It’s Springtime – and for many of us, that means getting out and about again, meeting new people and having new adventures.
But it’s been a harsh few weeks. A few high-profile violent acts and deaths – both in our LGBT community and outside it – have woken us up to the risks of inviting someone new to our lives and homes.
These stories, while heart-wrenching, are few and rare. And what they may do is scare us into not easily opening our hearts and minds to new people who may one day become very important to us. As a community, we need to feel we can trust each other and not immediately think the worst of everyone we encounter.
Gay workmates Jack Arthur Smith and Christopher Carroll debate the issue. Should we be trusting, or cautious?
Jack suspects we’re a little too suspicious…
Everyone knows that death and murder sell more newspapers than rekindled love or a chimpanzee befriending an albino dolphin. And even in this day and age when the newspaper itself is destined to wither away and die like Madonna’s reflection, we humans seem to be naturally inclined toward suspicion and distrust.
But if we hadn’t learnt to trust each other, to work as a group, to learn and live amongst our own kind then we’d still be sleeping in trees, throwing our crap at each other and most likely not making friends with anything, let alone pigment-challenged aquatic mammals.
From time to time horrific incidents do happen and our communities are shocked and scarred by the unthinkable events that come to light, but we mustn’t lose faith in mankind. We should always have our wits about us, yes, but automatically thinking that the hot guy winking at you from across the room wants to take you home and ravage you to an inch of your life, in the bad way, is not healthy.
Of course, since the creation of mobile dating apps, aka homo-homing devices, not to mention the continued discrimination many of us still face on a day-to-day basis, us gays have to be extra careful. But you’d be surprised at how fruitful random or clandestine meetings can be. In fact, I wouldn’t even be in Australia if I hadn’t met the guy I travelled with through Gaydar. I wouldn’t have my boyfriend of a year and a half if it wasn’t for Grindr.
I’m not saying you have to trust everyone blindly and that bad things don’t happen, because we all know they do. But concentrating on all the death and murder in the world will only make you miss all the good stuff. Albino dolphin chimpanzee hybrids included.
Look out. On the other hand, Chris advises caution…
You only have to watch Silence of the Lambs to realise that not only is the word lotion now incredibly creepy, but that serial killers will go to great lengths to lure you into their car.
The truth is that we should be able to walk about at night without fear of getting attacked. But why risk your life on a ‘should’? I should be able to wear a size 28 pant but Lord knows it’s not in my future. We’ve all heard stories of gay guys getting bashed – even on Oxford Street – so we need to be far more cautious and ensure we don’t put ourselves in scenarios where danger can strike.
I’ve had drinks purchased for friends and I in the past and all three of us woke up in different locations with no recollection of having travelled there. Things could have been worse had the spiker had his way. The lesson; accompany the purchaser to the bar and don’t leave your drinks unattended.
Grindr arrived after my time (I am of the Gaydar vintage), but the same dangers present themselves. Stupidly, I have gone to men’s homes without ever having seen a face pic and cringe now at what could have happened to me back then. Don’t risk being killed for a quickie – there are safer ways to get laid!
We have every right to be suspicious of strangers – even ones who smile at us across the dance floor. I’ve watched enough Murder, She Wrote in my time to understand that old ladies on bikes are a real pain but that also, it’s far better to seem suspicious than to wake up in a scenario you don’t remember entering. Or worse still, not wake up at all.
As Steve Liebmann once told us be alert, not alarmed.
Who do you agree with? Jack or Chris? Or a bit with both? Let us know below.