Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Myth of the Wealthy Gay People

Let me just start by saying that I love Chris Rock. I think he is hilarious and tells the freakin truth when it needs to be told. However, he made a comment in a show I watched the other night that bothers me. And truthfully it didn't offend, and really it isn't even something only he says. He just happens to be the one that said it the most recently in earshot.

There is this notion in the media and among the straights that we gay people are significantly more well-off than the straight people. While in theory, this might make sense...many of us do not have kids and therefore do not have the extra expenses that this brings with it. However, it is simply not true. As a matter of fact, the majority of gay couples and singles that I know are working class or just plain poor, myself included. We do not have all this expendable income lying about. We live paycheck to paycheck just like some straight people (and I would say the majority) do. Even our own media and larger community buys into this or at least gears itself toward this ideal. Take a look at Out magazine or The L Word sometime. The people are generally affluent. And these are just two examples. When was the last time you saw a poor gay person on tv? Chris Rock also made the joke that there are no gay homeless people. This, again, is simply not true. The first two homeless guys I ever met (as in more than a conversation about whether I had change) were gay.

So, what does it matter if the world thinks we're fabulously wealthy? Well, it matters. If we are presented as this community that is kind of elevated above the "regular" society, this is just one more way for us to be the "other" rather than just the people next door. In the long run, this will hurt us. The only major difference between my marriage and that of my straight friends is my spouse is a woman rather than a man. Once the world can accept this, we might be able to convince them that certain rights and privileges would not be out of order.

1 comment:

whatsername said...

I was just learning about this representation in my Intro to Womens Studies class at SFSU!

I had never given it much thought but now it seems incredibly striking. :\