Sunday, 11 December 2011

Growing Up Straight v. Growing Up Gay: The Subtle Differences.

People have wondered aloud to me in the past: just how is being gay any different to being straight these days, anyway? Is there any need for all of this activism and whatnot that seems to be going on quite a bit? It's cutting in to the real news, you know, and I desperately want to hear more about what the Kardashians are up to.

Well, perhaps not quite in those words. But there are more than a few people out there who really aren't aware of the subtle little things that make life a bit more bizarre for the average gay man or woman. I'm going to list a few differences here from the point of view of a male because I happen to be one.

What your typical heterosexual is told by his parents about the topic:

Always practice safe sex, son. You might get a girl pregnant and have to pay child support. Or worse, raise it.
What your typical homosexual is told:

Always practice safe sex, son. Or you will die of AIDS.

Spot the difference? Unprotected sex is financial suicide for a straight guy. For a gay guy, it is literally suicide.

Here is a young heterosexual couple showing the level of caution about their open displays of affection that they have been taught by society:

"I hope everyone is watching this so that they can see we are totally in love"

A homosexual couple demonstrating same:

"I sure hope nobody bashes us for this"

Affection awareness is learned in early life and never really overcome for many people. Everything from holding hands upward requires a complete situational analysis before being approved by both parties to said affection.

A heterosexual boy approaches a girl in a bar because he finds her attractive. She reacts in the worst possible way:

I cripple your ego with my derisive laughter!

A gay boy tries the same thing with a man he finds attractive. He reacts in the worst possible way:

I cripple you, physically, with violence!

Pick-Up Risk is directly proportional to the establishment you're in and sounds far more promiscuous than it actually is. I'm not talking about trying to crack on to everyone you see, I'm simply talking about tentatively asking someone on a date.Taking a chance on asking out someone you like, in high school, in a bar, at university, in your workplace, anywhere, comes with the risk of a black eye.

This is the one they don't really tell you about as you're going through all the harder stuff mentioned above, but there's something you're getting yourself in to by virtue of the fact that you're gay. You now have a second job.

It looks a little like this:

And this:

And this:

Yes, you now have to work hard to justify yourself to a great many people. It might not be a problem, except that these people are the ones who are in charge of your life. They are government people, and corporate people, and higher-up religious people, and they like things just how they are. Slowly, one begins to realise that things are not right, and need to change. You take up the keyboard, and the placard, and the pen, and you write blogs, you protest, and you sign petitions. All in the hope that, maybe, the people that come after you won't have to do those things.

Being gay is not hard, it is just different. All of the things mentioned here are nobody's fault, per se. They're just things that we have to learn to live with that most other people do not. Changes are happening and need to happen. It's not a fantastic idea, for example, to teach parents that their gay children might as well be playing russian roulette every time they have sex. It's a sad indictment that gay couples feel the need to hide displays of affection above and beyond that which other couples do. It's an almost inextricable trait of the heterosexual male that he is not used to being hit on, and will react undesirably in some circumstances.

Seeing things from the other side of the fence can help with those changes. Hopefully, this will help people understand that gay activists aren't just making a big deal of things that shouldn't be made a big deal of. 'Near Enough' isn't good enough in this particular case.

Equality will come one day. Until then, it's back to the second job.

No comments:

Post a Comment