by Carlin Langley
GAY TRIVIA PRIMER...
What's with all these "RAINBOWS"; and why Rainbows??
What do they mean "Are you a friend of Dorothy?"
What's "LEATHER" got to do with being gay?
Why should I be "PROUD" of being homosexual?
Hello and welcome to another Gaily Forward.. Ok.. I told you last time you needed to get out and
involved in 'your community' more, but so that you can be an educated homo.. here is a short
"primer" on some of the icons we have in our gay community!
- What is with all these "Rainbows"; and why Rainbows?? The rainbow symbols we adorn our
cars, possessions, and bodies with are representative of the many different facets of the gay
community... the different races, interests, (such as leather, drag, TS/TV, bears, twinkies,
chubbies, and fetishes galore), ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and other parts of the
community, all coming together and being united towards one common goal, that being to not be
ashamed of who you are, or what you are... just acknowledging it and working together to make
life better for all of us who don't fit society's idea of "what is normal"!! Just like a prism brings all
the different colors of light together to produce white light, all the facets of the gay community
join together in Unity and Pride to advance our cause and help us stick together! And that's why
we use rainbows!
Now, one can't think of rainbows without thinking of that wonderful song done by Judy Garland,
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow", which she sang to Toto as she was dreaming of a place where
life would be different. A place where "troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney
tops", and where "happy little bluebirds fly, beyond the rainbow". Dorothy found her "OZ", only
to finally discover that in spite of it's seeming beauty and perfection, when all is said and done,
"There's no place like home". "The Wizard of Oz" has become a gay icon, because of Dorothy's
dreaming of a place of acceptance, free from all of her worries and troubles, where she could just
be free to be herself. Sounds nice huh? Therefore, if you are approached by someone who asks
you if you are a "friend of Dorothy", it's a subtle non-threatening way of simply asking you if you
are gay. In a straight crowd, it comes in handy!!! And you can approach cute guys (or girls) and
without totally outing yourself to a straight person or taking a chance on being bashed for
approaching them and saying, "Are you GAY?", you can say, "Are you a friend of Dorothy's?"
and if they know what you're talking about, YAY!!! If they say, "HUH?" then they either don't
know what you're talking about or are straight, so excuse yourself and say, "Oh, never mind,
thought I knew you!" and move on! No harm done!!
Now, what the heck does "LEATHER" have to do with being GAY??? Well, there are two
leather clubs in town. I couldn't even begin to cover all the many aspects of the leather
community as a part of this column. Indeed, many columns go on forever dealing with the leather
community and it's meanings. But to give a quick short explanation, which is not in any way
meant to be all encompassing... leather is, in it's simplest form, a way of overcoming the
stereotype of being the "typical flaming, femme, nelly fag". By wearing leather, it looks butch &
masculine, but some just simply like the smell, feel, and look of wearing leather clothing and
adornments. Actually leather CAN go much deeper than that and does. Leather members usually
are somewhat involved in enjoying things like Bondage, being Dominant or Submissive, and can
get into things like Sadism and Masochism, involving the incorporation of the principle of
"pleasure from pain". There's alot of underlying issues involved in the leather crowd, not the least
of which involves being able to just totally put yourself-- mind, will, and body, in the hands of
someone else, by letting them handcuff you, blindfold you, tie you up, and do whatever they want
to do with you. It takes alot of trust, endurance, and faith in your partner to be part of this scene,
and enjoy it. My hat's off to them. They are a very large and important part of the whole gay
Why do we always talk about "GAY PRIDE" and talk about being proud to be gay? Well, the
opposite of that is to be ashamed of being gay. Which way would you rather go through your life?
So many people have the feeling that they are doing something which they should be ashamed of
because that's the way they are indoctrinated from the time they are a small child. If you aren't
"NORMAL" then you should be ashamed for being different. I applaud PFLAG and the
wonderful job they are doing with their public education program which they got a government
grant to fund, informing the general public about the issues involved in being a gay child and being
made to feel like you are a freak just because you happen to be gay. You're not a freak just
because you like people of the same sex, and you don't have to be ashamed of it. You CAN have
self esteem and should be just as proud of "who you are" as our straight counterparts are of who
they are and who they sleep with. SEX is a part of our society and everyday life. No one can get
away from it. Unless you live in a cave or have blinders on. It's on billboards for tanning
companies, in jeans ads, on soap operas, in magazines, on talk shows, it's everywhere around us.
Until recently, it was all hetero images. Finally, we are getting some equal time... But only
because we're not ashamed to be gay... We can be proud now, thanks to the efforts of many who
have blazed the trail ahead of us.
So be PROUD of who you are. Wear your rainbow colors & leather! Watch for other "friends of
Dorothy" and let's stick together as we go "Gaily Forward" together!!! Till next time...
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