Thursday, December 6, 2007


I strongly urge you to read the latest post from my friend Don Charles entitled, "Gay Pride: The Place We've Never Been." It's not only provocative, but forces all LGBT people to think about the toxic effects of discrimination, the frequent confusion of "liberation" with hedonism, and the internalized homophobia that has one view oneself as "the other," that further segregates Gay people from both the larger society, from themselves, and from their self-worth, as well; how that internalized homophobia is marketed to Gay people, further reinforcing that segregation.

Here's an excerpt from that post that I hope will whet your appetite to read it in its entirety:

"As I surf the Gay blogosphere and sample Gay media, I find that a majority of us write and say denigrating things about ourselves and each another without thinking. Isn't it high time we started thinking? Thinking seriously about the poisonous language we love to use. Thinking seriously about the consequences of clinging to stereotypes. Thinking seriously about rising above juvenile obsessions with sex. Thinking seriously about assuming our rightful place in mainstream society. A person who answers to names like "queer" and "dyke" is marginalized in his or her own mind, and a person who calls his or her LGBT brethren by such names is identifying with the oppressor. Neither person has liberation as a goal. Both people have shame as an underlying motivator."
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Thanks again for the kudo, Jerry. Do you think LGBT folk will ever gain the courage to face their internalized shame? It's really getting to be a drag, seeing us be our own worst enemies.

Jerry Maneker said...

I think it will eventually happen but, unfortunately, not in the foreseeable future. The pressures encouraging hedonism and "otherness," in my opinion, stem not from a lack of precedent of meaningful activism, as we saw in the 1950's, 60's, 70's, and early 80's, but from self-absorption that took over this country in the 80's, and also infected the Gay community. Since the early 80's, the only issue to somewhat galvanize the Gay community was AIDS.

Then, when it was perceived that AIDS wasn't a death sentence, the self-absorption and hedonism took over, and they promise to dismantle so much of the terrific work of people such as Barbara Gittings, Franklin Kameny, Troy Perry, and the like.

Unfortunately, what civil rights that have accrued to Gay people will have to be taken away, or threatened to be taken away, before the self-absorption is eclipsed, and meaningful activism occurs once again.

Delighting in being "the other," in being perceived as "sexual outlaws," (In part due to internalized homophobia.) and as reinforcing the stereotype that being Gay equals being solely sexual, and equating hedonism with "liberation," is playing right into the hands of the strident homophobes, justifying in the minds of many in the middle that those homophobes are correct in their negative assessment of Gay people, and that Gay people are "not like us," and don't deserve the same consideration, the same civil rights, as do "people like us."

This is a profound tragedy, not the least reason being that all the wonderful work and energy exhibited by the activists of the past are being supplanted with frivolity, political expediency, and other self-destructive beliefs and actions that are retarding the acquiring of dignity and civil rights of LGBT people.