I’m not gay, I just like boys.
By Dane Buchholz, IPN Leadership Team Member and Board Secretary
Yes, by most people’s definition, I am gay. I am a boy who is attracted to boys, but what I mean when I say I am not gay is that I don’t fit all of the gay stereotypes. Speaking generally, if you ask someone what it means to be gay they would likely think of pride parades and sex. Why does this have to be our stereotype though? This is why the word gay has such a connotation, and maybe even partly why it is used as slang.
It is important to be able to express yourself and be the unique person you are, and I am not suggesting that we should all conform to the same boring stereotypes and live in the suburbs with 2 kids and a dog. What I am saying is that I know I’m not alone in being a “straight” gay person. I don’t go to pride festivals or parades simply because that is not my identity. To me, being gay is purely about loving another person who just so happens to be male. I don’t wear leather pants everywhere I go, I don’t have rainbow dyed hair, I try not to draw attention to my sexual identity. I’m Dane, and that is my identity.
I think if everyone could look past the gay stereotypes that have been created and see that there are “normal” gay people as well, we would have a much easier fight towards equality. There are plenty of people out there who argue against equality only because of the stereotypes that are portrayed. From my experience, the single most important step to accepting the LGBT community is when people find out someone that they know is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. This is because they realize that this person is still the exact same person they knew and accepted before, and it helps them see that there can be other LGBT people like their friend or family member.
The most important part is just to be yourself. No matter what that self is. The LGBT community is just as diverse as any other group of people, and we need to let that be seen. Let’s stop the stereotypes by showing people that we don’t all fit them.
Dane Buchholz is a student at Iowa State University studying architecture. He has been a part of IPN since he started the Waverly-Shell Rock High School GSA in 2009. In addition to serving on the Iowa Pride Network Leadership Team and as the Secretary of the Board of Directors, he is a peer mentor for the Hixson Scholarship program at ISU. When he's not busy working or doing school work, he enjoys music, photography, drawing, and working with computers.