The majority of media is structured around conflict. Can the two beautiful lead characters learn to love one another? How will the hero escape that burning building? Why is Ben Affleck in this movie?
But aside from the contrived plotlines of films and TV shows, the news also thrives on tension. Cable networks crave the us vs. them dynamic that fuels their most controversial programs. Pundits and politicians want us to tear each other apart; it’s just good business.
Media’s bloodlust has even bubbled up in the comedy realm. Dave Chappelle is once again targeting the transgender community for cheap laughs in his latest Netflix “special” and shrouding his hate behind a veil of victimhood.
The powers-that-be are hoping that everyone chooses a side and perpetuates the battles that they routinely instigate, but we refuse. Instead of tearing each other down, let’s build each other up.
And for inspiration, turn (the page) to Elska Atlanta.
Photographer and editor Liam Campbell has dedicated his considerable talents to conveying the queer experience in all of its complexities. Elska magazine circles the globe to showcase gay men of all shapes, ages and ethnicities.
The moral of the manly story: we have more similarities than differences.
When we celebrate our shared experience, we elevate all involved. Each of us are merely characters in history, a narrative that is revised every day to reflect who we are as a society and how we treat one another as cohabitants on god’s gay earth.
To preview his revealing exploration of The Big Peach through a decidedly LGBTQ+ lens, Campbell recently wrote on Hornet, “Each of the chapters also includes a personal story written by each Elska Atlanta participant. As might be expected for these times, politics and social justice are not excluded from discussion, among other topics. For example, there’s Jimmy E’s tale of getting a bit steamy in the steam rooms of a local Korean-style spa; Ronald R’s emotional story of taking the difficult decision to end a relationship that was plagued by drug abuse; Blaine P’s commentary on being Black, gay, and Christian in the Deep South; Jacob L’s realisation that sometimes what seems like a meaningless one-night stand can actually be something significant; and Eric M’s piece on how no matter how much he tries to do his part to help his community, it just never feels like enough.”
These stories prove that humanity is a team sport. Instead of placing certain groups in socioeconomic categories or demographic buckets, we need to dive into the ocean of inclusion that beckons us forward. Next stop: Atlanta.
Last modified: October 12, 2021