Two people can be raised by the exact same parents and grow up completely different. Why can't the LGBTQ community allow for the same type of diversity among us?
I have been thinking for a while now about the differences in gay voices. Even this page on Huffington Post is called VOICES (seeming as if there is more than one voice). As an author who is gay, it is sometimes assumed all of my writing will and should forevermore lift the gay cause to new heights. I discuss this with other gay writers and as life would have it: we all tend to fall into different camps around this issue. Some create a platform where they have a virtual Poo Poo Platter serving up gay-only delicacies. Others feel while they may be gay, that doesn't mean their writings need to be contained to a rainbow-flagged box and venture outside of Dorothy-land now again.
Do I think one way is better than the other? No. I don't. I believe it is that diversity in the community that makes any community strong. I love that we have advocates such as Evan Wolfson, Michelangelo Signorile, and Dan Savage. We need advocacy to get things accomplished. When it comes to bringing awareness and fighting against bigotry such as Chick-Fil-A, I am right there raising my voice and allowing my straight counterpoints to know how hurtful actions can be. When I go into the election booth to choose a candidate, of course I am looking for those that believe in equality for all. These moments are when the gay community shines in their unity.
But the flip side of that is when we tear each other down from within the walls of our own group. There are those that strongly believe we all need to think, feel, and react to situations exactly the same. How could a group that has five different letters that represent L, G, B, T, Q people honestly think we are all going to agree on every single issue? Isn't diversity a good thing? Aren't we an 'all-encompassing' group that allows for individuals who fall on different places on the homosexual line? Then why can't we do the same thing when it comes to how we handle where we stand on that line?
Each of us has our own unique story of dealing with shame, fear, and betrayal for being who we are. Each of us carries scars of wounds we've received for opening that closet door and living an authentic life. Those moments belong to us and no one can nor should tell you how to deal with that past. Nor should anyone tell you how to come out of that closet with a promise that it will all be better if we just fling open the door and shout it from the rooftops. John Doe in Iowa has the same rights to coming out in his way as Jodie Foster does in Hollywood. And for us in the community to add our own conditions on what someone owes to the public is simply not fair. What works for you may not work for others. We ask our straight friends to be tolerant and accepting of our lives. Shouldn't we show that same respect to each other in the journey that we are on?
And which camp do I fall into? I'm proud of who I am. I love my husband. But as an author, I have many stories in me and I believe my work reflects that. From a children's book on autism to my soon to be released novel about a straight father being a stay-at-home dad - this gay writer can share stories of a diverse group of people. Diversity is not a bad word. Let's allow for a little bit more of it within our own community. We might actually be able to learn more from each color represented on our flag instead of blending that rainbow into a dull shade of purple.