Ask Mr. Manners

Where have all the mentors gone?

I am always in awe to hear of decisions that we make in our community. From the stories of gay teens taking their own lives to the demise of those I would have called “good men,” it’s always disheartening to hear a tale that doesn’t end in “happily ever after.”

A conversation I recently overheard from a mother, who is a strong advocate for equality, said that she would abstain from taking her children to pride this year because we were lacking “inspiring examples.”

She went on to explain that she would rather her children see gay couples fighting a court case and leading marches, modeling those of our civil rights ancestors, than to see a man in a Speedo (who we all know most likely needs a few more gym hours to merit wearing one in public) swinging from a pole. I will admit, I have wondered if we should begin instituting an official to ensure such people don’t make it onto the main stage, but I digress.

Who are the mentors in our community? Are we showcasing our entrepreneurs, leaders, activists, or are we letting the culture of our nightclubs dictate the trajectory of our rising generation? I really cannot rebuke an argument that states an MBA graduate leading a corporation is a better role model than a go-go dancer. It’s not my place nor my objective to discuss our “night life,” we all need to let go; but, what are we doing during the daytime hours to ensure we are successful?

Looking back at the success I have had in my life, I can attribute each victory to key people who took a chance on me and taught me how to rise to the top. From principles of leadership to the structure of industry, I have been blessed to have someone to lean on and even model a successful life after. I have striven in my life to return those experiences in as much as I am able, but I am noticing fewer people who want to be great. Rather, we are happy working hourly at Starbucks and living at home. Let’s have a moment of truth. Your parents want you to move on and have a successful life. It’s true. Ask them.

All jesting aside, it is important that we work together in helping each other to succeed. We have already lost too many good members of our community, and we can no longer stand to loose any more. The fight for equality and equal rights is a dream on the verge of reality and we need strong leaders and citizens. We need people who are strong, driven, and ambitious to lead the next chapter. This is a delicate balancing act requiring us to rise above who we are and work together in being successful.

It will not happen overnight, but in time it will come together. I would guess that we are all familiar with the song, “Holding Out For A Hero,” let’s not make it “holding out for a mentor.” The sooner we act the sooner we will see results.

Have a question for Mr. Manners? Email [email protected]

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One Comment

  1. While I agree with the general thrust of "Where have all the mentors gone?" your comment that we police those "who we all know <need> a few more gym hours to merit wearing a Speedo in public" is offensive to me, as a morbidly obese bisexual. We had a Kiss In on Temple Square to remind people – if you don't like what you see, you can simply turn your head, rather than limit someone else's freedom of expression. The same principle is true here. Community members should not be shamed into invisibility, regardless of their body type.

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