Alienation in the GLBT community

10 Jan

The feeling of alienation is something we all deall with during some point of our lives, it’s no exclusive to the LGBT or the straight community, it hits us all. In the LGBT community it is seemingly more pronounced. Even though the LGBT community is already in the minority of society it doesn’t mean we all band together as many people think we do, we are in many regards just as divided as any group of people you will find.

It goes beyond classifying people as bears and twinks, butch or femme, non-op or post-op, or any number of the countless categories we continually place our self in. At it’s root we like anyone else take comfort most often with people just like we are with similar experiences. Thankfully not everyone limits them self to socializing exclusively within the LGBT or their little clique of it as television and the media are often fond of portraying, but there are people that do. At one point I was one of them.

It was hard for me coming to grips with the fact that when I publicly came out there were certain doors that closed for me, some temporarily, others for good. I felt in many regards like an outcast from society, at least the segment of society I worked in lived in my whole life to the point. I craved the sense of belonging and sought out people I thought would be like me. I immersed myself in them wholly believing they would be the people that would become the foundation of my new life.

What I found was a bit of a surprise to me. I wanted to meet as many people as I could as soon as I could so I figured a local gay dance club would be a decent place to start. What I found was I didn’t fit. Sure these folks were part of the rainbow, but they had no desire to socialize with me the fifth time I went anymore than the first. I didn’t seem to matter whether or not I was a good person or had a pleasing fun personality, all that mattered was that I was transsexual and therefore I did not fit into their social network. Not even to just hang out and talk. I was not welcome but I was not going to be forced to leave either. I was free to sit alone as long as I wanted to.

I decided maybe a lesbian club would be better even though I heard many of the women there would not accept me either. What I can say is some were polite, others were just downright rude. Again I tried putting my best foot forward, being myself and showing I was an okay person to talk to or shoot a game of pool with but I was politely reminded I really just did not fit in. I didn’t know what to do.

My last option was to start spending time with other transsexuals but that was even more depressing. Non-operatives picking fights with post-operatives about things neither could possibly know about the other. Behavior that was based on tearing down a person to build up one’s own self esteem. Nobody did anything, they never went anywhere, they just sat and complained about each other and the other factions of the LGBT that wouldn’t accept them. It didn’t take long to realize that even with these people I imagined would be my saving grace I just did not fit.

I tried just going to regular places and meeting whoever was there, not to pick up mind you, just to have someone to talk to. Sometimes it would start okay until the inevitable “hey that’s a tranny” would come from somewhere and the excursion was over. It’s a wholly demoralizing feeling when you realize nobody wants you. At least it felt that way. For a couple of years I did nothing socially, I felt if nobody would accept me then I wouldn’t keep trying. Thankfully the pity party ended.

I realized if I wanted to fit in, if it was that important to me there was a way. What I finally grasped when that concept hit was that I just didn’t care. I was going to go where I wanted with whomever I chose and I was going to enjoy myself. Anyone that wished was welcome to come along for the ride, those who didn’t were advised to step back. I slowly grew a network of friends, some LGBT, some not. To me it just didn’t matter. If the LGBT was going to alienate me well I was going to do it right back. My value as a person or friend did not lie in who I slept with or what surgeries I did or did not have but in who I inherently was and my actions.

In time, I through no real design, became known as an advocate for the LGBT, in all honesty though my actions weren’t so altruistic, my motivation lay within wanting things to be better for me and my partner. My writing became a regular part of local and regional periodicals further increasing my reluctant notoriety. What was odd was that as I became more known the people that previously shut me out were the same people clamoring for me to come to their group, visit and review their club or bar, join their Pride committee. Suddenly the acceptance I though I wanted years earlier was mine, but it wasn’t acceptance of me as a person so much as it being acceptance I could do something for them.

In all honesty in time some places and people did change and embraced me for who I was and not what they thought I must be based on a stereotype. Those people I welcomed into my life. others I left on the curb. Even as over a decade has passed since those early days I still feel alienated in the LGBT, not so much as I once had, but it is still a lingering feeling and I know in the blink of an eye it can always rear it’s head again.

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