The year is 2003, the scene is a small nightclub in one of the Shires just outside London. There is a vast array of bootcut jeans, tight v neck t shirts and highlighted spiked hair. It’s at that moment, when you’re at the bar, ordering a drink and the guys around you all seem to be ordering beer and the girls ordering wine, that you are faced with a decision. ‘What should I order?’. Do I want to fit in and be seen as ‘one of the guys’ or do I want to order a drink I actually like?! It’s all so Binary!! ‘’WKD blue please’’ I bellow at the bar person. I’ve gone for neither the masculine beer or feminine wine, but landed somewhere in-between. ‘Sod it’ I think, it’s metrosexual, I like it, and perhaps they’ll think i’m Bi anyway. Bi-now-gay-later, that’s better than full on gay, right?
You might think it’s a bit silly that I just didn’t get the drink I wanted and liked; which was actually a Kir Royale and how can people tell someone’s sexuality from their drink order anyway?! Well, that might seem silly to you and me (now) but to a somewhat younger closeted homosexual in the noughties, it was a very different story…
For me, it was at that moment, stood at that bar, wanting to order a different drink to everyone around me that the niggling feeling I had, that I was different for YEARS, that had haunted me, all came crashing down like the last level in Tetris (a vintage Candy Crush) in a sense of realisation that yes, I was different. My drink was different, I was different and in that straight club I felt different and like I didn’t belong. Pretty existential for a drink order wouldn’t you say?
Fast forward to 2018 and it’s safe to say, not a huge amount has changed. Sure, we have moved on in society in terms of equality and acceptance but the same dilemma or realisation is occurring for thousands if not millions of LGBT people on a daily basis.
The reason for this is quite simply; that we still live in a binary society. Black or white, gay or straight, man or woman, up or down, in or out etc. When, in reality there is so much more in between. Things are slowly changing and people are starting to realise that sexuality and gender are actually spectrums which do not belong in a single box. But the binary society and need to conform forced onto younger LGBT people is so damaging to their sense of self, belonging and self-esteem.
As LGBT people it is our role and responsibility to understand, firstly that there are still some LGBT people in that straight nightclub/mare worrying about what drink they’re going to order for how they’ll be perceived. To also be patient and to understand that they might still be in the coat closet, or even Narnia. But secondly to let them know, as well as our Allies, (as well as people who don’t like us) that there is a whole cocktail bar from which I can select a drink and that I am the one drinking it and it will make no difference to them what I am drinking or how I am drinking it. It is my right as a gay man to dance to the Sugababes with a Kir Royale in hand, without fear of prejudice or persecution.
Please let us know if you can relate to the above Nightclub/mare scenario and want to share your experience, by reaching us at @GayBoyBible.