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February 28, 2005 | by  | in Opinion |
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QUEER

Before I begin, I’d like to make it clear. Homosexuals do not have horns. We do not seek to destroy the world, corrupt youth or end the human race. But then we don’t all have lisps, drive roadsters or suck at sports. This sounds absurd and ridiculous, but in light of the recent protests of the Civil Union Bill and the Destiny Church marches it is apparent that there are people out there who fail completely to understand us. My aim in this column is to give people, gay and straight, a look at the world of the “queer” through the eyes of someone experiencing it for the first time. Everyone knows the phrase “coming out of the closet” but many straight people don’t realise just how important, profound and difficult it is. So this quick guide might help…

Step 1: First, forget those stupid online gay tests (I only got 45%!). There is only one test. Take a picture of the hottest guy you can think of, then one of the hottest girl you can find and put them next to each other. Ready? Now which one do you prefer? If you prefer the one of the same sex as you then you are gay. Congratulations! Now do something about it.

Step 2: The next step is to test your theory. This is important because you can change your mind anytime so it pays to be certain before you put yourself through hell. You’re at uni now so it’s also time to experiment if you want! I’m not suggesting careless sex with random strangers or even finding a partner immediately (though you might stumble into something wonderful-xoxox Greg), but basically a person to “shag”. There are many places where you can meet people; the closest and safest are probably Pound or UniQ.

Step 3: Right so now you’ve had a fling (or two or three) you should really tell the people you love where you go at night. The biggest argument against coming out is, “Why should they know? Its not their business.” Of course your personal life is exactly that but from personal experience, its better to tell. A great weight will be lifted, you can live your life out loud and no more sneaking boys into your bedroom at night. Also, suddenly you’ll get a lot of invitations because every party needs a token gay guy to make jokes with the token black guy. Who do you tell? Start with your close friends, then, judging from their reaction, proceed to the parents. In fact it’s easier to tell a few people before your parents so you get practise at it. Take your time coming out. Do it at a pace with which you are comfortable (I told some people in three days,others over months, some still haven’t told – it’s a personal thing).

IMPORTANT FACT: Your parents will handle your coming out badly. At the best they will only drop tactless comments or look flustered. Very few will already know already. Be prepared for stupid comments and awkward silences while they adjust to the idea. My mother said, “Can you not be gay? It’s upsetting your father.”

Step 4: Now the hardest parts are over. The above steps sound relatively easy but what you have to do is much more difficult. You really have to reject everything you have been told. From the moment we are born, we are bombarded with images, stories, notions, talk, music and movies which all reinforce heterosexuality. Not until you realise that it’s not for you do you realise just how out of the loop you are. To go against the grain of society is the hardest task of your life but once you get past, you can take anything. So get out there, meet people, get a qualification or a job, have fun!

Remember:
If you are gay there is no future for you by staying in the closet. It’s not near as much fun as being out!
Set a tolerance policy. Sounds stupid but don’t keep friends who call you “fag,” don’t associate with people who diss you, family if that becomes the case. Don’t take shit from no one!
Be safe! We don’t all have AIDS like the song in Team America goes, and its really nice if you don’t get it so play by the rules and you’ll be fine!
Get Political! I found my voice on the 9th of December 2004 when my boyfriend and I sat in the public gallery opposite Brian Tamaki and those dashing Destiny boys at the 3rd reading of the Civil Union Bill. I realised then that we needed to fight for our rights, otherwise people like him would take them away. It’s easy to say “I don’t care” but it will affect you down the track and it is a fight worth fighting!

Go out, have fun and remember: the straight road is often boring…

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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