Friday, August 11, 2006

Sunday, August 06, 2006
My first blog. Why am I doing this?

Although I have commented on other people's blogs, this is the first blog of my own. Why am I doing this? I'm in a happy, long term monogamous partnership with an intelligent man with whom I can discuss almost anything. The degree of communication between us is, in fact, one of the most sexy aspects of our relationship, not that he isn't quite stimulating in other, perhaps more conventional ways. So, I very fortunately don't need a blog to "open my heart."

So, why blog, then? Although my partner and I are "out" to our families, friends, and at work, and prehaps just because we are so "out," the large majority of our social circle is straight. We have a few good gay friends, but their situation is so different from ours that discussions with them on many aspects of gay life have prooven unfruitful.

We hesitate to discuss gay issues with our straight friends since we do not want to overemphasize this aspect of our lives with them; we want just to be their friends, and not their "gay friends." They generally don't approach us on gay issues, and we don't bring them up with them. There's no taboo on this issue. If a gay topic does come up, we can discuss it with them comfortably. We want, however, to avoid restricting our friendship to our being our straight friends' window on the gay community or a source they would consult to get the gay perspective.

This danger exists, of course, with membership in any social minority. I'm Jewish, and, in fact, quite active in the Jewish community ( hence, with few, if any hang ups in this respect), but I do, in fact, resent people's considering me their "Jewish friend." I have, in fact, dropped relationships with people who have frequently steered the conversation towards this aspect of my being. They don't appear to be in any way antisemitic, in fact, they are generally, if anything, apparently philosemitic; but why can't they accept me just as a man, and go read a book on Jewish issues? If I were black, I would sorely resent indications of friends' emphasizing my race in my relationship with them. So it is with being gay.

In short, despite the high degree of communication I and my partner have with each other, and despite the easy social acceptance we enjoy among friends and colleagues, we suffer nevertheless from a ceratin degree of isolation beyond that which is the case with the human condition. Maybe blogging will help.

posted by Bruce at 2:49 AM

The_Gay_Dude said...

Welcome Bruce.....and I think that you'll find that blogging helps a lot! Can't wait to hear more from you :)

Sunday, August 06, 2006 11:41:51 AM

charlie said...

Welcome Bruce. Bruce is such a Gay name. :-)
I can relate to what u are saying. I am out to my family amd my friends. Most of my friends are also str8. Being a Nurse I am not out to my coworkers or clients because I do not want it to affect m work enviornment. I have a couple of really close Gay friends that I can say anything to but it is not the same with str8 friends. They are accepting and nonjudgmental but I do not think that they really understand what being Gay is. So, this is a perfect venue for someone like you. I am sure that u will have a Great time.


Sunday, August 06, 2006 1:23:00 PM

Robguy said...

Cool! Now I have a gay Jewish friend! Oh wait, already had those...

Welcome to the blog anyway ;)

Sunday, August 06, 2006 7:26:18 PM

Rey said...

Jesus! (Can I say this?)

Several different thoughts crossed my mind after reading this interesting post.

I'm also out at work and family (finally after all these years). But one of the women at work has managed to irritate me by making certain gestures about my gayness to the point where I want to punch her in the face. The irony is that this coworker is the one person I use to regard with the highest esteem, to the point I even consider her a potential great friend. But because or her little gestures, my respect for her have dropped down to near zero. I may be gay, but I have no interest in playing with makeup, or women's clothes, or being a beauty expert. It simply is not my thing, just like playing basketball, or football are not among my favorites activities. It has nothing to do with wanting to appear masculine. But it irritates me so much when someone starts making funny gestures at me, especially in front of others, in an attempt to push me into a stereotype. Whenever the ladies in the office are talking about something womanly, like how great someone's dress or hair look, this person would look at me with a smirk on her face, and while batting her eyelashes she would make some little silly comment like "what do you think, Rey, should she change her hair style/color?". The first time or two, I even joined the joke thinking to myself, oh Rey, kidding about yourself being into womanly stuff will not diminish you as a person in any way. But what I found out is that when you play into these stereotypes, you are indeed being diminished. Even if I was interested in women's fashions, playing into the stereotype is very damaging, if you are not careful who you play with. This is the same stuff that blacks, Jews, etc. have to live with on a daily basis, and people don't realize how obnoxious they are when they behave this way, even if their intensions are not malicious. I don't want you to think that I am this person who gets easily offended with the tiniest of inappropriate comments. I have a very high tolerance for inappropriate use of language, and I am even guilty of stereotyping every one at one time or another (like the very first line of this post). But there is a difference between an occasional joke (right place, time, and person), and a constant bombardment of innuendo towards a person.

Another thing I can relate with is the isolation I feel with the rest of the gay community because I am in a stable relationship (I think). Every connection I make with others, being single people or even couples seem to have some agenda besides just doing things that every one enjoys. If it's not sex, it's money, or property in the Hamptons, or "what you can do for me". Part of this isolation is probably my own fault for not being willing to let my guard down so that people have an opportunity to get to know me, but my being so guarded all the time is probably due to having been exposed to so much disappointment in the process of forming genuine relationships as friends.

As a gay person, I don't feel comfortable living in a ghetto. Everything in my life doesn't have to be about being gay, but I do feel a very strong need to associate with gay people without having everything in my life become gay. I don't want to adopt interests, change where I live, or adopt a certain behavior just to be able to fit in, nor do I want others to change their way for me.

PS: I like thig blog.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 1:03:23 PM

Bruce said...

Rey-- Thanks very much for your thoughtful response to my post. You and I seem to be very much in the same place on these issues. It's really very difficult to know what to do, or even how to feel in reference to our relationship to straight people.

In another post, I talked about coming out, and how I didn't lose any friends or respect among colleagues or business associates. But I am also convinced that it was so because i was in a position of power in my professional life. No one in my office would have dared to pull what your colleague is pulling with you.

I don't know if you're in a political or emotional position to do so, but I would let her know that she is stereotyping you in a rather degrading way, and that you find it offensive. If she is doing it unconsciously, and, at least on the conscious level, means no offense, she will apologize and stop, and the friendship may be saved. If she really is a homophobe, she will probably try to deflect or trivialize your objections, and you will lose a friendship that wasn't really based on anything sound, anyway.

Of course, Rey, I repeat, I don't know your political position. If she is, in fact, a homophobe, she will probably feel very uncomfortable with you. That's not really your problem unless, of course, she's in a position to interfere with your work or standing in the company. If that's the case, you may have to find another coping strategy. Many non profits have a rather positive policy towards gays people by now, and you may want to have a talk with your human resources officer if your colleague continues to give you trouble.

But all this is only a part of our larger problem, how we relate to the straight world and, frankly, how much we can trust straights. You, like me, don't want your sexual orientation to dominate your life. I think the one thing one can do is to consider only how straight people treat you and how they treat other gay men. If you worry too much about what they feel about you as a gay man in their heart of hearts, you'll go crazy. Of course, this brings us back to our starting point: You can't really discuss personal gay issues and feelings with them. That requires a level of trust which we find it hard to muster up.

So, in order to vent these ideas and feelings, we are left with the gay community. I've contributed two posts now on gay monogamy, and as you can see, I've had exactly the same problem with the gay community on this matter as you have. That almost no one has responded to these posts, even to oppose them, is quite indicative.

Rey, we seem to be quite together on these issues that are very important to us. I look forward to discussing these matters with you further. I have my own blog, outside the GMR site, but I don't use it. So just attach a comment to any to the posts I have left on GMR.

All the best.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 2:48:44 PM


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