Homosexual Identity

Beginning when I was 9 years old homosexuality entered my consciousness with the AIDS epidemic, putting a dark stigma to gay.  With the AIDS epidemic dispersing large homosexual centers, stigmatizing and ghetto-izing homosexuality, the homo-culture’s mainstream gains, while stereotyped, were undone by constant images of death.  The Sassy Gay Friend was replaced by the Honorably Suffering Gay, aka AIDS-stricken.  Technicolor dreams became 8mm dungeons.

I have no formed homosexual identity, rooted in beliefs, attitudes, and values.      Homosexual culture is a set of shared perceptions that take heteronormative practices, beliefs, and arts, to repurpose for identification.  Self-classification as any one sexual category, such as heterosexual, does not eliminate one from participating in queer culture.  Rather, participation requires the ability to empathize with and perceive the world through the experiences of fringe and minority groups.

Growing up, homosexuality was a dark existence of hospital rooms and basements.  It was a life to not be emulated; a culture to avoid by any means necessary.  Being away from gay neighborhoods in urban areas meant no support network to explore gay culture and icons without derision.  These circumstances led to low homosexual and queer acculturation, with newer generations cultivating alternative set of gay icons for consult and support.

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Queer Icon – Rihanna, Queen of Cool

Queer Icon - Rihanna, Queen of CoolRihanna epitomizes the queer cool icon.

No matter what Rihanna is doing, or where she is appearing, she owns what is occurring.  Rihanna has an agency over and openness about her sexuality, she has enormous grace and she’s immensely talented.  Her own transformation and artistic control mirrors the metamorphosis of gay identity.  Similar to how she felt controlled by the blueprint of Def Jam’s pop-princess homosexual and queer youth prescribe to labels and group mentality, dividing amongst terminology, titles, and descriptors.  Applying to the homosexual and queer labels takes the idea of who one should be without the process of figuring out the subtleties of identity.  As the queer identity enters the bigger world, either through college or independent living, a darker edge manifests itself, which can take the form of hard partying and sex to radical politicism.  Regardless of the form that it takes, at this juncture the identity takes the antithesis of who they previously exhibited themselves to be.  Rihanna reached this juncture in her own career when she released Good Girl Gone Bad, which was followed by Rated R where she, like queer identity, began separating from the molds and terminology that had been used in the construction of their identity.  What followed for both Rihanna and queer identity was the investigating of other labels, while still safely staying within expectations.  For Rihanna this changed with the release of Anti, when she had accumulated enough hit-maker cache to have control over how she presented her identity.  Queer identity development has a similar moment, when life experiences add up to acceptance on the level that one is accepted for the labels they self-apply, and the ones they do not.

My Gay Pantheon

            My gay pantheon is not the typical pantheon when one is conjured to mind, rather people (famous or not, perfect or not) with admirable characteristics that one wants to emulate.  Members of the pantheon are called upon for a specific trait that is admired, for a particular purpose, to utilize their knowledge on a particular subject for advice; personal lives or other traits can be disregarded.  Having a cabinet that can appropriately be consulted requires extensive research by reading the autobiographies, biographies, and writings of members.  This has the added benefit of traits of cabinet members being acquired, by engaging the lives of admirable people through reading. 

            As I grow I expect my gay pantheon to expand, and it should expand, to include more diverse point-of-views, membership of the cabinet grows it is essential to maintain a core group of 6 counselors.  A thread of similar values found between members become essential values, creating the critical lens that informs how to navigate and handle problems.  Similar life events amongst cabinet members has the added benefit of illustrating society and their place in it. 

            A consulting with a gay pantheon develops a critical lens, bringing the ability to listen and communicate properly.

 

My Gay Pantheon

1.      Leah Remini – her bravery and gumption

2.      Armistead Maupin – achieving multiple POVs

3.      Mindy Kaling – romantic cautious optimism

4.      Wachowski Siblings – interconnectivity of life/arts/consciousness

5.      Bill Maher – liberal ideals

6.      Ellen DeGeneres – humor to survive