We're Still Scared to Admit We Have Problems
Given all the discrimination against homosexuals, it makes sense for the community to assemble like a Roman Legion and lock together their rainbow-forged shields against the attacking bigots. Which is good, because like a Roman Legion, we're up against people who actually literally want us dead. But on the other hand, all of this focus on unification has forced us to ignore some major problems in our community for fear of exposing a weak spot to the other side.
LucasfilmThe thermal exhaust port of our Gay Death Star, if you will.
For example, while straight culture has been pushing to adopt a more flexible definition of beauty that extends beyond the "clinically dead" section of the BMI, gay male culture has not: The public image of the gay man is still a perfectly sculpted slab of muscle-cake, which of course leads to an overabundance of eating disorders, drug addiction, and steroid abuse. But we're terrified to bring those things up because they point to mental unwellness -- and anti-gay-rights activists will shit themselves with excitement at the chance to use this as evidence that we're all messed up in the head.
Then there's sexual assault. A lot of people still have trouble believing that it's even possible for a woman to rape someone. Clarifying the reality invites comparisons to an evil, predatory lesbian, but ignoring it is doing nothing to battle the epidemic of gay people being assaulted. I have personal experience with woman-on-woman rape, and I can say flat-out that lesbians have no clue what to do with the concept. After all, it's a massive mental shift to go from "women's-only spaces as a lesbian utopia" to "women's-only spaces as potential hunting grounds for rapists." So victims like me are invisible to professionals used to handling male-on-female rape, and shunned by a community that will accuse us of destroying their glorious vision with our inconvenient victimhood.
MagMos/iStock/Getty Images"Look, it would require a new box on the form, and we just got these printed."
And then there's the continuing nightmare of AIDS. Opponents of homosexuality characterize gay men as fabulous plague rats, which is a stereotype the gay community has had to battle tirelessly since AIDS hit the scene, forcing the community to all but ignore the batshit epidemic of STDs among young gay men for fear of agreeing with the bigots. Many newly minted gay boys believe treatments for HIV make the disease something akin to chronic jock itch instead of a virus that can kill everyone it infects. This leads to an at best lackadaisical use of protection, and since the gay community itself stigmatizes HIV/AIDS, things are even harder for HIV positive young men: They're being shunned from every direction.
Again, things are much, much better than they used to be. But the worst thing we can do is assume the fight is over. If it looks like that from the outside, well, that's the problem.
We'd like to thank Patrick Hopkins for contributing to this article. Lily Marx has a terrible twitter account and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. JF Sargent is a columnist and dick-joke journalist for Cracked, and you can contact him if you wanna punch the world with knowledge.
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