3/24/2009

Can Someone Clue in HRC

I couldn't help but be struck by the incongruity of these "updates" from friends on Facebook.

Recently, a new report came out showing how LGBT people were more likely to live in poverty because of a lack of social safety net than heterosexual people. The report blew apart the old myth that by virtue of being gay you must be well off if not outright rich.

Many people believe that. I have a very good friend who always thought that lesbian and gay people somehow magically were endowed with wealth and taste. Heck, we even buy into it in our own community.

I can remember as a young gay man living well beyond my means in order to keep up the appearance that I was well to do. I lived on revolving charge accounts to keep myself in the best clothes and the trendiest accessories. That is, until I could no longer juggle those credit cards anymore.

I used to be envious of people in the community who always seemed to have the best and newest stuff. Then I realized how often they pull out a credit card and realized that in most cases they are living on the edge. One bad break at work and their whole world could crumble.

sticker criticizing human rights campaign for ...Image by Shira Golding via Flickr

I'm pleased to say that I try to live more reasonably now. Sometimes that makes me quite the outsider at LGBT events, but I honestly don't care anymore. My plain old cellphone works fine and I don't need an iPhone or Blackberry to impress people. My jeans from Target keep my ass covered just as well as the slacks from Brooks Brothers or Saks others wear. My old jacket is just as warm as others' designer wool.

Anyway, as the report showed, the myth of affluent gays is just that, a myth. Yet, the very next update on the newsfeed was for the local HRC Gala with tuxedo clad and evening gown draped queers swilling champagne and being Faaabulous!

So, can someone call up HRC and let them know that they're perpetuating a detrimental myth? Maybe next year they could try a cookout for the real LGBT people who work the grassroots and don't have thousands to blow on gladhanding each other and politicians.


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