2.17.11 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
Comments: 4

SteveBlanchardHeadshotAs I approach my mid-30s, I’ve come to realize one thing: It takes a lot of work to be gay.

When I came out of the closet to my friends I was still in college and was unemployed. When I came out to my family, I had my bachelor’s degree and was working as a full-time sportswriter for a small mid-Missouri newspaper.

Back then I knew nothing about LGBT culture and could only base my expectations on the experience of older, more experienced LGBTs nearby and the representation of the culture on television. The life of a gay man looked exciting, colorful, sexy—and incredibly exhausting.

I learned bars stayed open until early mornings and drag shows didn’t even kick off until after 10 p.m. I also learned my love of classic rock and country music was often frowned upon by many of the people I’d meet when I went out.

While I’ve been out for well more than a decade, I’ve seen a lot of changes, both politically and socially. The political changes get me excited. The social changes intimidate me.

Socially, I’m surprised we’re not a more tired people. I’ve never been one to stay out all night and when most of my friends are heading out for the night, I’m heading home.

Anyone close to me knows I’m pop-culturally challenged. I’m much more aware of where our military stands on implementing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and Gov. Rick Scott’s anti-gay appointments than I am of current fashion trends, the gossip surrounding the latest pop diva or the drama unfolding on a reality show.

There are way too many superficial things to keep up with and there are times when I’m just tired of being gay.

I don’t mean I’m tiring of my sexuality or the fight to have my relationship legally recognized. I fully embrace who I am and I’m proud of my LGBT brothers and sisters and the many generations before us who paved the path toward legal recognition.

We all have different tastes and I know I’m not trendy. For example, I find myself constantly defending my dislike of Lady Gaga’s music. Granted, the Diva of Weird should be commended for her fight for LGBT equality, but her music—and I’ve tried listening to it extensively—is too closely associated to the interior throbbing of a migraine for me to get too excited.

The same can be said for my apprehension in watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s not that I don’t want our local star Alexis Mateo to do well in Season Three. I think my biggest fear of that show is that a young kid somewhere who is struggling with his or her sexuality will see Drag Race as an overall representation of what it means to be gay in America. This by no way means I don’t appreciate and enjoy female impersonation. It just worries me that Logo’s seemingly only original programming is a reality show focused on stage drama and bitchiness. And yes, the same can be said for all reality shows—which I tend to avoid.

Another area of intimidation for me concerns fashion. Many gay men are on the forefront of fashion revolutions while I struggle to determine which tank top or t-shirt I should wear with which pair of jeans. And, if I’m not in that outfit and on my way to a destination by 8 p.m., you can bet it will be a losing struggle to get myself moving in that direction later in the evening.

The LGBT community is so multi-faceted that everyone does not fit into every category. Fans of pop culture aren’t necessarily up to speed on politics and those who enjoy rallying for equality may not know who was kicked off the runway on last week’s episode. Our differences are comical, but should also be embraced.

There is a lot of work to be done and a lot to be celebrated within the LGBT community. Every one of us has our strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. I know this makes me sound old, but really, couldn’t we get to work a bit earlier in the evenings?

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