The importance of inter-generational LGBT+ friendships

The importance of inter-generational LGBT+ friendships: Some excerpts:

Unlike other cultural histories – which are passed generation to
generation – young people’s connection to LGBT+ culture and history can
be far more tenuous. With less need for community organizing, broader community acceptance
and the digitization of LGBT+ meeting places, inter-generational
connections may be rarer than ever.

“Back in the eighties and nineties you needed to be in the gay
community because you couldn’t belong anywhere else,” says Lyndi, a
50-year-old Sydneysider, “that was why it was so thick and embracing.”

“We were huge, the gay community was massive,” says her 56-year-old
partner Skinny, who worked for an LGBT+ magazine in Melbourne.

The pair tell of the community rallying behind people who were kicked
out of home, who lost partners to AIDS, or were victims of
discrimination.

“We used to walk around with whistles in case we got bashed,” Skinny
says. “You used to be able to walk into a venue and say you had a
problem and you would be embraced, everyone would be there for you.”

“Homophobia forced people together,” says Lyndi.

But those once-strong bonds, forged through activism and organization, have since fallen apart. With broader community acceptance, LGBT+ youth aren’t restricted to
an LGBT+ circle of friends – sexuality is no longer such a definitive
characteristic.

“It’s a good thing, for sure,” adds Skinny, “but what we went through is forgotten now.”

Dr Peter Robinson, an expert in LGBT+ aging and history at Swinburne
University, says the rise in apps like Grindr and the broader acceptance
of diverse sexualities has meant that inter-generational friendships
are rarer than ever. It’s a shame, Dr Robinson says, because older friends can fill
paternal or maternal roles – providing advice, guidance, relationship
advice or even material support.

Maeve McNiels, who runs a volunteer visitor program for elderly LGBT+
people, says that for some volunteers, their partners fill the role of
surrogate grandparents. For older people too, younger friends can fill the role of children they could never have.

The importance of inter-generational LGBT+ friendships

Some excerpts:

Unlike other cultural histories – which are passed generation to
generation – young people’s connection to LGBT+ culture and history can
be far more tenuous. With less need for community organizing, broader community acceptance
and the digitization of LGBT+ meeting places, inter-generational
connections may be rarer than ever.

“Back in the eighties and nineties you needed to be in the gay
community because you couldn’t belong anywhere else,” says Lyndi, a
50-year-old Sydneysider, “that was why it was so thick and embracing.”

“We were huge, the gay community was massive,” says her 56-year-old
partner Skinny, who worked for an LGBT+ magazine in Melbourne.

The pair tell of the community rallying behind people who were kicked
out of home, who lost partners to AIDS, or were victims of
discrimination.

“We used to walk around with whistles in case we got bashed,” Skinny
says. “You used to be able to walk into a venue and say you had a
problem and you would be embraced, everyone would be there for you.”

“Homophobia forced people together,” says Lyndi.

But those once-strong bonds, forged through activism and organization, have since fallen apart. With broader community acceptance, LGBT+ youth aren’t restricted to
an LGBT+ circle of friends – sexuality is no longer such a definitive
characteristic.

“It’s a good thing, for sure,” adds Skinny, “but what we went through is forgotten now.”

Dr Peter Robinson, an expert in LGBT+ aging and history at Swinburne
University, says the rise in apps like Grindr and the broader acceptance
of diverse sexualities has meant that inter-generational friendships
are rarer than ever. It’s a shame, Dr Robinson says, because older friends can fill
paternal or maternal roles – providing advice, guidance, relationship
advice or even material support.

Maeve McNiels, who runs a volunteer visitor program for elderly LGBT+
people, says that for some volunteers, their partners fill the role of
surrogate grandparents. For older people too, younger friends can fill the role of children they could never have.

The importance of inter-generational LGBT+ friendships

On queer aesthetics and not feeling ‘Queer Enough’

On queer aesthetics and not feeling ‘Queer Enough’:

Some excerpts:

Femininity is complicated. Despite not shaving and rarely wearing
make-up, I perform it well. Still, conforming to gendered stereotypes or
normative standards of beauty doesn’t make me more or less queer. I do
see the irony in talking about the downsides of fitting mainstream ideas
of gender and beauty. Though in queer spaces it does feel like a point
of contention.

Don’t misread me, radical self-expression—along with the
deconstruction of what gender can and should be—is great. It’s brave,
it’s empowering and it’s liberating to so many queer people. It’s
important work and it needs to be done. But while we’re doing that work,
we shouldn’t leave people feeling as though they aren’t “queer enough”
to enter safe spaces and explore their identities, too.

Limiting the narratives around expressing queerness also limits
the diversity and fluidity of the queer community. Thinking that someone
needs to look and act a certain way ignores the fact that every kind of
gender, sexuality or identity presentation is, in some way, a
performance. While some of these performances may not be deliberate or
subversive, they are still valid. And they show, in some small way, that
the reach of queerness extends far beyond what we look like, what we
say or what we do.

On queer aesthetics and not feeling ‘Queer Enough’

Some excerpts:

Femininity is complicated. Despite not shaving and rarely wearing
make-up, I perform it well. Still, conforming to gendered stereotypes or
normative standards of beauty doesn’t make me more or less queer. I do
see the irony in talking about the downsides of fitting mainstream ideas
of gender and beauty. Though in queer spaces it does feel like a point
of contention.

Don’t misread me, radical self-expression—along with the
deconstruction of what gender can and should be—is great. It’s brave,
it’s empowering and it’s liberating to so many queer people. It’s
important work and it needs to be done. But while we’re doing that work,
we shouldn’t leave people feeling as though they aren’t “queer enough”
to enter safe spaces and explore their identities, too.

Limiting the narratives around expressing queerness also limits
the diversity and fluidity of the queer community. Thinking that someone
needs to look and act a certain way ignores the fact that every kind of
gender, sexuality or identity presentation is, in some way, a
performance. While some of these performances may not be deliberate or
subversive, they are still valid. And they show, in some small way, that
the reach of queerness extends far beyond what we look like, what we
say or what we do.

On queer aesthetics and not feeling ‘Queer Enough’

A Hidden Tragedy: Mental Illness and Suicide Among Asian Americans

A Hidden Tragedy: Mental Illness and Suicide Among Asian Americans:

Some sobering statistics from this article:

According to the American Psychological Association,
using the year 2007 as case study, suicide “was the second leading
cause of death for Asian-Americans aged 15-34.” The website ReAppropriate,
which advocates for Asian American concerns, estimates that the three
students who killed themselves are part of about 150 college-aged Asian
Americans who will die by suicide this year.

Two years ago,
when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “asked Asian
American high school students if they had seriously considered suicide
during the past year, 19 percent answered yes, compared to 16 percent of
all high school students.”

“Southeast Asian refugees are at risk for post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) associated with trauma experienced before and after
immigration to the U.S,” according
to the US Department of Health and Human Services. “One study found
that 70% of Southeast Asian refugees receiving mental health care were
diagnosed with PTSD.”

Asian women, according to the study, also lead in the highest suicide rate amongst all ethnic groups in the US.

A Hidden Tragedy: Mental Illness and Suicide Among Asian Americans

Some sobering statistics from this article:

According to the American Psychological Association,
using the year 2007 as case study, suicide “was the second leading
cause of death for Asian-Americans aged 15-34.” The website ReAppropriate,
which advocates for Asian American concerns, estimates that the three
students who killed themselves are part of about 150 college-aged Asian
Americans who will die by suicide this year.

Two years ago,
when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “asked Asian
American high school students if they had seriously considered suicide
during the past year, 19 percent answered yes, compared to 16 percent of
all high school students.”

“Southeast Asian refugees are at risk for post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) associated with trauma experienced before and after
immigration to the U.S,” according
to the US Department of Health and Human Services. “One study found
that 70% of Southeast Asian refugees receiving mental health care were
diagnosed with PTSD.”

Asian women, according to the study, also lead in the highest suicide rate amongst all ethnic groups in the US.

A Hidden Tragedy: Mental Illness and Suicide Among Asian Americans

Why Didn’t Gay Rights Cure Gay Loneliness?

Why Didn’t Gay Rights Cure Gay Loneliness?:

I’m sure many of you have already came across this piece, a lengthy, but solid read that addresses many of the issues we care about about at G3S and why we are committed to not only creating a safe space, but also a supportive community for queer Asians. This week, as Pride draws to a close, I want to highlight some of the ongoing struggles and future directions for the LGBTQ+ (Asian) community, including but not limited to mental health, queer aesthetics, and intergenerational relationships.

-Jeffrey

It was hard to to choose key excerpts, but some highlights:

For years I’ve noticed the divergence between my straight friends and my gay friends. While one half of my social circle has disappeared into relationships, kids and suburbs, the other has struggled through isolation and anxiety, hard drugs and risky sex.

The defining feature of gay men used to be the loneliness of the closet,” he says. “But now you’ve got millions of gay men who have come out of the closet and they still feel the same isolation.”

“It’s like you emerge from the closet expecting to be this butterfly and the gay community just slaps the idealism out of you,” Adam says. When he first started coming out, he says, “I went to West Hollywood because I thought that’s where my people were. But it was really horrifying. It’s made by gay adults, and it’s not welcoming for gay kids. You go from your mom’s house to a gay club where a lot of people are on drugs and it’s like, this is my community? It’s like the fucking jungle.”

But the real effect of the apps is quieter, less remarked-upon and, in a way, more profound: For many of us, they have become the primary way we interact with other gay people.

All of a sudden it’s not your gayness that gets you rejected. It’s your weight, or your income, or your race.

“Gay and bisexual men talk about the gay community as a significant source of stress in their lives,” Pachankis says… Rejection from other gay people, though, feels like losing your only way of making friends and finding love. Being pushed away from your own people hurts more because you need them more.