I've heard this term referenced a few times in the last few weeks. "The gay lifestyle." What even is that?
As a gay person, I find it to be a stereotypical tactic to portray gay people in yet another negative light. It refers to the partying, drug-taking, sleeping around and overly promiscuous sort of gay person. It's such an easily believable idea for the straight community, that often being gay can't mean anything except that you like to party and take drugs and have sex with every man or woman that you come in contact with, depending on which type you like.
But I have lots of straight twenty-something friends. They like to go to clubs on weekends and dance until their shoes come off. I know people who drink themselves into a coma on their days off, or take recreational drugs for a good time. I know straight people who enjoy one night stands.
Sounds familiar. Yet that kind of twenty-something scene isn't referred to as a "straight lifestyle." It's referred to as being young, not tied down, living it up. What's the difference?
And yet that doesn't mean that all straight people act that way. I know twenty-something straight people who are putting themselves through school, or have finished school and are just getting started on their careers. I also have married straight friends who are totally committed to their spouse and the life they are building together. They go to work, they go home at night, they hug their kids. They don't go out on the weekends. The strongest thing they drink is Pepsi.
What conclusion can we draw then? It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight. If you're young, you tend to be more unpredictable, more carefree or careless. When you grow up, you tend to be more responsible. That usually goes for anyone. Of course there are always exceptions. That's a given with most rules and most situations.
I am gay and I have a lifestyle. I'm even twenty-something. But instead of being basing my lifestyle on partying like there's no tomorrow, it goes something like this...
I have a job. I've had the same job for seven years. Over the summer I've been working five nights a week. That works out to be between 32 and 40 hours a week. After all, I've got bills to pay. And being an adult, it's important to me to get them paid on time.
There's been fun stuff too. I've had time to have movie nights with my friends. I have a season pass to Lagoon. We had fireworks for the 4th of July, both with family and with friends. I've been able to see my sisters and their families. I've watched a lot of soccer. I've been to a Bee's game. I've been to a couple of concerts. It's been a good summer.
But school will be starting again in about a week and a half, so that will change. I'm taking fifteen credit hours for this upcoming semester, so I'll be working at my job less and doing much more homework. The social things I've been doing over the summer will diminish. In fact, unless it's a super special occasion, the social things will drop out of my life completely.
And through it all, I have had, and I will have the love and support of my girlfriend. I will come home to her at night. She'll tell me that everything will be okay when I start to panic about school. She'll help quiz me when I'm studying for a test. We'll watch late night SportsCenter to unwind from the day. With the NFL season back on, we'll watch football on Sundays. It's fun at the house, because of NFL Sunday Ticket and the fact that there are six different teams with fans residing there. It sometimes gets rowdy. I'll volunteer to make her dinner when we get sick of fast food. I'll help her niece with her homework when I need a break from mine.
You know, it's really not a lifestyle at all. It's more like a life.
Yours might be different from mine, and I have no problem with people who like to go out and have a good time. I hope you know that I'm not bashing on what people do in their spare time. It is, after all, your spare time. And it's your life, no matter who you are or who you like.
Be yourself. Live your life. But don't buy into stereotypes. There's no such thing as "one size fits all" when it comes to preconceived notions.