This article is mainly aimed at fellow LGBT+ people- but I’d encourage you to read it if you aren’t part of our group, and rather than get offended, upset or confused about it- write to your MP and question why people in the LGBT+ are increasingly feeling this societal disconnection and how they can remedy it. As hate crime and deadly rhetoric ramps up, if your issue is to blame a symptom like LGBT+ people feeling fed up instead of the disease of virulent hate spreading through society like cancer in lymph nodes… you aren’t the ally you may think.
I came out at 15. Before I came out, I was petrified I’d be outed. I grew up knowing I was gay, or at least that I liked other men. I would have done anything not to be outed- then a friend at school I’d trusted started telling people behind my back and I thought, fuck it, people are going to find out. Why don’t I just rip off the bandaid. So I told everyone.
Turns out that was a good decision. Suddenly people couldn’t bully or offend me any more. “Ha, gayboy” was met with “yeah moron, I told you that…”. Suddenly I realised I’d been desperate for people to accept me for who I wasn’t, but I didn’t care if they didn’t accept me for who I was.
I had a renaissance with myself- finally I liked me for who I genuinely was, and I set about trying to do two things: make amends for my pre-coming out idiocy, and ensure that other people like me felt safe and happy enough to be themselves too.
When I went to college I tried and failed to set up an LGBT+ group. Only one other person came despite a multitude of people coming out to me- as bi, as trans, as curious.
That was fine; it was a strange time where society was largely okay with it- but woe betide you if you went home and told your family.
The reasoning behind working hard to set up groups, open chains of communication and be visible as an out gay teen was to spread awareness- and acceptance of- LGBT+ people as what we are: normal.
Honestly? The least exciting thing about me is that I like men with big chests and arms- the way heterosexual men treat videos of other men in the gym, I’m certainly not the only one. I just like them a bit more than you.
I realised, to my joy, that if you got offended when I mentioned my sexuality, that was very much a you problem- not to mention those who complained sometimes ended up being, to coin a modern phrase, a bit fruity.
On to uni and continually trying to join groups, meet others and spread more awareness that LGBT+ people are just people with an acronym you might not share. Things seemed to be going well. I remember the halcyon days of going quite literal years at a time without so much as a raised eyebrow over my sexuality, I remember the happy societal shift away from the phrases “sexual preference” (I don’t prefer men, I am incapable of being sexually attracted to women) or “tolerance” (I tolerate a sore neck until I can take painkillers, I prefer acceptance thanks). Things seemed to be on the up and up.
Then we come to the modern day.
I remember watching the trans panic start. Now, I already had a good friend who was trans. She came out to me on valentines day in 2013(?) with a huge garbled message, which ended with “and if you can’t accept this then I understand but I wanted you to know”. I laughed- why wouldn’t I accept my friend… I loved her, her gender was irrelevant. She told me about her feelings, her life, what was going on with her and it brought us closer together. I was just happy she was happy.
Watching people on the internet occasionally write salacious and stupid rumours around trans people was weird- picking out the story of the one transgender sex offender in a 900 mile radius was a weird argument to me considering if you took a long walk you’d walk past about 50 cisgender offenders- so I raised an eyebrow, but I figured someone had kicked a hornets nest of ignorance and they’d be distracted by sexy M&Ms or gas stoves before long (had to wait til 2023 for that).
But it didn’t die off. Instead what started as an online movement of people who say things like “biology not bigotry” yet making fun of the way people look whilst sharing photos of people with mastectomy scars, writing utter fiction to get angry about or blaming the crimes of non trans men on trans women continued to grow exponentially.
Then, inevitably, because trans people are accepted largely in the entire community- suddenly the accusations spread. Even yesterday, Bev Jackson who started the LGB alliance was begging slavishly on twitter for someone who tweeted that “the trans stuff” has made him go against gay marriage to realise that the movement she pushes every day is only meant to ruin some people’s lives, not hers.
“Groomer” is normalised parlance about anyone who is LGBT+ or supports us. In America states are legislating against trans healthcare, the parents of transgender people, drag performances and drag queens even being visible- as if men haven’t been in drag since quite literally Shakespeare’s day, as if I couldn’t go into my local city on a Friday night and find 30 cishet men in dresses as “banter” or “jokes”, as if men haven’t been pantomime dames, as if drag hasn’t been a subversive form of expression in our community for decades- And as if trans people haven’t existed in society for hundreds of years too. Suddenly this panic over our long existence has been fanned from embers to a towering inferno of societal ignorance, leaving people like me blinking in the light and heat.
Still, I hoped that there was a way to have rational discussion with people who had increasing fervour against our community.
That hope quickly died out.
I used to both want and need acceptance from the odd, flawed cishet patriarchal society in which I’ve been raised- a society I never used to question. I used to want to be able to walk down the street holding hands with another man and have nobody raise an eyebrow, talk behind their hands or call me a slur. I was praying (very atheistically) for the day that nobody gave a shit.
That hope is gone. I think people will always be bothered by my sexuality, by people’s gender expression or lack thereof. And what a sad realisation that was- that ignorance will continue and be permitted in a society too lazy to confront its shittiest members. I’ve watched- in the last month alone- people stand at microphones and state calmly that people like me should be executed, seen footage of bloody handprints left by bleeding humans mowed down by extremists walking into our spaces and snuffing us out, and I’ve heard lawmakers who don’t even understand the complications of chromosomes, gender, hormones, sex characteristics and intersex health conditions pass legislation that strips us of basic access to our rights or prevents us from pursuing our livelihoods as performers. And it’s clearly not enough for us to have the meagre spaces afforded to us by those who purchase bars and deck them out for us- we aren’t even safe in there between those who stand outside with weapons and those who walk in with them.
The difference is, I’m no longer viscerally upset by this. I don’t care any more because I don’t seek, or want, acceptance. I just need it to live in peace- and wanting and needing something is very distinct.
As these ridiculous scenarios have continued to spiral I’ve found myself more and more tired of being asked to be tolerant of narrow minded views of my community, been told we should sit and have constructive conversations with people who hold banners accusing us of paedophilia or grooming, and coming from the side who forces religion, dress code, mannerisms and more on their offspring it’s more than just a hair ironic. And I’m tired of watching a world where these ignorant, shouty fucks seem to be gaining ground- but the cherry on top is also being consistently surprised when people I think I can trust, from politicians to celebrities who take the crown of “ally” for themselves, to friends, suddenly break cover and reveal their own participation in this forest fire of ignorance.
This is why I’ve coined the phrase that inspired this article.
The entire idea behind LGBT+ separatism is to teach young LGBT+ people that societal acceptance is, for many of us, a need so we can live in peace- but it is not something to want beyond that. We should not want to participate in a society rooted in misogyny, built and paid for with white supremacy and which actively treats us with varying degrees of scorn, sympathy or vitriolic hatred.
LGBT+ people don’t choose our identities. When I was a child if you’d given me the ability to change my sexuality I’d have done it in a heartbeat. Now, I’ve been gay for so long and it’s so deeply wrapped around my perception of the world and how I’m treated I don’t think I’d ever change it even if it meant the difficulties that come with it being removed. But so often the argument of choice is levelled at us. People are genuinely foolish enough to believe someone wakes up one day and rashly decides they’re a different gender or that they like their same-gender friend as more than a friend. It doesn’t happen that way for the vast majority of us, and if you’re in executive control of your sexuality or gender then you’re different than I- but choice or not, it’s worthy of respect, rights and equality.
I’m aware of the dangers of this movement- becoming lax about the necessity of acceptance is a byproduct of this type of disillusionment and we can never lose sight of the idea that society does have to offer us some acceptance, simply to ensure our existences are not threatened and legislated against. The goal is not to move away from striving for that, demanding and making the case for progress in our safety- it is simply to offer an alternative to being exposed to the daily humdrum of this flawed society.
The ideal scenario would be an island populated only by LGBT+ people, where we only interact with each other. A pipe dream of course, but one I sometimes find myself imagining.
People will, of course, assume I think our community is perfect and we’d create some utopic existence. I do not. I am aware of the problems in our community, mostly perpetuated by white cis gay men like myself. It’s my sincere belief that we’d be able to confront and deal with these issues if we created this separatist society- but lets be honest, it’s a pipe dream anyway, and I as a cis het man benefit from natural high status in our community- and I fucking hate that that is the case. Our community is a microcosm of wider societal ignorance and gender, skin colour, ability etc shouldn’t (and I would hope wouldn’t) dictate societal superiority in that world.
My intermediary wish is for us to create pathways to withdraw from participation in this society as much as possible, to form our own subculture, our own ways of navigating outside the mainstream- like rocks at the bottom of a rushing river and the network between them, I want to move through life surrounded by those who also seek refuge from this ridiculous society.
Some would call this an echo chamber- name it how you will, disparage it if you must. Your participation in a society that necessitates this type of action is the reason for its existence.
How we achieve this, I wish I knew. There would be, must be, should be ways for us to create this network, methods to create rules that apply, resources we can rely on that can create a buffer between us, if we number enough, and wider society- the generation of a sub culture specifically designed, catered for and administrated by the wider LGBT+ community.
But I don’t know for sure. I just know that as society continues to demonstrate its malignant denigration of us, I continue to become more enthusiastic over finding a workable alternative for a community who has suffered endlessly under religion, under heterosexual cisgender politicians and entitled, deluded public figures who aren’t even in our community but seek to command control over what it is, who is in it and how we live.
This is a cisgender, heterosexual person commenting on an article saying specifically that more people are identifying in England and Wales as LGB+.
When it comes to the LGB alliance, the only answer those in our community stupid enough to try and seek acceptance from those who continue to hate us ever give me when I ask exactly what they have done for our community is – “They support the rights of people to be same-sex attracted”. So not stopping the government deporting LGB people (which, by the way, trans people can also be), to countries that will cut their heads off? Not lobbying the government for strengthening of equality laws to ensure that we don’t suffer discrimination like I did in the workplace? Just a movie nobody saw and making you feel like you’re justified in your bigotry? That’s not helpful. They did however publish a tweet suggesting gay marriage was pointless because “not enough” of us use it. I was unaware there was a quota for when gay marriage is a good idea, or that it was a finite resource we all needed to get for ourselves.
When it comes to the enablers of bigotry above, or the people who embody that bigotry with their stance against us, if they don’t want us in their society- fine. I get it. I don’t wan’t them in society either. Small difference being I’d like them to educate themselves into not being arseholes and some of them want me to be imprisoned just for being alive.
You see the difference? I want ignoramii to fill their empty brain cells with knowledge of why bigotry isn’t cool- bigots want us to be imprisoned or killed. There’s a difference.
I wish we were like oil and water, that I would sink past the phobic in the world and be able to move on with my day without even realising they were there.
So my question to the community is: is it possible? Is it workable? Can we do it?
There will, inevitably, be backlash to me even writing these words- people accusing me of heterophobia or cisphobia. To that I’d like you to accept one very large, long eye-rolling movement from me.
If you dislike me for my sexuality, please dont be surprised that I dislike you for your opinions. And if you are a homophobe, why the hell do you want my approval any more than I’d want yours?
Overall, the accusations of cisphobia are dumb (im cis…) and heterophobia are laughable- much like a white Brit claiming to be experiencing racism because a black person calls them cracker- feel offended by this article all you want- then turn around and walk out your front door into a society and a country that accepts you entirely, that doesn’t cause you issues based on your identity and understand that the reason your shoulders don’t sag when you leave your home is because you emerge into a society that is made for you- a luxury many of us don’t experience.
I am tired of being part of a group that is demonised for its worst members or its imagined crimes by a group who refuses to get its own house in order. I am sick to my back teeth of institutions like the Church, thick with well defended paedophiles and based on a book that condones slavery, rape and forced marriage or misogynistic nonsense being held up as a moral authority, over a community who are forced to gather in the dark spaces we’re reluctantly given. And most of all I’m tired of trying to cater to a society who believes people like us are wrong because it is too narrow to realise that an identity that isn’t a carbon copy of their own is not wrong.
Overall my aim in writing this piece is to start the process of making links with others who feel the same and beginning the process of forming the links to build a separatist network. Your gender, skin colour, age, disability does not matter in this group- it is simply about founding a community in a new sub culture that exists within the bowels of this corrupt system in which we’re trapped and offering solace in a world we are forced to participate in- but no longer wish to.