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Inclusivity and Internalized Homophobia

Inclusivity and Internalized Homophobia

I never wanted to be gay. No, let me start again… Let me ask a question: did anyone growing up? For those who still think being gay is a choice, why would anyone choose to feel lesser and have to fight on a daily basis for equal rights and equal treatment? Now, let me be clear — I love to love and it just so happens to be in my DNA that I love someone who also has a penis. But the reason why I ask, specifically during Pride month, surrounds one definition of inclusivity. And believe me, there is no right answer to any questions I pose and I don’t want this to be a finger wagging piece. But I find myself at a crossroad in my career. As you know by now, I’m very clearly pro-anal, which means that my line of work naturally caters primarily to the entire LGBTQIA community (and lately more and more the hetero world, as well). But once I leave the office and enter my apartment to find my partner, twin boys, and my day-to-day worries of everyday life, it has nothing to do with being gay. I’m just who I am. It’s not that I hide it or if someone asks me, I deny it. But it has become such an integral part of my identity that I actually don’t even think about it anymore. But then again, I have to remind myself that this is perhaps due to my socio-economic status and I am aware that even in 2018, not everyone in the LGBTQIA community goes about their day in the same way I do. So does that make me a bad gay? I see all these people out and about, parading and celebrating, loud and proud (and all the power to them), but as I age, the more I realize how little I know about the community I’m wholeheartedly a part of, and or even this thing called life. I will be the first to admit I’m in a bubble here in NYC.

Clearly, this is such a juxtaposition to my Monday through Friday work life and my mission to help an otherwise underserved community, especially from a medical perspective, which is all beyond pro-gay. Sure, my specific goal is to care for all the scientific ramifications of sexual health and wellness, all in the name of better bottoming. But 8 years later, it’s become so much more and I continue to strive to educate and provide a safe space, with no judgment, where people can come and get elevated care they need and deserve. I consider myself privileged not because of what I have, but rather what I can do for others to help them achieve the care, respect, love, and success that they should. That’s also why I donate my personal time supporting organizations like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, and GLSEN. Additionally, my practice, Bespoke Surgical, is committed to providing an equally high standard of care to those without the resources to access concierge-style services and so I have created a model that is dedicated to supporting community-based Medicaid policies, as well as pro-bono services as well. I do want to serve the community with a wider purpose because I recognize that work still needs to be done. I may not find myself wanting to march in the Pride parade, but I do find myself helping in other ways that are still helpful to the bigger cause.

The spectrum of fluidity and how it pertains to each one of us, both inward and outward, is clearly diverse. But as LGBTQIA gets longer and longer, does the marginalization get even further and further from that core of inclusion? I wonder — and I wonder quite frequently — about our narrative being pigeonholed as “them”, rather than ‘us’. Meaning: us as an inclusive society. Us as in the human race. Fuck — they even started a digital magazine called “them”, a next generation community platform for the queer community.

Legally, medically, etc., defining “them” is so important for equal protection and rights for appropriate access to everything that everyone else already has the rights to. And indeed, all our LGBTQIA allies are imperative to de-stigmatizing. But the question I have is: with each new group we create, are we ultimately creating more barriers than are necessary? And barriers that continue to not necessarily celebrate the diversities, but instead create more divisiveness.

And maybe it’s me and my own internalized view of my homosexuality as it pertains to the greater narrative. I feel as if the majority of the time I just want to blend in and be judged more on the merits of professionalism than on the individual I am fortunate enough to sleep next to each night. And I can’t be alone in this thinking. I do think many of my contemporaries feel the same way. Can you create a voice and also mesh with the norm? Is that an oxymoron?

But whatever the approach, this topic is for sure trending and the more and more pronouns we create and define, the greater complexity we find. Once again, I am all for everyone to live whatever way they choose, marking their own destiny. Who am I to judge anyone and anything? But asking these tough questions allows insight into the many generations of marginalized individuals and how we all can shape for a better, completely inclusive future.

You know, though, maybe it’s just me. Which it totally might be. I am different — that’s for sure.

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