One of the things I always did before I came out was to avoid gay culture. Or gay cultural references. By that I mean GLBT fiction, films like My Beautiful Launderette, 'The Scene', etc. I'd avoid focussing on the small number of gay characters in TV shows, or socialising in gay venues or with gay people.
Since coming out this is not an area of my life I have sought specifically to rectify. I've been too busy meeting guys for relationships and assignation and all that jazz... plus there has been an element of re-exploring my existing relationships and lifestyle in the light of my new found honesty. But, still, a part of my still found itself somewhat uncomfortable when confronted with anything... gay. Not the sexual side of things, by any means, not since coming out at least. But the whole being gay thing... a closed book to me I never made the effort to open.
I'm not totally certain why. It may be a combination of things; a real regret that I left things so late. A small amount of envy that my own experience was somehow less glamorous, happy ever after, or whatever... or lingering embarrassment about the whole thing maybe? Who knows.
Over the last couple of years I've been well blessed with the support for friends, particularly 'A', who have tried to involve me however indirectly with their gay friends. And I joined various networking groups like "Out". I even went to pride (which was fabulous). However, it was not until I met Fella and our two groups of friends began to coalesce that I began to have a significant pool of gay friends. And, of course, as part of that I began to be exposed to their interests and lifestyles.
Still, there remains a significant gap in the Cheerful Fairy's knowledge... well, the good news gentle reader is that it's time to do something about it!
On Wednesday Fella and I, and about a dozen or so of our friends – all gay (except my friend 'C' who is coming along too) – are going to see A Beautiful Thing at the theatre. It promises to be a good night out, but also it will be the first time that I've done anything like that with that kind of group. Fairly ordinary for them; fairly good for me!
Also, I'm going to read The Line of Beauty, which is a novel set in the 80s and revolving round a gay central character. It was adapted for television, and I'm told was fairly explicit; though of course I didn't watch it. It may well make uncomfortable reading, but I want to get more involved... more informed at least.
So that's two things. A start, at least. If anyone has any ideas for a third, then please let me know. I'm on the lookout now!