Them Good Ole Heteronormative Days For Gay People
Over the weekend I came across a post on social media that celebrated the past…one of those nostalgia videos where middle aged people can remember their growing up years in the 70’s and 80’s with fondness, and also compare those great simple years to now where everything is so terrible.
Of course that’s sarcasm, but that post really left a strange impact on me. I don’t think things are all that bad now. I’ve always embraced technology and all the changes we’ve seen. However, the main point is that in this heteronormative post the straight people all agreed that everything was so much better back then and they think kids nowadays are missing all that wonderfulness.
Which is fine. I have great memories of my childhood, too. I must have been one of the lucky ones because I didn’t go through a lot of the horrible experiences a lot of the gay people I know went through. And you can’t blame straight people for remembering their childhoods and their teenage years with fondness. I don’t want to crush anyone’s memories, and that’s how they should remember those days. Because they had all the privileges growing up that gay kids and teens were not afforded. They didn’t have to live in silence, keeping that deep dark secret, hoping no one would ever find out. They didn’t miss puberty entirely.
How could straight people understand that odd feeling when you realize you’re attracted to someone of the same sex and you know you’re not supposed to be thinking that way? How could straight people know what it’s like for a gay kid to hear adults talking about the “fags?” How could straight people know what it’s like to bow to peer pressure in high school and take a girl to the prom when you really want to go with a guy?
And, not every straight person can look back on them good ole days with fondness either. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that as well.
But I do think it’s important that we tell gay kids and teenagers what it was like back then so they don’t think they’ve missed anything about THEM good old days. Because if you’re gay and if you survived growing up at any point in history, even if you had the best childhood a gay kid ever had in the 70’s, things are still way better now than they were back then for gay kids. Things still aren’t perfect. However, at least it’s getting better rather than worse.
When I was growing up, I don’t even know if I had gay aunts and uncles. I would imagine I did. I just didn’t know about it. Gay was NOT even discussed in the most liberal households. My nieces and nephews do know they have gay uncles, and I have an openly gay nephew is medical school in Iowa. It still isn’t perfect for them either. And I can only hope it gets even better for their kids than it was for them.
Straight Guys Hit On By Gays
Here’s a good example of how much things have changed. Not longer than ten years ago you would never have seen anything like this discussed openly. It’s one of those meme things I always post about, where quotes are made and put into memes. This time the topic is how straight guys feel about gay guys hitting on them.
So many gay guys apologize for hitting on me when they find out I’m straight. I tell them not to, many gay guys I’ve met are quite handsome. I take it as a compliment.
Some are funny, some are honest, and some like the quote above have this underlying ring of passive aggressive homophobia even though it’s meant to be a compliment with good intentions.
BUT…at least things are changing and times are still better now for gays than in any other period in recent history.
Shirley Bassey Sets Back Equality
When I first came out and I started meeting other gay people I kept hearing about this woman named Shirley Bassey. What did I know? I thought she was someone’s mom, for a short time. Evidently, you had to know who she was or you didn’t get a gay card. That’s how serious it was.
Of course in time I learned that she’s some kind of gay icon like Streisand and Cher and Britt Midler, but I also found out that even though I’m gay I’m not a huge Shirley Bassey fan. It took me a long time to realize that in order to be gay you don’t have to love Shirley Bassey, Broadway shows…or any of the gay icons. There is no rule book. If you do love Bassey that’s wonderful. But if you don’t that’s just fine, too. The gay male community is only beginning to understand just how diverse it is. In fact, many of us would actually rather watch baseball than listen to Shirley Bassey or Cher…and that’s okay, too.
In any event, before I veer completely off track, Shirley Bassey recently made a few comments that have some people a little upset…
Women in my industry aren’t empowered. Never have been, never will be. Think about the modern man. The gene goes so deep, it goes right back to the caveman days: man must have control. Women should not change it, because we’ve tried and we’ve emasculated men. It’s dangerous to mess with science.
There’s a reason why men are here. If I was flying with a female pilot, for instance, I’d be very worried. Women have periods and hormones, and that bothers me about women who want men’s jobs. Like firefighters, police, soldiers . . . I don’t believe in women soldiers! Come on, women should be women. We should be feminine.
I’m not sad about it. We should accept it. It’s worked this way for a long time. Men went out and brought home the bacon. Women are now going a step too far, trying to be cleverer than men — or as clever. Now, the man becomes the house-husband and it’s wrong. It shouldn’t be that way.”
I would hate to hear her comment on gays. That’s all.
You can read the rest here and you do NOT want to miss the comments with this article. It’s amazing how Bassey could smack some gay men in the head with a baseball bat and then spit on them, and they’d still love her. But the most interesting comments mention her age and generation without considering that a bad comment is still a bad comment no matter what age you are. My dad is 87 and I can promise you he wouldn’t have said that about women. And wasn’t Maya Angelou part of Bassey’s generation? I never heard Angelou make comments like that one. Wrong is wrong and dumb is dumb no matter how old you are.