A Different Angle: a random collection of essays and observations, mostly about lesbian/gay/bi issues.|
© Todd VerBeek, Radio Zero(tm)
Last week, I was asked by a young man who lives in Minneapolis-St.Paul if there were any places where he might get to know other gay and bisexual teens. I dug out a guide to the Twin Cities which I'd picked up at a conference, and paged through it for information. Sure enough, I quickly found some youth groups. There were also bowling and softball leagues, bars of every imaginable theme, a gay library, bunches of restaurants, a rodeo association, drop-in centers, several churches, radio programs, social groups, art galleries, support groups, political organizations... Comparing Grand Rapids to it, frankly, was depressing!
"Sure," I thought, "Minneapolis is quite a bit bigger than G.R., but they have so much happening there, and we have next to nothing! Yeah, things picked up a bit during June, but that's only because it's Pride Month... and the month of Festival '91, as well. The rest of the year, this town is boring!"
Well, it is and it isn't. If you look on the Community Calendar for this month, you'll see two pages full of events, with something happening nearly every day of the month. On many days, there are three or four "something"s going on.
And that's not even mentioning the businesses that are open as a matter of course, ready and waiting for us to come in and spend some time. Because they advertise in this newsletter, I'll mention Cherie Inn and Sons & Daughters, both on Cherry St. Odds are you already know about the handful of gay and mixed bars.
But we're a pretty diverse group of people, and even a varied mix like you'll find mentioned in the newsletter still doesn't have something for everybody. Many of these activities were designed to fill a specific need for a particular group of people. You might find yourself thinking (as I have on more than one occasion), "There's nothing for me."
There's a song on the Pet Shop Boys' latest album called "Being Boring". The idea behind the title is that the only people who will be bored or those who are being boring. Now, nobody likes to be called "boring", but they've got a point. Nobody can force you to be bored. If you really have nothing interesting to do with your time, then you can find or make something interesting to do.
Do you like movies? Cooking? Singing or playing an instrument? Golf? Dancing? Classic cars? Playing euchre or strip-Monopoly? Bicycling? Talking about Deep Subjects? Aerobics? Dining or brunching? Role-Playing Games? Reading? Sitting alone in a darkened room listening to recordings of grass growing?
Any but the last of these could easily be the basis for some kind of group, whether formal or informal... in fact, some of them already are. Somebody just needs to take the first step. There's even a newsletter with a circulation of several hundred that would probably help people find out what you're planning. (hint, hint)
But hey, it's up to you. Nobody's twisting your arm. Except maybe you.