LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

GAY

 

Wikipedia: Definition of Gay

Video: What Does Gay Mean?

Info: Sexual Orientation

PBS Video: History of the Word Gay

Romeo and Julio

TED Talk: Why Am I So Gay?

True Definition of Gay

How Gay Came to Mean Homosexual

Info: LGBTQ Community

HuffPost: In Praise of Visiting the Gay Bar

Gay Guyde: What Does Gay Mean?

Male Montage: Blame it on the Girls

Video: Boyfriend Adventure

Jamie's Coming Out Story

 

Definition
 

The word “gay” describes a man who is romantically, emotionally, and/or sexually attracted to or involved with other men. As a sexual orientation, it can be further defined as an innate, enduring, inherent, and immutable pattern of feelings and behavior in which a man has an affectional, romantic, emotional, spiritual, sensual, and/or sexual affinity or desire for other men. Clinically speaking, it refers to homosexual men.

It can also be used as an umbrella term for everyone who has same-sex romantic/sexual attractions or relations.

 



“Gay” is a word that primarily refers to a homosexual person, especially a homosexual man. The term was originally used to refer to feelings of being "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy." It had also come to acquire some connotations of "immorality" as early as 1637.

The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century. In modern English, "gay" has come to be used, as an adjective and as a noun, to refer to the people, especially to men, and the practices and cultures associated with homosexuality. By the end of the 20th century, the word "gay" was recommended by major LGBTQ groups and style guides to describe people attracted to members of the same sex.
 

 

Some reject the term "homosexual" as an identity-label because they find it too clinical-sounding. They believe it is too focused on physical acts rather than romance or attraction, or too reminiscent of the era when homosexuality was considered a mental illness.

Style guides, like the one used by Associated Press, call for the literary or journalistic use of the word "gay" over "homosexual." The term ”homosexual” tends to sound too technical to be appropriately used in writing, speech, and conversations focused on people and their relationships. Use of the term “homosexual” is only appropriate in the context of discussing academic, clinical, scientific, or medical research.

Conversely, some reject term "gay" as an identity-label because they perceive the cultural connotations to be undesirable or because of the negative connotations of the slang usage of the word.

 

Other terms related to the word "gay" include... Men Having Sex With Men (MSM) and Men Loving Men (MLM).

 

PBS Video: History of the Word Gay

Wikipedia: Definition of Gay

Video: Why Are Homosexual People Called Gay?

Gay Love

He's Not My Boyfriend

Johns Hopkins: Gay and Bisexual Men's Health Issues

Awareness Advocacy Project: What Does Gay Mean?

Male Montage: To Love Somebody

Video Discussion: Gay Men Describe What it Means to be Gay

Gays You'll Date Before You Die

NIH Report: Effects of Masculine Ideals on Gay Men

Francis and Nicholas

Video Documentary: The Gay Word

Wikipedia: Homosexuality

Accepting Yourself: Being Gay is Not Easy

SPLC: Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

 

 

Male Montage: Trouble Makers

Video: Hottest Openly Gay Male Celebrities

Michael and Ben

Your Song: My Love My Life

Land of Storms: Fine Line

For Anyone Who's Been Told It's Just a Phase

Kang Guk and Tae Joo: Take Me Apart

Rock and Archie: Can't Take My Eyes Off of You

HuffPost: In Praise of Visiting the Gay Bar

Somebody to Love

Alex and Winston: Someone You Loved

Come At Me Bro

Male Montage: Blame it on the Girls

Homosexual Men

Research: Unique Stressors for Gay Men

True Definition of Gay

Video: What Does Gay Mean?

Steve's Coming Out Story


 

Terminology

Just as the word "gay" is sometimes used as a shorthand for the term LGBTQ, so is "gay community" sometimes a synonym for the LGBTQ community. In other cases, the speaker may be referring only to homosexual men. Starting in the mid-1980s in the United States, a conscious effort was underway within what was then called the gay community, to add the term lesbian to the name of all gay organizations that catered to both male and female homosexuals, and to use the terminology of gay and lesbian, or lesbian/gay when referring to that community.

 



So, organizations like the National Gay Task Force became the National Lesbian/Gay Task Force. For many ardent feminist lesbians, it was also important that the L come first, lest an L following a G become another symbol of male dominance over women. In the 1990s, this was followed by another equally concerted push to include the terminology specifically pointing out the inclusion of bisexuals and transgender people, reflecting an end to the intra-community debate as to whether these other sexual minorities were part of the same sexual liberation movement.

 

In the 2000s it became commonplace to add Q to the acronym, at first to to recognize "questioning" persons and then to more broadly encompass "queer" persons (an umbrella term for a variety of sexual minorities). Most news organizations have formally adopted this use, following the example and preference of the LGBTQ organizations, as reflected in their press releases and public communications. Today, many people interpret the phrase "gay community" to mean "the population of LGBTQ people."

 

 

 

HRC: Responding to Children's Questions About LGBTQ Issues

Video Talk: Dating is Difficult for a Gay Guy

He's Not My Boyfriend

Rock and Archie: Rescue My Heart

Awareness Advocacy Project: What Does Gay Mean?

Info: Sexual Orientation

Video: Why Are Homosexual People Called Gay?

NIH Report: Effects of Masculine Ideals on Gay Men

Homosexual Men

Info: LGBTQ Community

Video Discussion: Gay Men Describe What it Means to be Gay

Male Montage: To Love Somebody

For Anyone Who's Been Told It's Just a Phase

PBS Video: History of the Word Gay

 

 

 

Gay Movie Montage: Colour Me In

Perfect: My Love My Life

Wikipedia: Homosexuality

SPLC: Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

Video: Boyfriend Adventure

CDC: Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

Male Montage: Blame it on the Girls

Gays You'll Date Before You Die

Somebody to Love

Handsome Man by Matt Alber

Research: Unique Stressors for Gay Men

Kang Guk and Tae Joo: Take Me Apart

Queer Kid Stuff: What Does Gay Mean?

Land of Storms: Fine Line

Ray's Coming Out Story

Gay Men's Health and Identity: Social Change and Life Course

 

In Praise of Visiting the Gay Bar
 

The first time I stepped inside a gay bar was also the first time I kissed a man. I was 19 years old and the bar was in the conservative bastion of Colorado Springs. Like many gay bars in the early 1980’s, it was a non-descript building with blacked-out windows and perched on the edge of town; the city’s dirty little secret. The bar, like the kiss, was a thrill I would not experience again for more than 20 years.

I was working as a tour guide at “The Lost Gold Mine” in Central City and living with my lesbian aunt and her psychic girlfriend in the summer of 1982. There are stories I have yet to tell my mother about that night. The way I lied about my age to the bartender and became drunk on vodka tonics. How Donna Summer, Tina Turner and Diana Ross (or their drag queen look-alikes) coaxed me up on stage and showered me with glittery hugs. And the moment I stumbled out of the bar with a handsome young guy and experienced that first kiss beneath the shadow of Pike’s Peak. The bar was like a beautiful island of misfit toys and I belonged.

 

When I returned home to North Carolina, which was also when I retreated back into the closet, I boarded up those stories and stowed them away, but I never forgot them. More than 20 years later, when I was in my 40s and living in Boston, I came out for the second time and ventured once again into a gay bar.

Fritz was a gay sports bar in the trendy South End of Boston and not at all like my first experience. While the ceiling was painted black, the ample sized windows were not. I strolled past them multiple times peeking inside, summoning up the courage to open the door. When I entered, there were a dozen or so guys dressed in work attire, half of them watching a baseball game on the TV screen above the bar and the other half checking out the new arrivals. There was no need to lie about my age, as my greying hair gave that secret away. I didn’t dance with any drag queens or get kissed beneath the silvery moon, but I did experience the tiny thrill that I get to this day when I walk into a gay bar, and I have visited many.

I’ve danced with a New Zealand landscape designer at DJ Station in Bangkok, chatted with an ice-cream truck driver at The Admiral Duncan in the Soho neighborhood of London, flirted with a waiter at Harvey’s in the Castro, talked to some regulars at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, partied like a celebrity at The Abbey in West Hollywood and had more fun nights than I can count on two hands at Mainestreet and The Front Porch in Ogunquit, Maine and Club Café in Boston.

 

One night, I overheard a guy in his 20s lament to his gaggle of friends “Ugh, if I’m still coming here when I’m in my 30s, somebody slap me.” I wanted to deliver a pre-emptive strike. Anyone in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s who is still able to visit a gay bar, should consider himself lucky.

I’m in my 50s now and I still venture out to a gay bar now and then, the last time was with my youngest daughter, Marisa who is in her 20s. I watched her get coaxed up onto the stage and dance with Tramplina, a 6 foot two tall drag queen. I couldn’t help but laugh and see my younger self. I’m not attempting to relive my youth, as much as I am reclaiming what was stolen.

I’ll continue to go to gay bars until either one of us ceases to exist. I’ve heard that they are not necessary now that we’ve become main-stream or that they are too shallow and I have also read that insipid article about how gay men in their 40s should grow up and not go to gay clubs. I have three responses: 1) Being main-stream is overrated; 2) You get out of life what you put into it and 3) a quote from Maurice Chevalier “You don’t stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing.”
 

The modern day fight for LGBTQ rights began in a bar and there was a generation who fought for those rights but did not live long enough to see them come to fruition. The least I can do is raise a glass to them every now and then and perhaps under the disco lights, steal a kiss from my husband.

[Source: William Dameron, The Authentic Life, March 2017]

 

 

HuffPost: In Praise of Visiting the Gay Bar

Male Montage: Trouble Makers

Video: Hottest Openly Gay Male Celebrities

Michael and Ben

Your Song: My Love My Life

Land of Storms: Fine Line

For Anyone Who's Been Told It's Just a Phase

He's Not My Boyfriend

Johns Hopkins: Gay and Bisexual Men's Health Issues

Awareness Advocacy Project: What Does Gay Mean?

Male Montage: To Love Somebody

 

Talking With Kids: What Does Gay Mean?
 

There is not one right answer. Many people have grown up without hearing the words “gay” or “lesbian.” Therefore, you may not be sure how to respond when a student asks you what they mean. It is better to try to answer than to respond with silence or evade the question. Practice different responses with colleagues, just as you practice other things that you want to learn. Figure out what you feel comfortable saying. Responses will vary by age and developmental stage of the student. Your comfort in answering these questions will set a welcoming tone in your class and school community.

Keep it simple. An answer can be as simple as saying that "gay" means "when a man loves a man or when a woman loves a woman." Try to answer the question honestly without overloading a student with information. Throughout elementary school a student’s ability to understand what “gay” means and what your explanation means may increase with development.

 

Focus on love and relationships. A discussion with elementary-age students about the meanings of “gay” or “lesbian” is a discussion about love and relationships. You can just clarify that people love each other in different ways. Some women love and want to be partners with a man and some women love and want to be partners with a woman. It can be helpful to give concrete examples, such as “Tanya and Angela love each other, and they want to be family to each other.”

Understand what the student is asking. If a second-grader says to you, “Alexia said that Ricardo is gay. What does gay mean?” You could begin with, “Do you know why Alexia said that?” Or a student could say, “I heard that Omar’s dad is gay. What does that mean?” Listening first gives you a good idea of what your student wants to know and needs to know. Will your answer be about name-calling, defining what it means to be gay, different kinds of families, or some combination of answers?

 



Think about what messages you want to share.


--All people deserve respect.
--Making fun of people by calling them “gay” (or “sissy” or “queer”) is hurtful. It can hurt both the student who is targeted and anyone who hears it who may have a gay relative or friend.
--Using the name of any group of people as an insult is not OK, because it is most often based on negative stereotypes.
--People can fall in love and want to be in a relationship with people of the same gender or with people of a different gender.

Sample responses.

--A gay person is someone who loves someone who is the same gender.

--A gay person is someone who cares about and is affectionate with someone who is the same gender.
--A gay person is someone who is in a committed romantic relationship with someone who is the same gender.

--The word "gay" describes a man and a man or a woman and a woman who love each other.
--It describes a boy who wants to have a boyfriend or a girl who wants to have a girlfriend.

 

 

Gay Men and Sexual Promiscuity
 

A 2020 study reports that women tend to keep their distance from gay men described as sexually promiscuous. New research suggests that sexual promiscuity negatively impacts social responses toward both gay and straight men. The study, published in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinities, found that women are more likely to seek to avoid gay men described as promiscuous compared to gay men who are not described as promiscuous.

“Perceptions of masculinity, and stereotypes toward gay men, are multifaceted,” said study author Corey Cook, an assistant professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University. “I was interested in knowing what happens when some of these perceptions overlap; for example, does perceived sexual promiscuity (which is associated with traditional ideas of masculinity, but also used as a justification for antigay prejudice) affect perceptions of gay and straight men similarly? These kinds of comparisons can help us understand where these prejudices come from, and hopefully help us find ways to reduce them.”

In the study, 354 heterosexual undergraduate students were randomly assigned to report their social attitudes towards either gay men, straight men, gay men who are sexually promiscuous, straight men who are sexually promiscuous, gay men with very feminine qualities, straight men with very feminine qualities, gay men with very masculine qualities, or straight men with very masculine qualities.

 

 


To assess their attitudes, the participants were asked how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “I would like for a member of this group to work in the same place as I do” and “Members of this group are the kind of people that I tend to avoid.” The researchers found that both female and male participants reported greater social distancing toward gay men than toward straight men. Women also reported greater social distancing toward sexually promiscuous gay men than gay men in general. Men, however, showed no difference in attitude between sexually promiscuous gay men and gay men in general

In addition, Cook and his colleagues found that women reported greater social distancing toward sexually promiscuous straight men compared to all other groups. “One important implication of this research is that attitudes based on sexual behavior can be more nuanced than we often think. Research consistently finds that heterosexual women are generally more accepting of gay men than heterosexual men are. My findings suggest that this is not the case when gay men are explicitly labeled as sexually promiscuous,” Cook said.

“Additionally, heterosexual women and men respond negatively toward straight men labeled as sexually promiscuous. This is interesting because heterosexual men have traditionally used ‘sexual prowess’ as a way to boost their status; my research suggests that this tactic might not work as well as men think.”

 



In a second experiment with 500 participants recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, the researchers found evidence that women’s negativity toward sexually promiscuous gay men was related to concern for disease threats. But perceived disease threat only explained some of the relationship. “One major caveat to these findings is that our data do not fully explain why women responded so negatively toward targets labeled as sexually promiscuous. What is it about sexual promiscuity that elicited such negative reactions from women in our studies?” Cook said.

“Also, what perpetuates this “masculine” norm among men if both men and women respond negatively to sexual promiscuity? I hope my findings are interesting enough to motivate other researchers to explore these questions in ways I haven’t yet thought of.”

“I think the timing of this research is fortuitous. We are at a point culturally when people are beginning to ask very important questions about traditional ideas of gender, sex, and sexuality. Maybe findings such as these can help us think of ways to redefine masculinity and help us find healthier ways of perceiving sexuality,” Cook added.

The study, “You Don’t Know Where He’s Been: Sexual Promiscuity Negatively Affects Responses Toward Both Gay and Straight Men“, was authored by Corey L. Cook and Catherine A. Cottrell.
 

[Source: Eric W. Dolan, Psy Post, July 2020]

 

 

Superior Gay Brains

 

Actor Lisa Kudrow, of Friends fame and other television and film projects, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Vassar College. So she is smarter in real life than the Phoebe character she played on the Friends TV show.  She has a biological theory about gay men in general, based on some semi-scientific data.

“I don't know who I'm going to offend by leaving anybody out, but I need to say that I think gay men are superior beings in my mind. I do believe that. It's all so tricky. I studied biology.  And their brains are anatomically different. They just are. There's a stronger connection with the corpus callosum in gay men. The two sides of the brain communicate better than a straight men's brains. And I think that has to be really important. I think those qualities make them like superhuman to me."

[Source: Lisa Kudrow, Vanity Fair, Oct 2014]

 

PsyPost: Gay Men and Sexual Promiscuity

NIH Report: Effects of Masculine Ideals on Gay Men

Gay Movie Montage: Colour Me In

Accepting Yourself: Being Gay is Not Easy

Gay Love

For Anyone Who's Been Told It's Just a Phase

Male Montage: To Love Somebody

Video Talk: Dating is Difficult for a Gay Guy

Homosexual Men

How Gay Came to Mean Homosexual

CDC: Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

Info: LGBTQ Community

Somebody to Love

Gay Guyde: What Does Gay Mean?

 

What's Good About Being Gay
 

In reviewing the data collected from research related to male youths’ conceptualizations of being gay/bisexual revealed two major categories: Positive personal conceptualizations of being gay/bisexual. And resiliency in the face of gay-related oppression. Here is a sampling of comments from the participants who were interviewed for the research project.

 



Positive Personal Conceptualizations of Being Gay/Bisexual


On the basis of the research, the two themes identified as positive personal conceptualizations of being gay/bisexual were flexibility and connectedness.

Um, positive things? Hum. I don't know. I get to like girls and boys, I guess. Um, I have to classify, I really have a problem with classifying myself. Like that's really an issue with me. I don't like to be classified as one thing, because then it doesn't really make you who you are. It's kind of this blending with the rest of the people.

(Justin, 18 year old, multi-racial bisexual male)

In this aspect, the participant gained strength from resisting stereotypes associated with sexual orientation classification. He felt that by not identifying as gay or straight, he was able to be himself around others.

 



Another aspect of flexibility discussed by participants was the concept of environmental flexibility. Youth commented on how being gay/bisexual allowed them to explore more physical places and spaces, specifically ones that are gay-friendly. In this sub-theme the young men did not discuss the need to escape from unsafe spaces, but rather emphasized the benefits of visiting places specifically tailored to LGBTQ youth.

Well, I really think I'm really lucky when it comes to that. Like there's just so much available now that like I really like to utilize. Like there's so many organizations, like I go over to [name of agency] and there's gays everywhere. And um, there's just all, there's dances to go to. I love to go dancing. And I mean, it's just like if you like really sit down, like count your blessings, there's so much out there that I'm really like grateful for and like that I really am lucky to have available to me, like when it comes to in terms of like things that are oriented for my sexuality and for people that are like, and for places that I can go and be safe, doing whatever, and stuff like that. That's very important to me.

(Paul, 16 year old, Italian gay male)

Another sub-theme, which emerged as a positive conceptualization, was gender flexibility. Participants who discussed gender flexibility reported the ability to experiment with gender roles. Specifically, the youth spoke about their ability to display both masculine and feminine traits.

I think you’re free from some of the things that we talked about, some of the ideas of what it means to be a man. You don’t really have to, it’s not something you really have to think about when you’re gay. You can kind of be who you are and not have to worry about um, being masculine or being ah, a stereotypical man.

(Michael, 22 year old, White gay male)

 



Similar to the example on sexual flexibility, this participant utilized a strategy of resisting stereotypes specifically associated with gender. Many of the adolescents who spoke about gender flexibility offered their views on the concept of masculinity, and how being a man has been constructed by society. Individuals whose responses reflected this sub-theme expressed a sense of freedom, as well as a sense of strength gained from rejecting stereotypes associated with being a man.

Another major theme identified as a positive conceptualization was connectedness. Participants focused these internal messages either on being connected with females or connected to the gay community. The youth who described a connection with females emphasized that females generally find gay men trusting and valuable in providing emotional support, as compared to heterosexual men.

Well, I mean, there's a lot of things. I mean, like um, I feel like um, women are more trusting of me because I'm gay. Um, um, which is a plus, because I'm kind of gonna be that rock in a way, like they can come to me and talk to me about stuff. However, I mean, I guess I was coming up like that figure anyways before, but it's definitely more so now.

(Sean, 21 year old, Eastern European gay male)
 



Another participant who commented on connectedness with females argued that the reason for this closeness is the fact that straight men typically befriend women for sexual purposes, while gay men do not. Additionally, he argued that both gay men and straight women are able to share their experiences with male sexual/dating partners and receive advice from one another.

 

Some youth expressed a sense of connection to the gay community. They discussed feeling connected to other individuals who had gone through similar experiences and their ability to bond through hardships. Participants also expressed the ability to form social support groups with other gay people.

Positive things about being gay? Um, it's, it's very easy to, to, when you do find somebody that is, that is very similar to yourself, it's very easy to find a connection with them because they've endured a lot of the same hardships that you have and, and you, and it's easy to talk, I feel like it's very easy to talk to somebody else who is gay, because they've experienced a lot of the same things that I have in coming and developing their identity.

(Patrick, 20 year old, White gay male)

 



Resiliency in the Face of Gay-Related Oppression


Although many of the youth focused on positive conceptualizations of being gay/bisexual, some identified ways in which they had demonstrated resiliency in the face of oppression. Participants expressed their resiliency in four ways, including acceptance, self-care, rejection of stereotypes, and activism. Inherent in many of the themes and sub-themes in this section is the acknowledgement and confirmation that these youth have experienced various forms of oppression and marginalization related to their sexual orientation, but they demonstrated resiliency and strength in the face of these negative forces.

Youth who discussed messages of acceptance either centered their responses on self-acceptance or acceptance by others. The youth who described self-acceptance argued that exploring their sexuality allowed for the opportunity to be who they are, which resulted in greater feelings of happiness.

Well, um, it’s, it’s fun (chuckles) at times. Um, positive about being gay? Ah, well, just because it is what I am, um, the more I come to accept it, the more fun I have, I guess, with it. Ah, it’s hard to say a lot of positive things of being gay, because society doesn’t see it the same way. I don’t know. So that’s all I have to say.

(Ben, 20 year old, White gay male)

 



Here the participant acknowledges pervasive negative societal views of gay/bisexual people, but he has been able to find self-acceptance and enjoyment in being gay. Another participant who discussed self-acceptance focused on the importance of “not hiding behind something.” He empowered himself and gained strength by not concealing his sexual orientation identity around others.

Several of the youth in the survey reported acceptance by others as another form of resiliency. They discussed feeling connected to friends who accepted them as gay/bisexual young men, and expressed how such acceptance served as a form of social support. The following youth talks about the fun he has with his friends who are not gay/bisexual and emphasizes that a critical aspect of his relationship with them is that they do not “judge” him or hold negative views of gay/bisexual people

Now the positives, like my friends and stuff, they're the ones I kick it with, them, I'm acting like, okay, we gonna go, we gonna go out with him and we just gonna have fun. We gonna enjoy ourselves, to go the movies, go to whatever, go out to eat and stuff like that. They don't judge me…

(Chris, 23 year old, African American gay male)

 



Participants also acknowledged self-care as a resiliency strategy. Those that stressed the importance of self-care discussed the need to take care of oneself on both an emotional and physical level. Emotional self-care was discussed in the context of acknowledging and being aware of the negative emotional impact of heterosexist societal messages on them as gay/bisexual young men, and then building resistance strategies to such pervasive negativity. This often resulted in increased vigilance around homophobic individuals. One young man discussed the potential negative consequences of being openly gay around “homophobic people” and the need to be responsible when making decisions about sexual orientation disclosure.

And be careful. Be responsible with it. Not just be, I mean, if you're out you have to be careful of like you don't run into like those certain people that's gonna hurt you. Like you have to be responsible enough to take care of yourself, if you're gonna be out….Well, think about like certain things, like think that, try not to get shot or something. Be careful who you tell or who are around, everything, be out and about, like try not to get killed or anything. Because there's a lot of homophobic people out there

(Jose, 19 year old, Hispanic queer male)

Physical self-care was typically discussed in the context of physical appearance and sexual health, such as carrying condoms in order to protect one from sexually transmitted infections. This sub-theme was not directly connected to experiences of oppression as gay/bisexual youth, but some of the youth did note higher rates of HIV among gay/bisexual men as a motivating factor in their use of condoms during sexual activity.

I mean, I think if you’re bisexual and you’re sleeping with guys and girls you should definitely be educated in protecting yourself with a guy as, specifically with a guy or specifically with a girl.

(Kevin, 21 year old, Multiracial bisexual male)

 



Gay/bisexual youth who reported the rejection of stereotypes as another form of resiliency stressed the importance of developing a positive sense of self that is not restricted by societal messages regarding what gay/bisexual men “should” do, think, and feel. Several of the young men shared that the vast majority of general societal images connected with the gay community are negative (promiscuity, HIV), and promote harmful stereotypes of gay/bisexual men; thus they should be rejected.
 

My friends are like, gay guys are supposed to dress like, gay guys are supposed to like be all done up. And um, I think there's the role that, and there's the role of gay people are supposed to hang out in bars in the gay section. And gay people are supposed to um, gay people are supposed to be affectionate and effeminate and all these different things. And these are all roles that fit a lot of people. But the roles that are also stereotypes. And oftentimes not true. But those are the roles that I think you most commonly see associated with the gay community.

(Nick, 18 year old, Irish American gay male)

Finally, several participants talked about activism as another form of resiliency. They highlighted an individual desire to be knowledgeable about issues that have affected the LGBTQ community, in order to guide their future aspirations. The following youth emphasizes the need for youth to understand the shared history of the gay community, and the sacrifices that people have made in the past (including death) so that the youth of today can have greater freedoms.

It's kind of like the same as being Latino which is like right now you're history and all, like right now where you came from because being gay is more than just being attracted to somebody of the same sex. There's a history behind it. People made sacrifices. People died for this. And just knowing where you've been, or where your people have been, so you know where you're going. I think it's the responsibility of every gay person to know where they want to go. I know a lot of the young people that I work with are like yeah, they don't really care about gay marriages. But they're like, well, in ten or fifteen years, you may care about it. And this is something that affects your brothers and sisters, and just seeing people like that in that view of knowing where you're coming from and fighting for stuff that your community needs.

(Oscar, 23 year old, Puerto Rican gay male)

 



Some youth also discussed the need to educate and support other young gay/bisexual men in order to promote well-being among their peers and support future activism. The following participant discusses the importance of young people having someone who is older to serve as a buffer against negative societal messages and to provide them with affirmation and support.

Yeah, like when you'd be, like to, to I don't know, say educate or to just show the way into the gay world, kind of like, like showing, like helping them get through. Because like, especially for a lot of young people, it can be a very tough thing to do, especially growing up in a place, in a world where it's not the majority and so it's not always considered right or it's not always considered okay, especially when in that kind of place it can be kind of tough for younger people to deal with it. Or to maybe accept it, but just having someone who's older to have like telling you that it is acceptable and you should accept it and be who you are, it's important a lot of times.

(Paul, 16 year old, Italian gay male)

[Source: What’s Good about Being Gay?: Perspectives from Youth, Gary W. Harper, Asya Brodsky, Douglas Bruce, 2013]
 

 

Wikipedia: Definition of Gay

HuffPost: In Praise of Visiting the Gay Bar

Video: What Does Gay Mean?

Alex and Winston: Someone You Loved

Johns Hopkins: Gay and Bisexual Men's Health Issues

Kang Guk and Tae Joo: Take Me Apart

Come At Me Bro

Info: Sexual Orientation

TED Talk: Why Am I So Gay?

He's Not My Boyfriend

Male Montage: Trouble Makers

Gay Men's Health and Identity: Social Change and Life Course

Video Documentary: The Gay Word

PBS Video: History of the Word Gay

Michael and Ben

Gays You'll Date Before You Die

SPLC: Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

True Definition of Gay

Video Discussion: Gay Men Describe What it Means to be Gay

Francis and Nicholas


HOME

 


QUEER CAFE │ LGBTQ Information Network │ Established 2017