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4Men - Opinions

Letters and opinions from concerned male South African citizens on current affairs and issues affecting us all

Are Queers Too Defensive?

By Alan Meyers

When I was younger, my mother told me to think before I preach. Though it served me well during my younger years, I grew out of it quickly and it’s clear I’m not the only one. Lately it feels that gay men are becoming way too defensive towards not only the world, but each other.

Is LGBT coverage in today’s media teaching us to be overly sensitive? I can’t help but think in some ways it is. Personally I find it comical to see fundamentalists spew their opinions all over the web. From homophobes and religious nuts to super vegans and alien hunters, radical thinking of all sorts is hysterical to me. I’ve always thought overly defensive activists were kind of nutty, until I found myself doing the same thing for no real reason.

I honor all people who speak out against intolerance. But it’s one thing to be a member of a panel on SABC News and it’s another to act as a Debbie Downer at the most inopportune times.

I’ve always prided myself in having a high education on LGBT issues. My friends to this day still ask me questions about events they’ve only heard at the water cooler, expecting me to break it down to their language. One night at a friend’s party, I caught myself preaching about LGBT freedom to strangers after a couple grapefruit mojitos. I saw their annoyance at me, but I couldn’t stop myself. I felt like I needed to prove a point, but I was preaching to the converted. Much like this site is.

After the party was over, my roommate informed me that people thought I was pretentious, I was trying too hard to seem smart or educated and that I had purposely tried to make them look stupid. None of this was my intention, but I completely understood where they were coming from.

There comes a time when we all need to look and see the aftermath of our actions. There are so many issues the world knows nothing about. I want them to know how unfair the media is towards covering bisexuals. I want to scream from the mountain tops their views on the transgender community is completely crooked. I want to inform my friends that LGBT people are being sent to prison, being killed, and getting fired from jobs simply because of their orientation. But at the same time, if they don’t want to know then I might be getting written off as a radical nut.

There are countless numbers of gay men just like me who feel pressure to educate the world on LGBT issues. People like that make a huge difference in the fight towards equality, but have we gone a bit overboard? Being a reliable source is more important than being a preacher on a self-proclaimed pulpit.

The gay community contains some of the strongest people in the world. We can fight, proclaim our messages, and spread knowledge without turning into finger pointers. As an ex-finger pointer, I’ve discovered the best results come from needed conversations rather than forceful debates.

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