The Flint Hills Observer
April 1997

by Jeremy

Twink. Femme. Troll. Butch. What do these words have in common? They are all disparaging slurs used against different members of the gay community. The frightening part is that they are uttered by fellow members of the gay community. We don't like each other. Gay men and lesbians don't mingle, and everybody trashes drag queens. Bisexual people are looked down upon by those who are strictly gay. The sweater types find the leather types revolting. "Lipstick lesbian" is a criticism.

How can we as a group ever expect the heterosexual community to accept us for who we are when we can not seem to accept each other? I have heard of gay men who only associate with other gay men, to the exclusion of bisexuals, transsexuals, lesbians, and straight people; or lesbians who hate men, gay, straight, or in-between. And the list goes on.

We each have our own story. We each have reasons for what we do, how we live, and why we behave in particular ways. Is a gay man who works out caving in to a cloned stereotype or does he just like exercise? I know that the last 15 people to die in my extended family all died of heart attacks. That bears great significance in my reasons for going to the gym. I'll admit, I find the muscle crowd to be attractive. I've heard people criticize working out for the sake of landing a date, but I have noticed that people are much more prone to like me now that I visibly work out, including those nay-sayers who complained in the first place. People complain that the young gay men ignore and despise the older gay men, but the older gay men are all after the 18 year-olds. How can we expect the 18 year-olds to want older men when the older men don't even want older men?

We scream to the straight culture to accept us and like us and treat us as equals. Do we need to start screaming it to ourselves, as well? There is a new term I heard of about a year ago called heterophobia. (In fact, my spell-checker just highlighted it as an incorrect word!) It refers to a tendency for gay people to hate straight people. This is very similar to relations between blacks and whites; should whites be made to compensate for what they have done, or should we just call it even and start over? Of course, it is also evident that many white Americans still discriminate against black Americans. Do you think the straights are going to accept the gays any faster? Will our acceptance be facilitated or hampered by militant members of our community lambasting our oppressors? Our message is open-minded acceptance of things one does not believe in or condone. We want the military to let us join; we want the state of Kansas to legally allow us to love each other in the privacy of our homes; we want to live without fear of being beaten by a gang of uninformed miscreants. None of these are unreasonable requests. Neither is the request that we accept all members of life, regardless of community.

United we stand, divided we fall.

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