What are “Healthy Relationships”?
For many people, a healthy relationship is supportive, fun, romantic, and makes each partner feel good. Today there are many healthy, long-term same-sex relationships, including same-sex marriages. However, same-sex relationships are different from other relationships because of differences in sex roles and societal issues. Some would argue that this gives you an advantage of sorts, in that you get to define your own relationship boundaries and roles with less outside pressure; traditional roles may or may not make sense for you.
What is consensual sex?
Consent means that both people in a sexual encounter must agree to it, and either person may decide at any time that they no longer agree and want to stop the activity.
Agreeing to one behavior does not obligate you to consent to any other behaviors. Consenting on one occasion also does not obligate you to consent on any other occasion. Agreeing means only that at this particular time, you would like to engage in this particular sexual behavior.
Consent should be a two-way street – it’s important to respect yourself and not push your partner if you sense he is uncomfortable.
COMMUNITY and “TRIBES”
The “gay community” is not one group of similar people just because we’re gay. Our community is as diverse as the general population, and maybe even more so! We speak other languages than English, we come from every part of the world and from different economic and social backgrounds. We are writers, educators, professionals, day laborers, artists, parents, entrepreneurs, immigrants, activists and athletes. We identify in many different ways and may intersect more than one community. Here are just a few “tribes” folks connect with. If you don’t find yours, its fine because you are your own and equally valued.
Below are some just some “tribes” you may have heard about
- The leather community
- The bear community
- General sites that explore multiple facets of the lives of MSM such as LifeLube
- Advice such as Savage Love
There is strength in this diversity and in a community that welcomes and embraces the uniqueness in each of us.
As you you move through the space you have carved out for yourself and further find your niche, remember to be respectful of others for who they are and how they so choose to live their lives, their truth.
One way to ensure that we as a community do not perpetuate the same bigotry and hate with have been and are faced with over time and today is to remember to always be respectful.
There is a difference between sexual preference and sexual prejudice.
All of us are attracted to different people for different reasons and each of us defines beauty differently. Some men like smart men, others like short men, and others prefer men with dark hair or a great sense of humor. Some like men only, others like men and women.
But preference can become prejudice when some traits are given negative meanings.This means treating guys differently because of their age, race/ethnicity, gender (or gender expression), weight, income, or any other characteristic that makes them different.
What can you do to avoid sexual prejudice?
- Check your own beliefs and assumptions. Are there any ways that you may insult or make others feel badly because of something they can’t change? Do you make assumptions about someone just because of what “group” you think they belong to?
- If you use Grindr, Manhunt, or similar online hook-up sites, state your interests in positive terms rather than negative. For example, “I like tall guys,” rather than “no short men.”
- If you see people making racist, ageist, sexist, or other generalizations online or in person, speak up! Ask them if they’ve thought about how their speech makes other people feel.
- Expand your circle of friends. Get to know people who aren’t like you. This can be as simple as striking up a conversation with someone next to you on the bus, volunteering to do something new, or inviting an acquaintance out for dinner to get to know him better.
- Learn more about other cultures and people. Travel if you can. If not, attend cultural events in your community.
- If you’ve ever been treated badly because of something you can’t change (or if you’ve seen this happen to others), try discussing these issues with friends over dinner or a beer, or at the gym. There’s no need to be confrontational. Rather just start talking about what you’ve observed and see how people react. The most important thing is to get people talking and asking questions about the attitudes we take for granted.
- If you’ve experienced discrimination in the workplace or in getting housing, you can get help here.