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In America,

All Menwere

created straight

By PERRY BRASS

I

've been trying in the past few weeks to come to

some sort of understanding about the process of

my identification as a Gay male. I feel that I have

been going through an identification process.

Processes are not results, not products, but are acts, groups

of experiences, all about being Gay and developing a

consciousness of myself as a Gay person. When I use the

word "Gay" though, I don't mean it as just a synonym for

homosexual, although I think that being Gay starts in being

hompsexual. Being Gay is rejecting the male privileges of

oppression whose product is the sterile, alienated. society of

today. Being Gay is sharing love on an equal, roleless basis.

It is releasing outrage and energy from the direct source of

our sexual feelings without fear or uptightness. Being Gay is

not limiting my feelings to one person, nor being afraid to

commit my feelings to one person many times over; being

unafraid of intimacies with many people, being unafraid to

share many intimacies with one person. I want to love

many people yet I don't want to own any of them. I want

to care for many people and I don't want to be afraid to

care for them for fear of being hurt. Gay love must not be

defensive or calculating or fearful, but open and trusting.

Very few people have reached what I want out of being

Gay, including, obviously, myself, because I, too, live in

this society in which love is always being afraid and closed,

defined by pop songs as brutal and doled out in all of its

roles of boy-girl, man and chick. But I want to struggle and

grow to be Gay. I want to be aware of myself and my

brothers without being afraid of myself and of them and I

want to be Gay.

What's so Heavy About Being Gay?

When I was in Cambridge in the middle of the summer

visiting my sister, Nancy, I sat in on a meeting of a Men's

Liberation Group. I was very puzzled and pleased by the

idea of men, basically straight or straight-identified, getting

together and trying to "deal with their sexism." My first

reaction to straight men has almost always been fear mixed

with hostility, and lately, as I became more aware of myself

as a person struggling against a culture of male domination,

it has been more hostility. Homosexuals are persecuted

even unconsciously in a tremendous number of ways. I have

1972

often been accused of being a Gay chauvinist, which to a

homosexual person is too easily confused with pure male

chau.vinism. Take the point of the constant ads in so-called

hip newspapers: to be a Man is to be a Man who fucks lots

of groovy women really

well.

Therefore I feel that at this

time in the development of a Gay culture, one Gay

chauvinist will not be too many. Most homosexual men

have been too good at absorbing all of this heterosexual

chauvinism. Too many homosexual men still hate each

other. And themselves. They still call each other and

themselves faggots. They are still too powerless to direct

this rage against their real oppressors: the straight men who

have put them in dark alleys, and who have made them as

afraid to walk down the streets at night feeling as free as

they would like to, as many women are so afraid. It will be

a long time before Gay males direct their Gay chauvinism

to seriously intimidate oppressive men. Very few straight

men are afraid of walking down the street "cause Gay

Power's gonna get them."

But again I started feeling very hostile and frustrated

talking to those men in Cambridge. It was all so painful,

listening to them talk about having feelings that might even

be Gay. How could they explain those feelings to their

"friends," to their parents? How could they relate to

women they could no longer "relate" to (or possibly

direct)? They talked about women with a tremendous

mystery. How could women involved in Women's Libera–

tion do the things they did, like lead their own lives when

they, as men, were still so dependent on them?

They talked about how difficult it was for them to

break out of their roles as men with all that "macho shit"

(the responsibilities towards keeping up the facades of the

cult of masculinity) hanging over their heads, all "that

heavy macho shit." It was all so goddamn "heavy."

Everything was! I was tired of hearing how "heavy" it all

was. The whole wide world really depends upon straight

men getting themselves together and they know it. (So

maybe it

is

really all very"heavy," especially since straight

men know how important they really are and how

necessary it is to stay important. It is a straight man's

privilege to be heavy and to take himself very seriously.)

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