This will hopefully be the first post of many dealing not only with my life but with the lives of many other people who also belong to the various groups/designations that I belong to -- as well as other and related matters. I do not define my identity with any one designation. My identity is a combination of all these designations plus a little something extra that adds up to me.
Although raised in another faith, I consider myself Jewish because my mother was. She was not a practicing Jew for most of her life and neither am I. I am not in the least religious, but I may feel an affinity to other Jews on the racial level. In any case, I become a full-blooded Jewish person the minute I hear an anti-Semitic remark.
I am also Gay. Non-stereotypical in most ways; vaguely stereotypical in others. I am constantly annoyed by the way the world at large seems in so many ways unaware of the diversity of the gay community. But I can't always blame "straight" people for this as there are many gays who are also unaware of the diversity of the gay community. Or unwilling to explore it.
I am generally considered a gay "bear" because a.) I am hairy; b.) I am generally non-stereotypical; c.) I am of a certain age [over forty]; d.) I am not a "pretty boy." The sub-designation "bear" is also very diversified. Some might not consider me a bear because a.) I only occasionally sport facial hair --generally a mustache and sometimes a beard, but I find them a pain in the neck to keep carefully trimmed, and I'm not into "soup catchers;" b.) I do not have a massive frame or a big belly (any more) although I am by no means a ninety-pound weakling; c.) I am masculine but not necessarily hyper-butch with a deep voice and super-muscular arms. But I have been called a bear and I do not fit comfortably into any other classification.
As I say, I am of a certain age, and while I'm nowhere near being a senior citizen, I am prepared to be a Gray Activist as well as a Gay Activist. I deplore the fact that in our society [gay and straight] age is not revered but reviled. Every day younger people who will someday be middle-aged and old themselves chip away -- or try to -- at older people's self-confidence. Sometimes they are unaware of what they are doing and sometimes they are acting out of their own insecurities. I refuse to be put down simply because I am no longer young.
I also refuse to be put down because I am gay. While currently I do not belong to any gay groups, I was a militant [but non-violent, let me make that clear] gay activist for many years and that spirit reignites in me whenever I see an injustice directed against myself as a gay man or gay people -- male or female -- in general.
As for being tough, let's just say that in this world you sometimes have to be. But I am also tender. I can not consider being any other way.