Acceptance comes in odd ways. Recently, I was working on a crossword puzzle that included the clue: “Heather has two of these.” Sure enough, the answer was: “Mommies.” Now, this is a little thing, but I think it does speak of our acceptance that we’re safe enough for the crossword puzzle.
But is being considered “safe” what we want? Or, is it something else we’re after?
This month, we’re starting the 40th year since Stonewall, and I’ve been thinking a lot about our future.
Where will we be in 2049?
I also have been curious about what other people think, so I’ve been asking people what their dreams are for us. Here are some answers I’ve picked up.
(Note: Unless I received permission from the people I quote to use their names, I assigned them pseudonyms.)
The first thing is that being gay is a small part of who I am, so looking 40 years down the road, I don’t think there needs to be any specialty group. In my perfect world, people are just people are just people. Also, our community isn’t very inclusive. There’s a lot of self-segregation: Guys are with other guys, women with other women, transgender people with other transgender people. If we want the world to think more progressively, and incorporate us, we need to do the same, because we’re not very tolerant of each other, and I do say that specifically to the community here. I’ve lived elsewhere where it was very inclusive. We’re very self-segregating here.
The ability for everyone to peacefully live their lives and loves openly, honestly, and without secrets.
I think it would be splendid if the gay community were the gay community because of shared interests, like a book club or a science fiction club or whatever, rather than being necessary because of constant assaults both verbal and physical—if the general air of society were such that gay people could do without a community if they wanted to, without feeling threatened, oppressed, or outcast.
Currently, the gay community is guilty of discrimination as much as the next community. Sexism, racism, sizeism, and even a form of “homosexism,” among others, are prominent in the community. Nothing would make me more proud to be part of the gay community than a gay community eliminating the discrimination within its own borders, and to set an example for the rest of society that, indeed, we can accept and live in harmony with our fellow man.
There are a lot of different ways of looking at where our society might go. You can look at the equalist aspect of it, when everyone is actually treated equally, first by the law, and then in everyday life. It’s one thing to have a law that says you have to rent without regard to race, gender, affectional preference, or however it’s phrased in that law. But it’s another thing entirely to simply do it without thinking too hard about it.
Then, you have the assimilationist society, where everyone is really part of the same society and culture—where everyone is intermingling without being the token woman, person of color, GLBT person, or person with a disability. And that’s a lot farther out, I think. Look at how long specifically African Americans have been working for this. They’ve had the equalist aspect of the law. They’ve been getting more and more equalist in everyday life in certain places with certain people.
It’s in the assimilation course where you start to get information regarding class, which is always the tricky issue. There are a lot of things that get assigned to other things that I think are truly class. What would it look like? I don’t know. Would we not say “GLBT” or any other variation of it anymore? Would anyone look askance at some very large person who appeared to have a five o’clock shadow going into the women’s lingerie department, and looking at the big things?
You want to assimilate to the extent of being part of the larger society—having the benefits and the responsibilities that go with being part of the larger society, but you don’t want to lose your individualism in the sense of your group being individual. Some groups got so far assimilated that in more recent years, they’ve begun backing out again. I’m thinking particularly of the Irish. They got so assimilated that now, there’s been a much increased interest in, for example, being part of Irish cultural groups.
So, what is it that I want? Certainly not to have achieved an equality that is invisible. This stumped me until a recent trip to visit my sister in Winnipeg. She’s active in both Icelandic and Japanese social clubs—despite neither being from Iceland nor Japan. There are a number of these organizations—Irish clubs, Ukrainian clubs, and maybe even an American club—for people who’ve immigrated from the States.
And, I guess what I’d like is to have being gay no longer a cause for discrimination, but to still be celebrated. So, here’s to our past—the distance we’ve come—and here’s to the future, and all we’ll achieve!