The New Gay: Washington Post Article

9 04 2009

The Washington Post has a great piece about a friend of this blogs — TheNewGay.net. From the Washington Post piece:

One is a former drag king, the other is a laid-off newspaper reporter-turned blogger, and each, in their own way, is trying to transform Washington’s gay scene. Eboné Bell, 27, and Zack Rosen, 25, friends and entrepreneurs, have a politically subtle mission: to integrate the region’s gay scene, which they say caters to crowds that are typically older, white, wealthier and male. . .

“You come out into this culture that you had no hand in creating, and you’re expected to conform to it if you want to have friends or sexual partners,” Rosen said. “One of the greatest tragedies in gay life is that you spend the first 18 or 20 or however many years of your life feeling as an outsider — and then you come out, and still . . . you may not want to come into this fabulous world of big, mega dance club music with all these guys in Hollister T-shirts. It’s one way people live, but it’s not you. One of the tag lines of [the New Gay] is: ‘Be gay and be yourself,’ and here, it’s often very hard to do both.”

The website itself has a great response to the piece, entitled “Why I Reject Gay Culture:”

Let’s first get out of the way the fact that being “gay” and being a part of gay culture are two different things. Being “gay” or “queer” or “lesbian” means that you are attracted to members of the same sex. Being a part of gay culture means you accept and go along with a monolithic, single-minded “culture” mostly composed of people who are attracted to the same sex. A culture that, unlike all other minority cultures, you aren’t born into. You have to go seek it out.

Unfortunately, at least in my experience, it isn’t very easy to break into this gay culture. Firstly, it’s very male oriented, and white. If you are a lesbian or a person of color, you’re already have a few strikes against you when it comes to acceptance by greater gay culture. However, us white guys don’t necessarily have it all that easy, either.

Somehow, gay culture has evolved into a very homogenious and anti-intellectual stage show.

Lately, we’ve talked a lot about exclusion and sexuality, about intersections and discrimination. When I first ran into Ethan Philbrick, of Guerrilla Queer Bar fame, we automatically classified him as gipster — gay hipster — and both Montgomery and I said that we had never seen these homosexuals before in our life.

Why? Probably because they were not part of this gay life and were separate and apart … they didn’t fit into the typical stereotypical gay scene.

I took on the identity of queer many many years ago, and I have to say this: I don’t think I’ve even begun to understand it until I started to get to know the gipsters as people, rather than just the side show. They’re good people. And I understand that I am different, and that even I, for all of my love of Beyonce and Cher and Britney/etc., am still very much outside the norm. I’m not gay, so much, as truly queer… as my gender expression is all fluked up, as is my in-your-face attitude about my sexuality and gender. I mean, I like stereotypical gay culture — I am a consumer — but there is difference there, too. (Take, for instance, Kristy Kay Karolina, my drag alter ego, who has won me and lost me countless boyfriends, mainly on the misunderstanding that she somehow dominates my life, but is still very much a part of my life. They don’t get it.)

But there is for everyone.

As we move forward, I think these differences between us will redefine us, and will give new breath into the movement. They will make us better, stronger, smarter. At least, I hope.

I’m not very articulate, so I’ll refer you over to Paper Clips N’ Potato Chips — another friend of this blog — who has a far better response than I could ever hope to write.
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