The other day I came across this clip from the comic Michael Buckley from the What the Buck Show? In it he answers a variety of questions about his sexual orientation based on his mannerisms, way of dress and style of delivery. All of these factors supposedly equal the big G-A-Y.
This got me thinking: What does it mean to act gay? Does this mean to cross your legs and wildly fan your wrists in the air? I have numerous queer friends who don’t fit this stereotype. Clearly an attraction to the same gender on some level would be a shared common behaviour but beyond this they are what I guess would be termed “straight-acting.” This means that instead of tipping off anyone’s “gaydar,” they could easy pass as heterosexual.
I have no problems with these “manly” men. As long as this is who they truly are, then I love and accept them for it. I become conflicted though when these same “straight-acting” gay men make it clear they are only interested in the same. Furthermore, they use the exact same lingo that has ironically been used against us in the past. “No Nellys, pansies, fems or queens.” Do they have issues with women when they go on and on about the draw of the “real man.”
I was in a clothing store with some friends and we were trying on clothes (I know, pretty gay huh?). “Does this make me look gay?” one asked me. I really didn’t know how to respond to that question. Snug tee-shirt or no, he’s still gay as the day is long. But he doesn’t want to been perceived as gay? He’s hardly a closet case as he’s openly married to a man (someone I incidentally used to date). Is this what people demonstrated for in the past? The fear of “looking gay?” Is there perhaps some kind of internalized homophobia that makes him reluctant to be seen “that way?”
Let me be clear. I’m not advocating that gay people self-identify every second breath nor wear rainbow/triangle laden clothes. That’s not what I’m saying at all. Rather, I’d like to see some people get over themselves and their ego. You don’t have to act “like a man” if you already are a man. You just have to be yourself. By the same token, allow and affirm others to be themselves as well. If they flame, let their flames burn brightly bless ‘em! If they can’t dance to save their souls, be kind. We haven’t come all this way to trade in old closets for new (albeit much more fabulous) ones!