Opinion: I am not a role model



Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter is a junior visual communication design major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

I reject the idea that I, as a gay man, have to be a role model or some grand representation of the LGBT community. I have been out for the past five years and I have never attempted to be anything other than who and what I am. I am crass, opinionated, often vulgar, cynical and critical. In some bizarre way, society and other gay people expect me to try to be a role model for gay youth and that is something I won’t do. If gay youth look up to me for who I am, that is absolutely wonderful, but I am not going to be someone I’m not to appease those who think I need to be something different.

I am not an accurate representation of gay people. I am not going to place the burden upon my shoulders to be “non-stereotypical” to make gay people seem “normal” to everyone else. I am not going to try to make myself fit into a nice little straight box with a ribbon of homosexuality because it makes others more comfortable with who I am. I might wear eyeliner if it strikes my fancy. I might have an overabundance of scarves that match specific winter coats that I like to wear. I may even go out with my friends and get drunk at the gay bar. What is the worst that could happen … people will think that I am gay?

So many gay people concern themselves with making a good impression on society but I don’t feel that I should have to. If someone is going to make a blanket assumption about all LGBT individuals based on something I do or say, that is not my problem. I do not want to make people who hate LGBT people see the error of their ways by pretending to be the “guy next door” who happens to bang other men. I am not going to desexualize my life for the convenience of others. I may be beating a dead horse at this point, but I am going to do anything I please no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, or how much you think it makes the gay community “look bad.”

Are you getting the point yet, general “you” that refers to society as a whole?

I am not the problem — you are the problem.