It’s an undisputable fact that the loneliest people are those who belong to minority groups — blacks in a predominantly white area, old people in a predominantly young community or gays in a predominantly “straight” society.
It’s equally true that the isolation that makes members of minority groups feel lonely – often to the point of suicide, in the extremest of cases – is made even more telling at times of general festivities and group happiness happenings, from which they feel excluded.
Christmas is just such a time. It’s a time when the conventional image of Christmas means that families close their doors and, with few exceptions, friends are forgotten temporarily. It’s a time when all of us in minority groups are going to feel left out. Possibly because we haven’t got a wife and two kids to rush back to, possibly because we haven’t got the skin colour that’s part of the commercial image of Christmas.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Christmas, and this isn’t yet another piece attacking the increasing commercialism of the festival – or its increasing religious importance – because it was, after all, a pagan festival before Christianity was ever thought about.
The image the festival enjoys as purveyed by the media in both editorial and advertising space has become a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant Christmas for the family unit with income big enough to buy the trappings.
It leaves out gays, blacks, the old and the unemployed. The over-cheerful, satiated Christmas projected by all the media is one that, by definition, cuts out minorities. It makes the minorities feel their minority-ness even more sharply than ever. It makes some desperately lonely.
We hope that you won’t feel lonely and we’d ask you to do one thing. Christmas could be a time for gays to show what a minority can do. What gays should do this Christmas is to try and spread a little happiness to our brothers and sisters not just in the gay world, but in all minority groups.
Don’t be self-conscious. Spread a little love.
The Ersatz Image
At the risk of sounding like a sermon, it’s worth looking at what the family fireside Christmas in the semi-detached that’s still heavily mortgaged is really about. This media image of Christmas is a mistaken ersatz impression of love.
Love is what the office parties are aping. There are four cardinal virtues: Faith, Hope, Charity and Love. And the greatest of these is Love.
It’s love that all the minorities will be feeling the lack of at Christmas. So in practical terms you can spread a little love by taking that old lady who lives in your block to the cinema, or perhaps the pub. You can invite people in for a meal or even to watch television.
New Weapon For Gays
Gays are used to being a minority. This Christmas is an excellent opportunity for us to spread a little love, a little happiness to reach out and make someone else’s Christmas special.
We are the best-equipped, through our experience as a minority group, to take practical action without self-interest and really communicate with others. Not just gays, but anyone who isn’t finding Christmas too happy a time.
This form of individual action without self-interest could prove to be a new and extremely powerful weapon for gays to fight prejudice.