Because I don’t think that there’s just one gay community out there, there are actually a few gay communities.
More Than One Gay Community
Some gay community groupings that come to mind include –
⁃ The political. There is definitely a growing and vocal community of people pushing the political agenda on issues such as same sex marriage, and other areas of legal and political significance.
⁃ The consumer. Gay guys are definitely a sought after consumer market. Based on not necessarily accurate assumptions of increased disposable income, we’re considered tastemakers and big spenders by some sectors.
⁃ The helpful. Many support agencies exist in most cities. Often volunteer run, they do an amazing (and underrated) behind the scenes job of helping the vulnerable – the young, the poor, the sexually confused.
⁃ The social. AKA the ‘scene’. The bars, nightclubs, sex clubs and saunas that cater to our whims of flight, fantasy and fun.
Despite their existence, I can honestly say I’ve never really felt part of any one gay community. The closest I came was as a volunteer for a phone counselling organisation called the Gay and Lesbian Welfare Association. (These guys do amazing work by the way. You can check out their website for more information about them). I underwent 8 weeks of training with a small group of about 10 others. I then volunteered as a telephone counsellor once a month for just under 2 years. I attended a few social functions during this time as well. Despite this, I still didn’t feel the sense of what I imagine a gay community should feel like.
Maybe sharing a common characteristic (sexual orientation), or a common goal (marriage equality) isn’t enough of a basis to form a ‘gay community’. Maybe community also has to do with allowing yourself to feel accepted and embraced by essentially strangers with whom your only initial link may be a single characteristic or goal. By doing this, avenues for mutual trust, respect and a genuine ‘nice to get to know you’ feeling open up. A sense of belonging, and thereby community, is created.
I think this is why maybe I’ve missed out in the past. For some reason there was something holding me back, something that I felt was scary about putting myself out there so much. Fear of rejection and not fitting in come to mind. But despite this, I know there are many gay, varied and above all, accepting communities out there. And as I get older, and become more comfortable within myself and accepting of who I am (both as a human being and a gay man), I have a sense of wanting to connect with people, across the many gay communities that exist. Starting this blog may very well be my first step towards doing that!