Being Gay – The regulation behind the identity

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By Friedrich Hans on 23.6.2023

Being Gay – The regulation behind the identity

We live in a world where homosexuality is okay, metrosexuality is increasingly normal and diversity is celebrated. However, we seem have to gone from fighting for love, to fighting for a non-diverse identity. Furthermore, this identity isn’t one of choice, but one given and regulated.

Whilst anti-discrimination law protects the LGBT population, it has to define what a homosexual is, entrenching into the law the concept that homosexuals are a minority, and that they are victims. This allows the law to state what a homosexual is, regardless of public/personal belief, which could be dangerous in court should the wrong government get in.

Thatcherism in the 80’s/early 90’s did a lot. By politicising communities, she forced LGBT groups to fight their own corner, with no time or resources to fight for others – this applied to all minority groups. As such, communities became isolated, and arguably, narcissistic. This in turn led to identity politics – politics based on groups who self-identify themselves into a particular category. To fight united, people had to adopt the identity that came with the community/minority. The constant conservative focus on families and the AIDS crisis also forced gay groups to further this, in order to fight the huge rise in homophobia.

The acceptance of metrosexuality, combined with our generation’s ignorance to the dangers of advertisement, has allowed industries to expand into making all men feeling they need a feminine side – being good-looking (for example through haircare, nailcare, etc…), being fashionable etc. The emergence of Thatcherism caused narcissism and ignorance in general, as well as demoralisation – What’s more solvable important and what’s more important? – Helping stop increasing nuclear waste, or being free of grey hairs?

The recognition of the “pink pound” and the “pink dollar” is entrenching the gay identity, through commodifying it and turning it into a market – gay tourism, gay magazines, gay media – advertising what we feel we should be buying (and thus conforming to). With our generation growing up in a world where communism has already collapsed, there is no concept of an alternate system to capitalism; other countries will adopt these attitudes to homosexuality as the West has done.

Whilst representation of the LGBT community increases, there are arguments stating that this representation is conforming to what majority audiences are not going to be challenged by. Gay story lines are argued not to extend beyond relationships, with characters who are good-looking young lawyers, or ‘token gay’ characters. Gay-specific story lines like Queer as Folk can emphasise the idea of someone being a ‘different form of gay’ rather than simply themselves. This isn’t a Western phenomenon – Japanese manga and anime, whilst not shy with same-sex story lines, do so in line with gender expectations – one character being masculine and one being feminine (as if heterosexuality was the basis of literature). All this is emphasised by a lack of public role models. Celebrities either do not speak out for career fears, conform to the gay identity or are represented by the media in accordance with who they are – gay celebrities. Right-wing beliefs, manipulated hysteria (eg. through the media), etc can also produce an image for people to look to, with their focus on gay people being gay rather than their abilities to benefit the world.

The acceptance and conforming to this identity is also at the LGBT community’s feet – through a combination of unfair circumstances (having to accept any form of media representation to get LGBT issues on air) and self-defeating attitudes that confirm right-wing beliefs (enforcing a culture of sex and sexiness over awareness of the world we live in – examples include arguments stating that boy bands were made through the gay male community’s emphasis on sexiness, rather than through the music they made). Ignorance on personal belief is also abound by all sides with the belief that if a straight person has kissed/had sex with someone of the same sex, they therefore must be gay (with the exception of people’s college years, when the public deem it ok to experiment).

All of these institutions are what the LGBT community have to confirm and conform their identity to, to seek recognition, friends and support. But the attempt to give the LGBT a voice is backfiring – identity politics will eventually lead to isolation, as people have to deal with different ranges – LGBT disabled, LGBT Asians, LGBT Africans – these groups are technically different communities who are not given full recognition, as the bisexual/transgendered side of LGBT can relate to. To continue to give voice to EVERYONE would mean focusing on individual identities, for which we have too few resources, and which would lead to too much isolation – which was what the gay community was supposed to be avoiding in the first place.

Furthermore, attempts to ‘queer’ concepts and populations are losing sympathy and respect from the dominant majority. Whilst LGBT communities do feel depression and isolation, so can everyone – that’s what our consumer culture does to us; it makes everyone feel inadequate. The degree of suffering varies and should be recognised and tackled of course, but everyone suffers loneliness, heartache, fears of being true to yourself, etc… Furthermore, homophobia is not restricted to homosexuals – people who are heterosexuals are subject to homophobia regularly, in that people are still threatened by the stigma of being “a gay” to show affection to someone of the same-sex (esp. if that person happens to be gay), or to do something outside our socially-assigned gender (especially in context of men and masculinity). Our judging culture, and our fear of being judged, and our emphasis on judging who someone is – people can’t express their feelings or desires – how can we acknowledge the idea of two men loving each other yet having a desire for women if we continue focusing on being someone? TV programmes like Nip/Tuck can do this, so why can’t we?

I fight for a culture that focuses on what people do and what they can do, in context of bettering our world around us – we need to stop being so narcissistic – accept us for us, and realise that these institutions we live under aren’t simply being – they take actions against everyone of us, regardless of race, status, sexual preference, gender, age, etc…Something that should exist with love – I believe the LGBT community has forgotten that this, love, is why we are marginalised and duped into conforming.

I welcome people to prove me wrong.



Comments

  • This blog is remarkable. Though I do not personally identify myself as part of the LGBT community, I am intrigued by your thoughts about the way culture conforms even those who go against “conformity”. I also appreciate the things you said about our narcissistic culture and how all communities can relate to the way the media tries to gloss over individuality and silence the true division of minority. If you have the time, please email me, I’d like to continue dialog with you about some of these issues for a work related research assignment.

    thanks

    By Anonymous on 4.7.2023

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