|Posted on December 13, 2017 at 6:20 PM|
By Dennis Stone
I've complained before on this site about how one-dimensional gay media is. To read gay sites and gay magazines you would think that there is only one way for "good" gays to think, and that the community overwhelmingly subscribes to that worldview. I've whimsically referred to gay people owning and constantly referencing the "Little Black Book Of Proper Gay Thought." Yes, people know there are gay conservatives out there, and that a few even support Donald Trump. Gay media occasionally mentions them, but it's taken for granted that they are odd-duck anomalies, easy to dismiss or make the butt of jokes or derision. Gay media implies that, apart from curiosities of that type, we're essentially a rather one-dimensional community when it comes to issues.
I think they are wrong about that. Based on my experience I think there is a much wider range of views than most people realize. Anything but a monolith, we run the gamut on all issues, whether political, social, cultural, or philosophical. On a political level there are certainly far more liberals than conservatives, but there are large numbers of moderates, and those classed as liberal have a broad gradation of thought. Pick an issue, and there are gay people all along the spectrum. Some want to shut down speakers and speech that they don't like, while others are absolutist on allowing all voices. Some seek to enforce politically correct words and actions, and others think political correctness is a blight. Some seek to fight microagressions, while others belittle the concept. Even something seemingly as straightforward as the "Colorado Bakeshop" case has far more nuance than the "Little Black Book" allows.
I have recently been hired to write articles for a new site scheduled to come online in mid-January. It's not a gay site, and that is one of its appeals for me, since all of my prior writing, both here and for other sites, has been based on gay issues. The purpose of the new site is to present views on issues from multiple viewpoints, and to do it in a way that is not strident. Respect those who think differently, in other words. I have sold two pieces to them already, and they say they will want more in January.
As I was reading the "Advocate" recently it suddenly hit me that we in the gay community badly need a site of the type to which I'm currently contributing. The "Advocate" - and any other gay media outlet you could name - comes at issues in exactly the same way. When I read a headline I know exactly what the piece will say. What's worse is that each is written as though the position taken is obviously the only one a self respecting gay person could possibly take. The thing is, I'm a liberal on almost all issues, but I often disagree with the tone, the argumentation or the lack of nuance in these stories. And I'm far from the only one. The articles that attract multiple comments often have comments that take the writer to task.
Imagine if we had a gay site where the contributors had a range of views, and, most importantly, independent minds that respected other opinions even when they disagreed. The site would have at least one regular conservative writer, one from the Larry Kramer old school mode (though with an open mind), one with distinctly new millennial ideas, etc.
Alas, I don't see it happening. Well, maybe someday way down the road. After all, years ago I didn't see marriage equality happening either. But we need to move past our current polarizing society to a place that celebrates civil discourse between people who disagree. And we need to get to a point where the loudest and most strident voices don't generate the most clicks. Most importantly, we need to get to a point where the "leaders" of the gay community begin to see that the "new millennial gay" outlook is real, and represents not only our future but a dominant part of our present as well. I'm not holding my breath.