The world is moving forwards and identities like gay and lesbian are being challenged by the young generation, by the academic world, by people’s experiences.
Many of our clients had a history with women and don’t necessarily identify with the word gay. Neither does the younger generation that is more fluid and skeptic about static identities and wants to include trans and non-binary people. So the word gay is narrow, not inclusive and for some people it is still uncomfortable to identify as such. But gay and lesbians not that long ago were fighting for the right to live, to name our loved ones and to be accepted in our family openly. Many people use the term queer instead, which is more open and fluid, although history tells us that queer was a term used by gay men so they could distance themselves from feminine fairies (from Emma Heaney’s book, The New Woman).
Lots had changed to this day, for better and worse, depending on where you live and to which sector you belong.
I do believe that gender like sexual orientation is not a static identity but nevertheless they all exist. In my perfect world everyday I would choose my identity and would be attracted to all genders, pansexual and multigender… It’s not only my dream, it’s the dream of many and still we are far from there.
A famous non-binary performer, Alok Vaid-Menon, says that gays, lesbians and heterosexuals fear non-binary people because they don’t fit, they challenge what’s right to wear, and they challenge the gay norms like the heterosexual ones. They don’t want to just love someone or to look like a specific gender. They break all the paradigms of “I’m a man, I just love men” or “I’m a woman, I was just born with male genitals”. They are revolutionary and provocative and they are out there and we should listen very carefully to what they have to say and teach us.
For many men who practice sex with men the word gay is challenging, it’s like putting yourself in box. I hated this word for so many years. I’m not gay!!! Gay is white, gay is rich, gay is adoration of the body, the superficial and sex. I’m not that, I’m a queer activist that wants to challenge the heteronormative, capitalist world, rejecting the commercial world. But becoming part of the Gay Love Spirit family I realized that part of it is my own private homophobia and disrespect to my history. Gay is also a movement that made it possible for me to be open about my sexuality, to feel visible. The word was referred to male prostitutes. A paternalizing position but not swearing.
The gay movement was fighting for equality in many parts of the world, fighting to be recognized as a collective. That was quite revolutionary, and like all revolutions that worked, society embraced us to a certain degree (it still depends on your color and class). The new generation that is challenging this identity brings new ideas that are slowly reaching to the rest of the community.
But I want to talk about our community in Gay Love Spirit. Are we transphobic? Misogynists? Binary? Not accepting anyone that is not a man, with male genitals and gay identity?
The short answer is no, we do have trans and non-binary people in our workshops. But yes, our name still starts with the word GAY. Why?
First of all, we’ve been in the market for more than 20 years and changing a name is not an easy thing. But other than that, for me there is something provocative in saying Gay Love Spirit. It ticks so many sensitive points to many people. Saying where I work is like coming out of the closet all the time. It raises a brow each time. Sometimes it’s the heterosexuals that feel excluded, or the lesbians who suddenly get very interested. Ohh those naughty gays…
The word love also provokes so many emotions: cynicism, disgust, cheesy looks or a naive smile.
And as for the word spirit, which is so big and abstract, it can raise feelings of fear from the church or of cultural appropriation, can make people label us as “hippies” and yet again it sparks curiosity. Can these two words, gay and spirit, coexist?
We work with men around intimacy and sexuality, without ignoring the spiritual part. To build intimacy is a challenge, to love ourselves and others is not easy, to be aware of our privileges and at the same time heal our wounds. We work with internal homophobia, a thing that after centuries of colonialism and the rule of church still troubles our community. In the last decades we faced a closure of many bars and meeting points, the virtual is easier and the chemparties are the new clubs.
In Gay Love Spirit we meet to touch, to share sensuality, to look at each other’s eyes and share our vulnerability. For that we need a non-mixed group. Not to push people away but to work on our issues, to feel safe to grow. As a community we still suffer from more depression, use of drugs, loneliness, alienation and anxiety (that doesn’t mean that other communities are not experiencing the same or worse), progressive groups are challenging the male identity and privilege and being gay is a constant struggle between suffering from and collaborating with patriarchy. But we are not closed off!
In our workshops trans people that are connected to their male energy are welcome, whether they were socialized as a man and still feel the wounds and the conditioning and desire to explore touch, or if they were always feeling as a man and want to experience sensual touch. As for non-binary people, if they want to explore male energy, if they feel attracted to experience male sexuality for one evening or for a weekend – they are more than welcome.
Male energy does not equal men. Women have it as well, just like men have feminine energy. I don’t share the tantric binary belief that there’s only two and one gives and the other receives. Those two archaic energies are mythological and exist deep in our subconscious, however there was always a big spectrum in-between and always the fluidity between gender, sexual orientation and sex. For me it is a spiritual essence to accept and play with these energies and transform them.
Men who love Men, whichever gender you may be.
Come and explore with us your sexuality.
Come to heal your wounds.
Come to reflect about your place in this world.
It easier to make changes in your life in a supportive non-judgmental community.
We believe in pleasure and love!
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