ygm.org.uk (Wednesday, December 7th, 2005)

Published by Ian in CHAPS at 8:28 pm. Skip down to comments or read the others.

"The website for young gay men" and, again, that's what it means.

The front page has "gay men" four times, plus "gay scene" and "gay pubs and clubs".

The gay scene section has nothing to say about mixed gender venues or the existence of 'no bisexuals' door policies in some places.

The coming out section says "Coming out as gay or bisexual can be very daunting…" and says that "On the following pages you can read real life accounts from other young gay and bisexual men" but then goes on to ask "Have you tried saying 'I'm Gay' out loud to yourself?"

Apparently "If you find that you can't say the words out loud then maybe you should take a bit more time to think about how comfortable you are with your sexuality."

What message does that send to bisexual people? 'If you can't say "I'm gay", you aren't comfortable with your sexuality'?

"Maybe you could think about checking what your friends/ family attitudes are to gay men…" Well, the attitude to bisexual men is clear, as is the attitude to lesbian and bisexual women: despite recommending it as an example of THT's LGB work, there is almost nothing here for women.

We're then told that "there are several groups around the country run by parents of lesbians and gay men" – I'll check to see if it's still the case, but for many years, the main national support group was run by the mother of a bisexual man – but "there are still people in the world who believe being gay is wrong". Are we expected to think that such people believe that being bisexual is ok?

(If you look at, for example, "Issues in Human Sexuality", the statement of the Church of England's House of Bishops, you'll see that it's often worse. While they can accept monogamous homosexual activity, "it is clear that bisexual activity must always be wrong".)

The coming out to your family section is gay-only, e.g. "Gay men often say that coming out to parent's [sic] is more challenging than any other aspect of the coming out process" and the suggested responses to the "few typical thing's [sic] that parents say when their son come's [sic] out" includes "I have met lot's [sic] of girls but i [sic] am not attracted to them, i [sic] can't change the way i [sic] am."

You may have heard the scream when I read that for the first time.

Similarly, the section on friends: gay only. "You may feel like you are the only gay in the village" and are told to meet "other gay men". Now, of course I recognise the Little Britain reference, but this is funded by money for gay and bisexual men. What's worse? Thinking you're the only gay in the village, or being told you don't exist?

Meeting people: gay only. ".. another gay man..". "Gay men are everywhere.." plus five others.

Sex: gay only. Your "first time" (unqualified!) is assumed to be with a man.

Education: ooh, the workers – at another agency! – "are looking for young gay and bisexual men to tell their stories". I wonder if that agency wrote those paragraphs.

Celebs coming out: six men, all presented as being gay. What on earth is the excuse for not including bisexuals here? Particularly as one of them came to fame for playing a bisexual character.

Youth Group listings: That's interesting. Some of THT's own youth groups are inclusive, while others are not.

Links: the site's content for "young lesbians and bisexual women" is a link to www.gingerbeer.co.uk – which advertises itself as "the lesbian guide to London".

Health information: more of the same. For example 'Wellbeing' says "Young gay men are often made to feel bad about themselves by a range of different sources". And bisexual men aren't? "Young gay men don't have a lot of role models in society". There are six in the coming out section, but no bisexual ones, remember.

".. you may find that others have a problem with [your sexuality]." Quite.

The HIV section, surprisingly given the rest of the site, does mention vaginal intercourse. Even if it does have as headings

How is HIV transmitted?
Ways You Can't Catch HIV

with the implication that everything apart from sperm and blood is in the latter.

Similarly, the rest of the STIs section looks inclusive. Yay. But given the rest of the site, it's a very quiet yay.

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