The Rural Homosexual

19720901-05I quote from Gay News No. 4 editorial ‘It is on this level, with individuals telling it like it is, that progress is being made towards liberation (in the true sense of the word, not just as a slogan).’

This is what it is like with me. This is what it is like at the opposite extreme to the ‘liberated’ city gay mixing freely and openly with his ‘liberated’ friends.

Thousands of people in Britain live not in cities or towns, but in villages, hamlets, farms and farm cottages (using the word literally), and in every group of 1,000 such persons there are, supposedly, 50 who are homosexual. I am one of them. I write only to say what it is like with me, but I am probably saying what it is like with many others.

In a truly rural society no individual can escape observation and comment. For him there is no anonymity. He is a subject of gossip and speculation, and while he may be accepted as a ‘character’ or an eccentric, let him offend against the rural community’s code of acceptable behaviour and he will find he has few, if any friends — and perhaps no job.

So the rural homosexual person, once he understands his predicament, either heads for the city (how many have done this because they were homosexual and not because they were looking for work?) or lives on where he wants to live, guarding his feelings and wondering who the other 49 (24½ males — 12 adult?) homosexuals are in his group of 1,000 — or have they all fled and is he all alone?

I can hear the ‘liberated’ city gay saying: “Come out into the open” or “Come and join us”. I admire the courage of those who have declared themselves openly, but I suggest, with respect, that the rural homosexual’s case is slightly different. The homosexual city dweller who declares himself may lose some friends but he will gain others. He may encounter discrimination and unkindness, but at the end of the day he has understanding friends to help restore his shattered morale.

At the end of the day I am alone. And, no offence meant, I don’t warn to join them. I want to live where I am.

Of course I want to love and be loved. For a long time I have been putting out discreet and tentative feelers and in recent months have made contact with members of a group in a city. In that respect I differ from the majority of rural homosexual persons who are ignorant of the means of making contact, but my equilibrium is worse now than it was before contact was made.

Twice I have been to the city (nearly 100 miles away) and mixed with group members on social occasions, but I was not one of them. Barriers built up in isolation take a long time to dismantle. I was accepted — they were friendly, but each had his own circle of friends, and I was in a world which was very strange to me. One would have to go there very frequently to build up the sort of friendships one is really seeking.

So I returned home on each occasion sad and depressed — sad because I had met people with whom I wanted so much to make contact but who were too deeply involved elsewhere, and depressed because these traumatic experiences had taught me that I could never be integrated with the group so long as I lived so far from it. To recapture my former comparative tranquility I should forget the group.

Forget the group? I can’t do that. So long as they work, as they do, to improve the lot of homosexual people I must identify myself with them. I must identify myself with all those whom they work.

So that is what it is like with me now. If anyone thinks he detects self pity in this writing, I assure him there is none. I have just told it like it is.

I did not choose to be homosexual. I do choose to go on living here, and one can get by without sex. But I still want someone to love. Is that wrong?

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