When I was in the six grade there was a kid in my class (we’ll call him Rudy) that was what I like to call “The Kyle Washington type”(for all of those who have seen college hill south beach you know exactly what that means). If you have not seen College Hill, allow me to explain.
The “Kyle Washington Type” encompasses characteristics like being loud, flamboyant, over-weight, insecure, and always taking there internal hatred out on the innocent victims that rub them the wrong way, no matter how justified that person might be. For anyone who is relatively familiar with the gay community, the “Kyle Washington Type” is no secret. They are the best friends of some, and the worse enemies of others.
Now imagine all those characteristics in an openly gay 12 year old transgendered kid. To put it lightly, Rudy got made fun of A LOT. The students teased him to the point that his parents pulled him out of the middle school that I attended. I was never one of those individuals who initiated the attacks against Rudy, but I cannot lie and say that I never laughed at him. I knew he was gay—he never tried to hide that—I knew I was confused about who I was suppose to like at that age and I knew that laughing at him would make me safe from being ridiculed for my hidden homosexuality.
This is a very small case of internalized homophobia on my part. That’s what I call it when someone that is gay/DL, in attempts to hide their “true self”, bullies or ridicules other LGBT people. I have seen internalized homophobia on greater scales. I knew a football player in high school that brutally beat and teased every LGBT kid he could find. Then the same football player tried to come on to me.
People are many times afraid of what they don’t understand.
People are many times afraid to be what others don’t understand.
It seems the only way out of this vicious cycle is for people to educate themselves. And this cannot always be done by reading a book on the subject. One reason why Rudy got made fun of so much is because he was different, and his peers—including myself at the time—did not understand him. Most adults to this day don’t understand the differences among being transsexual, transgender, and a drag queen. So allow me to take a moment to break down these terms.
Individuals who identify as “transgender” or “transsexual” are usually people who are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel as though they’ve been born into the “wrong body.” For example, a person who identifies as transgender or transsexual may have typical female anatomy but feel like a male and seek to become male by taking hormones or electing to have sex reassignment surgeries. Transgender is the umbrella term for gender identity. Transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual; some may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable to them. To be transsexual relates to having some type of sexual reassignment or a sex change. A drag queen is a person, usually a man, who dresses, and usually acts, like a woman often for the purpose of entertaining or performing. There are drag artists of all genders and sexualities who do drag for various reasons.(Main source of information comes from Intersex Society of North America http://www.isna.org/)
Many people I grew up with in my church would not of taken the time to finish the last paragraph. So to conclude the series on a Gay Man’s Struggle, is liberation possible? So far Wisconsin, Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, have all formed some type of legalized marriage or civil union. Not to mention the United States has to deal with the thousands that got married in California last year. And every generation that passes becomes more understanding and accepting of the LGBT community. It is only a matter of time before liberation—legally and socially—becomes a reality. Once people begin to reach out and try to understand something they didn’t want to talk about before, that is the beginning of liberation and that is when this fear of a certain group of people begins to end. History speaks for itself, with every movement. The gay movement is only leading to one place. A place where discrimination ends, and equality is gained. Then maybe a gay man’s struggle will become a gay man’s triumph.