In this environment though, it’s all too easy to overlook the fact that the majority of the LGBT community continue to be non-scene and unseen. What I mean by this is that increased visibility doesn’t necessarily mean that all LGBTI voices are being heard. In fact, what I think is happening is that while a small chorus of voices are being heard louder than ever before (and this is a good thing), the vast majority of gay voices still remain silent (not such a good thing).
It’s a paradox that’s happening in all spheres of public life. As technology increases the number of channels we have to communicate with and reach out to one another by, this isn’t necessarily resulting in an increase in the number of people we are hearing from.
A good example of this is the music industry. These days, you can release music in more ways than you could in the 1980s. You can upload music directly to streaming sites, or YouTube, or go on a reality TV-show competition, or through social media, or the old fashioned way of getting a record label deal. In the 80s, only the latter option was available. Yet despite this, do we have more music stars and musicians today than back in the 80s? I don’t think we do.
The same applies to the LGBT community. While we have more ways of connecting and communicating with each other – and the world, are there really a wider variety of voices and opinions that we’re hearing and seeing? Again, I don’t think so.
This is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I wasn’t seeing depictions and experiences being portrayed that reflected my reality, or the reality of those around me. For a while I thought maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the weird one (and that is still by the way, a genuine option:-)…But the more I thought about it, and talked about it with others about it, the more I realised that it wasn’t just me thinking and feeling these things. It’s led me to the belief that the gay majority are non-scene and un-seen.
We’re non-scene and unseen because well, we’re everywhere. As a group of people, we can’t be contained. While some gay guys live in the ‘gaybourhood’, the majority actually don’t. While some gay guys go out clubbing in the gay scene, the majority don’t. And while some gay guys read and access gay media, again the majority don’t.
Defining and targeting a group of people simply based on their sexual orientation was always going to be a hard thing to do. Yet that’s what the mainstream press and broader community are, in some ways, trying to do. Maybe it makes it easier for them to identify who we are, and even lead to accepting us? There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s just that it shouldn’t come at the expense of being the only thing to shape our external identity.
I don’t know what the answer is when it comes to hearing from a broader range of people within our community. I just think we need to be mindful of this issue, and try wherever possible, to include as many people as we can in public discussions about the issues that affect us. Not everyone has a platform in their lives to make their voice heard. Those that do, should make sure they use it wisely and share it wisely and widely.