Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Over the past few weeks, I've kind of noticed a trend at a club for whom I DJ, which historically has been refreshingly fun and open to all, but is especially targeted to the GLBT set. It's not firmly tied to any one event or comment, but more of an aggregation of things that have come up. A particularly clear manifestation popped up, though, wherein one of the regulars recently went off w/ some really bad overgeneralizations about those of us with my background. When I confronted him on it, his response was that for us rednecks, stereotyping the whole group was perfectly fair and valid b/c it was all true in our case. And he wasn't joking. Then he apologized to me in IM.

That's been bugging me; the public attack, secret conciliatory gesture thing kinda rankles, and not for the obvious reasons. I'm not moping around nursing wounded precious little feelings or anything. It's more alarm went off. One of those lights on the dash that kinda makes you go "oh, shit."

I can see why he did that whole double communication thing. That's a clear pattern, and its meaning troubles me. When he was going off, he was getting lots of "amens" and "attaboys." When I spoke up in dissent, the room fell awkwardly silent. No one shot back another attack, but no one--not one single person there, many of whom have been friends of mine for  years--said anything even remotely along the lines of "Yeah, you're right, that's not cool. Bashing is bashing even if it's against the other guys." And this wasn't the first, nor was it the last. It was just the clearest cut occurrence.

I don't have "gay friends." I have a lot of really great, wonderful friends that I love dearly, all of whom happen to be unique individuals, and many of whom happen to also be gay, but that's one facet, and I don't consider us to be of different tribes, per se. Hell, for that matter, I'm fairly certain our entire GLBTS paradigm is pretty fatally flawed to begin with (and there are a LOT of folks in loads of different branches of the social sciences and a poo-load of empirical research to support that suspicion. But that's a whole 'nuther lecture, and I've turned in my final grades to the registrar's office and hung up my professorial mortarboard for the summer). However, just because something doesn't really exist doesn't mean it isn't real, at least in a subjective sense. If people think they're in a different "Tribe," even if the division point is arbitrary and unsubstantive at best, the division still exists. Gays and straights may not be members of different species, but there are an awful lot of folks nowadays who sure seem to feel they are, and that belief itself creates an exclusionary wall that may not be real, but is no less effective.

My buddy Thorn made the observation to the effect that when people who see themselves as a part of a marginalized group have a chance to be a majority, they want to turn the tables because, well, finally they can. I would have hoped that, having come from the other side, they would have avoided making that same error instead of inflicting the same harm they themselves endured. Isn't naivete fun? Anyway, while I think it's destructive and counterproductive, I suspect he's probably correct.

I still think that the whole divisive mess is the wrong course of action, and I'm not really good at sitting down and shutting up when I see something occurring with which I fundamentally disagree. I genuinely believe my critique of the fallacy of the Us v. Them binary (or trinary) model of sexual orientation is far closer to the  mark, but this isn't a dart game. "Closer to the mark" doesn't equal "will prevail." If anything, my presence very possibly might become a point of awkwardness, at least as long as this nasty polemic-ridden polarizing election season is done and behind us, I need to limit my non-work presence to prevent inadvertently spoiling the fun of the guests and staff. I think quitting the club I work would be a little extreme, but maybe I need to reduce my presence at those events I don't work and my time at other similar clubs when hanging out w/ friends there, at least until American society cools off a little.