More4 news carried a feature tonight on Gaydar – looking at how it has ‘revolutionised’ gay life. The report ended with an HIV slant (as seems the current fashion) with apparent shock (from the presenter who is a former Pink News editor) at the number of men willing to engage in bareback sex.
The message seems to be yes the Internet has had a massive impact and yes some men no longer go on the scene or use the scene differently. My own experience is that the scene today is very different to that ten years ago when I was discovering it for the first time. I can only comment on Newcastle and Manchester but in both instances the scene seems far more dominated by gay “stereotypes” – that is to say men (and it does seem to be much more male orientated) who appear camp or dress in a particular way or whose gestures are more effeminate. There seems less (and I hate this term) ‘normal’ or (hate this term even more) ‘straight acting’ guys on the scene than there was ten years ago. In contrast almost everyone I have talked to or met through Gaydar has fitted into this category. All this is just my personal experience and pretty sweeping but it does make me think. The scene today seems far more exclusive than ten years ago. I am surprised given the greater ‘equality’ enjoyed by 18 year old gay men and women today enjoy, that a young generation continues to be keen to carve out a clear gay identity – not apparently to challenge law or seek social changes as may have been the case in decades gone by but for some other reason.
Alternatively it could be that with the increase in acceptability of gay relationships those men who would consider themselves ‘straight acting’ can now socialise and met other men in reasonable comfort on the straight scene thus reducing the gay scene to the core it has always been with each generation.
I don’t know but I do find it interesting to wonder – has the legal reform of the last ten years transformed the gay scene in ways never imagined?
The More4 news site contains a story on this with additional quotes viewable at: http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/science_technology/the+internet+hiv+risk/1872047
The broadcast report is viewable here.