One of my favourite surprises about the vibe in the Gay Village is the feeling of absolute acceptance. Accepting everyone, no matter how off-kilter they may seem to us at the moment, is an unwritten, magical rule that sticks, even in the wee drunken hours. I have yet to see a late-night altercation that caused me any concern whatsoever. Not even an enthusiastic slapfight.
As recently out, this rule is an amazing bonus that I didn't expect. I am generally a positive, accepting person, but in the Village I may have been one of the biggest offenders of this unwritten rule. Like my gay celebrity role model Derek Hartley I can turn snarky at the drop of a hat, especially if there's a laugh in it (for me, anyway).
Last weekend while interacting with a (hot) bartender at Woody's I told him what a horrible person I was for making a smart-ass coment in a discussion with a nice group of gay bar-goers. I can't remember the exact statement, but it was a (funny, no doubt) smack against one of the guys' previous statements.
It seemed to create a lul in the conversation, and we pretty much all dispersed afterwards.
It then struck me that I had violated The Rule.
My bartender reassured me that I'm fine (and brought me a drink, no wonder I fall in love with bartenders), but I still felt that I had done something wrong and should learn from it.
Ever since, I have been particularly sensitive about blanket statements of hate. I've had to listen to people I know -- friends, even -- spew venom about races that are ruining our country, and I've even had an artist tell me how much he hates gay people because they take all the paying art jobs from straight artists. With a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I did seriously try to explain how they've got it all wrong, but I didn't really get anywhere (with the artist it probably didn't help that I went on to explain how coming out made me 3 notches cooler. That just seemed to fan the flames. He actually told me I was gay for the wrong reasons).
Hatred is a natural instinct. And it's an easy one to conjure.
Having an unwritten rule against hate might make gays and everyone else in the Village feel special, but perhaps more importantly we get to learn from our jerky comments when they hurt others that don't deserve it.
Coming out and enjoying the Gay Village is, (unfortunately ?) a rare thing in society. I just wish there was some other way for everyone to learn how to accept everyone unconditionally.