The LGBT community emphasizes on trying to be a community. Since Stonewall, the community has moved forward in this by creating LGBT-friendly spaces. Spaces like these in the 80’s were locations like bathhouses and underground bars, which gave an outlet for queer people to be themselves without the face of discrimination. Since then, a phenomenon that strikes my attention is a duality mindset in LGBT spaces. It is not a new phenomenon, it dates back to the beginnings of pro-queer movements with what seems like factions within the LGBT between each the L, G, B, and T communities. What I want to focus on is the individual communities and specifically dating and hookup culture. Why? Well, This individual internal dichotomy sometimes hinders LGBT people from participating with their respective community in a healthy way.
What is the Dichotomy?
The dichotomy exists primarily in LGBT spaces. For gay men, the mindset is that every other gay man there is at the same time your competition and potential lover. They are you competition because the other guy is looking for the same thing as the same place as you and they are your potential lover because it might be the case that you’ll be Mr.Right. This doesn’t exist in heterosexual dating because if you’re a guy, all guys are your competition and all girls are potential lovers. It is laid out and organized. For those in bisexual relations, it is intensified because male and female each fall into their own separate dichotomies.
How Does it Affect Dating?
This dichotomy mindset is not always in one mode or the other, the problem is its ambiguity when meeting new people. It is not trying to operate under the question, “Is this person my competition or my lover?” Instead it starts from the person. The people one rules out immediately from the “potential lover” category exist as competition instead around you. The gay man picks his own enemies.
It could be said that the competition mindset is a causality to the alpha male complex in Gay-culture but that is not my point in this document. Rather, it is crucial to emphasize that the other men also place themselves in a category for other men. People’s interactions with one another places them in dichotomies. Refusing a romantic advance places you in opposition. Accepting inscribes ways one “ought” to interact. When some oppositions conflict, hostility can ensue.
Both Sides of the Coin
The issues with dichotomies are that they are not easily broken or mended. It is the thriving nature of both aspects that’s thesis and anti-thesis rely on one another, unable to synthesize. We cannot have everyone seeing other men strictly as competition because it would not make room for structuring a legitimate LGBT community. In response, we also cannot have every man seeing other men strictly as lovers because it would put too much emphasis on sex for the homosexual identity. In a way, there needs to be a little of both.
But what if requiring both didn’t require them to be on opposite ends? What if instead we saw both of these views, the competition and the lovers, on some sort of gradient scale? This is the approach I want to take. If interacting with other LGBT people could be placed in some scale, there there ought to be a happy medium between the two that we can aim for. A “virtue” between the “vices”. Where one wouldn’t see another person as competition but wouldn’t see them to be a lover. It is not a complete neutrality where one wouldn’t interact at all; rather a similarity to our own friends. One could acknowledge the existence of both options but choose not to act on either.
This virtuous medium could help dismantle some hostility within the LGBT community as well as put into motion a way of interacting together to bring about a stronger LGBT community for those to come.