One of the more ludicrous allegations that the Homophobic Front continues to utter is that gays and lesbians are recruiting. I doubt the people who mention that believe it. I suspect they are hoping that more gullible people will buy it. It’s all about the power of suggestion—Happy Meals make kids smile, laughtracks cue us to the uproariously funny parts on reruns of “The Brady Bunch” (Oh, that Alice!) and gay marriage laws make Grandma Hazel consider leaving the ever-flatulent Grandpa Fred for that heretic who wears running shoes to church. (Should have never let Hazel go to a taping of “Ellen”. She danced in the aisles right along with that curmudgeonly recruiter posing as a talk show host!)
Despite Ellen’s solid daytime ratings, there doesn’t seem to be a surge in lesbian numbers. And that Ryan Murphy with his “Glee” hasn’t converted straight teens to gay any more than his “American Horror Story” has led to creepy neighbors annihilating new residents in the house next door. Gay marriage laws in Canada (and in Sweden, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, Belguim, and the Netherlands) haven’t spawned a slew of Tonys defecting from weddings with Tinas and eloping with Tims.
If we are recruiting, we’re doing a really poor job at it.
When I was young and closeted, an oft-cited stat provided comfort: one in ten. It was a figure lifted from Alfred Kinsey’s 1953 study, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, and gays latched on to it as a comforting “fact”. The statistic helped many of us cope. Ten percent of the population! Yep, one in ten...I am not alone.
I remember sitting in high school classrooms of thirty and wondering who my two cohorts were. (Please, please let one of them be Randy Weir!) In college lecture courses with ninety, I had eight Friends of Dorothy. A potential for friendship, solidarity, maybe something more! And yet, I could rarely peg anyone else with the gay tag.
I held onto the stat even without proof of its veracity. Didn’t know the Kinseys, but they must have been highly accurate researchers. All research is true, right? Studies never conflict; they are never repudiated.
Within a year of moving to L.A., I bought a white t-shirt with an upside down pink triangle and the names of famous gays and lesbians from history superimposed on it. Da Vinci! Michelangelo! Wilde! My heroes. Below the triangle, that familiar phrase: ONE IN TEN. I proudly wore that shirt when dusting on Saturday mornings. (Blinds closed, of course.)
Even before I moved to Nowhereland, I realized that statistic was heavily inflated. At some point during my time in Los Angeles, I honed my gaydar. Ten percent of Los Angelinos? Not a chance. Vancouverites? No. Not even in the West End gay ghetto. Both cities had a clear presence, but one in twenty felt like a stretch.
Now I would be thrilled to be immersed in a population where five percent of people identify as G, L, B or T. Where I live, our numbers—at least for G, B and T—would be deemed statistically insignificant by Kinsey’s academic ancestors.
I’d say there are about 30,000 people along the sixty kilometres of coastline where I live. 3,000? Baloney! 1,500? Someone’s hallucinating. Gay sightings are extremely rare. In the seven years I’ve lived here, I’ve known two single gay men under the age of seventy and I dated them both. No hope for any kind of relationship. I believe both wisely realized there were no prospects to be had and moved back to Vancouver.
Being as I’m stuck in my current environment—I took my house off the market today—I would like to recruit some of those alleged recruiters. Bring on the gays. Stat!
I’ll settle for one in a thousand.