Monday, August 20, 2007

I'm Back from Vacation

So, I may have forgotten to post that I was going on vacation last week, but I went on a cruise (a free one at that!), and I'm back now. Sorry for the lack of blogging. I'm hoping to post something substantial soon, but for now just a couple of thoughts I've had running through my mind lately.

First, my twin brother leaves for law school today. More on that to come, as I mentioned previously.

Second, I had a great time on the cruise, and luckily I'm going to New Orleans in a couple of weeks, so I have the anticipation of that to help stave off the post-event depression I normally fall victim to after I get back from fun trips.

Third, (and this is the long one) while on the cruise I came to the realization that no matter how accepted gay people may become in society, I don't think it is ever going to be to the point where we will be able to completely let our guard down. For example, by the second day on the ship, I found out that it is still completely acceptable to make gay jokes, even if you're a comedian on stage in front of 500 people.

Hanging out every day, J and I didn't make it a secret that we were together, and I met several straight people that told me up front that they were completely cool with us being gay (and several congratulated us on our 8-year relationship), but, it was still very apparent that we were "the other" on the cruise.

Don't get me wrong, I'm used to working, hanging out with, and just generally being around straight people, and most of my family and close friends are straight, but we were on a cruise with 2,000 people and only managed to find one other gay person under 35, it was kind of a weird feeling. It's comforting to find people that are similar to you and have shared experiences. It's nice to not be the "only ones" somewhere. And as hard as we looked, I still felt like the "only ones" at least as far as gay people went.

Sure, at some point it won't be ok for a comedian to tell a gay joke to a crowded theater, but I also don't really see that I'll ever go to a place where gays are few and far between and be comfortable dancing with J or laying down on a lounge chair by the pool together like all the straight couples take for granted. I'm not really sure I'm complaining about it--I've become accustomed to it, but I just don't see things making that much of a change.

It's easier being gay than it used to be, I know that for sure. I actually went up to a straight guy on the cruise and asked him if he was gay (this was in an attempt to meet other gay people). He wasn't, but he also wasn't offended that I asked. He just smiled and said he was straight. J said he thought that anyone under 30 these days lives in a society where they can deal with that sort of thing. I just wonder if we'll ever make the next big leap.


At 20/8/07 1:28 PM, Anonymous J said...

About the comedian thing -- the gay jokes weren't the sarcastic equal opportunity make fun of every group type of joke, like Jon Stewart or Carlos Mencia or Jimmy Kimmel might make.

They weren't intelligent insights into stereotypes or tongue-in-cheek digs. They were the gay jokes where the punch lines always ended with a "hey buddy, I'm not that 'way'" *insert limp wrist here*.

And you could tell the people laughing were the ones who have said things like that to other people.

They were very macho-driven homophobic jokes, and they made me uncomfortable.

Jon Stewart, Carlos Mencia, and Jimmy Kimmel have never made me feel uncomfortable. I watched Bill Maher's special on HBO, and the things he said were horrendous and foul, but they were based on intelligence and familiarity, not a fear that some sissy might hit on a real man (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Hey buddy, I'm not that 'way.'

Our dinner mates at the cruise were definitely people that have said their fair share of hey buddy's to guys, and one night, the older gentleman ended a story of a trip to New Orleans that way, which included an apparent punch to the "offender's" face.

Needless to say, dinner each night was uncomfortable, a lot of work on our part to straighten up, and Brady and I never did feel relaxed. We never mentioned our relationship, our wedding anniversary we were celebrating (which the older couple was also celebrating; the younger couple were newlyweds), or really disclosed who we are. It's sad that we felt that way. Every night I decided I was going to just be out and proud, and then I could never muster the courage. I haven't felt that nervous and closeted in a LONG time.

Dinner was not a high point of the cruise for me. But, Brady mentioned some of those high points in his post. We did meet young people who understood and didn't blink once when we said we were gay.

It's a generalization, but I truly think that the 30 and under crowd is the first generation of people to understand GLBT issues. Or at least care to try to understand. Gay is less and less the other, less and less something to fear, less and less loathsome.

It has to be; I have to hope that I won't always have to straighten up at dinner on cruises. I have to hope that "gay" stops being an easy punch line for fourth-rate comedians. Is it so bad that I also hope these buddies out there have out and proud, Broadway musical-loving, Cher-worshipping, motorcycle-riding gay and lesbian children?

At 20/8/07 2:29 PM, Blogger Brady said...

Great comment, J. I should have gotten you to write the post in the first place ;-)

At 20/8/07 9:10 PM, Blogger grace said...

Brady and J,
I totally "get" what you're much as I can, being that I'm not gay myself....but I have many times felt that things had come along quite far for gay folks, particularly when it comes to straight people acting so disgusted by it....and then *sigh* someone will say something and burst my bubble and I realize there's still a long way to go. To me, it's about human dignity and the fact that you guys should know you are valuable without a second thought as to what others are thinking. That's the difference (to me) in that sort of joking. It's a devaluing sort of humor. Where as much of the other sort of humor you speak of is valuing you as humans and for your specific contribution to humanity....even if it does tend to be stereotypical at times. I admire your courage and the grace with which you conduct yourselves.


At 22/8/07 6:15 PM, Blogger Brady said...

Hi Grace. Thanks for commenting. I think you're spot on in your description of the two types of humor.

It's people like you that remind me how good things really have become, even if idiots try to convince me otherwise through their actions.


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