Note: This article is based on a post by the same author made in private in the Gay Camping Friends group on June 28, 2021 and has been adapted for public consumption.
There has been much discussion and debate about sexuality and this group. First and foremost, to answer the question of whether this is a “hookup group”, the answer is no it is not.
This is all very interesting to me – seeing different sides of our culture intersecting here. I’ve been connected to many people on Facebook since some weird period in about 2014. At one point I had 25,000 followers – most of them gay. I’ve seen the best and the worst in people and at this point I’m pretty desensitized to it all. I post a selfie and see comments ranging from my mom checking in to random guys talking about my butt and I’m just used to it.
Gay culture has a sliding scale that I think is unique to who we are. There is one extreme which is (from social norm standards) hypersexualized, and there is the other extreme which is not – and we all sit somewhere along that line. Since it’s a scale that measures a form of ideology and has ties to morals, religion, and social acceptance we find ones placement along this line open to judgement and scrutiny. We find one extreme abhorred by the other and vice versa.
“People like you are gross” / “People like you are prudes”
“You have to make everything sexual” / “You reject gay culture”
Remember that not too recently it was being gay that was gross.
Hypersexualism has historically been a big part of “gay culture”. It is our sexuality which has historically been under attack. It made it hard for our fore-Queens to meet each other, sex between two men was taboo, and even “dressing gay” was not just frowned upon, but downright dangerous. Gay men had to celebrate THESE parts of themselves underground. They had to meet in gay spaces; they had to express their sexuality in secret. Men would go through many sexual partners for several reasons including the difficulty to be with someone on “normal” terms, the nature of the spaces that were “gay”, and rejection to societies rejection of them. It is a fact that gay campgrounds were one of these safe spaces and that most continue to be clothing optional.
As being gay has become more accepted over the years, the taboo associated with it, holding a same-sex persons hand, kissing a same-sex person, and wearing “gay clothes” has eased and we can more or less live like “normal” people now.
So what is “normal”? Normal is going to a coffee shop on a first date, kissing your lover on a busy street, not needing to wear clothes that help you identify others like you, having one sexual partner because there’s nothing wrong with being together with one person. Normal is a bar where guys aren’t looking to hook up because they don’t have to anymore. Normal is a rejection of things that go against normal.
The extreme “normal” champions are a counter culture that rejects the hypersexualized aspect of gay culture (as well as other non-normal aspects like femininity, gay clothing, and other things that are “gay”). This culture also has history. Gays trying to fit into mainstream society when society rejected them had to go to great lengths to conceal their “gayness”, assimilating to some of the mainstream moral objections, conservative religious views, and trying to be “normal” to make themselves and society feel better about them.
You fit somewhere along this line. It isn’t gay culture to be one extreme or another, it is gay culture to be anywhere along it. Culture is built by isolated societies of people and shaped by their means of isolation. Culture persists for a while even when the isolation is removed. It loses its identity slowly over time due to assimilation and exposure to other cultures, but this is a very long process. We are in that phase now.
I don’t care what “gay” group you join, you will see this same debate, the same arguments over content, the same “this is just a hookup group”, the same jaded guys who are tired of seeing what they used to accept as normal. GCF is an international group and here you will see it all.
So when you see a shirtless selfie in the group obviously looking for attention or someone wanting monogamy please don’t get all up in arms. Post the things that fit your version of being gay and we can all enjoy the content of this group that makes us as individuals happy, with the maturity to respect and overlook the content that is not “our cup of tea”.
John Anderson – Founder of Gay Camping Friends