Is That All There is to Gay Online Community?

In therapy this week, I talked about how the internet has been both my friend and enemy. How at times it is an outlet for my feelings and emotions, and other times it doesn’t give me what I need. For as long as I can remember I have used the internet for meeting people. When I got my first computer at the age of 19 in 1995, I can remember the AOL chat rooms. I also can remember easily being able to start up platonic conversations with people. Through those chat rooms I even met a really a good friend.

Now days I struggle with having meaningful interactions with people online. I am not sure if it is because I am older or a bit jaded, or if things really have changed? Maybe it is a little of all three. On various apps like Growlr, Scruff, Grindr, etc I send out friendly platonic message and rarely do I ever get a response back. It is easy to allow it to make you feel less. I still catch myself taking it personal.

Even on Growlr, which is a site for bears, I struggle with getting responses. I have noticed that muscle bears are the most popular, and the ones the site usually features on their facebook page. I guess I have always saw bears as being more on the husky side but with the popularity increase of the community things have changed. Plus you have the whole masculinity label, in which I don’t adhere to. Seeing things like masculine only, no one overweight, no fems or flammers is a common occurrence. I have always struggled with the whole concept of masculinity. It all depends on whose definition of masculinity you go by. I have no issue with masculinity but what I do have an issue with anti-femininity. Some see these two concepts as a gender and I don’t think that is all that healthy. Personally I have both masculine and feminine traits, and I am proud of all of them.

The problem with labels is that many times you don’t fall into that category, you feel left out or less. I have found myself questioning what parts of myself do I include on Growlr and Scruff. Finally I just said fuck with it, you like me for me or not at all but that has taken years and I still fall into that trap.

I find that so many of these sites are centered around sex, especially on websites like Adam4Adam, or even Bear411. These sites have numerous adds for porn with x rated pictures plastered all over the page. I understand sites like A4A that are free to members, have to make money but I still am very turned off by those sites. There are some who argue that websites lie A4A are for hooking up and maybe that is so, but I know there are others on there who are looking for more than just sex.

Thankfully on apps for the iPhone and Android x-rated pictures are not allowed. Though they feel just like a meat market as well. They just have their meat behind the case and not in plain sight.

As much as I struggle with this all, I can see how our community has become this. Socially we aren’t taught to accept ourselves for who we are. Even in the culture and media outside of the LGBT community there is a feminine stigma. Just look how some republicans view Women still to this day. We are not taught to embrace love, so in return we do the same to each other.

I can relate to whole hooking up world. There was a time that I was caught up into it. I didn’t feel like I could get the real connection and the one I yearned for… So I tried to get it anyway I could. So  I started looking for sex online. I thought something was better than nothing. I had convinced myself that I couldn’t ever find the real thing, nor did I deserve it. In the end, it only just reinforced my insecurities and brought up some very deep issues of my past. Not only was it making me feel worse, I wasn’t getting what I really needed.

I guess what it boils down to is I don’t feel like I fit in. I am not masculine (and for some too big) enough for Scruff or Growlr. I am too old and big for Grindr. Plus on top of this I live in a very rural town, and even the bigger city near me has limited options.

It is obvious I need to venture out into the big world and that scares me, which is a separate topic in itself.

My question is why aren’t there alternatives online. I can’t be the only gay man looking for friendship??? Just take a look at the personal section on Craigslist and you will easily feel disheartened. Go to the strictly platonic section and it is a ghost town. The romance section is even worse. Which reminds me of one of my favorite songs by Peggy Lee called “Is That All There Is.”

I am not saying that you can’t make friends on the internet or have decent conversations, they are just appear to be more difficult. What I do find it impossible with the few people I do talk to locally is getting them to want to meet up. It is not like I am saying hey lets go hook up, I usually just say would you like to go out to a movie or dinner… Maybe they are just being polite in talking to me, maybe they think I am looking for more than friends? I am not sure but it is frustrating.

I guess I am realizing I have to turn somewhere else for making in person connections. I am not confident it will be at a bar either. I have always heard doing activities that you enjoy is the best way to meet people. I just have to realize what that is and find activities like that. Living in a small community certainly has it’s challenges but I know that there has to be some kind hearted people out there who care about the world around them.

Is anyone else struggling with the issues and finding alternatives to meet people? I wish there was a friend app.

Does anyone else have thoughts and comments to add? I would love to hear them.

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6 thoughts on “Is That All There is to Gay Online Community?

  1. Oh gosh. You really had me there. I’ve had the same dilemma ever since I got my heart broken. I’ve been having weird conversations with different people on the Internet (especially on Yahoo! Messenger). I was trying to understand people like me to understand myself better, but on the contrary, I got carried away with what they were doing until I got somehow addicted. I wanted to stop several time, but when the loneliness strikes, there I go again wasting two hours of my precious time just so I could “find” someone. I really felt worse. I felt disrespected and in the same way, I’m disrespecting others as well.

    I’m still doing my best to stop it, and I’m doing pretty well so far. We have the same fears (going to a bar, etc). I just want to watch a movie or eat together outside! I want to be with a friend that I could talk to all day long and talk about random things. There’s more to life than just sex.

    I know there is an alternative online gay community out there, we’re just looking at the wrong places.

    • It is very tough, especially if you have had your heart broken. There have been times when I have gotten my heart broken so deeply that I have hide who I am and that doesn’t help me either. I am not sure where you live but do your college have a GSA? In the past I have made friends through organizations like that…

      There might be an alternative but I guess for me I think it will be important to find a place in person to make in person connections or at least not put all my eggs in one basket… I just need to try something different. Right now with the depression and trauma from the loss of my Mama that makes it though but I just gotta do it! 🙂

      I hope you find an outlet that will give you what you need. Huggs

      • No, sadly, my college doesn’t have a GSA. I’m actually a member of a gender-advocate organization of our college but it’s not yet that established. Plus, I’m the only “queer” guy in the group (well, at least, that’s what I think). I have our program director (our guidance counselor) to share my feelings with, but it still feels sad that I don’t know anyone who feels the same way as I am.

        I hope you’re still doing okay after what happened to your Mama. I’m very sorry for your loss. 😦 But you’re right, you just have gotta do it. 😀

      • What about organizing one? Might be a good way to meet people… It is tough finding connection but it’s out there. As for me, I am hanging in there. It has been very tough… I am doing the best i can… Thanks for the support. Huggs

  2. Thank you for addressing this topic! I hate to say that I have had similar experiences with gay men online. Not long ago I started the online dating thing and I am completely disgusted with it at this point. There is so much hatred for feminine gays and lots of creepers only interested in sex. I think I’ve only met one decent person through the experience.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know of any alternatives to meet people. I’m not into the bar scene either and let’s face it, how many gay men do we come across on a daily basis? lol We’re a minority dispersed all over the place.

    I’m now letting the universe decide when a guy will come into my life. I feel like it will happen when it’s meant to and I don’t need to worry about it. Besides, I’m too busy being awesome! 😉 hahaha

    Promise me you won’t change for the masculine, “straight-acting”, (that term drives me nuts! doesn’t make any sense…) judgmental gays. Stay sweet and real. You’ll find someone when the time is right. 😀

    Hope you are doing well!

    • Glad you enjoyed it… and to know I am not alone comforts me… I have kind of given up doing the dating thing online… but even friendships seems to be impossible. You are right, there is a lot of negativity and down right hatred towards anything feminine. I almost think the whole popularity of the bear community has only multiplied that… I noticed it when I did drag for about six months. Guys were so turned off by it and I never got it… I had guys who stopped talking to me over it… In the end, not only it is their loss but their issue and insecurity!!!

      I think the current situation where we are at today with gay rights has polarized our community. We are so trying to fit in and be like straight people. Well I say FUCK that… I am fabulous, and you should be too.

      You are awesome, totally!!! I won’t change honey, tried that… well I hide who I was… but no more… You are right judgmental, a feature that is not flattering at all… Thanks, you will too…

      I am hanging in there… Doing the best I can to get through each day. Hope you are well too… huggs and love. derek

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