Do all gay men think alike? No. So why do we act like we do?
Lately, I’ve been bothered by the actions of LGBTQ people on the internet. (And this goes beyond the usual cattiness found in Facebook comments). What I’m bothered by is this mob mentality that’s taken over queer spaces online.
For instance, I wrote a piece last month to refute this ongoing ridicule of JK Rowling for her portrayal of Dumbledore. If you want all the info on that situation, you can click the link here.
In hindsight, I was too biased in Rowling’s defense, but I still stand by most of my words from the time. But in stating that opinion, I was called a fool and a “self-loathing queen.”
I have been a gay man thirsting for LGBTQ representation for as long as I can remember. I was gay before I learned what “gay” meant, spent my teen years idolizing gay media and culture (even to my detriment), and have screamed at Hollywood to represent us as much as anyone else. Hell, I write for a gay website! But as I grow into my mid-twenties, I’ve realized that I don’t agree with every bullet point on the gay agenda. And you know what? That’s ok.
This JK Rowling situation emphasizes something that I’ve been thinking a lot lately. LGBTQ and liberal people are falling into bullish tactics enforced by social media.
On social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, we can easily find likeminded people and safe spaces to express our often ignored selves. But the downside of that is, we become deaf to opposing positions and life experiences.
There’s this increasing mentality in liberal and LGBTQ corners that everyone has to think and act the same. We think that by supporting equality for all, we are entitled to being right. As such, there’s this growing mentality that “if you don’t agree with me. You’re a villain. You’re racist, homophobic, hateful, etc.” But life and people aren’t that easy to define.
Don’t get me wrong, some of it is justified. For instance, take Chris Pratt. Chris Pratt got called out for being a part of a Church that has a “live and let live” policy but also supports anti-gay initiatives like conversion therapy. People then spiraled into all-out hating the guy and finding anything to trash his name.
In this example, Pratt is in the wrong by association. He’s, most-likely, not anti-LGBTQ himself, but complacent in an organization that supports anti-LGBTQ programs. But the collectivism behind Twitter and LGBTQ spaces decided that Pratt was immediately a terrible person. The toxic idea that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” has taken over our community.
As LGBTQ and liberal voices continue to rise up, I’ve come to realize that I don’t agree with it all. And, of course, that’s natural. Not all LGBTQ/liberal people are the same, and there are many, like me, who don’t agree with every crusade or argument.
But when one LGBTQ person yells injustice, a drove of others come blindly along to swarm the scene. And as in the most recent JK Rowling misquote, they do so with self-righteousness and without ever researching or contemplating the entire issue.
It seems, to me, that online spaces have become more like mosh pits, and it’s hard to express an opposing view within. If you do, you become instantly shut down without any discussion or attempt at it. Ultimately, we have become blinded by our need to be heard first.
Don’t get me wrong, LGBTQ people are still being ignored, misrepresented, and persecuted. The fight for equality and basic rights is still happening. And LGBTQ people have to be vocal in their opinions, existences, and rights, but that doesn’t mean we all think the same way.
We need to start thinking again. Thinking, speaking, and understanding that we are not all the same. Talking to each other like we’re human beings who have different perspectives, ways of life, and ways in which we grew up. We need to recognize that we don’t have to agree with Gay Twitter to be vocal and representative of what it means to be LGBTQ.
So for the reader out there, whoever you may be, be vocal. Be ready to get hate from random strangers in order to be our honest selves. And if you, like me, don’t always agree with LGBTQ people on social media, express those thoughts with the same respect you’d wish to receive. Our support of equality and LGBTQ rights does not equate to blind obedience and agreement.
We are LGBTQ, but we are not drones to mob mentality. We are queer, we are here, and we don’t always agree.