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Being Out and Proud  [message #78023] Sun, 15 August 2021 05:17 Go to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

Getting started

Registered: August 2021
Messages: 19



Henke, I asked you the question, you answered: "Are you willing to fight to defend who you are? Some people are comfortable with denying who they are to avoid trouble." 

The commentators appear to be reaching a consensus that not to speak out is a valid answer if that is how you feel. Cowards!
Do-nothing, say nothing, live your life without existing. Leave those around you believing you are just like they are. Blend in, don't make waves, arouse passions. A do-nothing is a worthless person. He is unwilling to initiate action, to assume responsibility. Say nothing is the worst course of action, for you, and for society. There is no choice, only perhaps to pick when and where you strike. If, however, you hide away and choose never to strike, you are a worthless person. You have only the choice to live a real life and face the challenges or not live at all.

How well can you hide anyway? Those you live amongst may choose not to look when nothing is thrown in their face, but this is ignominy and desolution. A good man stands proud to be counted. And good men die, but the world is a better place because they made their stand.
Re: A Rainbow for Jack  [message #78024 is a reply to message #78023] Sun, 15 August 2021 11:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13584



"James K wrote on Sun, 15 August 2021 06:17"
Henke, I asked you the question, you answered: "Are you willing to fight to defend who you are? Some people are comfortable with denying who they are to avoid trouble." 

The commentators appear to be reaching a consensus that not to speak out is a valid answer if that is how you feel. Cowards!
Do-nothing, say nothing, live your life without existing. Leave those around you believing you are just like they are. Blend in, don't make waves, arouse passions. A do-nothing is a worthless person. He is unwilling to initiate action, to assume responsibility. Say nothing is the worst course of action, for you, and for society. There is no choice, only perhaps to pick when and where you strike. If, however, you hide away and choose never to strike, you are a worthless person. You have only the choice to live a real life and face the challenges or not live at all.

How well can you hide anyway? Those you live amongst may choose not to look when nothing is thrown in their face, but this is ignominy and desolution. A good man stands proud to be counted. And good men die, but the world is a better place because they made their stand.

--
I cannot see where you asked this question.  I am splitting it into a separate thread to avoid thread hijacking.

I suggest that you are mistaken if you are making a sweeping global generalisation. It is fatal to be out in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc.

[Updated on: Sun, 15 August 2021 11:30]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Being Out and Proud  [message #78025 is a reply to message #78023] Sun, 15 August 2021 14:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cm is currently offline  cm

Toe is in the water
Location: Somerset
Registered: May 2017
Messages: 61



My take on the general consensus around deciding where/when/if to come out is that most of the replies in the thread relating to Henke's story suggested that the correct strategy was to pick your battles.

I agree that NEVER to stand up for what you believe is morally bankrupt, but doing it regardless of the situation and the likely outcome is just as reprehensible. History is full of examples of generals who have either declined battle on unfavourable ground, or who have retreated to fight another day (and win the war) when things turn out to be stacked against them.

Life (and the world) are full of grey situations. Yes, there are black and whites but they are far from universal. To recommend a single strategy in the face of every situation is the territory of the fanatic, the extremist and the totalitarian. If the rise of the online 'influencer' teaches us anything, it is that you can create powerful changes in behaviour by influence rather than by action. Both are perfectly valid, and both have their place. The wisdom lies in when to choose the one over the other.

Re: Being Out and Proud  [message #78026 is a reply to message #78025] Mon, 16 August 2021 05:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James K is currently offline  James K

Getting started

Registered: August 2021
Messages: 19



Timmy,
the original question was posted on my behalf by Bensiamin (I could not register, could not email the author, could not contact IOMFATS, and asked Bensiamin for help.) 

The forum post:

I received an email from a reader (me) who had trouble registering on the forum, but asked me to post a question for Henke:

You say you come out selectively and choose your battles. I understand that, but - do you lie about who you are?
That is to say when you are confronted by jerks with zero tolerance do you pretend to be straight?
Because if you don't want to lie and pretend the confrontation is inevitable, isn't it?
Okay, sometimes you can walk away, ignore, not respond, but other times an answer is demanded, so what do you do?

James K

Henke's reply is further down in the thread. I thought he veered in the cop out direction, but left it at that. Then Bisexual Guy came in and I strongly felt the comments were forming a consensus that it is fine not to say who you are. 

My last post was to redress the balance, to reply that it is not okay to say nothing, do nothing, and let people side step who you are. It's not okay for you, for those people, or society at large. 

The context is very much to do with the theme of Henke's story, to do with Europe, USA, developed democracies. I would never tell a person in a global hotspot, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, or even Morocco, etc. to come out and be tortured, imprisoned, or executed. I believe Henke was not talking about the bigger world picture, but about life confrontations in civilised countries where the declaration of Human Rights are respected and enshrined in law.

I see why you moved the thread, but it risks the topic being too large and my comments being interpreted as applying to every situation. All I really wanted to say is to Henke, I don't buy your answer, and to Bisexual Guy (not picking him individually, there are others with the same opinion), that I don't think it is a choice to deny who you are. You will hurt yourself, perpetuate keeping things buried, and you ought to make a stand. I admit saying good people die, is a bit strong. I do not seriously believe you should lay your life on the line, although people have done so for good reason. I would not criticise someone if they were faced with the extreme confrontation for opting out, but mostly that is not the situation. People opt out of saying I'm gay or bisexual to avoid embarrassment, not to have to explain, or counter negative reactions, to maintain their standing and self-image. It usually is not a life and death confrontation, and certainly not in Henke's story.

I try really hard to appreciate other points of view, but it can be so frustrating when people say it's alright to pretend to be straight and yet they are secretly happy about how life has progressed for gay people, which happened through people making a stand.

James.  
Re: Being Out and Proud  [message #78028 is a reply to message #78026] Mon, 16 August 2021 16:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bisexual_Guy is currently offline  Bisexual_Guy

Likes it here
Location: USA Midwest
Registered: September 2015
Messages: 130



"James K wrote on Mon, 16 August 2021 05:30"


Henke's reply is further down in the thread. I thought he veered in the cop out direction, but left it at that. Then Bisexual Guy came in and I strongly felt the comments were forming a consensus that it is fine not to say who you are. 

My last post was to redress the balance, to reply that it is not okay to say nothing, do nothing, and let people side step who you are. It's not okay for you, for those people, or society at large. 

The context is very much to do with the theme of Henke's story, to do with Europe, USA, developed democracies. I would never tell a person in a global hotspot, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, or even Morocco, etc. to come out and be tortured, imprisoned, or executed. I believe Henke was not talking about the bigger world picture, but about life confrontations in civilised countries where the declaration of Human Rights are respected and enshrined in law.

I see why you moved the thread, but it risks the topic being too large and my comments being interpreted as applying to every situation. All I really wanted to say is to Henke, I don't buy your answer, and to Bisexual Guy (not picking him individually, there are others with the same opinion), that I don't think it is a choice to deny who you are. You will hurt yourself, perpetuate keeping things buried, and you ought to make a stand. I admit saying good people die, is a bit strong. I do not seriously believe you should lay your life on the line, although people have done so for good reason. I would not criticise someone if they were faced with the extreme confrontation for opting out, but mostly that is not the situation. People opt out of saying I'm gay or bisexual to avoid embarrassment, not to have to explain, or counter negative reactions, to maintain their standing and self-image. It usually is not a life and death confrontation, and certainly not in Henke's story.

I try really hard to appreciate other points of view, but it can be so frustrating when people say it's alright to pretend to be straight and yet they are secretly happy about how life has progressed for gay people, which happened through people making a stand.

James.  

--
I don't know if you have ever lived in the southern part of the Midwestern United States or the South of the USA.  The consequences of living there -- in the day-to-day culture -- is often best served by gradual acceptance by knowing seeminlngly ordinary people and then finding out they are in the LGBTQIPA+ spectrum.  When, in spite of the law, the legal and cultural consequences are carried out by bigots, whether they think they are bigots or not, the big majority of persons are more willing to accept and defend someone they have known on a casual frienndly bases than someone who just comes along "in-your-face" about their personal life.  When confronted with something that makes a person uncomfortable, a natural inclination on the part of many persons, probably most people, is to proverbially rear back, get the proverbial hackles up, and be ready to fight back against whatever.  However, when confronted by someone they know, quietly challenging their feelings and cultural ingraining, many (but not all) will at least think of modifying their position.

Making a stand without considering the cost and consequences is ultimately wasteful of time and effort.

Often, lasting change comes more gradually than people like.  There were a lot of positive but quiet changes toward tolerance under Geroge W. Bush, who appointed more LGBT judges than Clinton by far, and by some counts, more than Obama.  But then came the reaction to Obama by many in the South and lower Midwest, and the cult ot Trump undid many of the positive changes, increasing the division already present.

There are times with sudden visibility is necessary. But it is not constant.  Most persons, after sudden change, need time to "digest" the changes.  Then they may be ready for another step.

At this point, the best thing would be for us to politely disagree, and keep working for LASTING change.  But if we continually seek sudden, immediate,  threatening change we often raise considerably more opposition than necessary.  
Re: Being Out and Proud  [message #78033 is a reply to message #78023] Mon, 16 August 2021 21:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1541



I admit that my initial response to the story was a bit like James K's. I did think that the story was extremely well-written, and had a great deal going for it, but the conclusion left me disappointed: it's not really a message I greatly agree with.  I was slightly reassured by Henke's statement in the thread under Literary Merit - "A Rainbow for Jack") "Every individual in every individual situation must weigh their options. Some people are comfortable with denying who they are to avoid trouble. Others are NOT."

I am one who is NOT comfortable hiding who I am. I personally - and this is not a prescription for anyone else - feel a moral duty to be out in all circumstances. This doesn't mean "rubbing peoples noses in it" - it took my last boss 18 months to realise I was gay, though his partner (who I also worked with) realised it at my interview before I was even employed. I do think that the way the UK has achieved the significant advances over the last half-century have been largely due to the the increasing proportion of the population that actually know one or more out gay people, as family or as friends. To a miniscule extent, I've been part of that (having come out over 40 years ago) and I take some pride in it.

But it hasn't been without cost. I've been queerbashed badly enough to need medical attention twice (so have learnt  that some places are best avoided) and spent 20+ years when my father and I were not on speaking terms, though we made up enough for me to visit him shortly before he died.

Living as a fully-out person isn't possible for everyone, and may well not be possible for adolescents dependent on their parents, or where the law imposes penalties. But I think continued progress depends on those who can, repaying the historic debt to those who went before and living fully (and unremarkably) out.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: Being Out and Proud  [message #78037 is a reply to message #78023] Tue, 17 August 2021 05:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Henke Sjorgen is currently offline  Henke Sjorgen

Getting started

Registered: July 2021
Messages: 15



"James K wrote on Sun, 15 August 2021 05:17"
Henke, I asked you the question, you answered: "Are you willing to fight to defend who you are? Some people are comfortable with denying who they are to avoid trouble." 

The commentators appear to be reaching a consensus that not to speak out is a valid answer if that is how you feel. Cowards!
Do-nothing, say nothing, live your life without existing. Leave those around you believing you are just like they are. Blend in, don't make waves, arouse passions. A do-nothing is a worthless person. He is unwilling to initiate action, to assume responsibility. Say nothing is the worst course of action, for you, and for society. There is no choice, only perhaps to pick when and where you strike. If, however, you hide away and choose never to strike, you are a worthless person. You have only the choice to live a real life and face the challenges or not live at all.

How well can you hide anyway? Those you live amongst may choose not to look when nothing is thrown in their face, but this is ignominy and desolution. A good man stands proud to be counted. And good men die, but the world is a better place because they made their stand.

--

You know, there are limits to being polite. I gave the answer I gave because I don't believe in telling other people how to handle their daily lives. It is neither my resposibility nor my 'right' to guide or instruct people in how to live. It's not yours, either. Being belligerent, confrontational, judgmental, and overzealous may work wonders in your daily life, but it's not for everyone. The advice YOU give could get people killed.

It is up to each person to decide how far they want to go with being 'out'. Not you. By your very words you mark yourself as totally unqualified to hand out good advice. Every single situation is different. Every life is different. You say you wouldn't come out and say you're gay in places like Afghanistan, where it could get you killed, but there are plenty of places in your supposedly 'civilized' western democracies that are not one bit better. LGBTQ people have been hurt or killed all over America and Western Europe. You don't strike me as being experienced enough to even know what you're talking about. 

I have fought more battles over my sexuality than you probably ever will. For you to call me and others here cowards is outrageous. Where do you get the NERVE? Because it's online, faceless, and supposedly impersonal? Well, now you ARE being personal, calling names. And I take exception to your juvenile approach to life. You are entitled to an opinion, and you may state your beliefs as YOUR OPINION. But that's not what you're doing. You are basically taking a swing at all of us. If you can't respect the ability of others to have an opinion different from your own, you're no better than the people out there that will kill you for being gay.

PERIOD.

[Updated on: Tue, 17 August 2021 05:11]

Re: Being Out and Proud  [message #78039 is a reply to message #78028] Tue, 17 August 2021 15:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW

On fire!
Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1541



"Bisexual_Guy wrote on Mon, 16 August 2021 17:13"
<snip>  the big majority of persons are more willing to accept and defend someone they have known on a casual frienndly bases than someone who just comes along "in-your-face" about their personal life.  When confronted with something that makes a person uncomfortable, a natural inclination on the part of many persons, probably most people, is to proverbially rear back, get the proverbial hackles up, and be ready to fight back against whatever.  However, when confronted by someone they know, quietly challenging their feelings and cultural ingraining, many (but not all) will at least think of modifying their position.


--
There's a lot in that. For me, it kinda happens by accident. I always just assume that everyone knows I'm gay, so unless it crops up in conversation I don't feel any need to "tell". I also don't ever censor my conversation (and, to be honest, I doubt whether after all these years, I'd have any success if I tried). Which leads to some anomalies, sometimes ... with my next-door-neighbour, it cropped up in the second conversation I had with them. With the neighbour who lives across the street, who I probably talk to at least as often, it didn't crop up in conversation for very nearly six years ... I remember it well, as she surprised me by expressing some surprise! Obviously, I'm not interesting enough to register on the local gossip circle ...

It wasn't always like that, of course. For probably the first 20 years of living as an out gay man, I did at least have some idea of who was likely to know my orientation, but for the past couple of decades I've just assumed everyone knows and been slightly taken aback if it turns out someone hadn't realised.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: Being Out and Proud  [message #78105 is a reply to message #78026] Sun, 29 August 2021 21:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13584



Spate of attacks across UK sparks fear among LGBTQ+ community

Hate crimes related to sexual orientation and gender identity have increased year on year since 2015

I find that displeasing, displeasing enough to be angry.

[Updated on: Sun, 29 August 2021 21:30]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Being Out and Proud  [message #78107 is a reply to message #78023] Mon, 30 August 2021 00:40 Go to previous message
PaulL is currently offline  PaulL

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Registered: August 2020
Messages: 2



Quote:
The commentators appear to be reaching a consensus that not to speak out is a valid answer if that is how you feel. Cowards!Do-nothing, say nothing, live your life without existing. Leave those around you believing you are just like they are.


This is an interesting discussion, and I don't believe there are any right answers; context is all.

Back when I was a kid, the punishment for homosexuality might not have been death by stoning, but it was still a special form of hell.  For people like us, making love meant committing a felony in most jurisdictions in the U.S., and gay men and women in the military risked not only an immediate dishonorable discharge and possible prison time, if caught (and they were looking, let me tell you, because this was back before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ended most of the witch hunts), but also career suicide as a civilian.  This, in addition to the risk of death or grievous bodily harm at the hands of some guy who found the very existence of queers offensive--and law enforcement agreed with them, so there was no hope of justice.

There is some logic to the notion that if we would would all just come out, we'd be better off, but I can also think of over six million reasons not to expect that visibility automatically means safety.  Yes, our position is so much better than it was half a century ago, but I remember those old, dangerous days all too well.  So I, for one, am not going to criticize anyone who still prefers the safety of the closet, even in these more-enlightened days.
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