Today, the boyfriend and I were talking about university. Specifically, we were talking about our respective universities having LGB societies (the year I was at Aberystwyth University, the lady running the society campaigned tirelessly for the T to be added, apparently there were “processes” and you couldn’t just, you know, plonk it on there. His university probably didn’t until at least after he left, as he always remembered it without a T). Why? Well, we were waiting for food, so what better thing to talk about? Also, we were on Salisbury Road, the heart of Cardiff’s student population, and he brought up the fact that two of his friends from Aikido invited us to a LGBT+ Society social for some unfathomable reason.
We talked about how queer has become more prevalent as an umbrella term for people, whether gay, lesbian, bi, transgender and everything in-between. He doesn’t have a problem with the word per se, whereas I do. I’ve only ever known that word as an insult, as something shouted at me in rage, anger or violence. I’ve grown up with associating that word with, frankly, evil people. I’m all happy for you to self-identify as queer, but I’d kindly ask you to never refer to me as it.
I bristle when I see the word. Shit, I can scarcely bring myself to write it.
I’ve no problem with the word fag, as to me, the word means cigarette, and I used to smoke. I have no problem with the extension of that word, faggot, as I grew up eating these nasty things:
Offcuts of pork and offal, shaped into a ball and served in a sauce. I’m from the aforementioned West Country. We talk like farmers or pirates, depending on how far south-west you go.
That’s a small tangent. My point is, these words hold no meaning for me, but the Q-word does. For other people, they use the Q-word but recoil in horror at the words fag or faggot. Personal context. I think I wrote something about that a while ago.
Matt Damon has recently said that Rupert Everett’s career has probably been harmed by him being openly gay.
There’s a lot of people bashing him right now, but I’m not. Blame Hollywood, because it’s true. Heck, Rupert Everett HIMSELF was quoted as thus:
There’s only a certain amount of mileage you can make, as a young pretender, as a leading man, as a homosexual. There just isn’t very far you can go.
He himself is saying that his career isn’t as glittering as it could have been if he had kept his sexuality secret, he also says:
‘I think, all in all, I’m probably much happier than they are. I may not be as rich or successful, but at least I’m vaguely free to be myself.
Let’s not heap scorn at Matt Damon for repeating something Rupert Everett himself has said on many occasions. Heap scorn on the system that sees straight actors play gay roles and win huge accolades for doing so, while simultaneously harming the careers of openly gay actors. Heap scorn on a world where agents urge their clients not to come out, because that would hurt their image, roles would dry up, and where would the money come from?
I’ve not really had to hide who I am. I’ve been “out” since the age of… 14? 15? I don’t even remember. I came out to my parents at 18, but I was open with friends at an earlier age. My straight friends apparently didn’t realise I was gay until I told them, whereas my gay friends somehow did. My mannerisms aren’t overtly camp (like, say, Jack from Will & Grace), but I’m not overwhelmingly masculine in any sense of the word.
I don’t have a job that wants to “hide the gays.” If anything, gay people are seen as friendly and welcoming (yes, even me, with my resting bitch face), so supposedly suit forward-facing roles in a retail environment, the service industry, or in call centres.
I know LOTS of gay people who work in call centres. Stereotypes have a ring of truth to them I guess.
Perhaps I’m hiding in plain sight? By not being overtly camp, I’m effectively passing as “straight”. I dislike the term “straight acting” because it implies that there’s an easy way of identifying whether you’re face-to-face with a homosexual out in the wild (he’s a big ol’ queen), and that those mannerisms are bad, but acting like a wild straight man (masculine macho macho break bricks with head) is so good that you should act in that way to be accepted.
We get attacked by people if we act in an effeminate, obviously homosexual way. Yes, it’s less common nowadays as gay people generally become more accepted, but it still happens, to both men AND women (though for women it’s not if they act effeminate, but if they act/look in a way seen as masculine, even slightly).
“look at her short hair, she looks like such a dyke”
“fucking queer boy, get a haircut”
Sometimes though, it’s the people who don’t realise they’re being offensive that are the worst ones. Microaggressions. Unintended discrimination.
I have a friend at work. She’s a lesbian. She’s in a happy, stable relationship, and wanted to buy her girlfriend a fragrance from the place we work. She happens to like a particular fragrance, but oh no! It’s a FOR MEN fragrance! The girl said to her “you know, just because you’re lesbians, doesn’t mean you have to wear male fragrances! You can wear lady ones!”
She didn’t think she was being offensive, she thought she was being helpful.
Another time, she mentioned her girlfriend in casual conversation to a manager, who then said “but you don’t LOOK like a lesbian!”
He was being serious.
“So who’s, you know, the LADY of the relationship?”
“…Neither of us, we’re both men”
“Oh YOU know what I mean!”
“DO YOU SERIOUSLY WANT ME TO DISCUSS GAY ANAL SEX WITH YOU BECAUSE I GUARANTEE YOU’LL TAP OUT VERY QUICKLY”
No, I don’t fancy you. I have a “type,” and you’re not it.
That type is, “not straight.”
(or more likely, “not you.”)
I dislike the fact that the phrase “no homo” exists. Like, men can’t compliment each-other without adding the disclaimer “but that doesn’t mean I want to have sex with you!” Are you truly that insecure, not in your masculinity, but in YOURSELF that you feel the need to add that?
Frankly, it’s a homophobic phrase. Another of those microaggressions I mentioned earlier. It implies a fear of being seen as gay, because wouldn’t THAT be terrible?
Well, maybe I’m biased but I don’t think it is. I think being gay is awesome, frankly, and I think lesbians, bisexuals, pansexuals and every other -sexuals are awesome too, so take your homophobic bollocks and bugger off with it.
I don’t really fit into a defined “type” of gay person, and I’m okay with that.
I’m too fat to be a twink, too hairless to be a bear. I’m not straight-acting, nor am I overly flamboyant. I like sports, and not just because “lol men in shorts, right?” which I get accused of on an alarming basis (one person even challenged me to define things like free kicks and the offside rule, because SURELY a gay man wouldn’t like sports for the SPORT ITSELF?!), but I also like video games. I don’t go to the gym, I dislike most musicals (but I LOVE the Lion King and Chicago), and I don’t have a penchant for dressing in drag, though I imagine I’d look lovely in a wig and I think RuPaul is AMAZING.
I don’t fit in a box, and that’s cool. People don’t have to. I’m a gay man, but I’m so much more than one thing. I’m a son, a brother, a gamer, a worker. I’m a friend, uncle, reader, writer (you’re reading me now!), TV-watcher, atheist (but tolerant of other religions).
Don’t define yourself entirely by one facet of your being. You are an amalgam of so many things, that to define yourself by one aspect would do you a disservice. Let all of you shine through.