Heterosexual people have a lot of perceptions about gay men. Some of these perceptions are negative and some of these perceptions are not so negative. In any case, most these ideas are just blanket statements that categorizes the gay community unfairly.
Being gay is great! I absolutely love who I am and my gayness is very much part of my identity. At times it’s a prominent aspect of who I am because our society and current circumstances forces that aspect of my identity to the forefront. It’s sort of like being American is part of all US citizens’ identity but on patriotic holidays that aspect of our identities is put on display. With constant news coverage of gay issues, being gay is sort of brought to the attention of many people. It’s as if it were Independence Day everyday.
Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Our community has fought for many, many years for equality and legal recognition. We’ve marched and pushed legislation for our basic dignity and we’ve advocated to expose and normalize our gayness. As a result, I am absolutely proud of my gayness and the rich, vibrant, accepting culture we’ve developed over many decades.
But the heterosexual community has some pretty crazy ideas when it comes to the gay community. Some of these ideas have been the basis for discrimination and hatred for centuries. Notions such as gay men being the cause and spread of HIV have really hurt our community. But these assumptions have also made us stronger as a community.
Nevertheless, there are a few misconceptions which should be sorted out.
1) Gay people have fabulous lifestyles that are wild and fun.
I’d like to think I have a fabulous life. We travel often, enjoy theater, cooking, wine, and love to party it up sometimes. So in those aspects, sure we can label it fabulous. But in reality, not all gay people have the glamorous lifestyle filled with a large social circle that consists of sarcastic, sassy men hitting up the world or diving into the drama and excitement of gay culture. In most cases, gay people lead pretty normal lives. Most of our lives are no different then your own. In fairness, some of our norms and accepted behavior is a little different but overall it’s about the same. That’s why I write this blog…to demonstrate my normal.
2) Gay people choose to be gay.
It’s always hilarious when people make this comment. I certainly did not choose to be gay. In fact, I remember the first time I was attracted to another boy. I was in kindergarten and a boy and I kissed. It was completely innocent. But I knew at that moment that I was not the same as most my friends. I don’t understand why anyone would choose to be gay given the world we live in. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t imagine being straight (vagine…ew). But being gay comes with a bit of a struggle. Some gay people have to deal with horrid family situations, others fear for their lives, and still others simply choose to never accept that aspect of themselves and live miserably. Why would anyone choose to go through this?
3) Gay people are all promiscuous.
Gay men enjoy sex. But most gay men aren’t anymore promiscuous then straight men. Straight men brag about their sexual exploits all the time and they are applauded for it in most cases. Gay men are labeled as promiscuous and women are labeled as sluts. It’s an absurd standard. Most gay men want to be in a relationship with their own norms and their own rules. It’s really not much different then straight men.
4) Gay men are feminine and lesbians are butch.
A lot of people think gay men must be feminine and lesbians are all butch. This is absolutely wrong. I wouldn’t consider myself particularly leaning toward either end of that spectrum. There is a huge diversity within the gay community. Yes, there are butch lesbians and their are feminine gay men but not everyone fits into these two categories. The best thing to do is try not to categorize people.
5) Gay men have an easier time finding a guy then heterosexual women have finding a straight guy.
Now, this is funny. We like to have a lot of fun but don’t be fooled by it. Most gay men would prefer to be in a secure relationship. There is no surplus of us. If there were, everyone would be in a relationship. Straight women like express how they could find a straight man with the qualities they love about gay men. The problem with that is many of those qualities are sort of bullshit. Straight women assume we like to go shopping, dancing, and expressing our feeling but that’s not always true. In fact, most of us are just as defective as straight men. That’s because men, in general, are not necessarily innately monogamous relationship material. It also just takes time to develop relationships and both straight women and gay men have problems with dedicating that time to the pursuit of better romantic partners.
6) Gay men are attracted to all men.
We’re not. Period. Straight guys sometimes worry that we are checking them out or something. It’s like they are afraid we are suddenly going to jump their bones because we won’t be able to control our sexual desires. That’s just stupid. Are you attracted to every woman you see? No, the same goes for us with men.
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