Recently, I was having a conversation with a woman who co-pastors an eclectic type of "home church" here in the city. This conversation was about many things, but one of the more interesting things that came up was my thoughts and frustrations regarding the incestuous feeling of the GLBTQI dating scene here in Fredericton, and the drama cycle this seems to perpetuate. "Just once I'd like to meet a woman where I don't know her ex, her ex's ex, and all their friends in between." It's recently reached a point where if I see an attractive dyke around that doesn't seem familiar, I can safely and usually accurately assume that they're not native to Fredericton's scene.
My pastor friend's theory, to give you the gist, is that incest (if you take it out of the blood-relative context) breeds a sort of self-focussed, destructive energy. "A community (or family) that is focussed only on and within itself is going to suffer from unhealthy emotional issues and perpetuate a host of common tics and problems." We of course discussed how this crosses more than just sexuality boundaries, and is the reason too why so many Christian churches fall in on themselves - the failure to look outward and bring that energy to the larger world.
As far as this theory relates to the subculture though, I both agree and disagree. One thing to consider is that most GLBTQI communities are incestuous not by choice but by necessity. "Sub"-culture inherently infers smaller than the community it exists within. With Fredericton being a small city to start with, one can only assume that even the straights in the area have had more than one experience with playing musical exes. The smaller the dating pool, the more likely to find this problem. Moving outside of your local dating area is an option, but not always practical - or even doable for those who can't manage long distance. Let's be honest, folks, some of us aren't even good at relationships here within city limits, let alone cross-province.
Musical exes appears to me to be one of the things most complained about in the community. But Debi made a comment once upon a time over coffee that's relevant here, too, and that is, for the most part even though the community is incestuous, there is a feeling that we all have each others' backs if it were to come down to it. Whether this is something that's inherent in the more literal sense of incest I don't know, possibly. Also, keep in mind, this relevant comment on the theory has different layers and levels in my opinion, too. We here in Fredericton seem to talk a lot of game when it comes to breaking up with someone and the anger we allow into that experience. But IF that ex were on fire on the street, would we piss on them to put them out? I like to believe for the most part yes. Not only that, there are varied experiences and spaces that we are operating within daily in this regard. We have Pride meetings, and go to the club and manage passable friendly dynamics with people that may be avoiding us in "real life." In playground terms, we "make nice" in the community, with a very human sense of community loyalty lurking beneath the surface of our wounded, musical relationship facades.
I don't think I believe that the GLBTQI community will ever necessarily fall in on itself because of this necessary incest, but I do think we have mini-quakes of falling in ourselves individually. We rally, we move around each other, and slowly build each other back up in new ways with expansions and growth of the heart. I think this is necessary, and beautiful. I've always wondered if maybe the smallness of the community and the limited number of people is God/dess/whoever's way of playing the ultimate joke on us. I like to think that maybe ALL our partners/soulmates/etc. do actually live in this community frame. We just have to wait for the music to stop in front of the right chair, however long that takes. And it very well could be that partner IS someone that you've been with before, they just needed to keep playing until they caved in and were rebuilt and came around one more time.
My point (assuming I set out to have one of sorts) is that, while we spend copious amounts of time bitching about the shallow pool in the city, if you stir up the waters, you will see something safe and beautiful and sometimes healing in there. We show all the colors of our rainbow in this splintered dynamic. For me, this is where my Pride lies. In knowing that while we stand damaged, and human and backbiting, we are home even if we can't see that home yet. Necessary incest - maybe. Family? Definitely. Beautiful? Without a doubt.