Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Befriending gay neighbours

I am participating in the “Bridging the Gap Synchroblog” with a link to: www.btgproject.blogspot.com. My post today is part of a larger initiative of more than 50 bloggers all sharing their thoughts on how to ‘bridge the gap’. You can check out the other links at: www.btgproject.blogspot.com

My neighbours are interesting but somewhat remote from me. I think one is an alcoholic. Another is a retired flight steward who lives quietly with his wife of many years. Another is married with small children. Another is an older woman with family whose husband died and left her comfortable but alone in her home. Another is kind and generous, a person who would gladly be involved in our daily life but who has chosen not to intrude in it.

Some of them I know by name. I know something about many of them. None of them are known to me by their sexuality or gender or their sexual preferences. They are my neighbours, not my gay neighbours, not my straight neighbours, just my neighbours.

We have not yet gotten close enough to discuss each others gender or sexual orientation or attractions. That might change, I may have the opportunity to discuss these things with them. Many of them may be same gender attracted, or maybe not. They are still my neighbours and they would remain my neighbours no matter what the outcome of those discussions would be. I would like to think that if the opportunity ever arose that we would be able to talk with each other as people first, with interests and viewpoints which help us understand life better, rather than as people whose sole interests revolve around our sexual beings or our genders with various attractions. On the other hand there is nothing like adding spice to a meal to make it interesting....and so it is with sexual or gender differences.

But since the topic of gender is on the table....There is a question which I would like to discuss with anyone who cares to...that question is, "what makes a man a man?" I have, I confess, a difficult time answering this question. For those of us who identify as men, whether we are physically male or female, whether we are attracted to members of the same gender or the opposite, I would like to know what you think. If you don't identify as a man then I'de still like to understand what you understand a man to be....


  1. Roger - thanks for sharing these thoughts.

    I totally agree - befriending our neighbours is simply that .... and I truly hope that those who have, for whatever reason, felt fear or reluctance to engage neighbours who they know are gay .... will in the course of these conversations face their fears and whatever other hang-ups they have .... to simply see people - people who God loves - people who they are invited to love.

  2. Every time someone asks me "what is a man?" I become angst-filled and have a hard time answering. I think men are marginalized in today's culture in a lot of ways. In movies, they're the bumbling idiots who have to defer to the women in their lives. I mean, honestly, maybe you laughed when Kate Hudson hit Matthew McConaughey in the face with a golf club in the trailer for the movie "Fool's Gold," but would that scene really be funny if the roles were reversed and a man hit a woman that way? Why is it suddenly ok to portray men as bumbling fools or act as though violence against them is ok? Women have been oppressed for years, I get that, but we can't be "equal" if one gender is better than another, and trust me, women aren't any inherently better than men. We have our flaws and hang ups, and until we can admit that and move beyond wanting to paint men with an insultingly broad brush, I think we'll be stuck as a society with these kind of questions.

  3. Overall, I like this post. I'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent because of something you said, though. One of the things that always gets me is that people often think that sexual orientation is something that doesn't come up very often. Truth be told, though, that's just not the case. Sexual orientation comes up all the time, in subtle little ways. It comes up when you ask your neighbor about his wife and kids. It comes up when your coworker talks about the movie he and his girlfriend went to see Friday night. All of these things tell you that the person you're speaking with is straight (or at least bisexual.)

    Generall speaking, no one ever says, "I'm straight." But they offer little clues in every day conversations and events. I long for the day when mentioning the movie my boyfriend and I went to see or I tell the story about the time I had to pick up a former boyfriend's insulin because he broke his last jar and had no way of getting to the pharmacy himself doesn't amount to making a shocking revelation to some people.

    -- Jarred.

  4. Jarred

    oops I'm new to this so I just figured out how to reply to your comment. I think that is what the comment box is for at the vortomw of my screen. Lol. So look at my next blog if you'de like. I think it really belonged here....