I was recently part of an online conversation dealing with the changing face of the gay movement, in particular the extinction of gay bookstores, and what impact, if any, that will have on the future of young gay men and women.
One member of the discussion mentioned a book, THE MISSING MYTH, which claims that the interest level for young gay people in what we all worked for, gay liberation, is approaching an all time low.
The book claims there is little interest on the part of the college age generation, as a whole, and suggests they are bored or unconcerned with the issue of being gay, don't particularly find the metaphors of Gay Pride all that meaningful, and are tired of the brand.
I found that rather shocking considering all the political debates and fighting at the state and national levels over gays in the military and same-sex marriage. I was under the impression that interest in identifying as gay and advancing gay rights was at an all time high. Goes to show how little I know.
I think this could be an encouraging sign for the gay rights movement. This tells me that young people feel they are no longer discriminated against. They feel they can live open lives and not fear any reprisals from those hateful elements still lurking in our society.
When you think about it, once we’ve won nation-wide same-sex marriage rights, seamless integration into ‘normal’ is the logical next step—having “being gay’ no longer a relevant issue. That is what we’ve been fighting for. I personally feel we have a few more battles to win before we’re there, but I’m growing optimistic.
What does that mean for writers like myself who write for a gay audience? How deeply we look into our gay lives has a lot to do with how hard we try to produce meaning to attach to gay experience, meaning attached in a way that will be relevant to the youth now, and as they age.
Attitudes are rapidly changing, and we must look deeper into that gay experience and into the integration of gay people into normal, if we intend to produce anything meaningful to this next generation.