It is a truth universally acknowledged that shit fucking sucks right now. Between Brexit, Trump and the ride of the hipster Nazi brigade (aka the alt. right) things re not looking great. Add to that the rise in hate crimes against minority groups of all sorts, including us LGBTs, and it becomes easy to despair at modern life in general. Right now we need a community that can uplift and empower us all collectively so much more than we ever have in the last few years.
For some time now we’ve referred to ourselves, and been referred to as, a gay community. For many pre-coming out it evokes the image of a perfect queer utopia where any and all have their place, and come to be accepted and loved for exactly who they are. Whilst this may be true to some extent, we’re all surely smart enough to know now that entering into gay land doesn’t automatically mean bathing in the warm glow of unconditional acceptance. Nor should it necessarily, as certain aspects of the young and naive (such as possible racism, sexism or internalised homo/transphobia) definitely deserve to be cut off asap. But outside of challenging those with unintentionally learn biases there exists a whole other area of non-accepting queers. Bitchiness, squabbling and judgmental asides- as stereotypical as they may be saying that such things no longer go on is simply lying to ourselves.
Just as modern day feminism encourages women of all stripes to come together and celebrate each other, rather than seeing each other as competition, so too should we as LGBT people make greater attempts to support one another. Right now many of us need that mythical all-accepting community as a place to turn to in these times of struggle. And while friendly teasing and a little shade throwing certainly have their place, ultimately we increasingly need to strive to create spaces where any and all of us can feel safe, happy and welcomed.
This is not to bitch everyone else out and present myself as a paragon of acceptance btw. I know that I too have been guilty of casting judgmental stares across the dancefloor; of making scathing remarks about the naive and the poorly dressed; of viewing fellow LGBT folk and their goings on as things that I needed to compete with and prove myself better than. I can accept that there is a perfectionistic, judgmental and (dare I say) self-hating side to me which strives to get a leg up on everybody else by pushing them further down. But merely accepting that is not enough. What comes afterwards should be attempting to grow from it.
We need to show some love and understanding towards one another, not just talk about it. To validate the shy and nervous, who have been made to feel like they aren’t interesting or cool enough. To support those among us who have been told our bodies are wrong and unattractive, and help them to know that they can be loved and lusted after. To be understanding of those with less than ourselves, in whatever way that may be, and recognise that despite that we still have something in common. And, most fundamentally of all, to support and stand up for one another with all the varying issues, problems and challenges that society will throw at each and every one of us. For despite how different we may be, and despite how much our experiences of being LGBT will diverge from one another in an unbelievably huge number of ways, if we truly believe in being a community we must recognise that we are indivisible in one major area, and that we will be kind and loving and supportive of one another, no matter what.
And if all that sounds too complicated and idealistic and highfalutin, then just remember the immortal words of Lindsay Lohan: “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier.”
No more Mean Girls in our spaces! Gay world should finally be at peace.