The gay community is such a paradox. On the one hand, we thrive in a close community where most people know each other (or at least of each other). Then, on the other hand, we treat each other like shit.
It’s been troubling me a lot recently; particularly since there’s been a few celebrities coming out of the closet. Some of the horrendous attitudes I’ve been seeing on Twitter (another close community for gay people) towards the announcements is just abhorrent.
Tom Daley announces he’s dating a guy, suddenly people flock to follow him or do the complete opposite and slate him for the way he’s done it, for dating an older guy just for money, or any other number of judgemental opinions.
Ellen Page, on Valentine’s Day at a human rights conference, gave one of the most moving speeches I’ve ever heard which ended in her admitting to the world that she’s gay. She admitted that it was partly selfish, but she also recognised that in doing so she may help others who are struggling with their sexuality because of either life at home, the community they’re in, their religion, or for whatever reason they may be scared. Maybe even scared for their own safety, not just of being disowned by friends and family.
Again, people flocked to follow Ellen Page, and then we saw a wave of people saying how ridiculous it is just because she’s admitted she’s gay. Or worse, that it’s not a big deal that she’s come out.
Firstly, is it really that difficult to believe that some people are just following her as a sign of respect? I certainly sent her a tweet immediately to say how proud of her I am. Sure, I don’t know her, but you can tell it was hard for her and the pressure in the industry she’s in must be huge. Secondly, are people so narrow minded that they forget that there are people in the world that don’t have it as easy as some of us? Even in this country there is still a vile amount of bullying in schools, children still take their lives, people still live their lives pretending to be someone they’re not. If Ellen Page, drawing on the support of the Time to THRIVE human rights foundation, helps just one other person stop bullying a gay kid in school, stops one kid from killing themselves, or allows one person to live their life comfortably and without lying, is that really a bad thing?
Lastly, I recently retweeted a tweet that said:
“Polite reminder for straight people who say “who cares” when someone comes out: such gestures are addressed to lonely queer kids. not you.”
Minus calling them queer, I totally agree with that statement. What upset me is seeing a response, from a gay man, that said:
“Then why don’t they gather up all the lonely queer kids and address them directly.”
As though that’s even a viable option? It’s so closed-minded I can’t even bear it.
I do of course believe that someone saying they’re gay shouldn’t be a huge deal, but it’s a fact that at the moment it is, and until we can get to a place in the world where people can be themselves without fear, it will stay that way. So let’s work with what we’ve got, let’s set a good example to the next generation and support any movement that helps others. We don’t have to applaud the fact they’re gay, we just have to applaud the fact that it may help another human being.