Why we need our own things

Si­mon Wil­liamson lives with his hus­band in het­eronor­ma­tively-as­sim­ila­tive fash­ion in Athens, af­ter a year of sur­viv­ing ru­ral Ge­or­gia.

GA Voice - - OUT SPOKEN - By Si­mon Wil­liamson

With all the dis­dain ex­pended on the idea of safe spa­ces on cam­puses and uni­ver­si­ties, a lot of rea­son­ing has been lost re­gard­ing the ab­so­lute lux­ury of a space wherein we don’t have to de­fend our­selves, like we are ex­pected to all the time. We are of­ten ex­pected to ex­plain why our sex­ual lax­ness is an­ti­thet­i­cal to some­one else’s pre­con­ceived ideas, and even when peo­ple pro­fess to be on our team, fac­ing ques­tion­ing of the things we deem per­fectly nor­mal is still tir­ing.

Which is why it is in­deli­bly im­por­tant to have “safe spa­ces” of our own, like th­ese very pages. We are in­cred­i­bly lucky to live at a time when enough of us can group to­gether, forming our own bloc in greater so­ci­ety to have and sup­port our own bars and news­pa­pers and cen­ters and gyms and clubs and char­i­ties and Olympics.

The value of be­ing al­lowed to ex­ist within our own com­mu­nity, via th­ese dif­fer­ent av­enues, is in­cal­cu­la­ble. Be­ing openly gay, trans or bi, or even a cis­gen­der fe­male, to be hon­est, is dif­fi­cult enough when we have to nav­i­gate work­places and gro­cery stores and sport­ing and con­cert events, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to live in a place like At­lanta, where ho­mo­pho­bia is less com­mon than it is pretty much every­where else in Ge­or­gia. Hav­ing spent a year liv­ing in ru­ral New­ton County, I can ab­so­lutely pro­fess to you that the para­noia brought on by be­ing gay in un­friendly ter­ri­tory is more tan­gi­ble than late-night sauna cock.

The most well-mean­ing non-LGBT peo­ple in the world can’t em­pathize to a per­fect de­gree, and it is un­fair to ex­pect them to. It is sim­ply im­pos­si­ble, in the same man­ner it is for a man to em­pathize with women’s is­sues, or a white per­son to em­pathize with be­ing on the re­ceiv­ing end of in­sti­tu­tional racism. And it is why we hang around with each other: it’s awesome to talk about our own things, from deep shit to pure ba­nal­i­ties, with peo­ple who get it like we do.

From work­place health plans that don’t ad­e­quately ad­dress HIV and part­ner ben­e­fits, to rights that we need that go far be­yond mar­riage, to fam­ily trou­bles, to the com­pli­ca­tions of gay re­la­tion­ships, all the way to who has the hottest Congress mem­ber (the peo­ple of Ari­zona do, thanks to ju­nior se­na­tor Jeff Flake, by the way)— it is great to just have our own stuff, where we can let it all hang out, lit­er­ally or fig­u­ra­tively, and not have to de­fend why naked peo­ple march in our pride pa­rades, or ex­plain which of us is the woman, or spell out the hyp­o­crit­i­cal ac­cu­sa­tion that we “flaunt our sex­u­al­ity” while the ac­cusers act all butch for no rea­son other than to avoid be­ing ac­cused of a sin­gle non-Rambo trait.

It is why I feel so for­tu­nate to be able to write on th­ese pages ev­ery two weeks. It is good to have our own news­pa­per, and it is good to be able to dis­cuss our own is­sues and de­bate the cross­walks in our own com­mu­nity.

Of course, we’re fal­li­ble, and our own is­sues of­ten ex­clude peo­ple we pro­fess to be in our com­mu­nity. And I will con­tinue to can­tan­ker­ously whine about that in col­umns in the fu­ture.

But for the mo­ment I just want to cel­e­brate this won­der­ful pa­per, and the year I have spent writ­ing for it. Read­ing the Ge­or­gia Voice is a plea­sure; writ­ing for it is an ab­so­lute priv­i­lege.

We need our own stuff, and our own stuff is good. Sup­port it!

“Hav­ing spent a year liv­ing in ru­ral New­ton County, I can ab­so­lutely pro­fess to you that the para­noia of be­ing gay in un­friendly ter­ri­tory is more tan­gi­ble than late-night sauna cock.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.