Let's Not Give Them Something To Talk About
You know, I don’t think there’s a more masturbatory exercise, other than actually riding solo, than life blogging. This past week has marked my fifth month of living on the West Coast. Yeah, five whole glorious months - and I can remember meeting my best friend at the airport with two suitcases that held my life like it was yesterday.
There are few things I’ve learned since living in Vancouver:
Never settle on one sushi place.
Everything is closer than you think.
I love this city and should have moved much earlier in life.
You never have to go to a gay bar. Ever.
Let me explain that last one…
Up to, and including, this point in the time, the most fun I have had on nights out in Vancouver have been the “gay parties” that litter the city.
Queerbash. Spit. Apocalypstick. Big Primpin. Hustla.
These are regular parties that are thrown in venues which at first glance would seem less than gay friendly. I mean, put The Cobalt (home to three of the previously mentioned parties) next to a typical gay club like 560 and there is a world of difference. Why do these parties exist? I haven’t asked the organizers their exact motivations but, from what I can tell, it’s to have a place where being yourself doesn’t mean having to stay vigilant of side-eye and shade. A place where you can have a night out with your friends and not be socially probed by a jury of your peers. In short, these parties exist so we don’t have to go to gay bars.
While I’m incredibly grateful that a group of homos with alternative tastes took it upon themselves to provide these inclusive options, I’m not so jazzed on the folks who make it their mission to shout down gay bars. Basically, shit is fucked up and the only reason it’s fucked up is because we keep talking about how fucked up it can be.
When I first started going to gay bars as an out and proud homo, I was more excited than a puppy with a tennis ball. Everything was so new and fun, and the people were so nice, and your only worries were if you could dance all night and who was going to be your tragic dance floor make out. Basically, they were exactly what I imagined them to be and I was thrilled. Of course, in a small city like Halifax, one you immerse yourself in a new environment, it doesn’t take long to lose yourself within the politics - blinding yourself to the flaws of you and your gurls, and severely amplifying the presumed faults of those other bitches who are there “like every goddamn weekend”.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of flaws in the gay community. But there’s also a lot of flaws in the straight community. And in the Catholic community; in the hippie community; in the artistic community; in the corporate community; hell, there are flaws in the single parents who love rock climbing and hate pancetta community. Any collection of people with a common thread, whether it be sexuality, religion, hobby, or profession, is going to have problems.
So, when I said that I was relieved I wouldn’t have to specifically go to a gay bar to enjoy the company of men who dance with men, it wasn’t because I’m a self-hating gay, or a shy homo, or even a queer who’s past the point of dancing until dawn. No, I was referring to the relief I felt having fun and not experiencing the - and fuck knows I hate using the word but - “drama” of a gay bar.
Side note: using the word “drama” to describe the trivial circumstances that cause you grief is an insult to the art of theatre. If your life was as compelling as an Ibsen play, then I doubt you would be spilling your drink while whispering to your friends that some bitch is totally flirting with a guy you find really attractive but haven’t gathered up the testicles to actually speak to, just in case that comes across as “weird”.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about whether Vancouver’s gay community is the most unfriendly in the country. In the midst of a stream of opinion pieces and testimonials from those who have felt victimized by the cliques, brotherhoods, sororities, covens, and other groupings of queers, a few have decided to distance themselves from the pack as our “last hope for salvation” in these dark times. A few gays who have gone out of their way to assure their loyal following that to intentionally exclude or abuse those who aren’t destined to walk the red carpet is certainly not part of their Fagna Carta.
Do you know why people think the Vancouver gay scene is a harsh and bitter mistress? It’s because beneath all of the contrite apologies and ankle-deep philosophies that are spewed forth after a drink or three, any fool can see that those vocal pundits secretly revel in the attention and status as “one of the bitchy ones”; as if they are queens holding court over their serfs who lack queer nobility.
Speaking as an outsider who’s been thrown into this new world of battling territories, I offer this bit of advice: shut the fuck up already. I moved here from a gay community that is infinitely smaller than what we have in Vancouver and even then I didn’t find “everyone was in everyone’s business”. What I find here are a few entitled homos with large group of friends who have taken it upon themselves to act as the representatives of a very large, and very diverse, community that is united by something as immaterial as sexuality.
Writing a blog post, or a newsletter, or pamphlet about why your friends are wrapped up in their own business is pointless. Frankly, to find people who feel so personally responsible for the poor reputation Vancouver has apparently acquired is hilarious. I don’t need anyone to explain to me why no one approaches me in a bar or on the street. I’m a grown man who’s able to appreciate that not everyone is going to find me endearing and frankly, I’ve got my own shit to deal with so worrying about who’s shacked up with who in your group is about as important as what socks I’m going to wear.
Van Queers, we live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world - can we stop talking about what’s “wrong” and start focusing on how to make it better?
Why am I relieved to have options other than a gay bar? Well, if I can go to a gay-themed party that closes the night with The Chicken Dance, AND I can meet two new friends through such a display of poor rhythm, then I’m set.