chapter  11
6 Pages

The Aura of Timelessness

ByMatthew Stradling

I feel that being gay is a privilege that has given me insight into ways of viewing the world that few straight people get the chance to explore. As ‘outsiders’, gay people can view society with an eye unclouded by conformity. We are not trapped in gender stereotypes. We have learned to play with ‘masks’ and understand the value of artifice. Being confronted with heterosexuality on a daily basis leads us to question and define our sexuality. We understand the importance of sex in all areas of life and are creative in constructing relationships freer of convention. As a minority group, we have learned to deal with prejudice, humiliation, frustration, injustice and ultimately the challenge of being honest. I feel the ‘gay experience’ and gay culture has a lot to offer the straight world. My work is for whoever is open-minded enough to be interested in it; it is up to the viewer to cast aside prejudice. I feel it is my duty as a gay man to declare my sexuality in my art, thereby asserting gay people’s worth as a group that has been ignored or denied its sexual freedom.