Progress? – 26th April 2017

As a 44-year-old gay man, I am saddened by the demise of our gay brotherhood.
As a young gay guy growing up in Edinburgh in the 90’s, I couldn’t have been more blessed. There wasn’t the perceived acceptance there is now but as a collective, we looked out for our own and the GBLT community was a unit. I remember older gay guys escorting us from one bar to another to make sure we were safe and could enjoy ourselves. I remember having as many lesbian friends as I did gay men as there was much less of a divide them within our community.

That’s sadly all lost now, we have diversified to the extent that we have lost focus.
I have never been a fan of all male or female bars feeling that the inevitable result of such exclusion would drive a wedge into an increasingly divided minority. The expanse of the LGT initialism to what it is currently (the latest politically correct version I do not know nor have the inclination to Google) is just another example of how we are an increasing group of minorities who like to include other minorities under the same umbrella because we love minorities and fighting for their rights. If you look within that umbrella has never been so divided.

While some of you may think under that umbrella, our voices are stronger than ever the internal disarray and our inability as minorities to unite leaves us in Clintonville. You need no further warning signs than Brexit, Trump, France, Italy which are all the result of a backlash where a majority of people have supported a populist view where financial hardship made them fight for their own. I do not believe these people are racist or homophobic. I think, they, having endured difficult times are putting themselves and their families first.

Having lived in Spain, the constant bashing of Trump continues as the media portray him as a racist giving his intention to build a wall. The socialist left looking to have open borders akin to the Clinton aspirations. They never mention the fact they have continued to fund a razor wire fence along the 12.7-kilometre border between Melilla and Morocco nor have they offered citizenship to the Sahara refugees left in limbo. You simply can’t have it both ways. You kid yourself if you think that your views and opinions are equally welcomed under the ever-changing banner. Any Trump supporter is as welcome as a fart in a space suit. An example is a heated discussion I had with a local heterosexual socialist politician which resulted in him labelling me homophobic. Ironic as I love boys. The topic, I don´t agree with gay couples adopting, holding the view that it is so seldom a couple agrees 100% and adoption is usually the aspiration of one more than the other. A better plan would be for one to adopt, thus ensuring continuity in any event as the rate of divorce continued to rocket. A will would take care of any issues on the death of that parent. Before you rant, I am not saying this should not be the case for heterosexual couples, it should. My opinion is that from a gay man who would like to adopt and having given careful consideration to all eventualities. I am not trying to be equal; I am not trying to do anything but think through what would be best for my child and me in my situation.

In conclusion, my point is that I am entitled to my views and how I choose to implement them into my life. They do not in any way impede the progression of your aspirations in life. I am however chastised for being homophobic, a Nazi for agreeing with some of Trumps Views or closeted. I am none of the above. As a teacher and to be effective I have to integrate with my multi-cultural community adapting to the individual needs of families and the kids I teach. I don’t need to agree with them on every point as it’s unlikely we are going to share dinner on a regular basis. What I find dangerous is that we continue to build a ´them and us´ society which makes it more difficult for us to agree on the common grounds concerning humanity.

My heart was broken last year when on visiting the Madrid Pride March I witnessed the horror of young families covering their children’s eyes as grown naked men simulated sex dragging each other along by dog leads. I am no prude, but as they wave their pride flags and celibate their sexual liberty I asked myself how many of them knew what the individual colours of the rainbow flag they sport so proudly actually mean? I can’t recall a single time a breakthrough for my liberty was achieved by someone in a bikini and a fancy dress shop wig.

I work hard to integrate into my community, and my sexuality is known but never a point of exclusion. I am embarrassed to be put under an umbrella which condones this behaviour. When you offer such to opportunistic media, they will oblige setting our cause back years.

We need to reorganise ourselves and have a view on mainstream issues and build on shared ground. If we are perceived as always complaining and screaming injustice we are the mosquito waiting to be swatted. We should agree where our detractors are right and support and rejoice in shared objectives. It’s better to be a participating entity that a pain in the arse that is imploding as our increasing diversity ironically leads us to self-destruction. To finish, I ask you this. Are we not asking too much when we expect society to celebrate our extremes masked as diversity while at the same time demanding we be treated as one of them? Should diversity in all its forms qualify for inclusion? At what point if any does democracy no longer matter? If something was unsupported overwhelmingly in a democratic society at what point would we accept it?

Lee Robert Ness

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