Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

But That Trick Never Works

In one of the livejournals I read there is a discussion taking place
about gay men who are made uncomfortable and/or who dislike other gay
men who, to their rarefied sensibilities, act too gay in public (they
call them "gay gays"). Presumably this has something to do with patterns
of speech and dress, or perhaps conversational subject matter and
cultural concerns, but the few times people have attempted to get specific
about what they are so disturbed about they wind up talking about people
who draw attention to themselves or who are over the top and "flamboyant".
In other words, what they note that yields their criticism is couched in
terms of how the person doing the criticizing is subjectively reacting
and not how the person being criticized is behaving. There is nothing
specific being noted as meriting criticism or discomfort except the sense
that these awful men have the audacity to present themselves in public as
somebody who would be read, in our culture, as gay (although they keep
misusing the word "effeminate" to mean "culturally identifiable as

I don't get why this is even a discussion. The question "Why do men who
present themselves as obviously gay bother me?" is a question that
answers itself by virtue of its formulation. And yet when folks point
out the obvious and explicit homophobia in the construct itself
(it's in eight-foot high neon, with a flashing red arrow pointing to
the head of the speaker, for crying out loud), the response is to take
offense, because how could the person asking the question be homophobic
if they are an out gay man? ("I'm gay and I'm perfectly comfortable with
that -- I'm just not icky like those gay people over there who are so icky
because, you know, they act really really gay.") "Homophobia" is probably too
loaded a word to fling about, particularly applied to a specific individual
who is present for the discussion, but one way or the other this is about,
well, "issues" that people have and not about anybody else's behavior.

But what I really don't understand is why anybody over the age of 18, or,
to be fair, who is more than a year or two out of the closet would still
be dealing with this. I'm not a fan of the "get over it" exhortation, but
this circumstance seems to require it. As the queens in question might say,
"Loosen that bone, Wilma!" I know it is not that simple; I don't think any
of us ever get over the aspects of this issue that formed much of our young,
pre-out existence, as we came to terms with being gay in a world that despised
us for being gay. But at what point is it reasonable for patience to run out?

I have a sinking feeling that patience for this nonsense will be required of
me until the day I die.
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