Distinguishing Between the Gay Scene and Gay Community

Often in media and conversation, we confuse the gay scene with the gay community. The drinking, sex, and frivolousness found in the gay scene (and found in the straight scene as well, see Exhibit A – Jersey Shore Cast Photo) are not distinguished with the high rates of philanthropy and low rates of crime present in the gay community.

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I make no apologies for what goes on in the gay scene. It is fun. We turned sex into a political act. And while I don’t partake in Grindr, I will be darned if I don’t stand with my tribe if we are challenged on the way we have fun. All work and no play makes Will a dull boy (Exhibit B – Photo of Jack and Will from Will & Grace.) And wouldn’t you want to have Jack McFarland as opposed to Will Truman at your party anyways.

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Similarly, there is great value to be found in the collective strength and identity of the community. While it would be simpler to portray the gay world as a monolithic being, there are a lot of important distinctions and identities to be found: twinks, bears (otters, wolves, manatees), jocks, art f***, gay-listers, circuit boys, intellectuals, show queens, draq queens, guppies, and for a full list visit this Gawker article.

I have been intentionally incorporating photos from popular media (see Exhibit C – Photo of Queer as Folk) in this post because it is through our media role models we see ourselves. It serves as almost a social permission for behavior. Look at the uptake of gay Jeep Wrangler owners after Queer as Folk made it popular in the UK and US in 1999 and 2001 respectively, and the rise of gay softball leagues after the film The Broken Hearts Club was released in 2000. We take our queues from the media and find ourselves in the storylines.

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So the next time you find yourself identifying negative attributes to the gay community, please take a moment and think again. And the next time you find yourself or hear someone saying there are too many gay characters on television, we’ve only begun to explore the spectrum of people, personalities, and persuasions within the gay scene, community, and world.