Jason Crews EDU 230 Garner Interviewee: Josh Collins Age: 25 Race/Ethnicity: white male, homosexual Relationship

: Roommate Q: How would you describe your self? A: Well, I’m just a white gay man who lives in America. Q: What culture do you feel you belong to? A: I’m an American. Q: Do you feel homosexuals, as a whole comprise a culture? A: Maybe from the outside. I think people see us as a distinctive group of people, with a particular set of traditions and customs, but we’re really just people like everyone else. There are gay people from every race, background, religion I can think of. And some of us my fit the stereotypes more than others. Q: Could you describe homosexuality as a culture? A: I don’t think I could. I don’t think of homosexuality as a distinctive culture, like I do with Blacks, or Hispanics, or any of the others. I think that we no different from other members of our respective cultures. We have been grouped together by society and other cultures because we don’t seem to fit well into there idea of the culture. Gay Christians still pray and gay Blacks still share ancestors who were slaves. I think society groups us as well groomed, well dressed, interior decorating, and feminine men with limp wrists. If most people chose a description I think that’s what it would be, but those are just the stereotypes people have. Just look at me, I don’t know anything about fashion, or decorating, and I like to lift weights. How much more different could I be from the “culture”? We’re more of a community than a culture. Q: What stereotypes do you feel our society as a whole has about your culture? A: Like I said, I think society groups us as well groomed, well dressed, interior decorating, and feminine men with limp wrists. Q: Do those stereotypes affect you? A: They can, once people find out that I am gay. Wither or not they see the stereotype in front of them they expect it, or think that I am trying to hide it. It’s like expecting Asians to have good grades; it just doesn’t work for everyone. I have nothing to hide, and I don’t hide who I am. I’m just different than what people think should be.

Q: How do homosexuals deal with those stereotypes? A: We try to support each other as much as we can. If some one comes out to us we try to help them through all of the difficulties they are going to have. We try to form an accepting family for those who loose theirs after the come out. We try to provide emotional support for those of us have been harassed. Mostly we try to provide an environment that is safe. We can’t always be open about our feelings, but we can be with each other. Q: How do you personally deal with those stereotypes? A: First I ignore them, and that takes care of most of my problems. I see the stereotypes everywhere in the media, so much so, that take it as just of life. When I can’t ignore it I try to use that safe place I mentioned. My friends have always been great in supporting me, even my non-gay friends. Q: Has being associated with homosexuals affected you in any ways other than stereotypes? A: There is always the fear people have. Most guys seem to think we want them. They don’t seem to realize that we are just like them, they don’t take just any woman, and we just don’t take any man. Where not rapist and were not only after sex. Most of us want what most straight couples want, love, companionship, those sorts of things. But that fear gets in the way of us being in the military, teaching, and all kinds of other things. Most people seem to think we are out to convert people to homosexuality, like some sort of religion or cause. We think people are either gay or not, and can’t be convinced otherwise. We know we can’t change that why would we waist our time trying. Q: What causes that fear? A: Who knows exactly? I think it’s because we are different primarily. Not only are we different, but we are a contradiction. We contradict 2000 years of religion and education. Even though homosexuals have existed during all that time, it isn’t until recently that the mass media has had the ability to bring us to the forefront. And we haven’t always and many still don’t have a country where we are allowed to express our views in public. So now, all of a sudden, we are a lot harder to ignore. Q: Do you feel you face the same obstacles as other cultures in the United States? A: Yes and no. Other groups’ problems are often perpetuated by there looks. It’s a lot easier to spot a black person than a gay black person. Because of that we do have an advantage. But like other groups of people once we are identified we do face many of

the same difficulties. We are attacked, beaten, and abused like other groups, we are discriminated against for employment, and we shunned by many in popular society. We do have at least one distinct obstacle. We have to overcome the misconception that our existence is simply immoral, but that is a battle that we have to let others fight for themselves. I know that I can’t change what someone thinks about me, unless they change there perception their selves. Q: Do you feel it is respected as other cultures? A: At this point in history I don’t think most people would consider us a culture beyond a group of people that have in common a specific set of stereotypes, and we are defiantly trying to gain respect. Q: How do you feel the educational system treats homosexuals? A: Public education is better about the topic than other types of education, but the best they do is ignore it, often times as if it doesn’t exist. It’s hard for a teacher to disapprove if they don’t even mention it. But not mentioning it is almost as bad. We are a part of society even if they don’t approve. It’s just like sex-ed, it’s a part of life that can’t be ignored, and attempting to only causes more problems. Most of us don’t care if or even expect to have any teacher promote homosexuality, but we do feel our existence should be more than just gleaned over. This just perpetuates ignorance and all the stereotypes we face. Q: Is there anything educators can do to change this? A: First, I think educators need to change there perceptions of us first. Just like educators had to realize that women were worth educating and that Blacks were worth an education. We don’t expect anything more than acknowledgement that we are part of society and judgment of us should be reserved to those who know us personally our actions. They don’t have to even need to teach that gays should be accepted because they are gay, but that all people, including gays, should be accepted as people, even if you don’t have the same beliefs. I think that it’s thought for almost every other group in the country but not ours.

Commentary: I found is comments on his perception of his culture to be some of the most intriguing of the interview. He said that he doesn’t see the gay community as a culture, but, as the name implies, a community. He said that they are all still members of their respective cultures even if those cultures don’t all accept them. The biggest reason he feels society is beginning see a culture is because the stereotypes that are associated with homosexuals create a mold society can fit them into. I also found his comments on the educational system to be interesting. He feels that people should be taught more in schools that all people should be judged more on there character than any group they fit into.