“Closeted Pride BS”
Guest Writer: Bobby Smith
Gays, Lesbians, Transgenders, Queers, Genderfluids, Bisexuals, Pansexuals, and Same Gender Loving people are no longer just the whispers coyly cultivated on lips shielded by mischievous hands. Freedom to Marry, an American coalition committed to winning and keeping the freedom to marry for same-gender couples, reports that 20 nations have approved the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
American media has realized what was once considered only taboo is now the bankrolls of success. When I look out across the world, I see a community that has earned its Pride. However, when I look through the other end of the telescope, it appears that Pride sometimes is less evident or non-existent.
Free Dictionary.com defines Pride as “a sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect.” In spite of the strides our community has made to garner more respect from the masses, behaviors are prevalent that show we may be missing the mark in nurturing the same expansion of respect to the home grounds within our LBGTQ community.
Internalized homophobia is still evident in how many are still closeted, under the guise of “professionalism” or “privacy.” Coming out doesn’t (always) mean donning a rainbow wig and running with a flaming torch through the streets. Coming out is simply refusing to sidestep any part of yourself just because it differs from someone else’s norm. You may not consider yourself to be closeted. Yet, you never sit on the same side of a booth with your significant other; you use clinical gender-camouflaging terms including “spouse” during general conversation; your place of worship sends two newsletters to an address–although the tithes for both members come from the same account; you only interact with those who are “obviously” gay or transgender in safe zones, such as affirming churches or HIV charity rallies.
Our community is a reflection of ourselves. There is, at least, a little bit of lesbian, a little bit of flaming queen, a little bit of Black SGL activist, a little bit of gender nonconformist in all of us. Many in the heterosexual communities have come to realize this in becoming allies. Why do we, ourselves, miss this message in keeping lines drawn between lesbians and gays, between tops and bottoms, between “passables” and “non-passables,” between gender-conforming and gender-liberated, and even between races or social classes? The fight to become accepted in the world’s community as a whole seems ironic when members of the marginalized preserve margins by maneuvering through social networks exclusive of some of their own.
By failing to learn and know history specific to our culture, many of us fall short in exercising Pride. Knowing every Bette Davis movie, the plot of every Golden Girls episode, or the winners of every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race may be impressive, but lacks connection to the rich history that belongs to us. Pride insists that we acquaint ourselves with the achievements of our LGBTQ community, and celebrating the accomplishments of lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, genderqueers and gays equally.
Our sisters and brothers have made many noteworthy contributions to society in areas beyond Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) activism. Development of your “bragging rights” is as easy as using an internet search engine, taking LGBTQ studies courses at a local university, or visiting the LGBT Institute at The Center for Civil and Human Rights, located in Atlanta, Georgia.
Take these “Bits of BS (Bobby Smith)” to heart over the next month, and make me prouder than I already am of my LGBTQ community. Feel free to email me any topics you’d like for me to highlight. Or, leave a comment regarding how your pride is flourishing!
Bobby Smith advocates unapologetically, incorporating LGBTQ orientation into one’s total identity (as opposed to the other way around). He lives in Atlanta with his husband. “Mr. BS” has been a social activist/writer in the HIV/AIDS, mental health, and LGBTQ rights arenas for over twenty five years. Catch more glimpses of his focus of thought by liking the Know No Oppressive Thinking Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/1.KNOT —and by reading some of his prose at https://wordsfromtheb.wordpress.com/. And, you mail email Bobby at: email@example.com