Actor Jason Wise, 22, telling columnist Michael Musto about his concerns for his generation, in the Village Voice’s annual Queer Issue.
There’s going to come a time when my generation is going to get in serious trouble. It’s getting a little too comfortable. You still need to live in a little bit of fear and also appreciate the fact that you can do things today that you couldn’t do 20 years ago. If you dress like an angel with glitter—don’t ruin it for us. I feel like there’s almost a little too much pride, and those people wonder why they’re getting hated on.”
I have often thought about and contemplated the whole pride question. Mainly because as much as I know you need to group together to battle inequality and things like that I often feel that we are too often stereotyped because of it. I also find some of the actions of the younger generation difficult because of their lack of respect or understanding of how things have changed even in the last ten years it seems we are sometimes taking backwards steps.
Ultimately of course it will be good when where we have come from is not even a consideration but that isn't the case until equality is firmly embedded and isn't an issue anymore. Until then I believe we all have to respect the battles and history that is there.
Everyone is different and I have no problem with people being themselves but I have seen so many young gays who are not being themselves and are out there trying to live up to their view of what it means to be gay being the stereotype. I have seen this inevitably lead to so much pain and ruined lives. It seems young gays feel to be seen as gay it is necessary to whore around and be as flamboyant as possible. This I know is a minority but what is seen out there. If you talk to any of these young guys, you soon realise that in a lot of cases they think this is what they need to do to be noticed. I'm not sure whether this comes from years of being in the closet and wanting to be noticed but they seem to end up so damaged.
I know some of my views will be unpopular but everyone has a right to their own opinion and this is mine. Being yourself means being true to who you are. It reminds me of a guy I know who drinks excessively because he thought that was expected. He feels he is fitting into the gay image but then can't work out why he can't find a decent guy. If you talk to him you soon see his genuine desire is for a relationship that is solid and loving. But he can't seem to recognise that turning himself into what he thinks is gay is not going to help him find a good guy.
In many ways it seems self image is a big problem. It seems if you start out on the scene being the typical gay scene guy, even when you move away from that you find it difficult because again you have conditioned yourself to think like that. It's amazing how many people involved in the scene either now or in the past have this view that this is the majority of gay guys. Statistically it has been shown that only around 10% of gay men ever have anything to do with the scene or clubbing and the rest of the gay men out there are just doing their own thing and living their lives. However mention this to someone who has a scene background and they just don't believe you. If this is the response of a gay guy, then what hope do we really have to show the world that not every gay guy fits sterotypes.
The key to equality and to changing public perceptions is to lead your life well and to be proud of who you are. Live a life that is about being good to people and showing the world that you are just as deserving as anyone else. Be who you are and by doing that you will be respected. Every conversation you have doesn't need to be ablout being gay because straight people don't make every sentence about being straight. Be open about who you are and how you feel about issues that are important but other than that don't make your whole life about being gay but rather about being a good human. We don't want people to put us in a box but rather realise we are no different to anyone else and deserve equality for that.