As an Historian who is also Gay I have no interest in ‘Gay History’ and I honesty do not care about it and doubt I ever will. There are many figures in history that I have great interest in, I like looking at how people reacted to them, what they did, how they did it, why they did it, and how their actions fit in to the bigger picture. I know some of these characters are at least bisexual and a few have homo-erotic rumours surrounding them but I do not really care about that because their sexuality never affected the course of history.
I know there have been some characters in history that have changed the course of events through their sexuality; however I still don’t understand how this would categorise under ‘Gay History’. To me History is about a number of different events happening through time which shape and mould the world we live in, with these events centred on common themes, people, countries and ideas. I fail to see a number of characters spanning thousands of years all transform into one solid timeline under the banner of ‘Gay History’.
Moving on to a more modern timeline and the battle for ‘Gay Rights’, this is a more consistent timeline, with common themes and ideas. It spans across all countries of the globe and includes people of all race and gender. So under my above definition of History this all fits in with a banner of ‘Gay History’. Well for everyone else it might do but for me it does not. Another thing which I believe makes History what it is, is the personal, emotional and physical contact with the events happening in the past. Growing up in Ireland I can appreciate Irish History as it affected my ancestors and the country which I was eventually born into. While I can also appreciate Russian History because I can see the rise and fall of different political ideologies and how they effected the world and not only shaped modern day Russia but also the world we all live in today. But I just do not have this same connection to ‘Gay Rights’.
Do not get me wrong, I appreciate that I live in a society where people in the past have fought to gain the freedoms I have to marry and to adopt and recognise that this fight is still raging on elsewhere in the world, but I do not feel connected to the characters who fought and are still fighting for it. Being gay means one thing to me; it means who I am going to fall in love with and want to spend the rest of my life with. End of. Being Irish does not affect my personality, my music taste, my voice, my political opinion, my fashion, my favourite colour, my favourite films, the books I like to read, or even what type of person I am. All of these things are to do with me, not my sexuality. So if my sexuality is something which defines nothing but the gender of the person I am going to fall in love with then why should feel connected to those who have these similar feelings?
The feel emotionally connected to anyone, I have to share the same sort of interests as them; what type of music we like, what political opinion we have, our favourite type of movies, and the list is endless because it is these types of things that form bonds, interests, friendships and even romances. Sexuality is not important to me in a person, and it shouldn’t matter to anyone. Once we stop labelling people on their sexuality and start seeing them for the person they really are, then, and only then, will we all truly be equal.
I have been to two meetings of my University’s LGBT society, the first one of my first year and the first one of my second year. I have gone down and talked to a few people and I have found that I do not have a single thing in common with any of them so I have never gone back. Why should a common sexuality form a friendship? It shouldn’t. If I have a common sexuality with someone then all we could talk about was what type of men we both fancied and comment on that and only that unless we had other common interests such as music, or literature or humour. Only then can emotional attachments begin to form between two people. The gay community have a huge issue with people saying to them ‘I have a friend who lives near me, he is gay, do you think you know him’ like there is some of ‘Gay Network’ like we are all connected because of our sexuality. In fact many gay people get really angry about this and claim it to be offensive, arrogant, and homophobic on the part of their friend. Well this is exactly the same thing when it comes to ‘Gay History’ for me. Why should I know or care about people in the past because of a shared sexuality?
I can understand why people feel emotionally connected to individuals around the world who are fight for gay rights, but I don’t. Yes what they are doing might affect me in certain ways, but it will be affecting me as an individual not as part of a wider community. I am not part of a ‘Gay Community’ my sexuality does not make me a member of community spread throughout the entire globe just because all enjoy the sensation of having a penis in our ass. To be part of a community it needs to be much more than a shared physical pleasure it needs to be emotional. Yes we are all going to fall in love with the same gender, but that is a shared emotional feeling towards an individual not a community. I would say I am part of a ‘Conservative Community’. A community that has a shared belief in how the world should work and run and that is the emotional connection needed to create a community, a shared sense of beliefs.
If there was no more ‘equality laws’ passed in the United Kingdom I would die having lived my life to the fullest and would die a happy man. If more are passed then that is fine by me. I believe that I am an equal citizen under the eyes of British law. I am part of a wider scale British Community interested in British History (who just happens to also be gay).
I am not part of an LGBT Community, I have no interest in ‘Gay History’ and unless I have the same common thoughts and ideas about life as someone else then I will have no emotional connection to them. If I ever became the ‘First Gay Prime Minister of the United Kingdom’ I do not want it to go down in ‘Gay History’ because it will not be a breakthrough in equality I will just be another man living inside Number 10 Downing Street but this time with another man by my side. I do however hope that I do down in British History as one of the Greats who shaped this country for the better.