The World's New Gay State

The Gay State and the Question of Race.

July 26 (New York)  When I speak to a group, even a small group, it is interesting on how quickly tempers flare from those who are quite adamantly opposed to the Gay State concept.  Rebuttals are often laced with personal matters as to religion and sometimes from those who are professionally versed in theology.  It’s not lost on me how often detractors seek to find ways to denounce the concept or dismiss it as some sort of “Utopian” scheme.  Sometimes, but only rarely am asked new questions which after these many years, comes as a surprise.  One such question came from a woman who asked me about race.

I can remember her question as if it were yesterday.  When I called on her out of a crowd, her question was, “I agree with you on many points, but I wonder at what point, is sexual orientation NOT ENOUGH?”  She went on, and I can remember every nuance in her voice, “How would a Gay state treat its people with regard to the importance of race and how would it differentiate on the matter of race?”

I can remember her question so clearly in part, because in retrospect, I am displeased with the response I gave her at the time.  It is after all, an issue that requires and deserves a series of discussions and cannot be satisfied with a quick one or two sentence response.  The inability of humankind to solve racial tensions has plagued mankind for centuries.  I remember I hesitated for a moment, gathering my thoughts and determining which part of the question I should attempt to give a voice to.  My answer was insufficient but was as follows: “In terms of how race plays a role in the Gay culture, Asian, Latino, Black or Caucasian, race, I believe,  is secondary.  Gay people have been oppressed in nations of every color.”  It wasn’t an intentionally malicious effort to avoid the topic more fully.  The answer was insufficient and I skirted the key aspect of race in culture.  I have often wished I had the opportunity to address this particular issue for this woman.

The importance of race.  And how would the Gay state treat its people with regard to the importance of race and how would it differentiate on the matter of race…

To be blunt, I suggest… the short answer is no.  No, I would demand that the Gay State endeavour to become the world’s first post-racial society.  On the contrary, THERE SHOULD BE NO IMPORTANCE PUT ON THE ASPECT OF RACE.  A man should not be known as the Black Gay.  A womyn should not be classified as the Latina Lesbian.  We are all citizens of the Gay state.  And to this question, let me ask in return, what good has ever come from putting importance on race?  Where has emphasizing our differences gotten us in this world?  In our new country, the derogatory references to someone’s race can finally be stricken from civilized society.  Fueling racial hatred and intolerance is destructive to society in general and batters ones soul, just as when Gays are shunned and bullied based on sexual orientation.  On the contrary, instead of emphasizing the importance of race, I say we should seek to marginalize racial differences.  What better way to remove racism into the trash bin of history, than to give it no significance?

Too many people have not been exposed to a variety of cultures.  Too many people have lived their own small lives and to their own detriment, surrounded only by people who look like themselves and believe in the same set of values.  We need to increase the acceptance of diversity, not drive people into the emotional and mental illness that is ethnocentrism.  For all the years of my life I have been a part of a minority population that did not always by necessity bear the brunt of hatred.  As a boy and as a young man, I could hide my Gayness in a way people of color cannot and therefore I could blend in with the Heterosexuals if need be.  No one was the wiser, except me.  Obviously, many people of various racial make-up do not have that opportunity, as ill-conceived as it is.

It is human nature that we endeavour to put people in boxes.  Humans like to categorize one another so they can determine which cavalcade of stereotypes can be heaped upon the individual.  Another ill-conceived category that can be used to someone’s detriment is regionalism.  I have spent years of my life living in communities where I have also been a racial minority.  In the United States, I lived in the only state where Caucasians are a minority – Hawaii.  When Asians are grouped as one, they significantly outnumber European-Americans.   And I witnessed and experienced what’s commonly referred to as reversed racism.  In the islands, many “locals;” meaning those of Asian descent think that a Caucasian will never and can never  be a “local,” even if born and raised in Hawaii.  I would venture to say that most Caucasians in Hawaii have at one time or another been referred to as a “Haole.”  The word was originally used to refer to someone as a “foreigner” or as a “stranger” not of the land.  Yet in popular culture, especially among the younger generation, Haole is derogatory for whitey.  It is never used in a positive light.  It is another example of provincialism that is embedded in geographic isolation.  With a certain tone under some circumstances, it is meant to offend much in the same manner some people still use the “N’ word.  In my estimation, this is an ill-intended byproduct of placing an importance on race.  If screaming “fire!” in a crowded theatre is against the law, so should the use of words that are intended as weapons to endanger another.  What useful purpose comes from disparaging or damaging another person by using such language?  These examples do not infringe on free speech issues but should be stricken from use.

Some have said that I am guilty of the same generalizations by exposing those who commit the act.  I disagree that exposing those guilty of drawing “first blood” renders us just as guilty.  Placing importance on race remains in the 21st century, one of the world’s most egregious examples of provincialism.  It is pitifully small-minded, by my thinking.  In our new Gay State, with citizens from every existing nation on Earth, we want to dissolve our differences and in the process, build bridges to one another.  Placing importance on race (particularly with negative connotations) only results in dividing us based on our differences and thus is not helpful.

It is a fact that the global Gay community suffers from having the scourge of racism within its own ranks.  Today it is a sad fact that the global Gay community is itself tainted by this insidious blight of racism that is found in every part of the world.  Non-Gay nations, which is to say EVERY nation on this Earth, give in to the weaknesses of the human mind and let divisions by race overpower society.  We in our new Gay State will do things differently.  We in the new Gay State will all have witnessed, lived and have known the damages of being the “odd man out,” the wasteful act of diminishing another living soul based on discrimination.  In our new home, this defect of racism based on intolerance and ethnocentrism will be stopped at the border.

Like Hawaii and like the planet as a whole, Caucasians in the Gay State will not have a majority status.  In order of racial population, particularly for full-time residents, we would expect Asians and Africans to be dominant population groups with Latin, Caucasian and other minorities also making a significant representation.  Part-time and seasonal residents would come from more economically advanced nations and as a result would expect to see more North Americans and Europeans.  Vacationers will pour in from every corner of the world.

Most of the people of the world would  probably expect that in America, the most racially divisive region with the most hostile and blatant racism is in the southern United States.  This is not to suggest that vile racism does not exist in all 50 states.  These are historic generalities and people from the region may argue based on individual merit that they do not fit the label and rightfully so.  Such intolerance and hatred is often a result of ignorance and southerner’s were not historically the region of the United States that placed the most emphasis on education and cultural diversity  for the general populace.  Provincialism rears its ugly head in places such as this.

For a number or years I became intimately acquainted with Charleston, South Carolina.  It is an architecturally  beautiful city, with a history based on slaves and barbaric and brutal racial oppression.  This was a city that had achieved great wealth by profiting on the blood, sweat and wholesale trade  and bondage of an entire race of people.  The hatred and intolerance of Charlestonian’s  however, didn’t  end with racism.  For generations, they have expressed hatred for fellow American’s  with northern roots.  Charleston, SC, where the American Civil War began, where their heinous acts of treason and terrorism by these southern separatists resulted in the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans; where hundreds of thousands of more Americans were killed trying to hold the Union together and these people of the south, even today in shocking numbers, dare to express a dislike for US citizens from the north.  I am quicker to pardon the southerner’s who actually participated in the War Between the States, as their ignorance and economic dependency prevented them from truly understanding the scope of what they were doing.  I am far less charitable towards the southerners of today who do not admit their shame and embarrassment for the actions of their forefathers.  They should be on their knees, for the sins of their families, begging forgiveness from their fellow American’s for all of the horrors they brought to the United States.  Most American’s from every corner of the nation have forgiven the acts of the south for betraying the U.S. and in fact, committing the greatest act of mass murder in US history.  In acknowledging their wrong-doing, I am not perpetuating the continuing ill-will towards the south.  As a people they should be forgiven and collectively as a people we should move on.

In the time that I lived in Charleston and travelled extensively throughout the south, I can’t tell you the number of times I was referred to as a “Yankee.”  When I was referred to as a Yankee, it was not to honor me for the bloodshed of my forefathers who fought to keep our nation together.  I was not called a Yankee because I was being honored for so many from my region of the US who gave their lives to free a whole race of people.  They referred to me as a Yankee as if it was a bad thing.  And in doing so, their pathetic provincialism again rose to the surface.  The entire world calls all Americans “Yankees.”  Yes, to the greater world, far beyond the provincialism of the southern U.S. and small-minded way of life, southerners are considered Yankees too!

This is to illustrate the damage that is done when society allows or even encourages people to emphasize our differences more than our similarities.  My experiences in life, as a Caucasian in an Asian culture, as a Northerner in the South, as an American in foreign lands, I cannot believe that separating people by race, treating them differently or  bestowing upon them “special rights” based on racial status,  RARELY IF EVER results in something good.

In conclusion, we will continue to acknowledge the ways we as a Gay society have made positive achievements.  We will promote the positive attributes of all of our people and aggressively encourage all of our new citizens to leave the negative connotations that attach themselves to racial identities behind in their lands of birth.  I remember the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He said “In the beginning, we all may have come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now.”  Together.  As one.  Let us wash away all of the identities attached to race and racism and celebrate our Gay humanity.  One people coming together as one in our new Gay nation. It remains true that like the larger international world, the global Gay community suffers from having the scourge of racism within its ranks.  Today it is a sad fact that the global Gay community is itself tainted by this insidious blight of racism that is found in every part of the world.  Non-Gay nations, which is to say EVERY nation on this Earth, give in to the weaknesses of the human mind and let divisions and divisions by race overpower society.  We in our new Gay State will do things differently.  We in the new Gay State will have known the damages of being the “odd man out,” the waste of diminishing another living soul based on discrimination.  In our new home, this defect of racism based on intolerance and ethnocentrism will be stopped at the border.