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RightNation.US: Change the Rainbow Flag?, and: “The End of Safe Gay Sex?” - RightNation.US

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Poll Finds Gay Men And Older LGBT People Are Most Opposed To A Brown Stripe In The Pride Flag To Represent People Of Color

But LGBT people of color, younger LGBT folks, and queer and transgender people are more likely to support the change.

June 28, 2018
Dominic Holden, BuzzFeed News Reporter
Presumed copyright BuzzFeedNews
Source; excerpts follow, drill down for hyperlinked references:

Quote

Most LGBT Americans don't want a brown and black stripe added to the rainbow pride flag, according to a new national survey. The poll found that gay men, whites, and baby boomers were most resistant to updating the flag in order to represent LGBT people of color — while younger and nonwhite LGBT people were more inclined to support the change…

People of color have been at the vanguard of LGBT political advocacy and culture for decades, and yet, they have long been denied full recognition — and representation — for their contributions. The 2015 movie Stonewall, for example, portrayed a white man at the genesis of the modern LGBT movement while downplaying people of color and transgender women. LGBT bars have also been accused of racial discrimination.

… The survey found that LGBT people of color narrowly agree with updating the flag, 52% to 48%, while queer and transgender people support the change 64% and 69%, respectively.

The most pronounced split was generational. LGBT people between the ages of 18 and 29 appear to lean toward a more inclusive flag — 53% support and 47% oppose — while less than a fifth of baby boomers agree…

Full article

I am a gay man who is white and over 50-yo, yet I do not oppose changing the flag. This doesn't mean I'm a "supporter" of changing it; I'm just an ambivalent, non-flag-waving kind of gay guy. The Pride flag has already been changed from its original design (from 8 stripes to 6), adding a stripe or two doesn't bother me.

Since I've always thought of the rainbow flag as a "diversity banner", I feel LGBTQ folks of color are already represented thereupon. However, there are portions of the gay male community who are surprisingly biased: There's "body image" bias ("must be toned"), demeanor bias ("no fems, must be straight-acting"), size bias (use your imagination), political bias; and, yes, ethnic bias. (There's plenty of prejudice outside; we could be more easygoing with each other.) Folks of color have always been part of the community, part of the movement, caring supporters. So, I think I understand the desire for more explicit representation in the group symbolism.

Besides a general resistance to change, I thought of another reason why older gay men might not be comfortable with the addition of these new stripes: Remember the archaic "hanky codes"? The color of your bandana and the pocket from which it fluttered sent signals regarding your particular fetishes and desires. Both brown and black were pretty hardcore, there are reasons why the codes are archaic, and that's all I'm going to say on this.

Finally, I think the rainbow flag has been ebbing in significance for years. The wonderful advances in "gay rights" (notably including civil marriage) means we have less use and need for an identifiable symbol around which to rally. Also, the younger generations coming up behind us are far more accepting of (what they view of as) such inconsequential differences between people. We older folks were largely fighting for the day when being gay was irrelevant (or for "assimilation" as some would say), and younger folks are used to that, enjoying the advances without necessarily understanding how or why their environment is different than what it was. Analogously, for them, cars always had seatbelts, televisions always had remote controls, and cell phones were always "smart". And there's nothing wrong with that.

If it makes more people feel included, then go ahead and change the flag. I have no objection.

Speaking of younger folks being somewhat unaware of history:


The End of Safe Gay Sex?

By Patrick William Kelly
June 26, 2018
© 2018 The New York Times Company
Source; excerpts follow, drill down for hyperlinked references:

Quote

June is Pride Month, a ripe time to reflect on one of the most startling facts about our sexual culture today: Condom use is all but disappearing among large numbers of gay men.

Many rightly attribute the condom's decline to the rise of PrEP — an acronym for pre-exposure prophylaxis, a two-drug cocktail that inoculates a person from contracting H.I.V. But another crucial component is the fading memory of the AIDS crisis that once defined what it meant to be gay…

… While the number of H.I.V.-negative men who are on PrEP increased to 24 percent from 2 percent, the rate of condom use decreased to 31 percent from 46 percent. More troubling, condom use among non-gay men is also down significantly…

The dangerous implication is that PrEP alone may ward off all sexually transmitted infections. Indeed, studies have shown a strong correlation between PrEP use and the contraction of S.T.I.s. PrEP enthusiasts counter that PrEP mandates testing for S.T.I.s every three months, a practice that promotes rather than discourages a culture of sexual health.

But a 2016 study by the University of California, Los Angeles illustrated that PrEP users were 25.3 times more likely to acquire gonorrhea and a shocking 44.6 times more likely to develop a syphilis infection (other studies have found no significant uptick in S.T.I. rates, however)…

The very idea of "safe sex" emerged from the gay community in the early 1980s, in response to the AIDS crisis. Drag queens once ended performances with catchy one-liners like, "If you're going to tap it, wrap it."…

… PrEP, which the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2012, replaces the condom's comforting shield. Liberated from the stigma of AIDS, gay men, many people think, are now free to revert to their carnivorous sexual selves. In this rendering, the condom is kryptonite, a relic that saps the virile homosexual of his primordial sexual power.

AIDS is no longer a crisis, at least in the United States, and that is a phenomenal public-health success story. But it also means that an entire generation of gay men has no memory or interest in the devastation it wrought. AIDS catalyzed a culture of sexual health that has begun to disintegrate before our eyes. What is there to be done to bring it back?...

Full editorial

While the author makes some very important points, I object to the way he implicitly suggests that all gay men are part of the "party" crowd. Promiscuously engaging in wanton, casual sex (often with recreational drug usage) is not the norm, and never was. Note this from the Methods section of the abstract: Recruitment [of research participants] occurred at gay venues or events and online. It's like the researchers focused on the active "cruising" crowd, not the homebodies, monogamous couples, folks raising families, and so on. The author could have been more forthright and said: "Not all gay men do this" but instead used verbiage like: "… what it meant to be gay." The author's focus is as narrow as the researchers'. Just don't give the Anti-Gay Brigade more ammunition to use against us. (Recent example: This dreck.)

There is nothing necessarily wrong with focusing research on those most at risk. Using PrEP is not like wearing a seatbelt; it's like wearing a seatbelt in a demolition derby. You're acknowledging that you're going to have multiple sexual partners of uncertain serostatus. If that's what you're doing, then… yeah… use PrEP… AND condoms. (I also recommend some very deep self-reflection, and perhaps some sessions with a qualified therapist regarding self-esteem.)

Quote

… The nonchalant dismissal of the condom today flies in the face of the very culture of sexual health that gay men and lesbians constructed in the 1980s. If a hyper-resistant strand of another life-threatening S.T.I. develops, we will rue the day that we forgot the searing legacies of our past. We might also recognize that PrEP has not proved nearly as effective a prevention strategy for women as it has for men, and that some strains of H.I.V. have developed resistance to the drug…

We might also pivot away from the individualistic and privileged approach of our dominant L.G.B.T. organizations — what one scholar called the "price of gay marriage." We might, then, regain a radical sense of queer community that we lost in the wake of AIDS.

I think this last paragraph harkens back to the to the previous article I posted above, although I disagree that "a radical sense of queer community" is the best way forward. This is not the 1980s, we're more established, have more supporters and friends, and younger folks these days largely exist in an increasingly "post-gay" environment. "Rally 'round the rainbow flag" is not going to do it this time. Pride in oneself, rather than one's minority (or tribal) status, is the way to go.

Although that right there may seem "radical" to some.
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