    Posted by: Leo | Aug 17, 2012 2:55:02 PM


  5. his list seems very dated. I know growing up I had the boomers forcing their "gay" culture on us. Thank God we've moved on and their all to old to go out cruising. No one in my crowd likes drag or Cher.

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Aug 17, 2012 2:55:54 PM


  6. It's a pretty ridiculous list, and is so full of stereotypes that you 'd almost think Tony Perkins helped him write it.

    "Gay culture comes from gay men...". No less than it comes from gay women. But I certainly agree with you that I don't need to associate with any of the things on his list -- other thsn perhaps coming out --to participate fully in the gay culture that I know and love.

    Posted by: GregV | Aug 17, 2012 2:59:52 PM


  7. It's a pretty ridiculous list, and is so full of stereotypes that you 'd almost think Tony Perkins helped him write it.

    "Gay culture comes from gay men...". No less than it comes from gay women. But I certainly agree with you that I don't need to associate with any of the things on his list -- other thsn perhaps coming out --to participate fully in the gay culture that I know and love.

    Posted by: GregV | Aug 17, 2012 2:59:53 PM


  8. I read Little Kiwi's comment on this topic? It's open-minded and fair...and without prejudice.

    I don't think the author is actually expecting Gay men to do the 10 things on the list. In fact the article seems kind of tongue-in-cheek (the cheek on your face). He may be speaking to Gay men who hate the so-called stereotypes to accept diversity. There are stereotypes of every racial group, ethnic group, religious group, social class, etc.

    Like Little Kiwi said, your culture is what you make it. And understand that there are "cultural" differences within the Gay group. I guess within Gay culture there are Gay sub-cultures.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 17, 2012 3:19:38 PM


  9. i know straight men that enjoy Cher and get a kick out of drag shows.

    i'm always puzzled by the "i don't like anything stereotypically gay!" gays. why? because there are also straight people that like those things that people feel are "stereotypically gay."

    but my comment still stands - the culture and the community are what you make of them. what you bring to it and what you take from it.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 17, 2012 3:39:45 PM


  10. I guess today's gay culture consists of Grindr and meth. The core of gay culture is 1) escapism and 2) fun. Perfectly doable online, but that's perhaps a bit clinical.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 17, 2012 3:47:25 PM


  11. @LITTLEKIWI I sincerely believe in what you said so, thanks for putting it out there. One should better accept their individuality and fit in themselves rather than fitting in boxes, irrespective of the community that makes them.

    Posted by: Alejo | Aug 17, 2012 3:54:06 PM


  12. ""Gay culture comes from gay men...". No less than it comes from gay women. "

    I was using gay to exclusively refer to gay men, in reference to the particulars of the article. Because the article itself did not seem particularly interested in examining lesbian culture. But yes, there is a broader LGBT culture.

    "He may be speaking to Gay men who hate the so-called stereotypes to accept diversity."

    That is an inherent contradiction. The point of discouraging stereotypes is to strengthen diversity, not to weaken it. Stereotypes reinforce perceptions about 'authentic' group behaviours. They are the basis for marginalization both in and outside the group in question.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 17, 2012 3:59:10 PM


  13. I think the article was very tongue in cheek, so lighten up. But yeah, most of that stuff is very (and thankfully) dated. So, in the age of 100 TV channels and a trillion internet sites, can there be something akin to a modern gay culture? One that not every gay person must subscribe to, but one that a majority or more will enjoy being part of?

    After all, with a trillion internet sites, most people are linked by facebook, twitter and maybe Tumblr. Can there be a modern gay culture with commonalities? If so, what might any of you suggest be part of it?

    Posted by: Zlick | Aug 17, 2012 4:06:49 PM


  14. Meh, not a fan. I'm into the things I'm into, and I'm not going to do something because being gay means I "should." Liking things just because they are "gay" seems stupid to me.

    I've come out and that's about it (maybe I do have a little gaydar). Do I feel any less gay because none of the other things on the list appeal to me? No, why should I. Neither that author no self-professed "queen of the gays" gets to decide what is "gay culture."

    I find this article to be worthless.

    Posted by: Jack | Aug 17, 2012 4:07:39 PM


  15. actually, stereotypes are not the basis for marginalization.

    it's the knee-jerk assumption that something is inherently "negative" because it's deemed a "Stereotype" that is the basis for marginalization.

    like that video i made a year ago that made this site's resident trolls freak the f**k out - the barbra streisand thing.

    i'd spent my entire life hearing people denigrate and talk down to the "barbra-streisand-loving types of gay males"

    so i avoided Anything Barbra for 25 years. Because I didn't want to be associated with "those stereotypical gays that like Barbra Streisand."

    but why? I avoided something because i didn't want to be targeted by people who think that just because something is deemed a "Stereotype" means that it's open-grounds for mockery.

    and then, like my video explained, when my mum sat me down one day to watch Yentl and then Funny Girl i had the wake-up call: stereotype or not, i DO like barbra streisand. a lot.

    and at no point have i ever said that all gay men have to like her. it's just so stunning that some other (closeted and anonymous) gay males feel a need to tell me why i SHOULDN'T like her.

    learn to discern, folks. it aint the "stereotype" that is the problem - it's the (learned) baggage you bring TO the perceived stereotype.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Aug 17, 2012 4:10:45 PM


  16. "actually, stereotypes are not the basis for marginalization.

    it's the knee-jerk assumption that something is inherently "negative" because it's deemed a "Stereotype" that is the basis for marginalization."

    No, it is the stereotype that is the problem.

    By definition in this instance, a stereotype is a simplified social conception of a group that is applied to an individual.

    The problem with the stereotype is that it is an unnecessarily simplistic marker of human behaviour. There is no need to reduce a person all the way down to their interests, or the way they talk, or the music they listen to. Even when it's framed in so-called 'positive' terms, it by definition reduces a person to an autonomous member of a collective. And since it is often used as a contrasting marker, even if it is viewed as 'positive' in one sense, it it will always be employed negatively in a comparative sense.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 17, 2012 4:19:39 PM


  17. Ummm, he's being sarcastic, ironic, or WTF ever you want to call it. He starts off by saying that he doesn't like "Turn in your gay card!" criticism for daring to step outside narrowly defined "gay rules." Then he lays out those "rules" to draw attention to their silliness. Do you *really* think he believes all gay men should use poppers?

    The only thing on that list I consider valid is coming out. It's important, maybe even essential, to step outside the narrowly defined STRAIGHT rules and stand up for yourself. Ask yourself, if you're living your life to please others, when does it get to be YOUR turn to have what you want? No one is living THEIR life to please you, so why should you live your life to please others?

    Posted by: Caliban | Aug 17, 2012 4:24:33 PM


  18. There will eventually be a single new male culture that will make the old "gay" culture of effeminacy obsolete.

    The old gay culture (not by any means totally extinct yet, although the trends are encouraging) was a reflection of oppression and societal rejection--"divas" were (and sadly, still are) lived vicariously through by gay men who accepted the idea that their sexuality made them something less than men--masculinely inferior beings who therefore should model their behavior on women rather than men. Ditto for drag and camp--two other items on his list.

    Basically, these behvaioral phenomena were and are a form of self-hatred and a consequence of low self-esteem--both products of oppression, as is any kind of effeminate behavior.

    Hopefully, as oppression lifts and as "straight" men free themselves from dependence on and attachment to women, they will become liberated sexually and "gay" men will become liberated at the same time from their own misguided attachment to women.....and the happy medium that emerges will make life better for all of us.....

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 17, 2012 5:03:55 PM


  19. omg, imagine Rick & l'il Kiwi in the same room. Can we make that happen somehow? :--)

    Posted by: just_a_guy | Aug 17, 2012 5:25:33 PM


  20. I'm callin that Li'l Kiwi would win an arm-wrestling contest with Rick, btw.

    Posted by: just_a_guy | Aug 17, 2012 5:26:21 PM


  21. LOVE the SOA reference. If we all were as tough as Gemma, we'd be ruling the world!

    Posted by: AriesMatt | Aug 17, 2012 5:33:01 PM


  22. "--masculinely inferior beings who therefore should model their behavior on women rather than men. Ditto for drag and camp--two other items on his list."

    Rick,

    did you ever see the movie "Torch Song Trilogy?" As much as I love Harvey Fierstein--he said something in the beginning of the movie (also the earlier play, I guess) that disturbed me. He said that "drag performance" was for Gay people what "Amos and Andy" was to Black people. And that as Gay people gain more civil rights that drag performance would go away.

    Well, I hope Harvey has changed mind. That movie was made in 1988. It is now 2012, and what is one of the most popular shows in Gay television? Rupaul's Drag Race.

    Rick, you are on a campaign that you will never win.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 17, 2012 5:36:49 PM


  23. Excuse me, but RuPaul's Drag Race isn't popular because all the gays watch it, Rick actually has a point.

    It's popular because the straights watch it, and many take it as to be indicative of gay culture.

    It's not. The whole point of the article, and most of you have TOTALLY missed it, is that there IS NO monolithic gay culture.

    Posted by: Buckie | Aug 17, 2012 5:48:13 PM


  24. "The whole point of the article, and most of you have TOTALLY missed it, is that there IS NO monolithic gay culture."

    No, Buckie, I think most of us do get what the article is about. It's those who want to "get rid" of a long standing segment of the Gay world who may not get it.

    "Excuse me, but RuPaul's Drag Race isn't popular because all the gays watch it"

    That may be true, but a lot do. We're diverse, aint we?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 17, 2012 5:54:51 PM


  25. Meth addiction, denial, poppers, and drag are not really aspects of gay culture that I'm interested in; or want to be associated with.

    The future isn't the conformity that wiped out a generation; the future is in real diversity.

    There's a reason we dropped the Pink Triangle. We were, and still are, our own worst enemy.

    Posted by: Self-hating-gay | Aug 17, 2012 6:08:15 PM


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