Saturday, February 3, 2007

First of Many

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.

No comments: