There is no denying that I’ve been a lucky fellow. My parents accepted my homosexuality without fuss. My mum even teased me about it because she knew since I was thirteen. My big coming out was a large anti-climax, even though it came under the gun of having been outed on Facebook. I am indeed lucky, but I am not alone.
Mark’s parents have had just as little reaction to his homosexuality, as mine did. Ha-ha, during my first meeting with my father-in-law-to-be the conversation was almost along the lines of me and Mark not being together, but more along the lines of “the boys going camping”. But even though Mark’s dad, of his two parents, had the most trouble with a gay son, Mark was lucky. Just as lucky as I.
Of the little cadre of LGBT persons that regularly congregate at our house, I know of only one whose parents have difficulty with their child being in the pink brigade. All the others have accepting parents, although the coming out was more or less messy. By now, most of the LGBT people I know have fairly accepting parents. Just like with me.
Therefore, it is tiresome that when we consume culture about our lives and relations, that culture always reinforce that being LGBT is always problematic. If it’s not about horrid persecution of the gay people, it’s about how icky or wicked homosexuals are. Homosexuals can not be ordinary, contented people. Their status must be in conflict with their lives. And they must always lose.
I know that not all culture is like that, but I struggle to think or specimens of culture where the main character was, for instance, gay – but where it was entirely coincidental. Is there a crime series about a male detective who solves murders, and then tries to date men? Are there adventure-stories where a woman tries to win the treasure, and then try to win the girl as well? Does SF-novels exist where the protagonist tries to bridge the gulf to the stars, and then goes home to a member of his or her own sex?
Everything that I can think of, from Brokeback Mountain where no happiness can ever be found for the protagonists, to Clive Barker’s Imajica where Taylor dies of AIDS and Clem lives on with survival guilt, to The Front Runner which I’ve already written about, and to Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar where Esther hangs herself. Those are just a few examples I can think of where being gay is problematic, and has consequences.
One has to go to that exclusive ghetto called LGBT literature to find positive, normal descriptions of LGBT people, and this little subgenre is not exactly mainstream, and does not foster films that open to a nationwide audience. So, in mainstream culture The Gay always causes problems, regardless of whether the POV is sympathetic or hostile to LGBT people.
It doesn’t really speak about me, my life, or my LGBT friends’ lives. Like I opened this article with saying, I was lucky enough to be born into a family where this was not an issue at all, and I could work on the relationship with Mark without shame or guilt or opposition from anyone. I was also lucky enough to be born in a time, and in a place, and in a context where the state of being homosexual is more and more irrelevant to people.
I want a part of culture to describe and relate the unique problems and situations that being gay give rise to, but I also want a part of culture to describe and relate the absolutely normal humdrum life of a pair of normal homosexuals that go about their lives pursuing their dreams and ambitions without the mere fact of their homosexual status consume and conflict them.