Monday, January 13, 2014

Too Gay or Not Too Gay... That is The Question

I touched on a little bit of what it was like being an atheist and gay from a personal standpoint. It is still something I struggle with, as the black community is less than welcoming on the atheist forefront, although they are getting somewhat better on the gay forefront. Then again, one thing I realize is that you're accepted by the majority of black females as long as you fall into what they consider "the norm" for being homosexual, and do not dare to be anything other than an effeminate sharp dresser with your arsenal of stinging barbs and "shade throwing", "tea spilling" bestie with no real life outside of being their shoulder to cry on. Despite what many think, the exaggerated glamorization and feminizing of the gay best friend in black Hollywood movies  is not that far off from what I've witnessed in real life. Even white Hollywood is guilty of conforming to outdated stereotypes that may only cover one facet of the gay community, but I'm not focused on their portrayals of gays and lesbians.

I am about as opposite to the stereotype of the black gay man that you can get. I don't like gossiping, I loathe shopping with women, and when I watch TV I watch for the purpose of being entertained, not to hear about the personal lives of the people I'm watching or to see who just had work done on their body. Many of my friends have made the usual comment of "you don't act gay" to me. I've also heard the "you don't act black" either, which also grates my nerves, but let's keep it simple right now and stay on the gay. What is "acting gay"? I wasn't aware that one could "act" their sexual orientation, unless you're talking "pretending". In which case I "pretended" to like women, but that wasn't very convincing... at least to me, anyway. But, really people? I would expect something like that from ignorant bumpkins whose only exposure to gay people were Queer Eye and Will and Grace, but it's not just them. Even people I have known for years were surprised to know I was gay and then expected some kind of change in me once they knew. Even a few guy friends would comment the following months and ask me if I were seriously gay. "You act so masculine", they would say. "You're not all soft and shit." And I'd be like, "I apologize for not fulfilling your idea of what a gay man should be. I hope you can forgive me for being myself." Of course they'd get the sarcasm, and we'd move on, ignoring the fact that I was getting more and more annoyed with this.

So why is that? Why is it that we are so quick to denounce stereotypes as offensive and derogatory, that they don't represent and entire group of people, and yet they are the first thing we look for when interacting with someone that is different? Is it because of our exposure, or lack thereof, to these individuals? Granted, I have had my own eye opening experiences when I went out into the world. I learned that everyone in South America doesn't speak Spanish, and that Spanish also has different dialects and slang words broken down by regions, like we in America do. I learned that not all Asian people look alike...seriously, it's not that hard to tell a Japanese man apart from a Chinese or Vietnamese one. And NO, they don't all eat dogs... but some of them do, and while I wouldn't, kudos to you and your poodles and noodles. All I'm saying is, don't be so damn quick to assume stereotypes the minute you see someone or they reveal to you their orientation or cultural background.

As I said in my previous post, there is no "shade throwing" from me when it comes to the feminine gay men. In my opinion, they are the strongest of us and the most courageous because of the stigma thrown their way. Black men are by far extremely homophobic for the most part, something that is apparent when hearing how often "faggot" is thrown around in songs, in arguments, and in just talking about someone that that gets on their nerves. I've witnessed some effeminate men being harassed for "walking like a woman" and wearing tight jeans with a sequined tank top. It's enough to not only make you afraid for them, but for yourself as well. It's enough to make the internal homophobia come out of you and now you're joining in on the jeers and denigration of this "walking stereotype". Black gay feminine men get my utmost respect. It is easy for me to blend in with the rest of black society as my atheism and homosexuality are not apparently unless I talk to you. But it's not that I hide my sexuality; that is who I am. It is how I go throughout my day and carry myself, and I feel nothing wrong with that. There are those of us who are just obvious. Who could not hide it if even if they wanted to, and they shouldn't have to.

I guess what I would want is for all of us to take a look at stereotypes and see them for what they are. Some may be accurate in what they describe, but it is never right to automatically assume that you know what someone will be like just because of what you heard about their group. Even those who aren't prejudiced, racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. can fall prey to succumbing to stupid cultural depictions of another group. It happens to the best of us. It still happens to me when I meet someone from a culture I've only been exposed to in magazines or on TV. But it is important to actually get to know someone and to learn that they can offer you more than some caricature you were expecting to entertain you with sassy gay wit.

No comments:

Post a Comment


What would it look like to see My impossible standards applied to me? To become everything I demand? What would it feel like to do T...