I was in a little instant message chat with a gay friend one evening when he suddenly started ranting about his frustration with the Gay Scene. I was somewhat confused. I had no idea what he meant by that. What was this Gay Scene that was all worth getting frustrated over? He went on to tell me about the fucking, shallow, jerks who were spreading rumors about him on Craig's List of his sexual behaviors of "getting around the town". I assume that meant he was being accused of slutting it up. Well, he does live in a small rural community in the west, and I suppose the rarity of gays out there make them somewhat territorial. Hmmm, sounds like a catfight!
Anyway, it got me thinking. There was something bugging me about this gay guy referring to his cruising as if it were a special lifestyle, -- a special Gay Lifestyle. Was the Gay Scene or Gay Lifestyle only about cruising for sex? Why wasn't there a thing called the Straight Scene or Straight Lifestyle? There are a lot more straights cruising for sex than gays. What made it so special that it was given a name of its own? And why does he refer to it as the Gay Scene?
I don't really suppose that I'm going to actually answer these questions with any modicum of facts and figures. Honestly, it's all just a hodgepodge of personal opinion. But I'm going to ponder my experiences and see what happens as I explore this idea of the Gay Scene.
The only real visible sign of gay culture that some people think of as the Gay Scene appears to be the leftovers of a culture that is reminiscent of its heyday in the 70's and 80's, when sexual liberation had matured and being out and proud was the new thing. I saw brief glimpses of it on TV growing up, -- but only after we got cable. Let's see, what do I remember? Ah yes, fabulous gender-bending queens, lots of skinny tan guys with pink feather boas and cut-off blue jeans-- cut to with an inch of their life, -- and those hot, shirtless, muscly men in their sexy leather chaps. Ooo, I need to repeat that. Hot, shirtless, muscly men in their sexy leather chaps. Sigh.
Anyway, was all of that audacious flaunting in the streets of San Francisco waving rainbow colored flags the Gay Scene? No, I think that was just California, although it has since spread to other states. To me it always looked a lot like a Mardi Gras except with less alcohol, less nudity and a visual distinction that looked, well, gay.
Incidentally, what in the hell does gay look like when it comes to judging the person? I can pass for the straightest acting gay guy east or west of the Mississippi and yet I'm as gay as gay can get. On the Kinsey scale of human sexuality I'm a 7. But people insist that I don't look gay. And only the really perceptive guys, who are looking for it, or my mom, will see the signals, but only after a while. And since my gaydar is sorely underdeveloped, I have to make sure I'm in or near the Gay Scene to get anywhere. But I don't know what that is!
What I've seen in the gay world and what I've seen in the straight world looks the same to me.
What I see is that the terms Gay Scene or Gay Lifestyle are pejorative labels used by people who think gays are, to put it nicely, icky. And those gay folks who think of themselves as icky and don't realize the double standard in play, would be the ones who use it on themselves.
The non-gay acting straight folks don't use the word lifestyle to describe their scene obviously. But insist on using that word to describe the Gay Scene. Well, except for S&M. The term "The Lifestyle" or "The Scene" is commonly used which is fine. But then those religious, non-gay acting straights, or rather, Christian anti-gay activists, would never admit to the existence of S&M amongst the straights. They make great attempts to convince everyone that S&M is only an uber-perverted, gay thing. Heh! Sorry to burst your bubble there Christianists, but it's not perverted and it's not only a gay thing! I dare say that the only thing about S&M that can be called perverted is the fucked up version that permeates the everyday life of many Christianists. But that is a topic for another time.
As a matter of interest, S&M is the only real organized lifestyle or scene to emerge from that wonderful leather subculture of the gay community. Unfortunately it has, almost completely, been taken over by heterosexuals. And quite frankly it sickens me! Every time I go online to shop for S&M gear, I have to hold back my gag reflex as I'm being assaulted by blatant displays of heterosexual bondage! Eww! I really wish these straight people wouldn't go around flaunting their sexuality so much!
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the Gay Scene. No wait, not yet. I'm not done ranting about Christianist. Allow me to indulge myself with some reminiscing.
I came out late in life. It wasn't that I just decided to come out of the closet to tell the world, I wasn't able to accept I was gay until late in life. Yeah, it's a long, sordid and sadly pathetic story so I'll spare you all and not tell most of it. But it went like this:
I was immersed in a religious culture that prided itself on demonizing the world at large. And as one would expect, doing it without a clue as to what the world really was. Mostly blanket statements about Satan's influence and ushering in the end of the world. To them Satan was a powerful force lurking around every corner waiting to turn people into miserable tools for evil. And because we had the "one true gospel", the evildoers were jealous and hateful of our fortune. All they were intent on doing was persecuting and corrupting us poor happy Mormons to be miserable like them.
Now, this isn't really about the Mormons themselves. It's about my friend and me as Mormons! And it's not pretty. Like all good, psychotic, God fearing, Christian religions, everything revolves around the denunciation of sex. We were taught, in church, starting at the age of puberty, that masturbation was a form of sexual abuse that makes you gay. And the worst possible thing that could happen to you would be choosing to get sucked into a debasing, vile addiction such as homosexuality. Yeah, that's what we were taught! Homosexuality was a debasing, vile addiction caused by masturbation. And not only that but homosexuality was a sin almost as evil as murder. Actually, depending on whom you talked to and what mood they were in, it was worse than that. All sex outside of marriage was an evil sin as almost as bad as murder, but homosexual sex was as bad or worse than murder! LOL!
I can laugh at it now but it was serious shit back then. Total Fucking Serious Shit! And when the AIDS scare hit our little socially isolated world, that Total Fucking Serious Shit hit the proverbial Totally Badass, Gas Powered, Super Shit Spreading Fan! The times of Sodom and Gomorrah had come! Gay people were no longer just perverted, child molesting, homosexuals. They were now perverted, child molesting, homosexual, ass-fucking Sodomites! And they were here to destroy humanity with the new plague of the century, AIDS! Oh, and anal warts too. LOL!
Still, I laugh at it now but it was serious shit back then! Well, it's still serious shit today but I digress.
My response to such religious programming in relationship to my reluctant self-discovery as a teenager was to stuff it deep down in the back of my mind and forgot about it. The gay world, the straight world, even my personal S&M alone time was all off my gaydar, radar and dungeon play, for 20+ years.
I was well aware of the straight world because all my friends at the time where straight and I had no choice but to accept the overt flaunting of heterosexuality. It was all too disgusting for a repressed, straight, gay-guy like me to willingly or even successfully participate in. Thank God! Though I still donned my S&M fetish gear, I kept it to myself so it didn't count. No one else was involved so no one knew. Sadly, such repressive and split-level thinking was driving me to insanity and suicide.
But, for the most part, the gay world was something that happened out-of-sight in a city far, far away. Except when I saw those brief glimpses on cable TV. There were a few times in college I would hear about some poor fool who, hanging out at the local rest stop down the road from the university, was labeled a fag and beaten within an inch of his life. A few of my straight friends liked to brag about it. I was privileged, several times, to hear about what they liked to do with baseball bats and faggots. Welcome to Happy Valley, Utah, USA! Goddamn, Fuckers!
Anyway, back to my gay friend. His response to the same religious programming was to feel ashamed like me but instead he rebelled and acted out his sexuality. Granted, at the time he lived in a more urban climate void of small town rumor mills and threats of violence. He told me that he started his college carrier by diving right into the world of gay sexual voracity. Whereas I, denying anything gay, watched in shock as all of my straight friends dove into the straight world of sexual voracity. Ironically, I suffered great pangs of guilt because I didn't obey my religious programming and disassociate myself from such evil people.
So what, specifically, had he dived into? He told me about the bars to get hookups, strip clubs, one-night stands, orgies and glory holes in the backs of porn shops. Yeah, I'm sure there is gay slang for this crap but I don't give a shit. It's still the same no matter what it's called and none of it is exclusive to the gay world. I lived in the straight world for 25+ years where I was around straight people who went to bars for hookups, strip clubs, one-night stands, orgies and glory holes in the backs of porn shops too.
So what am I getting at here?
The so-called Gay Scene is really just a gay version of the Straight Scene. There is no difference. The sexual activities and mating habits are the same in both worlds. The cheating, backbiting and game playing are the same in both worlds. STDs are rampant in both worlds. Prostitution prevails in both worlds. Drug and alcohol abuse continues to kill people in both worlds. People fall in love and make commitments to each other in both worlds. They have kids in both worlds. They get divorced and fight for custody in both worlds. They believe in God, go to church and pay their tithes in both worlds. They don't believe in god, ignore, shun or despise religion in both worlds. Both the gay community and the straight community have their fair share of sexually repressed, promiscuous, perverted, child molesting, ass-fucking Sodomites. The only difference is, there are a hell of a lot more straight ones than gay ones. But that's just because of the nature of probability.
So, while I was playing a scared-straight, upstanding Mormon and hating my life, my friend, bless his little faggot heart, was playing a rebellious straight-act, upstanding Mormon and hating his life, but with the benefit of having a shit load of gay sex. Lucky him!
He still lives in shame as a rebellious straight-act, upstanding Mormon and hating his life. But now he is married to a psychotic woman, has four kids, goes to church and the temple, pays his tithing and hates his life even more. He never witnessed much of the straight world except for the fairytale Mormon version. Something to this effect: Grow up and go on a mission, pay my tithing, go to BYU, get married in the Temple, have 11 children, we all turn out perfect, we win our spot in the Celestial Kingdom a few doors down from God's house, and live there for ever and ever and ever and ever, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
His view of the gay world is essentially what his religious programming tells him it is. And, as with all "True Blue Mormons", or any Christian fundamentalist for that mater, he compartmentalizes his beliefs. For him, having a firm belief in the church doesn't conflict with getting some hot man-booty on the side and then teaching in Sunday school about the evil homosexuals. I guess I should cut him some slack. After all, I was a "True Blue Mormon" once. Thankfully I figured it out and got the hell out. I'm sure he'll come around sometime too. At least I hope he will. His sanity is at stake.
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