Gay Culture is ending. Thats what I see.
We’ve undergone the most rapid switch in public sentiment in history. We’ve won causes more rapidly, been accepted more rapidly, experienced our own internal shifts more rapidly.
“Coming out” stories are becoming less meaningful as more kids are raised knowing they are gay and their parents raise them as being normal. The nervousness and tension are disappearing.
We’re breaking down every barrier, losing out on “firsts”, as athletes, executives, and electeds are coming out and experiencing more support and acceptance than otherwise.
We’re holding hands in public, kissing on TV, we’re married by former Presidents, ever fewer people care, and they care even less.
Whats left is a subculture of what we once were. There are still people who think we should fear HIV with vivid trauma because of what they went through, and they damn PrEP and any data about life expectancy with HIV.
There are still those who think part of being gay is a requisite sensibility about style and design, that creativity is what we’re made of, which is no different than telling a girl she cant like Star Wars or a boy he cant like dresses.
There are those who think theme parties, color parties, all-gay events and all-gay groups, gay social enclaves and spaces are the only safe places we have left. They hold onto self-segregation, and then lament why more places arent as open to us.
If you are gay, there was a time when you werent supposed to want dating and marriage. You werent supposed to like sports. You werent supposed to dress so dull like you walked out of a Gap catalog, or worse, like a suburban dad. You were supposed to fear straight places, and were supposed to make the gay bar your home, and pick a subculture you fit into, and abide by its rules. You had to love drag queens, you had to love sass, you had to drop any notion of masculinity, you had to dance and love showtunes and theater and stack your musical collection with female entertainers and god forbid you vote for any damn Republican or even go to church!
But these are ending. These were all stereotypes. And many aspects were reinforced by us, keeping the rules for entry into gaydom. But those rules are coming down. We are becoming so normal that Pride isnt even about having pride, but a way for teenagers and young adults to drink in public, for straight people to watch a parade and get out of the house, for aging gays to keep the party going long after the music stopped.
Gay Culture is being held onto by a smaller group of gays. All the theme parties and Prides are national, and you can see the same faces at the big circuit parties, Prides, leather festivals and white parties and the rest. You still see them at the bars and clubs, not knowing what else people do, especially when nightlife is the backbone of Gay Culture for the last 70 years. You see people holding on.
It’s ending before our eyes. And with a whimper. But youre seeing changes that happen when a group becomes normal. Vestiges will stay with us. But we wont ever be the same–we get to be three-dimensional now, and isnt that fantastic?