woah, i recently read this article and it kind of scares me....
Treat them as you want to be treated
There is a new threat to the already volatile relationship between the GLBT community and greater society. A growing backlash against the straight population, is found in today’s gay youth culture, which threatens to prolong the move towards equality.
Among friends of similar ages, I am regularly told that gay means you're different and that this difference should be emphasised to the hetero community. It seems gay youth are increasingly becoming disillusioned with the hope of being treated as equals. Straight people have asserted their identity as superior for so long, but now some gay youth are attempting to reverse this. ‘Heterophobia’ signals two things: a surge in self-definition and a rising disillusionment amongst gay youth. This issue can only lead to a complete reversal in this problem. Perhaps this ‘heterophobia’ is a result of always being told we are different with no hope of being a part of greater society. On the other hand, it might be how the younger generation are attempting to define their identity, through defending that difference.
Our identity is a source of strength but also of weakness. It is something which is often questioned and redefined, which is often very problematic for the individual. When your identity is under scrutiny or at worst condemned you are likely to do two things: question yourself or defend yourself. For youth, when your identity is in such a state of flux, it is more common to question and doubt yourself. However, many youth are choosing to defend their identity regardless of what people think, while some are asserting their own by condemning others. It is one thing to assert and defend your identity but strength of identity can not be achieved through belittling someone else.
Why continue to further separate ourselves from greater society when we have been sitting on the outside for so long? When we are slowly but steadily getting the recognition we deserve it seems many youth don't want to be associated with "those breeders" in fact they look down upon them. Aren't we meant to be fighting for equality to be treated as equals and awarded the same rights? I thought the GLBT community were generally sick of being seen as lesser. Gay youth it seems don't want to fit in, instead they want to pronounce the difference by rendering the straight population as lesser. Why are so many gay youth "heterophobic"? Regardless of any sci-fi dreams of someday finding a new planet to set up home on, we still have to coexist on this one for now. Straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or just plain queer – we are all fundamentally the same.
Queer people have been subject to oppression and vindication for centuries. Whether to be told they are evil, disgusting or just "not right", our place in society has almost been totally peripheral up until recent times. There are parades and TV shows but many battles are still being fought in courtrooms worldwide for basic human rights and legal recognition. Unfortunately, its a fight that should not need to be fought. People are still being bashed, disowned and killed for their sexuality. I believe that many of today's gay youth feel powerless and hopeless in this fight for tolerance and acceptance. The youth are angry and are trying to assert themselves by attacking the apparent "enemy", which in this case is straight people. If we start limiting who we associate with or start assuming and making gross generalisations that all straight people must be against us, we will only continue this warfare.
I have friends who sport the attitude that gay is good and straight is bad. I don't understand why it has to be so extreme. Yes, our identity is still largely ignored and ridiculed, but turning the tables means we stoop to the same damaging devices of stereotyping and labeling an entire population who not only rejects us but also supports us. We can't forget that for as many people who will preach the ills of homosexuality, there are those who don't judge, who don't ridicule but accept and cheer along when we celebrate our identity.
Gay youth are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the speed at which we are making progress. In an age where everything is changing every 2 minutes, and everything is advancing as quickly as it is made, it is hard not to feel forgotten. Some people are trying to speed things up like San Franciscan Mayor Gavin Newsom, who attempted to bypass the red tape by authorising same-sex couples to marry. Although his "stunt" has now been overruled, it has brought this issue into the spotlight again, forcing the public to think about it. More and more people, gay and straight are challenging the existing norms and laws to attempt to achieve a greater level of equality, regardless of our individual sexuality. It shouldn't be about "us and them" it should be about joining forces to bring about the changes we have been fighting centuries for. I don't see how we can possibly get any further than we are now if we separate ourselves. No one should be the enemy and neither party should be regarded as better or worse. We are all human beings who deserve the same rights and same respect as the other. Our sexuality should not mean we reject those who are different, just as it should not disadvantage or separate us from greater society. I think it’s all about give and take. If we are asking for people to keep their minds open then we should do the same.
We can define ourselves, our identity and our community according to our terms, without rendering any other party as lesser or weaker. The harm in separating ourselves, and raising our identity above the rest is that instead of actually becoming superior we will remain stuck on the outside. We can never hope to gain the acceptance or the place in society we dream of if we use the same tactics that have been used against us. GLBT events like the Mardi Gras are meant to be a celebration for all people, for all sexualities and for all identities. It is not meant to be exclusive or limited in who should enjoy it. The basic fact is that there shouldn’t be a line between us in the first place, but while there is one, it makes no sense to redefine that line.
I am shocked to see so many of my friends essentially ruling out all straight people and instead viewing them as the lesser beings instead. For lack of better words: Where is the love? How can we possibly forge our own identity if we are going to reject and belittle the society from which we are vying for acceptance? If we are asking for tolerance and acceptance from greater society shouldn't we attempt to show the same courtesy ourselves?
It shouldn’t be about getting even, or even giving them “a taste of their own medicine”. It should however, be about celebrating all identities and all sexualities and being proud of who you are. It doesn’t need to become a petty fight to see who comes out on top. Equality will only be achieved through, tolerance, understanding and eventual acceptance – from both sides.