[bit.listserv.gaynet] diversity

hochsted@UCS.INDIANA.EDU (02/22/90)


I liked your ideas re:  knowing people from many different cultural
perspectives.  One thing I think we miss, however, is knowing people
who come from different professional perspectives.  Think about this--
how many people do we know who are not gay and who are not related
to our profession?  For instance almost all the people I know are
students.  But, I think I learn so much from people who professionally
have nothing in common with me and who are not gay.  It's a totally differnt
perspective.  A very close friend of mine is a professional musician.  She
spends much of her time traveling and performing--I spend all my time staying
home and studying.  She is striaght--I am gay.  She is seen by thousands
of people every day--I am seen by four or five people everyday.  (as a matter
of fact she is perfoming on the grammy's tonight)  Our viewpoints are so
different.  I think that we learn a lot from each other, and I value that
so much.  Another friend of mine is a straight woman who is the manager of\
an adult bookstore.  (and no, I am not one of her customers.  don't flame
me--I am not condeming those who are, it is just not the thing for me)
She, too, enlightens me about so many things.

Just something to think about...



Doug, thanks for reminding us of other diversity.  I concur.  My life has
been enormously enriched by moving outside my class and profession as well.
I have exchanged several crates full of letters with prisoners, for example.
They find me through articles that I have written.  I also lay down the
ground rules that I will never send any gift, that I am not writing for
sexual fantasy, and that I expect the same high degree of candor that I
will deliver.   One of my correspondents has gone on to publish about
200 essays and poems from within jail, and last spring he showed up in
town as a worker for the carnival, a year after his release.  We talked
non-stop almost two days, with little sleep.  He's now reunited with his
son, whom he had not seen in 16 years.  I can't imagine the poverty of
my life had I not week after week, month after month, for almost 14 years
had clear, direct, honest communication with this other human being;
and it is mutual.  He's not gay.  Neither of us has looked for anything
except friendship, and each has given it full measure, as the prophet
saith, pressed down and running over.

A cleaning person at my campus just brought me back a bag of boiled peanuts
from South Carolina.  We're home boys.  I'd rather talk until 2 a.m. with
him than talk with many another professor.  I'm a writer, but I surely
would not have much to say or feed my mind with if I talked only to
other academics.  That's not to say I exclude them either.

I remember how fascinated my housemates were when I taught in England in
the mid 1960's.   One night I would dine with Lady S___, the grandmother
of another teacher.  The next night I would dine in the home of the
campus gardiner.  Another night I might bring back with me a handsome
old sailor.  The next evening, I would eat alone, visiting with
John Bunyon or the Vicar of Wakefield.  Only by books could most of my
housemates, all interns in local London hospitals, hope to move freely
outside their rank and station.  I thought it as a US-Britian distinction,
only later to discover that most of my compatriots in America really had
not discovered the great pleasure open to Americans.  You don't have to
be idolatrous:  you don't have to have a world made in your own image.

Yes, Doug, thanks for expanding the discussion.