Perpetuating The Gay Stereotype Or Learning From It?

There is always this common perception that a gay male needs to live his life according to the gay stereotype, and if he does not, he will either be shunned from the community or be seen as a poor excuse for a gay male. Yet, most of the time, living to these stereotypes is a pressure onto itself, which even though this is a reality faced by all gay men at some point in time, it can normally lead to the growth of a healthy and mature gay adult. However, many cannot handle the pressures of the gay world, which in turn can have a drastic effect on the way you live your life. Here are a few stereotypes I find myself constantly battling against:

Gay Best Friend: There is always something annoying about the expectation certain women carry for their gay best friend, or most commonly known as “GBF.” Having a sassy gay friend to shop with and call you out on your bad fashion choices can be fun, and can even bring a positive purpose to a gay man’s life, but our sexuality should not be the common denominator when finding friends and defining social situations. Many gays and women alike question your sexuality, and even more your ability to be a good gay when you have no interest in being a girl’s gay best friend, and living up to the catty stereotype that goes along with it. The stereotype in this instance is well intentioned, but it closes off our potential. Not everyone loves to shop. Some actively hate it.

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Religion Hating Gays: When it comes to religion and homosexuality, the idea that we should be atheist just because the institutions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism remain unaccepting of homosexual acts is another stereotype that we need to mythbust in wider society. There are many gay men who are religious and proud to fall under whatever denomination they believe in. Being a good gay has nothing to do with religion, many gay men justify their need to be an atheist as a common idea that religion hates them. Scripture is there to be interpreted, not to be scrutinised – ideas and morals then were a lot different from now. Religion is ultimately about your personal relationship with God and scripture, not the homophobic interpretation of others.

Gay Masculinity: Masculinity in the gay world is something I loathe. The irrational fear of effeminacy is what I believe to be misplaced misogyny. We all have the same things we are attracted to, but there is a big difference between being attracted to masculine gays and being disgusted by the “queens”. Without our queens in the gay world, this would be an undecorated, morbidly boring world, and a world that lacks inspiration. To be truly masculine is to respect effeminate guys as just another strand of the gay tapestry, rather than just a piece of meat or a little “b*tch.”

Gay Careers: Education is always seen as something we gay males have under our belt, which I think can be true to an extent, yet there are those exceptions. Especially during those tumultuous years of coming out – there will always be cases of parents struggling with their children’s newly revealed sexuality, which normally has a negative effect on their education. Mocking jobs that are not seen to be “white collar” in nature such as hairdressing and make-up artists are normally incorrect slights that are made on individuals, and falls under the same misplaced misogyny we spoke about earlier. Each field commands its own sets of skills that are needed to succeed. Remember, we should not bash someone’s career just because it does not match our own life goals – we are told from a young age that we must follow what we love, and this applies to everyone. The lucky few who get to do what they love, day in, day out, should be respected while the rest of us fill out spreadsheets on the 9-5 wondering where our arty dreams went.

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The Gay Dream: The phases that what we gays go through in the media constantly shifts. From the earlier hippy movements, to fab glam, to the new version of the “American Dream” business gay, something I would to call the “Gay Dream.” This dream basically entails a craving, or desire to marry, have the 2.5 kids, in a dream house, etc. This dream in its entirety can be lived, yet, we gays seem to forget there are other factors that help us get to this dream of ours, and living our lives in a party atmosphere, that breeds debauchery and drug use will not get you to that dream. Yet on the other hand of the spectrum, this dream can be possible. As there is no chance of accidental pregnancies and all that other jazz that straight people have to deal with from a young age. Families are normally started by a gay couple once they are financially able to do so. By doing this, gay couples normally work into a goal of having kids without those nasty surprises that are encountered by straight couples.

Political Gays: In the politics of the gay world, there is an overwhelming pressure to be liberal. A prime example can be seen in the American political landscape. There are many conservative gays out there, not because they loathe their sexuality, but rather they believe the conservative way of governance is the best strategy, not only for the economy, but for themselves as individuals too. There is always the on-going debate of whether being gay and a republican is an oxymoron. It is not, we live in the era of democracy and free choice. By respecting political affiliation, it allows the individual to realise there are other opinions out there that do carry a rational basis, even if they do differ from the liberal mould.

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Feminist Gays: The idea that all gay men are feminists, or support feminism in the very least is a growing thought. This can be entirely right or wrong depending on the individual. From experience, I have witnessed scenarios where a gay man touches a woman because he likes her skirt, and she retorted with “do not touch me please.”  This is a hint at misogyny in the gay world, in which just because we do not see ourselves as sexually attracted to women, some believe the normal rules do not apply. We as gay men share one major trait with straight men, and that is our maleness. We as gay men should not further exacerbate misogyny, even if it is unintentional. We must learn to ask permission and learn when women are not comfortable in certain situations. We demand to be understood and I think it is time we reflected this understanding with how we subconsciously treat women.

All-in-all, stereotypes in the gay world influences us whether we want them to or not. We as gay men have the responsibility not to perpetuate the stereotype, but rather learn from it.