Thursday, December 07, 2006

Segregation Sucks, Especially When We Do It To Ourselves

Warning: This posting is a personal posting. If you want a short, concise posting read another blog. I like my news sharing postings, but that is not all I am about.

For many years now, I have believed that we as people constantly segregate ourselves into communities that supposedly share our same interests in hobbies, music, food, politics, etc..., but this always begs the question "Is it the right thing to do?" or "Is it a good move?" We all like feeling welcome and part of a group. Whether it is your local neighborhood bar, your book club, your bike troop or your gym buddies (bunnies), we all have places or people that we feel comfortable. As the years go buy, these may seem like the only way there is to live. Out of habit, when people want a drink they go to one of two bars, they discuss books with only their book club, etc... As people though, what do we lose in terms of life experience when this happens? Have we experienced new things, people, and/or places. Usually just the ones that rotate within our sphere. In my opinion this leads to stagnation of the mind, body and soul. It only makes us comfortable (which is not always a good thing), placid, and even apathetic.

I see this especially poignant in the gay scene in Oklahoma today. As a bartender for four years of one the oldest and most visited gay bars, I have seen many people come and go, but I have also seen many people stay right where they are. Like clockwork they come in, have the usual predictable drink, talk the same meaningless small talk, go home and start the day over again. I realize I make a large amount of my income on these people, but I also have to ask "What the Fuck?" Are there no other bars, no new movies, no art shows, no concerts, no yoga class, and/or more importantly no friends or family you should spend time?

Some people will immediately shoot back with "Well this is Oklahoma and there is nothing to do!" Or "I don't like going to Bricktown cause (insert something)." But probably most might say that they do not really feel welcome anywhere else because they are gay. I understand that many older gays and lesbians, especially in Oklahoma, only had the bars as resources for meeting and connecting (take that as you will) with other people like them. But that again asks another question, are these people in this bar(s) anything like you besides they like the same sex? Do you actually like the same music as one another or do you like the same music because gay culture plays and maintains certain music, body images or clothing? Would you rather go try out some new bar that is not necessarily gay, but no one wants to go with you and you won't know anyone. I am confident that most people had the confidence to step into the gay bar without knowing anyone. The same for the other things. What I have discovered is that it is usually well worth the fear of the unknown for some new experience, some new friend, or a new hobby.

I recently have started my love of seeings bands in other states again since I got my new car (The Shimmymobile) and I re-realized some things. Take for instance, almost two months ago I went to see an awesome band named Ladytron in Dallas. This band is kinda electronic, industrial, female fronted goodness. There is nothing about them that would draw gay people immediately besides the recognition they make good music (that's not "if" statement, it's an "is" statement). Yet, I was happy and proud to see plenty of little fags and dykes running around, holding hands, kissing each other and enjoying themselves. This is hard pressed to find in Oklahoma. What I am mainly refering to is the attendance of gays and lesbians at events not traditionally gay. This same phenomenon has been happening for years in places like Oregon, New York City, LA San Francisco, Denver, all places I've traveled. Some might make the arguments that the venues are unfriendly, but with the ever growing bar and club scene that argument becomes harder to maintain. I am not saying I want every gay person going to live shows, but the example is meant to show that other possibilities exist besides a "gay" bar.

Many gay people, especially when they are young, pride themselves on being different, but how different are you when you might not be like "them" , but really you are just like everyone of the "us's". Not to mention the amount of life we pass by by doing the same thing over and over. Things are happening all the time, just because you do not think they are worth your attention, does not mean they are without merit. I constantly see so many young gay boys come into the scene and act, dress, or like a certain style of music because of what they perceive and what it endorses. Many of their other loves/interests become forgotten because there is a lack of people that share these interests that are gay (or so they believe) and then the cycle just continues.

As long as those already part of the "scene" continue to justify the common perceptions, likes and dislikes of all gays and lesbians, we will continue to segregate our minds, spirits, and bodies to worn out and often ill-conceived conceptions of what it means to be gay. I believe when we segregate ourselves, we in essence, kill the part of ourselves that is curious and hungry for knowledge by settling for what easy and comfortable. Besides the worst thing, that can happen is that you don't like it, but then at least you can say you tried. That is better than never having tried at all.

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