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The Gay Alliance of Rochester

Contrary to popular belief, I do not have some special bond with every other LGBTQ person. It’s a little offensive to assume, after all you wouldn’t ask if Lebron James was close friends with Neil DeGrasse Tyson just because they’re both black. To a degree I imagine James and Tyson can relate to the common struggle for civil rights and equality, which I also can relate to with anyone who is LGBTQ. There is a lot of bigotry out there and that is what I have in common. However, when someone writes something that I find stupid I don’t really care about who wrote it.

For those who are unaware, the Gay Alliance of Rochester was founded in the 70’s and continues to be an organization which works for equal rights and social equality. Which is totally awesome, and I give huge props to that. They are a super group of people and this isn’t meant to bash on them at all. But…. that doesn’t mean I can’t pick through some of their reading material. I recently game upon a pamphlet that I assume they distribute all across the city. One would assume something that is distributed wildly throughout the city would be well thought out and intelligent. Initially I had that assumption, but my delusions were quelled as soon as I read the pamphlet.

About half of the packet is dedicated to the definitions of various LGBTQ words. Words such as gay, transsexual, M2M. Wait, M2M? Yep, apparently that’s a fun little acronym referencing gay sex. The more ya know. Thanks GAR! But aside from a few oddballs, most of the terms were pretty relevant and could prove useful to someone really unaware of LGBTQ individuals.

Amidst the definitions of various people who are shunned by conservatives everywhere, there was a page called “Is My Friend LGBTQ?” At first, I thought, well okay, finally some good advice to people who might need it. The first paragraph took up about a third of the page and basically said if you don’t know what to do call us, and we can help. It then said to read on, so read on I did.

What I found was… Drumroll please… Another list that I’m going to bring up and make fun of! I know, real original. I’ll omit the first bullet point for now, that will be the dessert at the end of this little roast. The second point is pretty decent advice, it says instead of asking if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend, ask if they are seeing anybody. That isn’t a bad idea, all of my friends and relatives always assumed I was straight before I came out of the closet. It can be really disheartening to accept yourself when you’ve been raised in a culture that is so heteronormative. It’s still something that I struggle with a bit, so yeah, not bad advice. The next point though…

3. Start a discussion with your friend about an LGBTQ issue you’ve heard about like gay marriage or transgender rights. There’s nothing even that particularly wrong with this one, but it just seems so ignorant. It also seems so much like a thing someone in a majority would say. Like, “hey, let’s talk about a problem that I probably don’t understand and will never have in my lifetime”. Unless you’ve done your damn homework, you’re probably going to make an ass out of yourself and probably make the person feel worse about themselves. Even if you have researched it, you really just lack a certain understanding of a subject if you’re so far removed from it. I wouldn’t go up to a Chinese dude and talk about the Rape of Nanking and the poor labor conditions in China. Because, frankly, it makes you seem ignorant and privileged.

4. Next time you choose a book or magazine, pick up something about LGBTQ people and leave it lying around where your friend can see it. I imagine a straight dude going out to Barnes and Noble, and asking where the issues of Playgirl are kept. Then, he awkwardly goes back to his apartment and tries to flip it open to a page with a really attractive man on it, trying not to look at too many penises. Casually, he then slides it onto his coffee table and calls his friend over to chill and anticipates his reaction. Really, aside from this funny mental image I have a couple of complaints with this bullet point. Firstly, no one buys books and especially magazines. Secondly, who is just going to go to a book store, think about how they read this and then consciously make the decision to purchase a book related to LGBTQ so your Questioning friend can see it. Lastly, in almost anyway you do this it will just seem, again, disingenuous. Hey dude, I think you’re gay, but it’s totally cool because I watch Will and Grace and Modern Family! So no, don’t do this. It won’t change their mind and you’ll probably look like a jackass.

6. Invite your friend to a Roc Pride event! Probably not a good idea for someone who is questioning their sexuality. I probably would not have said yes, and it would’ve really stressed me out and given me more self-esteem issues. Probably not a good idea in all honesty.

My favorite: 1. Next time you’re watching a show together or something LGBTQ related comes on, talk about it in a positive way or make a positive comment, like “I love how our city is so diverse”. Really most of the strategies they suggest to be employed aren’t good ideas. I love how our city is so diverse. That is… Wow. One of the most bizarre and absolutely weird things I’ve ever read. If anyone tells me this un-ironically I’ll punch them right in the face. Seriously, that is just a stupid thing to say.

Nothing against this wonderful organization, but they really should get some new writers. Like me. I’m available….

Thanks for reading, kisses

Patrick

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