What is the Gay Community?
We always hear the words “gay community” when talking amongst ourselves, but what is it? Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people span a spectrum of diversity that doesn’t lump us together by class, race, religion or really any binding character, trait or belief. The only commonality most of us have with one another is that we are discriminated against socially and in our judicial system. Perhaps, that is enough to create a “community.”
Recently, I was on the forums at gaywallet.com and I asked members what they though were some of the positives of being a member of the LGBT or Q classification. Almost all answers revolved around a sense of community.
One common thing that happens to most of us upon coming out is we lose the community we are part of – or at least lose the standing we had in that community. We fall a bit from the social ladder. Perhaps this is particularly true with white gay men who, until coming out, are at the top of the social food chain. But none of this tells me what the gay community is.
Is the gay community the club kids at the bars looking gorgeous and dancing until dawn? Is it the activists whose feet are swollen from walking the neighborhoods asking for people to consent to our marriages? Is it a singles’ group, a couples’ group, an HIV/AIDS prevention network, a circle jerk, a crafts store, a bookstore, a local church? No, those are all just aspects of the LGBTQ community.
Before going to the National Equality March I had several little 140 character conversations with people from all over the country on twitter. One of these people was Kate Walsham, a beautiful young woman from California. Months ago we had promised each other a hug and at the National Equality March, we were able to deliver on our promise.
Originally, Kate wasn’t going to be able to come to the march. Like many of Americans, she was down to a one income household due to the painful economy and it seemed she would miss this historic event, but through the kindness of a stranger, Kate was able to travel across the country and we were able to have our hug. Kate told me her story while standing somewhere between the U.S. Treasury Department and the “Ellipse,” and that’s where I found the Gay Community. Here is Kate, sharing her story with you: