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STATEWIDE — For many, it’s easy being openly gay in a city like Austin.
“Pretty much we all come together when we need to however I would definitely say there’s a lot work to do,” says Austin resident Jacob Ward-Ponce.
A study ranks Austin third nationwide, and 24th worldwide for best quality of life for members of the LGBT community. But some at home say it’s a different story for gay men of color.
They say social networking and dating apps paint a more clear picture of some of Austin’s gay residents who openly seek men of specific races or ethnicity.
“You’re not really giving someone a chance to get to know them because you’re categorizing them, you’re stigmatizing them, you’re putting them in a group,” says Austin resident Anthony Otero.
Race aside, some report being rejected for being effeminate — or less masculine.
“It’s dehumanizing to pick and prod at somebody’s characteristics based off of a social construct of what male and female are supposed to be,” says Otero.
They say these type of so-called micro-aggressions are common but can be reversed.
“If people open their minds and open their experiences to new things and wanting to learn,” says Ward-Ponce.
In their perfect world, dating within the LGBT community is more inclusive.
“You know the first thing that you would see on ‘Grindr’ wouldn’t be ‘no fats, no femmes, no blacks, no Asians, white people only,’” says Ward-Ponce.
They say their community already faces hardship from outside.
“I guess in a perfect world everyone would just be able to love and accept each other for who they are, no matter what race or ethnicity or cultural background that they grew up in,” says Ward-Ponce.
A lesson, they say, about acceptance from within.
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