LBGT is not helping ‘gay integration’

Charlie Bell 8 February 2010

Last week saw two stories which all gays and lesbians are supposed to be up in arms about. Not only has an Lebian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) night at The Place closed, but there has been ‘vandalism’ of LBGT material in the week leading up to Awareness Week.  What is going on?

On a very simple level, it looks like the CUSU’s Revs gay event has trumped the one run at The Place. It’s barely about our LBGT community missing out. The matter of the leaflets, however, could be far more serious. What I propose is a way to move forward; a reason, but maybe not an excuse for what seems to be an act of hatred against the LBGT community.

Being gay, being lesbian, being bisexual, being transsexual – it’s all about sexual identity. That is, if I’m gay, it’s because I am attracted to men. And that is because I sit on the homosexual end of the scientifically accepted scale of sexual attraction. However straight Joe Public believes they are, let’s be frank; there are very few people who haven’t had the odd inkling that they might be attracted to Miss X or Mr Y at some point

But how often we allow sexual identity to be wrapped up in, and in some cases consumed by, social identity. The girls and boys out at Cindies on a Tuesday, week by week, desperately dressing to be sexually provocative; it’s our animal instinct. But the LBGT community seems to want something else, something far more exclusive and unnecessary to express the fact that preference is for something different to the norm.

I’ve heard in the past from friends who simply state that LBGT events are necessary because “it’s the only chance you get to meet people like us” – that is, people to sleep with, and yes, people to fall in love with. I sympathise; going to a straight club night isn’t exactly exciting when you know the best thing you’ll come home with is a hangover. But are LBGT nights not simply a way of being ‘the other’? Do we really need a separate night where those who aren’t ‘normal’ are able to find others of the same bent (forgive the pun)?

Being LBG or T is meant to be normal now. If we believe the statistics, we should begin to accept this. Seeing a boy and a girl holding hands in the street, obviously ‘in love’ is a beautiful sight. So, if people really are becoming more pro-homosexual, surely seeing two boys or girls holding hands in the street should be a thing to be cherished as well.

But I fear what the public sees of the LBGT community is a sex-obsessed, fickle, insular group of people who would much rather club by themselves, wear clothing which denotes them as ‘different’, and live the ‘gay lifestyle’. And, being frank, this is completely missing the point of what homo- or any kind of sexuality is.

Sexuality is intrinsically part of what you are; this is accepted, even by the most hardened Roman Catholics. Whether you choose to accept it is up to the individual; but in Britain’s age of improved science and free thought, not being able to do so is more a result of parental (or dare I say religiously or politically intolerant) influence. This week has seen the talk on ‘being gay in the workplace’. Why does that matter? Much like the disgusting treatment of women before the feminist movement, gays and the like were treated as muck – as criminals even – prior to the LBGT activism of the last few decades. But why can’t the LBGT community now accept that living in the mainstream is exactly what these campaigners spent their lives trying to promote?

So let’s do it, let’s see whether the public’s mind really has been changed; and see if two people being in love means the same whether it’s straight or not. The ‘gay’ social identity isn’t real; it’s something that was made to make being gay easier. Of course coming out is still a complete nightmare; but maybe if being gay was more normal maybe things could change. Having a gay son should be no different to having a straight one, other than that one lives with a woman and the other with a man. Times have changed; and maybe it’s time for our LBGT community to accept that, and do the same.

Charlie Bell