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[P]
Come out...come out...

By communista in Culture
Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 09:58:37 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Anyone who is a member of the les/bi/gay community knows that it's not always the easiest thing to come out. It's very easy to say that coming out is much simpler in the virtual world, but aside from those online personal ads and cheesy softcore porn sites, how do you identify with others in the community?


Do you make a point of concealing your sexuality, for fear of the prejudice you could potentially encounter as one could in real life, surrounded by strangers? In some cases people may be reluctant to come out, because some may only see them as one thing, gay. It's unfortunate, but it's easy become "That gay guy I work with" rather than just "Bob".

It's hard enough to identify with the geek community if you're a girl, or even just a geek, but what if you're gay? To many it may not matter much, but it's always nice to have a sense of belonging. To some, being a gay geek is nothing more that picking up guys/girls on AOL Instant Messager. Come on. Wouldn't it be nice to know there's others out there just like you?

Look on the net and there's several sites you may find about geeks in the gay community but why migrate elsewhere when you've established a comfort zone where you are? I don't intend to imply that K5 should start flying pride flags about the site, but why be covert? If there were an IRC room catering to the "family" of K5, would you visit it? There are many bright aspects of all of us, why should being gay or bi, geeky, and proud, not be one of them to celebrate?

Clearly this article will post some questions and curiosities....what better forum but here to voice them? All opinions are welcome! The poll I include with this may ruffle a few feathers, but it's a curiosity of mine, as well as others, I'm sure.

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Poll
I would be...
o Interested to interact with the other "Family" members of K5 11%
o Straight and unopposed to the idea of geeks getting "out there" 45%
o Straight and opposed to the idea of geeks getting "out there" 3%
o Indifferent to the whole thing. 38%

Votes: 134
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o girl
o geeks in the gay community
o Also by communista


Display: Sort:
Come out...come out... | 111 comments (96 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
Doesn't bother me. (3.69 / 13) (#3)
by slick willie on Fri Jan 26, 2001 at 11:59:41 PM EST

As one of the few "flaming conservatives" around here, I'm sure that y'all would be surprised to know that I really don't care if you're out or not. I have worked and been around and befriended people of all sexual stripes. It's not a problem.

I do take objection when it is crammed down my throat, from some of the folks out there on the fringe. That is tiresome.

To my way of thinking, life is tough enough, and that if you can find a person who you can share with and be comfortable with, that is wonderful, and what you do behind closed doors is absolutely none of my business.

I worked with a gay man and we got along great. He respected my boundaries and I his. Nothing to it.

I'm just rambling, but it's time for me to go home...

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

Doesn't bother me too! (4.20 / 5) (#6)
by tftp on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 12:16:30 AM EST

People are different, not only in their personal preferences but also in color of their skin (or feathers, or scales - whatever), in language they speak, in culture, in religion... I see no obvious difference between all those aspects of being a person.

As I said many times, I do not need to know if someone is gay, white or zoroastrist - unless we discuss that very thing and voluntarily disclose some personal details.

In my opinion, society unfairly created an evil image of child-eating minorities for its own purposes (of low-end mind control, mostly). Lefties could be as good straw man as any. Crowd is fascinated with lynching, politicians know that and happily feed minorities to lions. That is hardly new practice.

[ Parent ]

Shoving Down Throat (4.12 / 8) (#10)
by mattyb77 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:04:03 AM EST

Personally, I wish straight folks would quit shoving their sexuality down my throat by exclusively reserving the right to marriage, holding hands in public without fear, and a whole slew of other things that are very tiresome.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
Shoving Down Throat (3.50 / 6) (#19)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:24:10 AM EST

"I don't want to have men's private parts shoved down my throat" (quoted from memory, I believe spoken by Christian Democratic Party leader Fred Nile about nudity during the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras street parade).

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Give that man a cigar! (2.80 / 5) (#26)
by FyreFiend on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:50:21 AM EST

Right there is my whole problem with the gay community. There is a group within it that seems to think that they are helping by shocking the hell out of everyone. They may not make up are large part of the community (I don't know if they do or don't) but they are the most vocal. They are, unfortunately, what John Q. Public thinks of when he hears the word "gay" and as long as that kind of image is being put forth by some in the community most people will never accept gays marrying, holding hands, or anything else strait couples can do.


/me gets of the soapbox


--
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
-- Mark Twain


[ Parent ]
mardi gras (4.00 / 4) (#34)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 04:30:55 AM EST

Well actually getting a decent view of anything at Mardi Gras is pretty difficult. The only time I saw it live I was camped out on the street from 3pm (starts at 8pm). Many had got there earlier. Like porn on the net, it's not like you are going to see it by accident.

I guess it does shock people, but it does a great job of showing people that gays really do exist. On one hand I think you may be right, but on another hand, it's better that people know about gays via Mardi Gras than letting them know about gays via Rev Phelps.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]

well... (2.66 / 3) (#35)
by FyreFiend on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 04:37:17 AM EST

Alright, mardi gras was not the best example but I've seen gay pride parades that were at the same level with mardi gras on shock value.

--
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
-- Mark Twain


[ Parent ]
I wish I could understand. (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 05:14:08 AM EST

letting them know about gays via Rev Phelps.

*sigh*.

[ Parent ]

Why should your problem be others' problem? (3.40 / 5) (#42)
by itsbruce on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 09:31:46 AM EST

The fact that you are shocked or offended by something is not in itself a valid objection to anything. Maybe your reaction is unreasonable. To ask people to reign in their behaviour on the sole grounds that it may offend the prejudiced is not reasonable.

John Q. Public used to find it mortally shocking if a white woman walked down the street with a black man. Some still do but one of the main reasons it has become acceptable is that people kept doing it and not hiding it.

Sometimes it's good for people to be shocked. It may make them think and they may, in time, cease to be shocked - through familiarity if nothing else.


--

It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.
[ Parent ]
I guess I came off wrong (4.25 / 4) (#43)
by FyreFiend on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 09:47:07 AM EST

I have no problem with anyone; gay, strait, whatever getting married, holding hands in public, kissing in public, etc. Hell, I'm more likely to get a happy little smile if I I see a gay couple kiss then a strait couple because I think it's wonderful that they love each other and aren't afraid to show it.

If they want to match down the street holding hands with their partner and carrying signs that's great. That is a positive image. My problem is with those in the community that feel that have to be shocking (as in volgar) to get their point across.

I have little problem with with people flashing someplace were they're doing it for fun (a club, bar, etc) but in the middle of the street where it's being pretty much forced on anyone near them I do have a problem. Just as I would have a problem with a woman flashing her breasts in the middle of the street. If you want to do things like that do it where there is no chance of kids being around.



--
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
-- Mark Twain


[ Parent ]
Sounds Like To Me (3.75 / 4) (#51)
by mattyb77 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 02:26:20 PM EST

It definitely sounds like to me that you don't have a problem with the gay community, but with people that show their genitals in public.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
Wrong Blame (4.50 / 2) (#48)
by mattyb77 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:47:45 PM EST

What you're saying implies that it is the gay community's fault that some idiots stereotype us based on those in the community that prefer to shock -- a small minority at that.

The only thing that we have in common with each other is that we're not straight. That's it. We are not necessarily liberal, intelligent, or even fashion concious -- and some of us like to go to extremes. So what?

To say that you have a problem with the gay community based on a small minority of people doesn't make much sense to me.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
Note to self: don't post when tired (4.00 / 3) (#63)
by FyreFiend on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 08:56:53 PM EST

Apon rereading my posts I see that I did come off as an ass and I'm sorry. I really, really could have worded that a lot better.
You are right, my problem is with that minority with in the community. I guess the reason that I get so worked up about it is because I (someone that doesn't really feel like part of it but am very sympathetic towards it's causes) rarely see those within the community speak up against that minority.

My apoligies to you and anyone else I offended. I wasn't trying to.

--
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
-- Mark Twain


[ Parent ]
Mardi Gras Nudity (1.29 / 17) (#52)
by mattyb77 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 02:28:24 PM EST

Has anyone bought one of those videos I see advertised on TV that show college girls showing their tits for beeds at Mardi Gras in New Orleans?

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
um, no... (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by enterfornone on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 05:14:22 AM EST

But I've spoken to people who have seen the New Orleans Mardi Gras first hand, and it does happen.

It's certainly true that lewdness isn't restricted to gays, gays however do seem to cop more flack when it does happen. No one suggests that the behavior at the New Orleans Mardi Gras is representative of hetrosexuals in general.

Why the hell was the above post mass modded to 0 BTW?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Good Question (none / 0) (#83)
by mattyb77 on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 01:48:28 PM EST

I didn't make the point you did about heterosexuals and Mardi Gras, since the point was made about gays at the Sydney Mardi Gras.

Boo Hoo. Now I've lost Trusted User status.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]

It all depends (4.44 / 9) (#23)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:38:46 AM EST

on what you mean by 'shoving it down my throat'.

Wearing a tattoo on your forehead which says 'I'm gay; deal with it' would be rude, and shoving it down your throat. Constantly asking you out on dates would be sexual harassment, and shoving it down your throat.

What bothers me --- and seems to *really* bother mattyb77 --- is that 'shoving it down my throat' is often used to describe things like, oh, kissing in public, or holding hands, or any of dozens of things that straight couples do *all the time* without thinking about it.

If i'm kissing another man in public, it's not because I want to make a statement, or because i'm trying to shove my sexuality down someone's throat (well, maybe i'm trying to shove my tongue down my partner's throat, but that's another story); it's because i feel safe, and am with someone i want to kiss, and do so for *exactly* the same reasons that a straight guy would kiss a woman in public.

[ Parent ]

wrong way of looking at it. (4.33 / 6) (#30)
by Nyarlathotep on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 04:08:21 AM EST

Actually, the whering a shirt with the message "I'm gay deal with it" would not be "shoving it down your throat any more then whering a shirt which says "I'm a linux user deal with it," putting a jesus or darwin fish on your car, or a girl whering skimpy clothing. These are all "showing off" and they serve the invaluble purpose of reminding us all about the diversity of people that live arround us, i.e. if your gay, atheist, or just have a wierd world view then "comming out" will likely decrease your friends and associates mental justification for descrimination.

Now, you could make the case that a tattoo on your forehead which said "I'm a Linux user deal with it" is "shoving it down your throat" since it means that people will be exposed to this content in *every* interaction with you, i.e. it's *almost* as bad as mentioning Linux in every conversation you have with someone. Still, I think "Shoving it down your throat" is a stupid way to describe this. A much more accurate description is "one track mind," i.e. your too predictable to be interesting to talk to. Actually, the tatto thing is a bit wierd, but it should probable be placed in the category of bumper stickers and .sigs which is really no where near as bad as having a one track mind.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
Shoving it down your throat ... (3.50 / 4) (#32)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 04:25:06 AM EST

I actually have no clue what people mean by this when they say it --- I was trying to imagine actions or scenarios which might fit the term, and came up short.

It's one of the two things that come up in gay politics a lot that I don't understand at all; the other one is 'recruitment'.

[ Parent ]

Recruitment (4.33 / 3) (#50)
by mattyb77 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 02:18:27 PM EST

The idea of recruitment stems from the fear that if a young person (especially a boy, for some reason) is exposed to anything related to homosexuality that he/she will become gay. This includes everything from Ellen on television to someone's first time having sex.

Those that make suchstatements tend to forget that the young individual who's exposed wouldn't "become gay" if they didn't already have a predisposition to it.

Personally, I wouldn't have wanted to expose myself to anything "gay" if it wasn't for the fact that I wanted to date other boys instead of girls when I hit puberty.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]

Well that's it, exactly ... (3.66 / 3) (#53)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 02:36:47 PM EST

as far as i can tell, what you are exposed to may effect what you *do* but it can't really effect what you *want* ... so when right-wingers start blathering about recruitment i get all confused; i don't see what the point would be.

[ Parent ]
Well here's my take on shoving and throats (3.00 / 2) (#72)
by kraant on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 04:07:48 AM EST

If a person manages to mention that they're gay (or straight for that matter) within the first 30 seconds you start talking to them then they're probably a loser.

If they keep doing it I'd wonder whether it was because they have such a pathetic personality they simply can't hold an intelligent conversation.

Of course if they were cute I'd probably just hit on them but I never said I wasn't shallow or a hypocrite...


--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Talking at people (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by Stanley Kubrick on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 11:29:44 AM EST

If a person manages to mention that they're gay (or straight for that matter) within the first 30 seconds you start talking to them then they're probably a loser.

Just like those people who can't talk about anything except their religion/sporting activities/technical achievements. One-dimensionality is no fun in conversation...

[ Parent ]
Why we 'cram [gayness] down your throat' (5.00 / 4) (#108)
by DranoK on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 06:52:04 PM EST

You didn't grow up gay. Sorry. Just like I didn't grow up in poverty. I didn't grow up a racial minority. I know I don't know what it feels like to grow up in these circumstances, so I try not to guess. And if I must, I always keep my observations to myself.

When I get in someone's face about being gay, it's because I need to reaffirm to myself and to everyone around who I am. For the most part I am a Sr. UNIX SysAdmin who has earned the respect of his coworkers. But I'm also someone who grew up thinking I must constantly hide who I was from people. The paranoia gets to you; you start thinking that even if you chew on a pencil wrong people will think you're queer. Every second of my day when I was a kid was spent making sure nobody ever knew I was gay. After 5 years of this, you get rather defensive.

Then you come out. Or get outed. And with the notable exception of many parents, it usually doesn't turn out to be as bad as you thought. Your paranoia is still there; it just changes. It becomes an unreasoning fear that you will be forced to go back in the closet. You feel freedom and acceptance, but also believe you must fight for every second of that freedom you feel. It's in this state that gays (at least me) can 'get in your face about their sexuality'.

Simple things can really make me defensive. I know I'm being oversensative at times, yet I can't help the defensiveness I grew up with. A political opinion someone has about homosexuality may not interfere with how they treat me as an individual, but it can really hurt to be constantly reminded of the restrictions and controversy over who you are. I get frustrated because I don't understand how gays can be a topic of debate. I don't understand how there can be anything political involved. To me, I am not fighting for rights to be given to me but for rights not to be taken away.

You say activism can be 'tiresome'. That's hurtful. It hurts when people want to simply shove gay issues aside. It hurts when people believe what you believe in to be boring. If you know someone who's gay, take the time to talk to them. Share experiences growing up. Talk about first love, about school -- anything. Gays aren't different from anyone else, yet how we grew up was fundamentally different. Whereas most straight kids are simply given the self-esteem they need, most gay kids have to discover it.

I do not want to risk talking for anyone else, but I know the years of hiding were the most painful time I have ever experienced. The 5 years following until now, until I have come out, until I have taken opportunities to 'get in your face' about being queer, have greatly enriched who I am.


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence
--DranoK



[ Parent ]
Coming out here (3.83 / 6) (#8)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 12:48:15 AM EST

I'm straight, but recently I admitted in my diary to having a bit of a crush on a girl I know. I doubt much will come from it but the fact is I've mentioned it here without mentioning it to anyone in real life.

It's not that hard to find out who I am in real life. Most of my friends know my handle and could find my web page (which links to my diary) fairly easily. I regularly talk to two of this girls friends on ICQ so it would just be a matter of them clicking on my user info and then my home page and from there my diary.

What is it that the net that makes people comfortable about revealing stuff they wouldn't talk about to their friends and family. Or am I the only one?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Nothing to worry about (4.50 / 6) (#69)
by spaceghoti on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 01:59:48 AM EST

It's the anonymity factor. You can say things to a perfect stranger you couldn't say to your spouse/family/friends because the opinion of a perfect stranger doesn't hold as much weight for you as the aforementioned group. If I walk up to you and say you have a pretty face or an ugly hair style, you can blush or frown and walk away, either way moving on with your life without much regard for what I think. You are effectively dismissing me for the random element that I am in this situation; someone you don't know giving you an unsolicited opinion on the basis of criteria you have no control over.

Family and friends are not so easily dismissed however. These are people who helped shape and define you, and people you choose to be with to complement who you are and what you believe. Their opinion are weighted far more heavily than my random comment because these people help define how you see yourself. You can't just walk away from them and take no thought for their comments because of what they mean to you.

It's therefore much safer to admit deep, personal and possibly embarrassing things to strangers (such as on the Internet) because you can revel in positive feedback and ignore negative feedback without worrying that someone you actually know will participate. Human beings. We're such silly creatures.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
Some of us are out to my friends and family (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by Paul Crowley on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 06:07:16 AM EST

As you can see from my website, I'm out to pretty much everyone about pretty much everything.
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (3.00 / 4) (#9)
by FyreFiend on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:03:05 AM EST

I've never really understood the whole gay community or gay pride thing.
I'm bisexual. Most of my friends know and it's not a problem (if it was they wouldn't be my friends). I don't flaunt it. It's just part of who I am and because of that I find myself more excepted then "flamers". Heck, I don't want to hang out with flamers.

Would I hang out in #gay_kuro5hin? I don't know. For the last four years I've been going out with a female so I'm not sure I'd fit in but I'd probably check it out.

--
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
-- Mark Twain


Gay community (3.33 / 3) (#18)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:13:39 AM EST

A lot of people I know think I'm bi, mainly cos I'm happy to flirt with guys at bars or whatever but I've never really considered myself that way, I don't usually correct people however. I think being bi wouldn't be too hard, since you can always date girls if there are no decent guys around (or the other way around if you are female).

But being gay you would I think have to get out into the gay community in order to meet people. You sort of have to flaunt being gay because most people assume straight to be the default.

Perhaps I'm confusing the gay community with the gay "scene". What does everyone else here consider the gay community to be?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Re: Gay community (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by FyreFiend on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:29:56 AM EST

I don't know if being bi's really that easy either. It's harder then being strait. I think the hardest part is running into people that think being bi is all about kinky sex and judging you on that.

I can see your point about someone that's gay. I guess living just outside of a large city has altered my view of society a bit. Of the people I know about 70% are strait, 20% bi, 10% gay.

--
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
-- Mark Twain


[ Parent ]
bi (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:33:04 AM EST

Yeah a lot of people think bi means that you have to have both men and women. So someone who is bi couldn't possibly be faithful to a single partner.

And of couse many think being bi means being into group sex etc.

I'd say it would be harder than being straight from that sort of sense, I was mainly talking about it being hard from the point of meeting potential partners.


--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Re: Bi (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by FyreFiend on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:59:24 AM EST

That wasn't really towards to (sorry). It was more of a general rant.
The problem with meeting partners is that there are too many people that say they're bi because they're into group sex but I understand what you mean. In a way I guess it's easier and harder.



--
Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we".
-- Mark Twain


[ Parent ]
I'm probably going to be roasted for this (3.70 / 10) (#11)
by kraant on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:06:38 AM EST

But I'm going to vote this down.

As far as I've seen the reaction that most "geeks" give to finding out someone they know is gay is something along the lines of shrugging and saying so what..

I don't realy see the difference in an article like this and an article calling upon all aussies to reveal themselves

Don't get me wrong, if I saw a comment calling someone a queer cunt I'd rate them 1 and rabidly flame them.

But I just don't think anyones sexuality is an important enough issue to dedicate a whole article to it.

If I had to pidgeon hole myself I'd call myself bi, but I realy don't want anyone to think that just because a tall, trim, athletic guy with wavy blonde hair will make me swoon that I have anything in common with them...

That especialy on the net is totaly and utterly irrelevent to who I am and how I present myself, and just like I don't care what sexuality others have or what color hair or skin they have or how they talk, I want the same courtesy from them.

Thankyou


--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
Beg to Differ (4.50 / 6) (#12)
by mattyb77 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:25:53 AM EST

I beg to differ with your statement that one's sexuality isn't worthy of a whole article.

I shouldn't have to remind you that non-straights are a minority in the world and, for the most part, are denied many rights that others take for granted: marriage, adoption, inheretence, etc.

I think it is worthy of an article because my sexuality affects my life in a MAJOR way, simply beyond the gender of the person that I love.

I realize that a lot of folks on K5 don't have a problem or even care about the sexuality of others, but you can't disregard it as something unimportant.

Furthermore, coming out to other geeks has not always been a positive experience for me. Most don't simply shrug and say, "So what?" First they can't believe it then they make sure that I understand their sexuality, and then we go from there.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
Sexuality wouldn't be important... (4.12 / 8) (#13)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:45:40 AM EST

if society didn't make it so.

Personally I think some gays are doing themselves a disservice by turning homosexuality into a political movement that excludes straights rather than fighting for equality for all.

Of course many straights are living in the delusion that society and governments no longer discriminate against minorities.

I've often wondered whether women, blacks, jews etc. (groups that have in the past been subject to much discrimination) and any more tolerant towards gays than the white male christians that run most western governments. Anyone have any insight?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Hmm (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by mattyb77 on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 02:05:17 PM EST

Personally I think some gays are doing themselves a disservice by turning homosexuality into a political movement that excludes straights rather than fighting for equality for all.

Can you explain this further? I'm not quite sure what you mean. How does the movement exclude straights?

If you're saying what I think you're saying, then I disagree. Every gay organization that I've ever been a part of has included straight individuals. This includes the gay youth group I attended as a teenager, the LBGSA at Ball State University, and the P-FLAG chapter here in Indianapolis.

Of course many straights are living in the delusion that society and governments no longer discriminate against minorities.

That is so true! Very often I find straight people that have no idea that it was legal to fire someone for being gay. They just assumed that it was illegal. I've also known people that assumed it was legal to marry someone of the same sex. How they figure that is beyond me.

I've often wondered whether women, blacks, jews etc. (groups that have in the past been subject to much discrimination) and any more tolerant towards gays than the white male christians that run most western governments. Anyone have any insight?

Some are, some aren't. For example, there are those in the African-American community that think it is wrong to be gay and take great offense to any of us comparing our movement to theirs. I can see why they'd feel that way.

But for the most part, liberal-based organizations have a history of working together and supporting the others' causes. I do know that the gay march on Washington in the early 90's (94?) included a huge mission statement that included women's rights and the end of discrimination for everyone, among dozens of others.

Rich Tafel of the Log Cabin Republicans (a gay Republican organization) is quoted for saying that the march on Washington in 1994 wasn't focused enough on gay rights.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]

excluding straights (4.00 / 2) (#58)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 07:52:25 PM EST

Can you explain this further? I'm not quite sure what you mean. How does the movement exclude straights?

If you're saying what I think you're saying, then I disagree. Every gay organization that I've ever been a part of has included straight individuals. This includes the gay youth group I attended as a teenager, the LBGSA at Ball State University, and the P-FLAG chapter here in Indianapolis.

Well here in Sydney (considered one of the gay capitals of the world) there are a number of gays that advocate keeping straights out of gay nightclubs etc. I've heard stories of "breeders" verbally abused for kissing at a gay bar. To get into the Mardi Gras after party you have to have two references from people in the gay community. Sure there are hetros who have the same attitude towards gays but that's no excuse IMO.

I hope these gays are in the minority but they certainly exist.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]

Stereotyping (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by mattyb77 on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 01:59:18 PM EST

Please keep in mind that not all gay people have the same mindset. I've said in the past that the only thing we have in common with each other is that we're not straight.

The examples you give me are pretty ridiculous (that people do such things). I'm shocked that there are people in the community that would behave that way since I find the exclusion of others to be hypocritical, but keep in mind that it only represents Sydney's gay community and not the rest of the world.

Please don't stereotype us.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
On the net no-one knows you're a dog (3.37 / 8) (#64)
by kraant on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 09:02:07 PM EST

Whether you have had problems in the outside world or not no-one is going to beat you up or remove your account for being gay on k5.

You could make your sig say I'm a pink flaming gay flamingo and nothing would happen.

Your problems are nothing compared to the suffering endured by left handed people in the 7 millenia of recorded history. But if I saw a post calling for solidarity between all the sinister brothers and sisters I'd vote it down.

Here the only thing that's gurranteed about the people you're interacting with here is that if they sound sentient they probably are sentient. Anyone who assumes anything more than that is setting themselves up for dissapointment.

And in that dissapointment they'll learn something a lot more valuable than they'll learn reading an article full of people posturing about their sexuality.

On the net no-one can tell you're a dog, So I don't realy see the point in doing anything other than affirming the fact that we are all thinking, feeling beings... If anyone wants to talk about stuff that shows them to be gay, straight, into stuffed childrens toys then all power to them. But you want to know who else is gay/straight/whatever so you can associate with them or think they should identify with you because of it? Congratulations you're on the first step towards being a bigot.

Bah! people... present them with utopia and they'll try and recreate what they're comfortable with... What a waste of oxygen.


--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
Huh? (3.00 / 2) (#86)
by mattyb77 on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 02:21:31 PM EST

I know the article discussed solidarity of gays on K5, but I don't think I've read a single post in this article even talking about such a concept. Whenever an article comes up about gay people on K5, there are always posts from people talking about why they have a problem with us. To me, it is a chance to educate.

Yeah, it is my little crusade, but

But you want to know who else is gay/straight/whatever so you can associate with them or think they should identify with you because of it? Congratulations you're on the first step towards being a bigot.

Huh?

Please explain how wanting to associate with other gay people is the first step to becoming a bigot.

Not only can you not tell the sexuality of someone on the net, you can't in real life either. It isn't like skin color.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]

I'm wondering why you chose flamingo . . . (none / 0) (#112)
by discoflamingo13 on Fri Feb 02, 2001 at 11:08:57 PM EST

Ya know. Just a general kind of thing.



The more I watch, the more I learn ---
If you set yourself on fire, the world will pay to watch you burn.
--- Course of Empire

[ Parent ]
unity (or not) of the gay community (4.16 / 6) (#14)
by _Quinn on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 02:42:06 AM EST

   I've often wondered what causes the (apparent) unity among gays. Is it just the persecution (discrimination)? That is, the us vs. them mindset that causes individuals lumped together by society to feel mutual identification, whether or not they would otherwise? I was going to start by summarizing the article replacing 'gay' with 'left-handed' when this came to mind.

   Then I realized that the explanation could be simpler, if perhaps a bit cynical: if all the billiards halls in my town were for men only, I might develop an (apparent) affinity for ping-pong, just so I could meet women (as you might have guessed by now, I'm hetero). And I might want to join a ping-pong on-line discussion group, and start defending ping-pong players as a group, and asking discussion sites how ping-pong players might indentify themselves to each other. Of course, this metaphor is mostly garbage. :)

   So I guess my (quite possibly offensive) question is: what about being gay, as opposed to being, say, left-handed, makes forming a gay society so important? Is that society (about which I will admit to a shameful ignorance) more shaped by something intrinsic about being gay, or by the pressure of the 'mainstream'? The society of kuro5hin is motivated (I hope :)) by a desire for intelligent discussion about 'technology and cultue, from the trenches', so I understand (well, sort of) why it's formed the way it has, what the apparent unity of its readers stems from, etc. Perhaps a good question would be: is gay society motivated any more or less by sex than 'mainstream' society?

   Or am I just being hopelessly ignorant? (And/or offensive? In either case, my humble apologies.)

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
I think you've found it (4.00 / 4) (#15)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:00:28 AM EST

I'm not gay, so perhaps I'm completely wrong, but I would say primarily the gay community is about meeting other gay people. Pick up a gay newspaper and while there may be a bit of politics at the front, most of it is about events at gay clubs, other gay social events, gay personals etc.

I'm straight, but if I was gay I would be lucky living where I am (Sydney, Aus) since it's pretty easy to meet gays (easier than meeting women I sometimes think). But if you are a gay person living in a hick town or whatever then the net must be a godsend. Imagine being gay in a town where there are no other gays.



--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
I can only speak for myself (4.66 / 6) (#25)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:50:17 AM EST

This is something i've been mentally exploring a lot.

Part of it, no doubt, is the sense that only by being part of the community can you reliably meet others like yourself --- and part of it is the safety factor: since gays are persecuted in many parts of the country, and aren't accepted in a lot of places, both physical and emotional safety in numbers is an important game.

Some of it is normal human tribalism; I identify myself as a stoner (got weed?), a geek, a gamer, and a skater; these are *strong* identifiers and anytime I hear about stoners or skaters doing well it causes me to rally emotionally.

But there's more to it than that. This is difficult to talk about, tho, so bear with me ...

The act of coming out is, for most people, *enormously* stressful. You struggle with yourself for a while trying to deny what you know to be true; you don't *want* to accept it. You want to be like everyone else ... and eventually you come to realize that you aren't, and never will be. If you're unlucky, you feel very alone. If you're lucky, you have people you can turn to who will support you ... but you still have to tell your friends and your family (and, possibly worse, random third-order acquaintances), and you don't know until you do it if they will accept you or turn against you; the very fiber of your social world is on the line when you are doing this. When you come through on the other side, if you were unlucky, you have nothing; if you were lucky, it was the most incredibly liberating thing imaginable.

This is an experience most people don't have *ever* in their life. Once you've walked through it, how can you *not* feel an affinity for other people who have done so? You have in common with them something deeper than sexual preference; they, like you, have faced some of the darkest parts of their souls, their worst fears, and walked through them, probably believing themselves to be alone while doing it.

[ Parent ]

Re: unity (or not) of the gay community (4.00 / 3) (#60)
by WispFox on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 08:11:49 PM EST

I would agree that part of the issue is, in fact, the persecution aspect. Who, if persecuted for something, would not try to find a place where they are not persecuted?

Another part would be the fact that it's not easy to find not-het people without, perhaps, getting some very strong negative reactions. However, if you have a group that you know not to be straight, that makes things a little easier.

There are probably more reasons, but I can't think of them right now.

This is, of course, all IM(NS)HO.

[ Parent ]

well... (3.42 / 7) (#16)
by 31: on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:10:41 AM EST

as a bi computer geek in college now, it certainly isn't all that easy to come out to people around you... it's easier being bi, I can get a girlfriend, say I'm not gay, and and be closeted.

Now, as to why i'm closeted... well, a nice little summer trip around washington showed that most of my colleages weren't too gay friendly... it wasn't an overt thing, just the usual "that's gay" or, "ugh, he's such a faggot" comments... it might just be the college insecurities, but still... (and if those seem overt, well, that american young man culture right now... gotta love it... *sigh*)

but to those who I have come out to, it hasn't been an issue, but in a group that at least outwardly shows anti-gay sentiments, the first step can be ackward...

Now, as to why I voted -1... well, after the first step of coming out, it really is a non-issue for the most part... those who make an issue out of, can, well, go fuck themselves. And it seems like a nice topic for a whole lot of flames, and not the mens' choir sort.

Of course, by posting this i've probably just come out to the last people that didn't know... but they all probably assumed i was just gay anyhow.

-Patrick
Linguistic evolution (4.20 / 5) (#27)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:55:40 AM EST

that's gay

I'm really curious how this word evolved in modern slang. Here in Santa Cruz --- an unusually gay-friendly town --- the phrase is in common use to mean 'that's lame' --- even among people who aren't remotely homophobic and who have openly gay friends. It's puzzling to me ... I know part of it is that surfer and skater culture picked it up, but I don't understand the rest of it.

it really is a non-issue for the most part... those who make an issue out of, can, well, go fuck themselves.

For the most part I agree with you --- it shouldn't matter, and in general in day-to-day life it doesn't; I don't need to make an issue of it with my friends (although it did feel wierd, after coming out, to start making comments about how cute the guy on the other side of the coffee shop is :)). But some things make it an issue ... the persecution that Hormel got, for example, when he was appointed to be ambassador to luxemburg.

but they all probably assumed i was just gay anyhow.

I cannot begin to describe how much it rocked my world that, when I came out to my friends, I discovered this was true. :)

[ Parent ]

It's slang now, not intentional insulting (3.40 / 5) (#55)
by iCEBaLM on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 04:21:53 PM EST

"it wasn't an overt thing, just the usual "that's gay" or, "ugh, he's such a faggot" comments..."

You may be surprised to learn that the phrase "that's gay" is usually not meant to be insulting to homosexuals. It's really just another "that's (dumb|stupid|lame)" reference.

-- iCEBaLM

[ Parent ]
not intential (4.33 / 3) (#67)
by 31: on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 01:01:03 AM EST

But when gay is a synonym for (dumb|stupid|lame) can you really say it's not insulting to gay people? Even if the people saying it aren't anti-gay, it sets a strong cultural bias against homosexuals.

-Patrick
[ Parent ]
You should reread my comment (2.50 / 2) (#68)
by iCEBaLM on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 01:06:01 AM EST

I said not *intentionally* insulting. I didn't say it wasn't insulting all together.

-- iCEBaLM

[ Parent ]
But is it even synonymous? (3.00 / 1) (#77)
by nstenz on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 09:47:09 AM EST

I would say it's generally not even a synonym for dumb/stupid/lame... Perhaps it was at one point- I remember stupid kids when we were a lot younger (but I'm only 20) saying "this is gay, that's gay..." and probably not even knowing what it means. I know lots of people who have now (hopefully) grown up a tad and still say "that's gay" without connecting the phrase with homosexuality at all. It's unfortunate, and I can't say I like it much either, but some people are just plain stupid, and some things just get stuck in one's head. There's obviously a nice lack of respect from the people who do that. It's the same thing that happens when people say "that's retarded" without connecting it with those who are mentally challenged.

Yeeeeah. I have concluded, once again, that the sum of all people can be fairly stupid (or at least ignorant).



[ Parent ]
I probably ought to take this to my diary (3.14 / 7) (#28)
by aphrael on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 03:57:54 AM EST

But K5 had, in some ways, a strong influence on me when I was in the process of coming out --- I was only halfway through coming out to my friends when a post by mirimoo prompted me to come out here. :)

For me it was soc.motss (4.00 / 2) (#54)
by Paul Crowley on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 04:20:43 PM EST

I started contributing to the gay newsgroup soc.motss while I still identified, even to myself, as a gay-supportive straight guy. God, did I ever slap myself hard on the back for being so cool! I was thus very embarrassed when I found out I was bi after all - all my excuses for self-congratulation gone!

I was very glad that community existed for me when I needed it - I sometimes wonder if I would ever have come out without it. If K5 did the same for you - hooray for K5!
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]

Congrats (2.50 / 2) (#84)
by malikcoates on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 01:48:31 PM EST

Congrats on coming out. It seems to be a very positive and life changing experience for many people.

[ Parent ]
A subject goes here. (4.00 / 9) (#39)
by Holloway on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 08:54:24 AM EST

I don't make a point of concealing my sexuality, but then I don't consider the default setting of others to be straight (I do realise this is the norm, however). I tell people if they ask, but I don't think I've ever come out.

I guess I'm bi, but it's more accurate to say i'm attracted to personalities than genderX AND genderY. I have a girlfriend, we've been living together for a little over a year now. Ho-hum.

I'm not very interested in celebrating my sexuality. I have better things to do and more defining aspects of me than my sexuality.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

The love that... (3.00 / 5) (#56)
by deefer on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 06:17:05 PM EST

I have no idea how hard it is to be openly gay in society.
But I don't think it is that hard anymore, is it? It's not like being gay will get you put in prison or on EST anymore, thannkfully.
And online, most people only know you by your words. So why are you so intent on telling us you're gay? I really couldn't care less if you like shagging watermelons when you've got the horn. It makes no difference in my interactions with you, so why do you feel I must know your sexuality? I'll rate you on your opinions and your skills; what you do for kicks is of no consequence to me. If you're gay, that means as much to me as you telling me you have your coffee with one sugar. BFD.
Am I falling into a straight steroetype here? I don't know, and I'm trying to understand here - why is it important for you to tell me your preferences, when I really don't care?

I'm not very interested in celebrating my sexuality. I have better things to do and more defining aspects of me than my sexuality.

Exactly my point. I don;t think many K5'ers really care. And I would say that most gay people need to rethink their strategy - few people are queer bashing bigots these days. Because being gay is in the transition of "The love that dare not speak its name" to "The love that won't shut up".


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]
I agree, but then I would. (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by Holloway on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 08:55:18 PM EST

Because being gay is in the transition of "The love that dare not speak its name" to "The love that won't shut up".

Hell yes.

Take "Gay Pride"... WTF? I mean, if you feel you need support, great, but that's not pride. But being proud of something you can't change, never chose, and didn't develop - the reasons to be proud of gay/bi/straight are a tad thin.

"'I can eat 8 watermelons in a row' pride", or "'I can shave 15k off Kuro5hin's HTML' pride" - now that's something to be proud of. I'll shake your hand on that. But gay pride?

Pfaff.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

The gay pride thing (4.00 / 4) (#65)
by ODiV on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 11:10:45 PM EST

I've always assumed that the whole "gay pride" thing was more about the courage it takes to be openly gay in society rather than just being gay. It still seems pretty tough out there for gay people imho. Plenty of people I know act openly homophobic. Sure, when you get to know them maybe they're not that bad (or maybe I'm just a huge optimist).


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
I'll hazard a guess... (3.66 / 3) (#71)
by MrMikey on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 02:45:57 AM EST

"Gay Pride" means you stop hiding who you are. It means acknowledging that you're gay, and realizing that you aren't the only one. It means banding together for mutual support in a culture that, at best, tolerates your existence, and at worst would like to see you literally burned at the stake.

I think perhaps you're taking the phrase too literally.

[ Parent ]

Gay Support. (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by Holloway on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 04:17:11 AM EST

Oh, I am taking it literally. But then I believe that whomever made up the phrase thought 'having pride in being gay' was a good thing. I disagree. [I think having pride in something you never chose, can't change, and didn't develop is... erm, a tad thin.]

I guess it's true meaning, Gay Support, ain't catchy enough.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

If Pride == "I am a Worthy Human Being" (4.00 / 1) (#113)
by discoflamingo13 on Fri Feb 02, 2001 at 11:29:39 PM EST

Think GLBTQ/black/hispanic/asian/geek/goth/gamer/something that the majority of people in the US (or most of Western Culture) aren't, or don't know a whole lot about. Now put yourself in Rural Backwater Berg, Western Culture. Suddenly, an entire community that has never met you before has NOTHING to fall back on in order to understand what your life might be like. Most people will fall back on "common knowledge" when encountering a new/frightening thing- whatever that thing might be (human or otherwise). Even if they don't kill you, beat you, or run you out of town on a rail, will they ever understand you?

It is a sad thing when nobody understands you, or fears you for what they perceive you to be. If you happen to NOT be that thing, Maslowe's Hierarchy of Needs will never be completely fulfilled, and hence a life of quiet desperation. (something to be avoided, if life is still worth anything- sorry for the leaps in logic)

If nothing else, a certain amount of "pride" (see above) in who you want to be, or who you are (without choice) is important for a sense of self-worth.



The more I watch, the more I learn ---
If you set yourself on fire, the world will pay to watch you burn.
--- Course of Empire

[ Parent ]
The love that... (I'd rather not hear about) (4.50 / 2) (#103)
by driptray on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 01:35:20 AM EST

Am I falling into a straight steroetype here?

Yes :)

I don't know, and I'm trying to understand here - why is it important for you to tell me your preferences,

It might be important for somebody to reveal preferences so that they don't find themselves inadvertantly "back in the closet". It could be quite uncomfortable if a conversation was raging around you where there is an unstated assumption that everybody is heterosexual. It's easier to let everybody know before they start making those assumptions.

when I really don't care?

I'm not sure I believe you here. It seems like you do care because otherwise you wouldn't be taking the issue up in such an aggressive way. I also think that your desire for gay/bi/etc people to "shut up" is so that you can be spared hearing something that makes you a little uncomfortable.

My apologies for playing amateur psychologist.


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]
Understanding the need come out (none / 0) (#110)
by communista on Tue Jan 30, 2001 at 02:08:10 AM EST

So why are you so intent on telling us you're gay?

It's not a matter of intent, it's out of desire to express who one truly is. Announcing that someone is gay isn't nearly as bad as some things heard in straight crowds "Man I just f*cked my girlfriend's brains out last night..." Coming out doesn't mean one goes into disturbing detail of one's sex life...So this shouldn't be a big deal...unless the knowledge of someone's sexuality conjures up unwelcomed images for you, and if that's how it is, fine. It's just as okay to not want to accept is, as it is to be gay, granted you take no violent or hateful actions.

It makes no difference in my interactions with you, so why do you feel I must know your sexuality?

It doesn't? Coulda fooled me...If you're truly indifferent then I commend you. Nobody's trying to push their beliefs on you, really. They're just expressing who they are. And as I said here, it's difficult to graso how important it is to be out there, unless you are enduring the struggle yourself.

Cheers,
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
NT (none / 0) (#105)
by Holloway on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 05:16:15 AM EST

... under threats of beating (with a beating stick) I hereby retract any possible meaning from that post that my relationship with my girlfriend is "ho-hum". My intention was to gloss over gay/straight/ho-hum - not to indicate the current state of our relationship. I apologise for any offense I may have caused my girlfriend and humbly offer to give her a backrub and possibly a cup of coffee.

Thank you.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

bi and lack of understanding. (4.37 / 8) (#44)
by Defect on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 11:16:46 AM EST

As is my experience with people, some of them just don't understand what it is to be bi (as a guy anyway). Often times you can't find a person who can relate unless they are bi as well. Sometimes your thought of as a traitor to both straight and gay mini-communities. Almost as if you're just some slut who'd screw anything and has no preference.

Being gay has a traditional stereotype, and being straight has one as well. I don't know many (well, any) gay people who have surprised others by telling them that they were straight, but i've known it vice versa. And the acceptance is, i guess, "normal." (though i'm not exactly sure what normal is in this case, but it's something i wouldn't consider bad, or otherwise negative). But "coming out" as bi generally fosters a sort of different reaction, to both orientations. A more of a "oh, so you're neither loyal to us nor them." thing. To homophobes, you're just as fucked up as a gay guy, to heterophobes, the same thing, to anyone else it's just like they're thinking "so what? do i have to worry about you being attracted to me or not?"

I don't know, i think being bi is still pretty misunderstood, though in my eyes it's probably the most natural and acceptable orientation (natural as in of an animal with free will and one who can think for themselves, it's not very natural in a pure survival of the fittest setting (for example, any other species of animal), as homosexual relationships are inherently unable to sustain themselves outside of one generation).

but those are just my experiences. YMMV
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Re: bi and lack of understanding (4.00 / 3) (#59)
by WispFox on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 08:03:18 PM EST

"As is my experience with people, some of them just don't understand what it is to be bi (as a guy anyway)."

Heh. Your parenthetical seems to imply that people understand what it is to be a bi girl?

Personally, I find that to be outright funny. Why? A large portion of the (male?) population think of bi women as someone who you can have a threesome with. I have actually been asked, in all seriousness, 'So does that mean you'll do a threesome with me and my girlfriend'? I was not pleased.

Other than that, I agree with your post, including the more common beliefs about being a slut, and being unable to 'choose'.

[ Parent ]

heh, well yes, no, and sorta (3.66 / 3) (#61)
by Defect on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 08:45:52 PM EST

Heh. Your parenthetical seems to imply that people understand what it is to be a bi girl?

Well, i meant a few things by that. first, i'm not a girl, so i can't attest to any feelings behind "coming out." But as for girls who have announced that their gay or bi, it seems like most (most? some? i don't know) guys don't hold it against them because of some pseudo-porn dream they have in their heads (don't get me wrong, it's not like i assume that's any better). I don't have the slightest idea how girls react to another female coming out as bi/lesbian. All i know is that for a guy to come out in the presence of other guys the general reaction all you get is "what the fuck's wrong with you?" or "yeah, that's nice, anyway, on to other things where i don't have to think about you looking at my ass."

I was just stating my experience. Pardon me for playing down the female experience, i didn't mean to :)
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Heh... (4.00 / 1) (#88)
by WispFox on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 02:44:49 PM EST

Good point. You get the response of 'stop making me think about you looking at my ass', and we get the response of 'so will you sleep with me and my girlfriend?'

Neither one is exactly a nice response, but I suspect that it's probably physically safer to be a bi girl than a bi guy (because a bi girl is less likely to get guys worrying about how straight they seem).

Crazy, crazy world...

[ Parent ]
It's not just men (boys?). (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by nstenz on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 10:09:08 AM EST

A large portion of the (male?) population think of bi women as someone who you can have a threesome with. I have actually been asked, in all seriousness, 'So does that mean you'll do a threesome with me and my girlfriend'?

For the record... Women do that to guys too sometimes (their boyfriends perhaps). Hell, not even about being bi- More about being 'curious'. Male is curious about relationships with both sexes, female is interested in being in a situation where there are two naked men involved. Women aren't necessarily any better... As with everything else, it's more a matter of personality than gender.



[ Parent ]
Really? (4.00 / 1) (#90)
by WispFox on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 02:46:53 PM EST

I'd not heard that response to a guy being bi. Possibly because it's not quite such a popular thing to put into porn (and therefore many people's sexual fantasies)?

Interesting...

And I never claimed women were better. :) Just that I've noticed that to be a more common comment to bi women than to bi men. (possibly because I *am* a bi woman)

[ Parent ]
Why I think bi/gay is different than lefty (4.16 / 12) (#46)
by Ring Kichard on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:01:34 PM EST

A common post, here, seems to be, "How is being gay different from being left handed?"
It seems implied that, "there is no difference, and there shouldn't be any further discussion."

Hmm.

I'd have to ask, "how in the world is anything as socially explosive as sexuality like left handedness?" Are left handed people routinely picked out for abuse? Is "lefty" as hateful as "faggot"?

I'm not saying that there should be a exclusive club for [homo|bi]sexuals; I haven't made up my mind. But the "argument from left handedness" that some people are using doesn't seem to carry any weight.

Maybe a better analogy would be to ask, "How is this different from being black?" At least then, we're talking about a more equivalent analogy.

"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- The rest of us will go to the stars."
Anecdote on south paws (4.80 / 10) (#47)
by Hillgiant on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 01:41:53 PM EST

This is an anecdote so take it with a grain of salt.

My Engineering Mechanics professor had horrible handwriting and a thick russian accent. Nearly everyone in the class had to pay accute attention to both what he was saying and writing on the board to get the most out of his lectures. Mind you, this was one of the most brilliant teachers I have ever had. I learned more in that class than in anyother that year.

A year or so later, I was talking to a different professor at one of those cheesey engineering society (I forget which one) meetings. You know, the ones that are really just an excuse to eat free pizza, drink free beer, and pretend to get to know you fellow human being. At any rate, this professor was telling me how he went skeet shooting (this IS Texas we are talking about here). The guy I was talking too said that he knew that my old EM prof wrote exclusively with his right hand. So he was suprised to see my old prof shooting left handed. My EM professor explained that he shot left handed, because he was left handed. Sadly, when he was growing up in the (then) USSR noone was taught how to write left-handed. If you wanted to learn to write, you learned with your right hand. Hence the horrible handwriting.

Noone should be forced to modify thier body's natural inclinations just to `fit in' to society.

-----
"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

attitude vs actions (2.83 / 6) (#57)
by radar bunny on Sat Jan 27, 2001 at 07:22:28 PM EST

Most straight people don't mind gay people. In fact, most straight people really don't give a damned. What most straight people have a problem with is the attitude of some gay people. There are some gay people that are too obsessed about being gay and a lot of straight people just find it obnoxious - especially when they spend part of the time saying things like, "hi look at me, im gay and im proud." Then, they turn around and say "so what, im gay. IT doesn't matter."

The fact is, most gay people who don't flaunt it, get left alone while the ones who have to make an issue of their gayness are the ones who get discriminated against. So, is it descrimination based on being gay, or acting gay? This also isn't to say that a person needs to hide their sexuality, just don't make an issue out of it. After all, why should i be called a bigot if i make an issue of being straight and you be called proud when you make an issue of being gay. More importantly, if I can keep from making an issue of being straight, cant you keep from making an issue of being gay.

and please before you flame me with examples about how i might be wronge, notice i say some and most. Nothing is universaly true, but there are trends.

From dennis miller -- "I don't care if you have to strap a platipus to your crotch to get off--- thats fine. Just dont ask to borrow my platipus. "

re: attitude vs. actions (4.66 / 3) (#66)
by 31: on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 12:57:24 AM EST

Well, don't take this as a flame, but it is important to address some of those issues

While you may not 'flaunt' hetrosexuality, but straight people's sexual identity is rather public. Being able to hold hands in public, kiss someone good bye, or hey... get married! Many people complain about how gay people make a scene about their preferences while not realizing how visible their own sexuality is.

The problem, and why so many gays and lesbians are so public about their gayness is because there are still alot of rights they don't have.

(the following is true for most places in the US) We can get kicked out of apartments if the landlord doesn't like gays. We can't get married. We can't adopt children. We can get fired for being gay.

By public showing that gay people exist, and by trying to publicly show that gay people aren't all heroin addict child molesters who want to corrupt your children, there's a hope that people will make it so we can have equal rights. Not special rights, but the same basic rights that everyone else enjoys.

and as my last note, if it makes you feel better, quite a few gay people strongly dislike the typical gay attitude, the rainbows, and all the rest... but, imagine if during the civil rights movement black people didn't have "i'm black and i'm proud" just because most white people didn't care, and it bothered some white people who didn't care

-Patrick
[ Parent ]
About those rainbows... (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by nstenz on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 10:17:31 AM EST

...as in the stickers on people's cars. This has nothing to do with anything, except that I saw one Friday and one thought occurred to me... It was a negative thought, but it had nothing at all to do with being gay. I understand some people like to express themselves through the vehicle they drive (myself included). However...

I think those stickers are ugly.

That's it. When you have that many colors, there's no way in hell they're all going to match your car. Nooo way. Not even with color-changing paint. I suppose they might look better on black or something... but this was a red car. It just "don't go". I suppose though... Once you have your symbol and you want to express yourself through that symbol- It's a bit hard to change the symbol and still have people understand. But 'dem rainbows are ugly.

I suppose they look fine plastered on someone's back window instead of their trunk lid... Yeah, do that. Don't clash with the paint.



[ Parent ]
re: re: attitude vs. actions (none / 0) (#98)
by radar bunny on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 07:57:52 PM EST



the following is true for most places in the US) We can get kicked out of apartments if the landlord doesn't like gays. We can't get married. We can't adopt children. We can get fired for being gay.


Your right, and these things should be adressed and even protested when need be. And as far far as flaunting it, i wasn't so much talking about

Being able to hold hands in public, kiss someone good bye, or hey... get married!

My problem is more with people who feel they have to make a point of telling me their gay. I guess for me, the whole discusion of a person being gay is just annoying because I also hate when people have to ask the question, "do you think they're gay?" At the end of they day, i just dont give a damned one way or the other and maybe thats my problem. I just get realy fed up with people who try to ostersize others or themselves.

And no, your comment wasnt a flame, but rather the kind of comments ive come to expect here on K5 which is why i post/read k5. :-)

[ Parent ]
Not to mention ... (none / 0) (#107)
by aphrael on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 05:40:22 PM EST

) We can get kicked out of apartments if the landlord doesn't like gays. We can't get married. We can't adopt children. We can get fired for being gay.

Not to mention getting beaten up and seriously injured or killed ... even in places as gay-friendly as Santa Cruz (someone got beat up at Watsonville High School last week).

[ Parent ]

'Advertising' lifestyle in public (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by communista on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 07:47:47 PM EST

I'm personally torn about this idea. I have a total of 19 bumper stickers on my car (see examples below)
  • Slave

  • Fetish

  • Don't judge my madness by your sanity


  • It goes on. But over the past year I've encountered strange looks, flyers posted on my car at the grocery like "See you at the Fetish Ball"...and I've begun to ponder taking many of them off. To specifically cite the "Pride" stickers...bad idea, IMHO. One of my friends got followed, and then beaten badly in front of his home by three gay-bashers. Unfortunately to some, who you are makes you a target for hatred and violence.
    /me fucks shit up!!!!
    [ Parent ]
    How to put this politely? (4.00 / 13) (#70)
    by spaceghoti on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 02:43:33 AM EST

    Very honestly, I don't care.

    Okay, so that wasn't polite. Let me see if I can explain better.

    Homosexuals are legally prohibited from engaging in their lifestyles. More to the point, this legal injustice is frequently acted upon in many places. It wasn't too long ago that the lovely city of Cincinnatti, Ohio passed a law reversing an earlier law that made it illegal to fire an employee for being homosexual. As another point on this topic, when it looked like Hawaii was going to legalize same-sex marriages almost every other State in the Union (I'm talking about the United States, so please let's leave the semantics out of this) proposed or passed pre-emptive laws that stated same-sex marriages would not be recognized on their sovereign soil no matter what any other State said. Talk about knee-jerk reactions!

    Homosexuality is a hot potato. It always has been and it always will be. Why? It strikes to the very core of our being. We are biologically engineered to seek out members of the opposite sex for procreation. This is why a Family term for straights is "breeders." But not everyone has (or listens to) this biological imperative. Maybe an essential gene gets turned around or maybe it's the result of some personal experiences that make people hot at the thought of a member of their own gender. No one has ever successfully explained this one, and I'd be just as happy if no one ever does. Why? Because it doesn't matter.

    We are all individuals. People. Human beings. I'm solidly heterosexual. My friend John is solidly homosexual. That doesn't stop us from being very close friends, from being able to tease each other about our sexual orientation, and from enjoying a very satisfying non-sexual relationship. When we team up to play a game or just exchange ideas, we're invincible. At least, we feel that way. We respect each other as individuals for being individuals, and we accept each other's quirks for good and bad. This is called friendship, and that's all either of us care about.

    So I'm very sorry for people who are very passionate about this topic. I'm not passionate about it. I've got my own priorities and passions. That doesn't mean I'm not sympathetic. When John sends me an email about an injustice involving homosexual rights or a human interest piece or a petition geared toward increasing respect and freedom for all people, I sign it and forward it on. But I don't print it on a banner and march in the street because all that does is polarize people toward whatever camp they're inclined toward in the first place. Bringing these issues to people's attention is a good thing. Shoving these issues into peoples faces (or, as was already delicately put, down their throats) is not. Humans still follow their "knee-jerk" reactions, which means standing on a soap-box and shouting your vision of utopia is just going to make other people stand on soap-boxes and shout theirs. And what a noisy world this has become, don't you think?

    Homosexuals are discriminated against. So are left-handed people, for very much the same reason: genetics. People do not automatically assume you might be left-handed, and therefore the world is geared to favor right-handed individuals. Jews aren't well respected, neither are blacks, hispanics, asians, liberals, conservatives and brown-bellied cockroaches. We're a society that has polarized itself into tiny pockets of minority interests, creating dissent and ill-will toward each other while loudly proclaiming the injustices done to us. I can tell you this: I am male, white, single (at least until the Visa gets approved) and financially stable. I am also discriminated against almost everywhere I turn. Everywhere I look I'm told how I'm part of the old boy's club, the regime that went out and discriminated against everyone else. I'm now in the minority because if I try to speak up for myself I can guarantee you a dozen other voices will drown me out explaining why their suffering is worse than mine.

    So I'm not interested. I don't care. I'm not interested in fighting every cause that's out there. I don't have that many minutes in a day. I'm interested in mutual respect, in communication and education. I will listen to what you have to say, and I will pass it on to educate others. I won't march for you. I'm all for equal rights, just not at the point of a gun.



    "Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

    For someone who doesn't care, you do go on a bit. (5.00 / 8) (#73)
    by elenchos on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 04:09:26 AM EST

      I am also discriminated against almost everywhere I turn. Everywhere I look I'm told how I'm part of the old boy's club, ...I can guarantee you a dozen other voices will drown me out explaining why their suffering is worse than mine.
    You want some cheese with that? If it is really so difficult for us white males, could you honestly say you would choose to be black, or gay, or a member of any of the groups that you are unwilling to make any effort at all to assist? Do your actually believe that they are better off than you are? Are you really discriminated against "everywhere?" Honestly? You would trade places with them and be better off? No way, and you know it. Whatever "suffering" you think white males endure, it is not worse than being beaten to death, or tortured, or even made to feel like an outsider, or a freak, or inferior every day of your life. If you do get treated like that, I can personally assure you that it is not the result of being a white male. There must be some other cause. Your self-centeredness, perhaps? Your lack of empathy and compassion? Just maybe.

    I think I can see the reason why you find yourself getting drowned out when you express these attitudes of yours. Your sense of scale is drastically distorted; you have magnified the relatively minor injustices that people like you and I have suffered and somehow convinced yourself that they compare in magnitude with those of people whose lives are systematically made wretched, so much so that they have been forced to organize themselves for mutual protection and some small amount of legal redress.

    Your distaste at having it shoved in your face is really too bad. Deal with it. The reason that this kind of activism takes place is because it works: marching in the streets, outrageous publicity stunts, civil disobedience, anything that people cannot ignore, no matter how much they want to. It works. It worked from the time of the Boston Tea Party (well, kind of a myth, but stay with me) to the abolitionist movement to women's suffrage, to the long, ongoing struggle to secure African Americans their full civil rights. In all of these cases, comfortable people who imagined their personal hardships to be comparable to disenfranchisement, dispossession, beatings and murder made exactly the same complaints as you: don't rock the boat, I don't want to hear about it, just let everything be, it's always been this way, after all.

    I shouldn't speculate as to why your gay friend puts up with you. Maybe you are much nicer than this in person; maybe you're not like this at all and you are just trolling, or playing an alter ego. Maybe he can't stand the way you think but thinks you're hot and just hangs around waiting to get you drunk enough some night (go for it man!). Maybe he hates himself and likes the humiliation of friends who degrade him. I am not the one to say.

    If you don't want to march in parades or piss off the whole town to make them listen, fine. I don't either. But at least try to have a little respect for people who feel compelled to go to such lengths. Most of them actually would like to be doing something more fun and productive with their time, but the combined forces of complacency and hate make it impossible to remain idle. If you can't even muster up a fair imitation of respect, then just don't say anything at all.

    Adequacy.org
    [ Parent ]

    Pissing someone off does not make them listen (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by flieghund on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 03:32:46 PM EST

    ... It merely pisses them off. Or worse.

    Civil disobedience, marches, and the like are generally viewed as respectable acts because they are carried out in a respectable, civil manner. That doesn't necessarily mean that they follow laws (since they are often done in opposition to laws) -- it simply means that they are accomplished in a civilized manner. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it takes time. Ghandi didn't get what he wanted overnight -- but his goals were eventually reached. It seems that these days, people are too damned impatient and figure that if a quiet, peaceful sit-in worked well, a noisy free-for-all riot will work twice as well.

    The "outrageous publicity stunts" that serve to "piss off the whole town" really only galvanize the status quo by placing them in a defensive position. Forcing the entrenched masses into a defensive position is a losing proposition because they already hold the power, and upsetting the people in power leads to knee-jerk reactions that tend to leave the situation in an even worse-off condition.

    Note that this applies to all "activist" groups. Burning down buildings, destroying property, rioting in the streets -- sure, it brings attention to your cause, but it's generally in the form of "look what those hoodlums are doing now." You want me to respect you because you know how to break a window? Throw paint on someone? Light a match? I'm sorry, monkeys can do the same things, and I don't expect them to know better. Everyone is clamoring for respect, but people seem to forget that respect is a two-way street.

    The only criteria I support to judge fellow human beings are character and intelligence, and that is only because those are the things that I know of that directly impact others. Character encompases trustworthiness, personality, and general likablity; intelligence is not necessarily knowledge itself, but rather the deliberate application of knowledge appropriate to a given context. Thus, pissing me off generally reflects poorly upon you and, by extension, whatever "cause" it is you are trying to promote. Don't try to bury me under a mountain of juvenile horse shite; dazzle me with the brilliance of an intelligent, well-supported argument, and I'll likely support your cause.


    Using a Macintosh is like picking your nose: everyone likes to do it, but no one will admit to it.
    [ Parent ]
    Violence bad. Gandhi good. (4.00 / 1) (#99)
    by elenchos on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 08:11:54 PM EST

    Thanks for reminding all of us that violence is not the solution, just in case anyone was going to say that it is. If anyone does try to suggest that it is, I will link them back to your irrefutable proof that nothing good ever came from violent protest.

    My understanding of Gandhi is that he was a pretty `in your face' kind of guy, who did not shirk from pissing people off. His civil disobedience campaign in Amritsar in 1919 pissed off the British enough that they shot 400 protesters and jailed Gandhi for 2 years. His 1930 march to the sea to protest salt taxes resulted in an unbelievable 60,000 arrests. His 3 week fast to protest Hindu-Muslim factionalism was definitely calculated to be an `in your face' act that no one could ignore. And India was freed, in the long run.

    Which is probably why in the Civil Rights Era South activists were happy to piss off diners at a whites-only lunch counter, who probably just wanted to eat in peace and be on their way. They annoyed the authorities enough with their marches that they responded with water cannons, police dogs and beatings, not to mention the unofficial lynchings and church burnings. Yet in the end, real progress was made.

    Just a few years back, American farmers pissed off a hell of a lot of average citizens by clogging the nation's freeways with their tractors, to call attention to their demand to be represented in international trade negotiations. Shazam, it worked! Millions of commuters angry, one seat for US farmers in the trade talks!

    Maybe that is what inspired environmental and labor activists to use similar obstructionist tactics to try to get their own seat at the table of the WTO, or the Jesuits blocking the gate to the School of the Americas.

    Gay activists have secured vast sums to fund AIDS research in the last 20 years, and have changed the law in many places for the better. Certainly people have been made aware of their existence and their cause, and their public image on TV, for example, has improved. Certainly there is a powerful backlash, but the final chapter hasn't been written yet. In attempting to predict how it will turn out, why not compare gay rights with similar causes, such as religious freedom, women's suffrage, or accommodation for the handicapped? Base your speculation on that, not your personal annoyance at loud protesters.

    Clearly, arson and murder are not the way to accomplish these things, but successful "non-violent" tactics can be pretty extreme. I don't envy those who have to decide where to draw the line. I would say that, while funny, a pie in Bill Gates' face goes too far, being a physical (albeit harmless) assault on his person. But I thought PETA's "Beer is better than Milk" campaign was funny. Others found it offensive. Go figure.

    So, you're right: Don't shoot people. Don't blow things up. But to say that political action must be `polite' and that direct action or civil disobedience that angers people does not succeed is to ignore historical proof stretching from today all the way back to the radicalization of democracy in Athens in the 5th century BCE.

    Adequacy.org
    [ Parent ]

    Doh! (none / 0) (#101)
    by elenchos on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 08:15:38 PM EST

    I knew this would happen to me one of these days. The dreaded double comment. Please don't mod me down. Mercy. I am only human, after all.

    Adequacy.org
    [ Parent ]

    Violence bad. Gandhi good. (none / 0) (#100)
    by elenchos on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 08:12:58 PM EST

    Thanks for reminding all of us that violence is not the solution, just in case anyone was going to say that it is. If anyone does try to suggest that it is, I will link them back to your irrefutable proof that nothing good ever came from violent protest.

    My understanding of Gandhi is that he was a pretty `in your face' kind of guy, who did not shirk from pissing people off. His civil disobedience campaign in Amritsar in 1919 pissed off the British enough that they shot 400 protesters and jailed Gandhi for 2 years. His 1930 march to the sea to protest salt taxes resulted in an unbelievable 60,000 arrests. His 3 week fast to protest Hindu-Muslim factionalism was definitely calculated to be an `in your face' act that no one could ignore. And India was freed, in the long run.

    Which is probably why in the Civil Rights Era South activists were happy to piss off diners at a whites-only lunch counter, who probably just wanted to eat in peace and be on their way. They annoyed the authorities enough with their marches that they responded with water cannons, police dogs and beatings, not to mention the unofficial lynchings and church burnings. Yet in the end, real progress was made.

    Just a few years back, American farmers pissed off a hell of a lot of average citizens by clogging the nation's freeways with their tractors, to call attention to their demand to be represented in international trade negotiations. Shazam, it worked! Millions of commuters angry, one seat for US farmers in the trade talks!

    Maybe that is what inspired environmental and labor activists to use similar obstructionist tactics to try to get their own seat at the table of the WTO, or the Jesuits blocking the gate to the School of the Americas.

    Gay activists have secured vast sums to fund AIDS research in the last 20 years, and have changed the law in many places for the better. Certainly people have been made aware of their existence and their cause, and their public image on TV, for example, has improved. Certainly there is a powerful backlash, but the final chapter hasn't been written yet. In attempting to predict how it will turn out, why not compare gay rights with similar causes, such as religious freedom, women's suffrage, or accommodation for the handicapped? Base your speculation on that, not your personal annoyance at loud protesters.

    Clearly, arson and murder are not the way to accomplish these things, but successful "non-violent" tactics can be pretty extreme. I don't envy those who have to decide where to draw the line. I would say that, while funny, a pie in Bill Gates' face goes too far, being a physical (albeit harmless) assault on his person. But I thought PETA's "Beer is better than Milk" campaign was funny. Others found it offensive. Go figure.

    So, you're right: Don't shoot people. Don't blow things up. But to say that political action must be `polite' and that direct action and civil disobedience that anger people do not succeed is to ignore historical proof stretching from today all the way back to the radicalization of democracy in Athens in the 5th century BCE.

    Adequacy.org
    [ Parent ]

    Whatever trips your trigger (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by spaceghoti on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 04:57:30 PM EST

    Are you really discriminated against "everywhere?"

    I enjoy certain advantages at the moment. I achieved those advantages by being given the opportunity to improve myself and prove that I was able to accomplish what I set out to do. In that respect, I am less discriminated against than others who aren't even allowed those opportunities. However, I will give you a few minor examples of discrimination against me. WARNING: You may choose to interpret the following as a sob story. Whatever your interpretation, it's what really happened to me. If you aren't inclined to listen in the first place, feel free to skip to the end.

    My family was not affluent by any stretch of the imagination. We didn't have an extra car, we didn't have enough space, and in general we got by. We weren't at poverty level, but we certainly didn't have a lot of extra cash lying around. So when it came time for college, it was beholden to me to find my own way. And the more I looked, the more I discovered that there weren't many organizations looking to give handouts to single white males whose families made above a certain income level. Not the government, not private organizations, not nobody. I qualified for some scholarships, but not nearly enough to contemplate paying for school. So I found a job and attempted to work and study at the same time. This works for many people; it didn't work for me. I ended up dropping out of college to focus on just making a living for a time. It's entirely possible that there were grants and loans available to me that I simply overlooked. All I can tell you is that I didn't find them.

    Out in the real world, I attempted to capitalize on what skills I knew I had. I discovered that your basic office secretary doesn't make much above a subsistance level, and I was certainly not going to save up for college this way. I bounced up and down below the poverty level, not having access to certain fundamental requirements of the area like a running vehicle or reliable public transportation. I pawned a large portion of my personal effects to pay for food or utilities and got seriously behind in rent several times, though the kind landlord allowed me to catch up (which I did). I did a lot of temp work, but couldn't hold down a permanent job due to my lack of personal transportation (you have to understand Denver at the time). I looked around for assistance programs but I simply didn't qualify: I'm not a recognized minority, and again I made just a little too much money. The fact that this money frequently disappeared through unexpected expenses like repairs or medical bills just wasn't their concern.

    I shifted gears slightly and attempted to focus on the tech industry, which I had always thought I was not qualified for. As it turns out, I was wrong. I began to flourish, though the years I'd spent in near-poverty accumulating debt took a long time to recover. The more I learned the more confident I became, and I began to stretch out and push for better opportunities to hasten my climb out of debt. On several of those occasions, I was rejected in favor of someone else. Several of *those* rejections were not based on ability; I got the opportunity to work with the winners and I verified that their knowledge and experience were inferior to mine, their qualification was racially based.

    I could have made an issue out of it. I could have tried to take it to court and sue for reverse discrimination. I chose not to; I wanted to succeed on my own merits, not due to some legal loophole or complaint that the world isn't fair. It isn't; I take what I get and I work with it.

    Finally, my perseverence paid off. I managed to step into a position that further allowed me to springboard into better and better opportunities until, finally, I'm at a comfortable level where I don't have to cringe when I consider purchasing a new video or music CD for myself. I faced some rather hefty and discouraging odds and disadvantages, and I kept pushing until I'd reached a comfortable level that is self-sustaining. You'd better believe I appreciate it.

    It's called the school of hard knocks. It teaches that the Chinese doll that goes underwater seven times will still come back up the eighth. It means I've been there, even if it wasn't for the same reasons everyone else has. It means I can sympathize without coddling. And it means I've found a balance that works for me, and it does not include jumping on the bandwagon everyone else says I should. I'm quite comfortable with that.

    ...don't rock the boat, I don't want to hear about it, just let everything be, it's always been this way, after all.

    You may want to go back and note that I did not say this, or even imply this. I said I don't care, and I admitted that wasn't exactly polite. I did not say that these complaints were unfounded or to be dismissed. What I did say is that the key is not grandstanding, barnstorming and soapbox preaching. The key is education. My gay friend tolerates me because he and I are capable of discussing issues rationally, intelligently and respectfully. What we disagree on, we agree to disagree without discounting. What we agree on, we hash out and dissect so that we understand the fundamentals of why we agree. When I bring him an issue that I'm passionate about, he listens and passes it on to his friends. When he brings me an issue, I listen and pass it on to my friends. We don't ignore each other's issues, we simply don't expect each other to hop on the bus and join the next march over it.

    Because we don't have to care. It's enough that we care about each other, and our friendship is strong enough that we can respect each other without getting caught up in each other's holy quests. And that makes all the difference.



    "Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

    [ Parent ]
    "Why you are a whiner," by elenchos (none / 0) (#97)
    by elenchos on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 06:54:08 PM EST

    I too, *sob*, grew up in a family with only one car. O the humanity!

    I guess families who can afford no car at all should just, what, kill themselves? Please. I grew up in Denver as well, and the fact is that the bus system there kicks ass over half the cities in America. When I was going to Metro State College there, I lived on Capitol Hill and rode my bike to my car emissions tester job in Wheat Ridge. What is that, 9 miles? I got there easily by bus when there was too much snow on the ground. If I had been black, by the way, you know damn well I could have forgotten about any job in Wheat Ridge, except maybe as a footman or scullion or whatever it is those country clubs have.

    I was getting financial aid to go to school too, but decided I wanted to do a little better so I enlisted in the Air Force and served four years. While on active duty, I took some night classes, for which the government paid 75% of my tuition, in spite of the fact that I am a white male! Must have been some mistake, right? They forgot to discriminate against me that day, I guess. I left the Air Force with an Associates Degree earned mostly at government expense, and 36 months of GI Bill benefits for me to use. Could I have done that if I were gay? Technically, no. If you're gay I guess you merely have to lie and sneak around, find a lesbian to be your pretend girlfriend (or wife even) at official functions. In my own case, I literally couldn't have done it, because I'm such a terrible liar; my face turns bright red and I studder at the smallest fib. And besides, is it really right to have to live a lie to get the same opportunities as everyone else?

    We frequently joked, or bragged, about things like oral or anal sex with our peers and superiors, including officers. This kind of sex is technically a crime, according to the UCMJ, you know, but if you're straight no one cares. We know the real reason those sodomy laws exist, and whom they are enforced against. What if I were black? I would have constantly have been on my guard against accusations that I got my Honor Graduate or Airman of the day/month/century/whatever because of a racial preference instead of my merits. When people think that about you, do you think your white comrades cover your back the way they do the other whites? The do not, sunshine. But that's not really a hardship, is it? Is it?

    Now I go to Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, and collect $650 per month in GI Bill benefits, along with a yearly total of something like $30,000 in financial aid, which allows me to attend a private school that charges over $500 per credit hour, without having to hold down a job at all if I don't want to. I'll be about $10,000 in debt for each year of school, but graduating with a double degree in English and computer science, I don't think $30 to $40 thousand will really be an impossible burden to pay off. I had no trouble getting into Gonzaga, by the way, even though they are desperate to become "diverse," as they say. I guess the admissions office just forgot to discriminate against me that day.

    I am a straight, white, male atheist. My GPA is only 3.06, and I am not an athlete or anything. Not an over-achiever at all, really. Yet obviously getting a good education and moving up in the world is not difficult for me. I mean, 4 years in the Air Force is a cake walk compared to the Marines or even the Army. And I could have been more frugal and made it through college back in Denver and not needed the GI Bill at all.

    So what is the real reason for all this feeling sorry for yourself? That stuff about not being able to get a decent job because of transportation is just plain bullshit. Look around you; plenty of people besides me have overcome that little hurdle. I strongly suspect that your belief that you were rejected for jobs because you are white is just as flimsy as your lame transportation excuse. Could it possibly be that you were turned down due to a failing of your own? Perhaps your unwillingness to take responsibility for your occasional setbacks, for example. As an employer, I would be reluctant to hire or promote a guy who was always using reverse discrimination, or the freakin bus system for the love of God, as an excuse. These several incidents of discrimination are highly suspect in my mind, so I would love to hear all the details. Please.

    Adequacy.org
    [ Parent ]

    You had to be there (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by spaceghoti on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 09:00:51 PM EST

    I thought of a lot of answers to specific allegations, but rather than engage in a flame-fest, I'll simply respond to general issues.

    I suppose I should add the disclaimer that Your Mileage May Vary. I can't speak for you, I can only describe to you why, in some cases, my Mileage sucked.

    In some jobs, particularly the one I was in, transportation is a serious enough issue that the employer will specifically ask on the application what mode of transportation you depend on. I cannot adequately describe the difficulties of maintaining a job when one cannot depend on public transportation being consistent and reliable. Getting from northern Westminster to downtown Denver was a nightmare of logistics and timing. Leaving for the bus a half hour earlier than the previous day still wasn't enough to guarantee that I might not be five minutes late, and inconsistent as hell. Moving was feasible either, since I didn't have the funds to make a deposit, let alone haul the three bits of furniture I had left. Even today, speaking with friends who take the bus from Aurora to downtown Denver, I gather it's no picnic. In many places in Denver if you don't have a car, they don't want to see you.

    Financial distress creates, believe it or not, discrimination. It isn't the kind to get me hauled out of a car and beaten to death, but it is the kind that will keep me down when I'm down. There is no one who knows me from that time who would step forward and say I wasn't working as hard as I could and striving to pull myself out of the hole I found myself in. Every time I thought I was getting ahead, something else would pop up to pull me back down again. I managed to beat it, and I did so without any support organizations for impoverished people. Their assistance was not available to me because I was working and making some money, and because I did not fit in their categories of minority. If I'd dyed my skin red and convinced them I was a minority member, I would have received aide. If that isn't discrimination, what is?

    As for being passed over for jobs due to other minority individuals who also competed for the job, just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Racial quotas are now touchy topics, but many organizations still try to maintain them to point to the world that they're being racially sensitive. I thoroughly applaud the effort to open arms to minorities who had been locked out of opportunities in the past, but when I find that I'm passed over for a position that I would have ordinarily won due to qualifications, I have to wonder. I did not complain about it. I didn't take it to management or to court. I worked around it and eventually found opportunities elsewhere. But I haven't forgotten. I would much rather be chosen based on my skills and qualifications rather than my skin color or personal orientation. That is not what happened at these companies, and whatever you want to call it, the dictionary describes that as discrimination.

    I hope this helped to clarify my position for people.



    "Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

    [ Parent ]
    what's one of the properties of a troll? (2.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Defect on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 12:14:01 PM EST

    providing misinformation for the hopes of spreading it as truth and for kneejerk reactions. (whether or not you meant it, you did)

    Vermont does in fact recognize same sex marriages, and several other states definitely recognize same sex relationships. It's not nearly as legally offensive as you make it out to be.
    defect - jso - joseth || a link
    [ Parent ]
    Vermont (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by moreon on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 02:34:23 PM EST

    Actually, Vermont recognizes same sex unions , not marriages. And as for other places recognizing same sex relationships, it usually amounts to nothing more than a domestic partnership registry, with very few benefits if any.

    [ Parent ]
    civil union vs marriage (3.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Defect on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 03:37:25 PM EST

    There's no difference in the eyes of the government between a civil union and a marriage. The only difference is religious.
    defect - jso - joseth || a link
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Civil Unions vs Marriage (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by moreon on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 05:33:01 PM EST

    In the eyes of Vermont's own state law, there is no difference between civil unions and marriage I believe. However, because civil unions do not carry the term "marriage", they are not recognized in other states where they otherwise would be (who have not made legislation to prevent it). They are also not recognized by the federal government. And as far as the difference being religious, I don't think that is entirely correct. I believe some religions allow same sex marriages to be performed, so the difference is in the law, not (all) religion.

    [ Parent ]
    Did I troll? (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by spaceghoti on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 05:24:27 PM EST

    I stated that when Hawaii was contemplating recognizing same-sex unions (or marriages; I don't care to split hairs even when it benefits me) almost every other state in the union proposed or passed pre-emptive legislature to deny Hawaii's right to recognize same-sex unions. It was proposed in Vermont, but in fact the opposite was passed, and the elections ousted a lot of the politicians who supported it.

    According to this news article, at least thirty states now have laws on the books denying recognition of same-sex marriages. That's over half the States in the Union, and several more are still divided over the issue. If you still think I'm trolling, you need to do more research.



    "Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

    [ Parent ]
    Respect, But ... (4.00 / 1) (#89)
    by mattyb77 on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 02:45:04 PM EST

    I completely respect what you're saying and I agree with the vast majority of it. The fact that you don't care about sexuality, period, is admirable because one day I hope that the rest of the world feels the way you do.

    On the other hand, I think it is important that people take up the cause and become loud about it -- even if it means polarizing others. Sometimes that is the only way to get your message out.

    On the other hand, I personally prefer to help make change on the personal level. There was some research somewhere that showed that people that knew one or more gay people were more likely to be sympathetic towards their cause (that being anti-discimination, same-sex marriage, etc.) It is very easy to make a pursuasive argument with someone one-on-one instead of shouting it aloud to a crowd. That's been my personal experience.

    What context would you put K5?

    --
    "I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
    [ Parent ]
    Debating versus marching (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by spaceghoti on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 05:38:28 PM EST

    There are times when it becomes necessary to make a bold statement that cannot be ignored. Ghandi knew it and practiced civil disobedience. So did Martin Luther King, Jr. But when you look at the work of these two men, you will find that they operated behind the scenes, quietly supporting their cause far more than they ever made a fuss. To quote the lamented Isaac Asimov: "violence is the last resort of a small mind."

    When people march for their cause, they're attempting to draw attention to it, to get people engaged so they'll start thinking about it. But what happens when people already have their attention on it? What happens when people have already made up their minds? All you achieve is the re-affirmation of their personal beliefs. "Look at those idiots out there, making a fuss and causing problems. I was right all along!"

    Once you have someone's attention, you need to stop shouting and start whispering. People will walk away from someone who shouts, if they don't start shouting back in the first place. When you whisper, people will strain to hear what you're saying, and in the process they have a better chance of listening.

    Everything has its place. It is my personal opinion that the time for marching to demand equal rights for homosexuals has passed. Now it's time to educate people why it's a good idea.



    "Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

    [ Parent ]
    right (2.00 / 1) (#111)
    by revolution on Wed Jan 31, 2001 at 06:57:35 PM EST

    i agree with that totally. and you don't have to be p.c. about it. almost everyone has a right to feel violated or jaded about something. and if other people don't care, good. and if other people get rubbed the wrong way by what you say, they can stick it out. to quote my mother, opinions are like assholes; everyone has one. people are just too bombastic nowadays and trying to put their two cents in. people feel like they should have a feeling about every topic ever brought to discussion. i have a lot of gay friends. and there's a difference between being 'out' to everyone and being out in your social group. when you present yourself as being gay, you will face adversity. and i admit it sucks. but don't expect sympathy, much less empathy from people who could really care less. we all have our own demons. i dated a girl once and the people in my school found out about it. and it was hell. so i'd be lying if i said i didn't know what it was like. i had things thrown at me and names called to my face. but i didn't complain. i asked for it, even if it isn't fair. life isn't fair. duh. and i don't know why people expect to be tolerated just because it's the year 2001.... no one has to respect or understand you. any time you express any emotion, any preference, or any personal characteristic, you're asking for it. and it's hardly possible to go around and agree with everyone and not be hated by someone. much less be liked or appreciated.
    "we are accustomed to think of ourselves as an emancipated people. we are a vulgar, pushing mob whose passions are easily mobilized by demogogues, newspaper men, religious quacks, agitators and such. to call this a society of free people is blasphemous."
    [ Parent ]
    Empathy (3.00 / 2) (#104)
    by communista on Mon Jan 29, 2001 at 01:44:19 AM EST

    Sometimes it's hard to understand when you're not enduring the struggle yourself. The fact is, people DO judge you by "what" you are. In a perfect world maybe not....But unfortunately it happens. Hence the hesitation to come out.

    Note: Sorry I haven't been replying to comments. Somehow I got suckered into having a social life this weekend. Not my idea ;)
    /me fucks shit up!!!!
    Come out...come out... | 111 comments (96 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
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