New years reso: Be a better gay
It is with a massive smile on my face that I bring you intimate words by & a photo series starring who I consider a good friend of mine, even though we have only smelt each other’s pheromones twice. His energy is contagious, while his wit will paralyze you as you gasp for desperate breaths of air between fits of laughter. His name is Andy Kelly, he lives in Sydney as a creative genius & recently launched his awesome ‘Radical Fashionism‘ podcast with co-creator & best friend Christian Wilkins.
With his first of hopefully many features up here, Andy sparks thoughts & conversation around being a modern-day gay in the online dating realm with his very honest thoughts surrounding his own swiping & clicking actions.
So you’ve Downloaded Grindr;
Welcome, get comfortable, take off your shoes…..& get ready for a mixture of disappointment, potential romance & disgust. This is a whole other universe that nothing could really prepare you for.
Now since the cave, us gays have been harnessing even the smallest technological advances into a way of getting laid (I hooked up with someone on eBay once as an example). Yes that’s right while you straight people are just trying to get a mega bonus on candy crush, I’ve figured out a way to use it to connect with all the sexually active homosexuals within a 2km radius.
Now I’m not gay shaming… I’m not saying this is either a positive or negative….but it is my culture. App dating/internet profile sites are a massive part of the gay experience & while a lot of us may turn our noses up at it or consider it less than, compared to traditional methods of meeting, apps like Grindr have helped get us out of the tower & into the spotlight.
It has gotten our younger generation out of the beats, cruise bars & bathhouses, & instead, put them in the glow of the blue light (not before bed though, no one wants puffy eyes). This isn’t to say that someone out there hasn’t recently found love on their knees in a public toilet, but it is a lot safer & more comfortable than meeting strangers in parks.
So is Grindr a positive place? I guess like most things in the gay experience it’s a coin/twink. Two Faced.
No matter how far we come, we as a community do grapple with a shame complex around our sexual identity. An internalized homophobia that rears its ugly head even in the most steadfast of us, something I hope one day will no longer be there. But for now, I guess too many of our kind have been bashed in the street for that fear to dissipate completely & all those wounds to heal & I accept that. It is unrealistic to keep screaming love yourself at my community & think it can just happen. To think that I could even love myself in every inch, every finger & toe when there are still more than a couple of monsters lurking under my bed is silly & unrealistic. AND I ACCEPT AND LOVE THAT.
For me, & my contact with these media platforms, however, they are inherently positive. Meeting people, bringing them together all positive things. So this leaves all the negative attributes laying squarely at our feet. Statements like “Masc 4 Masc only” or “no fats, femmes or Asians” they are our words. Whether they have been born from a place of insecurity & pain or not, these are things we have said. These are battle lines we have laid down, & in turn wounds we have dealt in friendly fire.
Why in a minority where we are so excluded & isolated in youth do we mimic this behavior on each other in adult life? A power grab? An attempt to claim the top of the mountain? (Also that was my CB SINC working in public asking myself questions & I am living).
I have a school friend who migrated to Sydney with me from sunny regional Queensland, & to my horror she brought with her another new Gay friend (who I irrationally hated for many months & put in direct competition against me because god forbid she has two gay friends right…. fucking mental) who I was recently at a picnic with. While there, he made a very funny quip “I’ve lost 20kg, 15 more & I’ll be able to fit into Sydney”. Shit I laughed Becky! What a sound bite! Consider that one stolen Jake!… & then it hit me, I’m the “Sydney” he was trying to fit into. Me. I was the pressure. Not Grindr not Beresford Sunday not North Bondi grassy knoll. Me.
I’ve been that guy on Grindr, whos been chatting to you, faceless profile & the chats been so good. It’s been funny & quick & smart & when you sent me that first photo, when you built the courage up to engage on the closest to physical level as you could, I have looked, judged & stopped replying. Cold. No reason other than visually that wasn’t good enough. I’ve been that person to not even let you down gently just stopped, spun 360 & gone back to scrolling through you all like an Uber eats menu. That’s not humanity, I’m a sensitive person & although being physically attracted to someone is important, sure, isn’t supporting someone & treating them with more respect than a “seen” read receipt more?
I want to start this next year with a resolution to be a better gay. This does not mean more Kylie Minogue & spin classes. This means me taking responsibility for my actions towards my fellow gay. Our own worst enemy is ourselves. We have the backing of our community proven on the liberal parties blood stained plebiscite paper, so now we need to fucking back ourselves.
There are still people out there in countries being persecuted for their sexual orientation. We are still being dragged down the street behind lawn mowers in Moscow, we are in concentration camps in Chechnya, thrown off the tops of building in Saudi Arabia & while one of us is still in the chains of oppression, none of us can be truly free.
So this year I’m gonna start in my own back yard. I’m gonna start by treating every single gay person as that, a person (& to be honest my glass castle is so thin it would just need a light tap let alone a stone thrown at it).
So now you’ve downloaded Grindr, the key to your community… Keep this in mind. Sure your dick might be controlling your fingers for some of the time you’re on there, but remember that it’s a person on the other side of that buzz sound. A person who probably has a very similar shared experience to you.
Love Andy x