While reading this week’s assignment, I couldn’t help but try to look beyond the fact that there are affordances for just the gay community. As a member of multiple demographics that don’t easily have the most influential reputation (Asian, Female, Christian), I looked at these readings, especially Larry Gross’s “The Gay Global Village in Cyberspace” with an eye to see how I could take these hard-earned lessons from how the gay community voyaged into the virtual terrain to make and establish a safe place for themselves.
I once said before in my very first post that I’d love to be go to grad school, pass my examinations, and become a fully licensed psychologist! It’s also within my interests to understand how I might be part of a force that can better integrate offering mental health services to people through various mediated means. Reading “The Gay Global Village in Cyberspace” helped me see how magazines really aren’t a viable method, but it was also something I never considered to employ before (perhaps because I was too quick to mentally dub it as “old” and therefore, irrelevant, media). “Joey is mailed in a very plain business-like envelope. If your parents are violating your privacy and opening your mail for you, then you have our sympathies” has to be, hands down, without a doubt, one of the most pathetic responses I’ve ever read by a publication! The lesson Gross learned from this is just how the anonymity and pervasiveness of the internet allows one to bypass the stigma of carrying any physical materials that carry a stigma along with its identification. And the lesson I learned is how the internet can be so fast and efficient that it’s clear humankind hasn’t yet exhausted its endless possibilities.
Recently, after musing one day with my significant other about what life would be like in the future, our diverging preferences for children finally surfaced. I know that he would one day make an excellent father, but that still did little to help me sway from a staunch “I-don’t-want-kids” mentality. In the Bible, I could easily pull up verses to make a case for babies; it’s really much harder to find anything against the idea of raising a God-ordained family. So I began to furiously puruse the internet for any kind of solace and to see if I was actually the only one with this experience. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I found plenty of likeminded Christian women! If it weren’t for the internet, I wouldn’t have ever come to understand that aside from how society often assumes motherhood to be “one chapter” of life for women without any exception, motherhood is a gift. Motherhood is an ability that some people are more blessed to exude than others. Motherhood is a choice and not an expectation.
^I don’t think any of the reasonings I listed above will make that much sense for people who strongly identify with a culture of “I can do whatever I want because my happiness is the most important thing to me.” I would even dare to say that for myself, I can’t resonate with those sentiments at all. But this quest of searching for that peace among other likeminded individuals made me realize something — whether it’s about babymaking, or sexual orientation, or disease (as was the case for that Tumblr user with breast cancer) — our bodies mean so much to humans! I think this was something I always took for granted. I don’t need to be gay to understand that “beyond the highly developed and fully furnished gay subcultures found in most western and westernized countries, emerging gay communities in many parts of the world have found the Internet a venue for solidarity and support.”
In the case of me and my boyfriend, we’re just gonna talk about babies later in life at a more appropriate point in our lives (we have so much time and we tend to worry about stupid things prematurely for nothing anyway). But the internet’s given me a peace I never would’ve been able to create for myself. It’s a really great feeling to say “hey, they’re just like me.”