#IfYouAreBehind — Closeted Abuse and the Misuse of Power
The closet does have a benefit. It provides safety. Which at times is important. But remember, as long as you are in there, two other things will be too. Fear and shame. — Anthony Venn-Brown
Instead of our usual sexual narrative, I do think it is important to highlight the past week’s allegations that seems to marginalize an entire community. I was trying to avoid this topic of discussion, since it has been over-broadcast and gone beyond just a trending topic. But as the founder of Bespoke Surgical and as a source of news that focuses on art, sex, and science for the gay community, I felt it wouldn’t be right if I did.
Recently, all major media outlets have been busy discussing the events of allegations of sexual abuse and misuse of power. As the days roll on, more and more stories are surfacing and the list of characters in the spotlight keeps growing — all with similar, yet complex narratives. The use of their explosive, demonizing rationale, for the most part, has made their situations worse off. Regardless of one’s logic, we all do seem to understand right from wrong… or do we? The key link to all who engage (or enrage) in this manner, is their inner closeted issues and all that stays within those four walls.
For sure, one can see that the continued use of the “closeted gay narrative” was with hope that it would justify, excuse, or offer an explanation to the abuse and/or pedophilia. But time and time again, members of the LGBTQ+ community are being grouped together, discriminated against, and labeled as criminals. Naive, misinformed, and close-minded individuals are able to use this rhetoric to further their baseless views, continuing the reality of hate and homophobia.
However, I found myself trying to understand these fellow gays, who have been caught in a mini-series of complex, albeit predaceous and exploitative, situations, all caused by an array of inner turmoil and outward aggression. Is it them? Our society? Hollywood? A combination of all three? Let me be clear — I am not trying to justify their own actions — I’m simply trying to understand how they ended up here. I think our community and our larger society plays a role in their misdoings or misfortunes. As Michelle Obama recently said, “It’s powerful to have strong men but what does that strength mean? Does it mean respect? Does it mean responsibility? Does it mean compassion? Or are we protecting our men too much so that they feel a little entitled and a little, you know, self-righteous sometimes?”
Over the weekend, Bespoke Surgical’s team attended ComplexCon and was fortunate enough to hear Chelsea Handler moderate a panel during which, without fail, this topic was discussed. What everyone agreed on was that this type of behavior stems from a myriad factors.
By grouping together these seemingly different types of aggressors and their victims, Chelsea raised what we felt was the most powerful point: this is not a male issue; this is not a female issue; and this is neither a gay nor lesbian issue. This is a human issue.
When you have people in power who harbor demons, shame, and insecurities, it’s the perfect combination for disgusting behavior that they can use on people who they feel they can control. And by realizing this, we realize that we must get to the root of the problem — how we raise our children — in order to effectively change our culture and how we treat others. Ultimately, change starts at the start. Now is a time for change and awareness and for all of us to come out of our own closets.
For those in the LGBTQ+ community who struggle with this, I think it stems from an unfair upbringing and being isolated from urban acceptance, during decades of widespread complete homophobia. Then, to follow, the most ostracizing disease, labeled the “gay” plague — HIV/AIDS — which one either died a horrific death from or forced one further into the closet. As an out and proud gay professional, who had been deeply in the closet and married to a woman, I’ve lived both of these lives. The lies, deceit, and underpinning aggression is real and without exposing one’s inner true self, life can and will spiral completely out of control.
The true Hollywood story never has a good ending, but the best we can hope for is forward progress. The human character is fraught with imperfections and with true, deep insight into one’s actions, I do believe there will be positive ramifications that can aid a community that inherently feels rejected.