Apathy, n 1. Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference. 2. Lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness.
Is this you? I think this is me. And to be honest I am not apologetic of the fact. To me, apathy towards being gay means that some kind of social inclusion has been reached, which is a very proud place to be. As a whole, yes, I believe that we are part of a society where one has a choice of freedom. But for many, this still isn’t the case.
From my point of view, I have grown up in a semi-accepting society – growing up through a battle of continual torment and agonising pain like many gay teens. It was only really at university where I started to feel part of a new and welcoming society; an openness I promised myself I would never forget. The sad fact is, I have forgotten, and I am sure that goes for many of us who have reached a point of inclusion. But that pain and exclusion is still happening for others, all over the world. Is it our duty to bring these individuals to some kind of salvation? How is best to deal with these issues?
I have never felt a need to protest or write to my MP over gay issues, as to be honest, I don’t have any gay issues. I am not protesting about gay marriage, as I am not religious and don’t feel the need to get involved in such a debate, even though there are obvious gay issues attached. Do I think gay people should be able to get married, yes I do. However, I do understand why the more literal belief groups unwelcome this change. Some religious branches are more organic and adapt to the community they serve a purpose to, some are not.
The only point where I would feel the need to defend my situation is when I am confronted. Even then I find it difficult, as their ignorance is outweighed by the fact that I feel sorry for their hatred. Cue line from the new US sitcom The New Normal ‘thank you for your intolerance and your bigotry, and for fostering this ignorance in another generation…and for bringing back the fanny pack!’
On a more serious note, one can’t help but think of the heroic Harvey Milk, the first openly-gay person to be elected to public office in California during the 70s. ‘He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us’. This was at a time where there was major inequalities but he saw the slightest glimpse of hope for the gay community and took that opportunity with courage and conviction. But can the same be said for the gay community today? Do we get involved in live protests or continually strive to make a political point? More so, is there a need to?
I think it is our duty to our fellow community, to help inform and guide others who do not understand the importance of equality. Perhaps we need to be reminded of the importance of equality ourselves in our day to day lives. But to what extreme do we do this successfully? On a protest level, or more of a quieter defiance? Personally, I see it more of a learned understanding which informs a new generation rather than a battle where hatred is thrown into the equation. It is not so much a gay issue, rather its an issue of what is righteous.
I have become immensely proud of the pride festivals all over the country every year; is one day enough? That one day of pride, serves as a reminder of how much we have gone through as a community. In fact, today I think it may be fair to say, that in the UK, many communities see the gay community as simply part of an rich and diverse open society, which means it has become the norm in many circumstance. This in my opinion is exactly the way it should be. Of course, there are going to be circumstances we as a community have to battle against, such as gay marriage, but only if you feel need for the cause. Not just because it is a gay issue. So maybe it is ok to remain apathetic. I guess what I am trying to say is that we should not forget the battle we have gone through, as individuals and as a community, and where we stand today. I can’t help but think that in twenty years it will seem bizarre that something like gay marriage was ever even an issue.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.