This one in the form of a video, a medium that is increasingly becoming comfortable for me.
The research that led to this post comes from Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and a paper called ‘Sex, Status, Competition, and Exclusion: Intraminority Stress From Within the Gay Community and Gay and Bisexual Men’s Mental Health’. The paper was created chiefly by John E. Pachankis, Kirsty A. Clark and Charles L. Burton of the Yale School of Public Health.
I had found it during some research for a series of workshops I was facilitating for a London based company, with international groups of 20-30 gay male executives. The paper covers things like:
BODY IMAGE, style demand, PENIS SIZE, socioeconomic status, RACIAL STEREOTYPES, career success, idealised HYPER-MASCULINITY, youth driven, easy ACCESS to SEX, difficulties maintaining MONOGAMY, sexual pursuit of high-STATUS partners, HYPER SEXUALITY, valuing SEX OVER RELATIONSHIPS, small social networks, in-group CLIQUINESS, LACK OF sincere SUPPORT from friends, “SHADE” culture, RECKLESSNESS toward others, MATERIALISM, rumours/cattiness, inter-community CONFLICT, JUDGEMENT/criticism, social media, HOOKUP APPS, mistrust, excessive DRINKING and DRUG USE, pressure to fit in, fear of HIV, discrimination toward men with HIV/sexually transmitted infections.
Holding space for gay men who were all at very different levels of development and stages of their own personal and spiritual journeys was a humbling and learning experience for me. It required softness and gentle encouragement. It taught me, yet again, that regardless of sexuality, skin colour, religion or ethnicity, we are all on our own journey. It is sometimes vital to heal within tribes/groups/associations of people like us, and sometimes the opposite is true.
When we scan further and further out, our suffering as a species comes from competition. That competition can be healthy, but when it is out of balance, it turns into struggle street. We see this imbalance everyday in the environment.
So from a human perspective, the now infamous quote ‘We are all just walking each other home’ by Ram Dass has never more true.