1. I’ll recognize my own privilege.
At the end of the day, the LGBT community is just a microcosm of our society. Being a white gay man means I have less to worry about in terms of employment, salary, housing, violence, and even the criminal justice system compared to everyone else in my community. While my rights are limited in this country, there are others in my community who can’t worry about marriage equality because their lives are threatened every day simply for existing or openly expressing themselves. We need to recognize that our community has also fallen victim to the same gender and social norms that plague the society we’re trying to change. Gay white men control the movement. We need to be vigilant that all corners of our community have a voice and face at the table. Our fight doesn’t end at marriage equality and adoption rights. Our fight ends when all of our brothers and sisters are fully protected under the law.
2. I’ll be proud.
I remember the first time I saw two openly gay men. I was with my brother at a movie theater and saw these two guys who were just a few years older than me holding hands. They were all smiles and blushing. They weren’t blushing like I did when I thought about holding hands with a boy in public. I was red with fear. They were red with love. They didn’t mean to make a statement by showing their affection, but they helped me feel empowered and hopeful. So whether it’s at the movies or on a bus or just walking down the street, I’ll try to embody a proud gay man for any closeted person that may see me.
3. I’ll fight internalized homophobia.
Anyone who has spent any time in the gay community knows we have our own internal problems. Try going on any gay dating app without seeing “masc for masc” or “straight acting” on a profile. By definition, none of us fit into society’s gender or sexual norms. Let’s not ostracize our own. You’re no better than anyone simply because you “pass” more easily for being straight. You won’t be the exception to anti-gay laws ’cause you’re a top or your biceps are the size of my thighs.
There also exists a problem of not being gay enough. This can come from stereotypes that gay men are all dancing, hyper fashionable, Lady Gaga-loving queens. Some of us are queens. Some of us are kings, jesters, and knights too. As long as you’re comfortable with yourself, you’re enough.
4. I’ll love my body and mind.
Gay men are more likely than their straight counterparts to experience body image problems and eating disorders. I’m not sure the reason behind this. It could be the media, stress related to coming out, or our community’s fixation on outer appearances. It’s probably a combination of all three among other things. Our community has so much more to fight for than just a slimmer waist or a bigger chest. Let’s stop trying to be the hottest guy in the room or trying to bang him. Let’s start celebrating intelligence and wit. We could do so much more if we all tried being the funniest or most well read guy in the room.