The Only Gay


So what is life of a 2nd year law student like? Seemingly it means that no matter where I go someone wants to know what I think about gay marriage. They want a range of opinions from me. They want my personal opinion. They want to know what I think as an engaged gay man. They want to know what being engaged actually entails. These are the questions I can answer with ease, but I normally get kind of a deflated response. Apparently they want me to be more grand. They want a “fabulous” answer.

I normally seem to give such “Fabulous” answers when they ask me to speak for gays in general. I do not overly enjoy doing this, I know I am not the best person to ask, but I also know that for some people, I’m the only person they feel they can ask. So I tell them that I can’t really speak for gays as a class of people, but based on my own understanding of the issues and based on what I have observed the LGBT community doing lately, this is what LGBT people seem to be seeking.

It is when people ask me these questions that I realize something. For some people I am ‘that guy’ or maybe ‘that gay’ that they know. I am happy I consider myself a good person, but I am not sure if I am a good role model for gay culture. I find myself a little too stereotypical, too flaming, and under informed. I’m not someone who is entrenched in the LGBT civil rights movement. I come from the South. I spent a large degree of my life straddling the line of being in and out of the closet. I was out in that I acted like a big screaming homosexual, but I didn’t claim to be gay until I was in college. I’m not proud of that. I don’t regret my decision of self-preservation, but I do think this makes me less of a role model.

In addition, I do not do anything, aside from exist, that is particularly pro-gay. I used to do social issue theatre, which was my way for “speaking for the cause”, but since Law School I have not even done that. Now I learn about things in law school, and see how they effect LGBT community members, but I’m still not doing anything aside from learning about it. Will I ever get to use this knowledge to further the LGBT community movement? I do not know. I would love to do so, but it may never happen. Right now I’m just working on getting a job, and getting good grades.

So here is my position. If I’m the only homosexual person that you know, I hope that by knowing me you see that homosexuals are just normal people. I hope that by seeing that, you will support the LGBT community in their demands for being treated as equals. If by knowing me, you now think ALL homosexuals are really effeminate musical theatre queens, PLEASE do not look at me as a typical Gay person. I do not think of myself as typical or even a good representation of the LGBT community at large.

This being said, I am glad people seek my opinion. I think I’m qualified to give a pretty good one, that goes beyond simple “I’m here I’m queer get used to it” or “I think we should have gay marriage, because it is stupid not to have it.” I like to think that I have an opinion which has some support. So, I’m not saying “I wish people would not ask me things about LGBT issues.” What I’m saying is “When you ask me, understand that I’m not the best person in the world to ask. I will not be able to answer all your questions, and my opinion is based on a very specific set of experiences.”


1 Comment

  1. tanglethis said,

    November 22, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Oh, Richard. You don’t have to represent the entire gay community. It wouldn’t be fair if anyone asked you to play that role.
    I think what you’re saying seems to be exactly right: I’m only one individual in an incredibly diverse population, and can only speak as that one person. But also as a person whose understanding of some issues is inflected by being a member of that population.

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