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Being gay today: the journey

Sun 15 Aug 2010 In: Community View at NDHA

Douglas Jenkin Ben Barratt-Boyes In something of a quest to gain a better understanding of the worlds of gay men, writer (and blatant lesbian) Jacqui Stanford sat down with Douglas Jenkin and Ben Barratt-Boyes from the New Zealand AIDS Foundation for a chat over coffee and crackers, about their knowledge and observations about the journeys to acceptance and sexual culture of men who have sex with men. Part one in the two part series is 'the journey' and whether it's any different now it's apparently 'cool to be gay'. They are very different gay men with very different life stories, but both Ben Barratt-Boyes and Douglas Jenkin agree that the journey commonly called 'coming out' and the behaviours which come with it are the same as they have been for decades, even generations. Barratt-Boyes, who is the NZAF's National Partnerships Coordinator, says the self-acceptance process was the same in Jenkin's generation as it was for him - and he predicts it will remain the same for those coming out in the future. He says just because being gay is perceived as a lot more acceptable now, it doesn't mean individuals are accepting of themselves. "You hear a lot more about schools, lesbian relationships are really common and everyone's kind of cool to be gay. It doesn't mean that the individual isn't dealing with their own battle with accepting themselves, it's really about accepting yourself." "The key thing is that you can't actually be happy until you accept yourself. And that's if you're gay, straight or even in a religion. I think there's a misconception that when you come out you're finally at peace with the world. But that's not the truth." Barratt-Boyes says from what he sees among young guys coming out now, it's about a struggle to figure out where they fit in. He says gay people are actually lucky that they have the chance to embark on that journey. "Once you come out you're forced to deal with those issues and you become a better person for it." Camp vs Straight Acting Will and Jack from Will times where those two worlds can collide - and the lifestyles of bisexual men, or men who identify as straight and hook up with guys, will be part of the saucy sequel to this piece – which will look at the sexual culture of men who have sex with men.     Jacqui Stanford - 15th August 2010

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Sunday, 15th August 2010 - 8:21pm

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