Double standards are frustrating. We are expected to accept them because “that’s just how it is”. Hypocrisy has a sickly sweet smell to it. How can we counteract it? I don’t know.
I belong to several “forums” on the internet. One of them is like my “secret garden” where I feel safe enough to be open about who I am and what is important to me. Until recently that is. I have been told that topics concerning “Gay” issues are divisive because a handful of homophobes and their allies hijack any topic I post about anything “Gay”. These few members out of hundreds of thousands are successfully censoring the only “Gay” member who is brave enough to even come out of the closet and speak openly of their minority. I have many friends there who are supportive and make comments to that effect.
The reasons this bothers me so much are numerous. First of all, a good friend of mine who happens to be one of the Administrators and has supported me and defended me in the past is now the one who asks me to stop posting Gay themed topics. I have never posted anything lewd or unsavory. I usually only quote current news items such as “Ricky Martin Announces He Is Gay” or “Obama Heckles Heckler Over Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy” or things of that nature. Simple news items for discussion.
Other members post with impunity anything of a heterosexual nature. Some lewd topics arise occasionally. I have never taunted nor criticized their discussions. If I’m not interested in them I simply do not read them.
I believe in the “Golden Rule”. Treat others as you would be treated. In fact, this is one of the bits of advice posted on the forum as part of the rules. I have seen topics which make disparaging suggestions about Gays, Transvestites or any other alternative sexual orientation where members have a good laugh at our expense and nothing is said. I’ve seen countless images of nearly nude women and unnaturally large breasts. Nothing is said about it. I’ve seen very divisive posts concerning religion go unchallenged. I’ve seen political smears posted with not a word of reproach. But let me post a simple news story about Gay Rights or a celebrity coming out and boy howdy – I have committed a mortal sin.
I don’t want to leave the forum. I have many friends who are kind, good souls and they support the blogs I post there. I’ve been told “This is a ‘Sharing’ forum” when asked not to mention anything Gay but this ‘Sharing’ forum principle isn’t applied to all the other truly offensive material that is posted – only my posts regarding anything “Gay”.
I posted a thread concerning conformity on the forum earlier on Friday. Here it is:
The Need For: Conformity
excerpt from: ChangingMindsorg
Have you ever suddenly noticed when you were in a group of people where they all were doing or saying something different to you? Did you feel uncomfortable about this? Did you feel an unspoken pressure to go along with the rest of the group? If so, you were simply complying with your need to conform.
What is it?
The need for conformity is the desire to go along with the norms of a group of people, so you will be accepted as an in-group person (and not rejected as an out-group undesirable person).
We are a tribal animal, which leads us to have a deep need to belong to a group of some sort. Conforming to group norms is a signal to the other group members that ‘I am like you. I am following our rules. I am not a threat.’ This signal indicates your consistency of behavior, allowing the other people to predict what you will do. It is also a step along the way to increasing your esteem within the group.
Different groups different rules
Different groups have different norms or rules to which group members conform. This can be to do with behavior, attitude, dress, language, etc. The degree to which other people conform to the rules indicates their desire to be a group member.
In-group members who conform strongly are core group members who are asserting the identity of the group, or peripheral members who are trying to impress the core members, perhaps to be accepted into the ‘inner circle’ (which is in fact another group-within-the-group). Further out, people outside the group may similarly emulate group members either to seek admission to the group or to form an admiring group who are seeking to gain some reflected glory. An example is pop fans who dress like their idols.
Conformists and non-conformists
The strength of desire to conform is a personality trait whereby some people will try to conform to whatever group they are in at the time, whilst other ‘non-conformists’ will go in the other direction, deliberately asserting their individuality by rejecting all but a very few sets of norms. Teenagers come to mind, as they reject their parents, being non-conformists in the family, whilst desperately conforming with peer-group norms as they seek acceptance by the cliques and gangs of the schoolyard.
Some groups are mutually exclusive, where the rules of one group are that you are not a member of specific other groups. Gangs and families are an example, as are political parties and different religions.
If you want to persuade someone, it helps a great deal to gain their trust by being in the same group as them. An approach that can help this is to conform with their group rules.
Strict conformity to others’ rules can be seen as an invasion or ridiculing. For example a senior manager going down to a factory floor may well be viewed with anger if he changed into a set of overalls and plastered grease on his face. In such cases, going some way toward the other’s norms can be effective. For example the senior manager may remove his jacket and tie and roll up his shirt sleeves.
You can also be in the reverse situation, where you set the rules and the other person has to conform to your rules in order to gain admission to your group and the other benefits that this will confer. Once within the group, the threat of expulsion will then keep them conforming. Cults, religions, companies and many other groups use this to coerce people into all sorts of peculiar behaviors.
I posted that on the forum because I was being asked to “conform” for the good of the community. If I wish to remain there with my friends I must comply.
This “Conformity” post was greeted with the same vitriolic reaction as most of my other posts. Nothing will be done about the way I nor Gay people in general are treated on the forum. Nothing will change. This is part of the global problem for Gays. It will never change. We may as well accept it and retreat to our collective closet and let them feel safe in their world. They own it and they make the rules – if we don’t like it we can leave.
I’m feeling very disappointed and very much an outcast at the moment. I’ll get over it.