A response to a newbie, “straight actor” PT2

This is the second part of my discussion with this guy (see other post below)

I have to admit, I’m somewhat disappointed. I thought we were having a polite debate, yet you call me a “newbie straight actor” in the title of your response which also totes the words “stop gay racism and internalised homophobia.” Really? : Never once in my response was I advocating any of that; in fact, I was claiming to support the opposite.

You state that the person in the post doesn’t come across as bisexual to you. That’s nice, but I don’t quite see how that was ever open to our interpretation to begin with. He claims to be bisexual – whether he is or not is nobody else’s business, and pretending as though we somehow hold the key to what shows if a person is gay or bisexual seems rather arrogant to me. You can’t say “Oh, well, he’s not coming across as bisexual” because that’s perpetuating the stereo-type that bisexual people do indeed act a specific way. Everyone’s different. I feel like we need to accept other people’s sexualities, whether they be gay, straight, bi, pansexual, whatever. If they say they’re something, we have no right to debate that publically. 

Moving on, however. I don’t see how you can claim that your site isn’t about calling men who dislike feminine qualities to be homophobes when you state one of the reasons for him being homophobic is how he’s “pretending to be straight” by liking drag races (something you can’t prove) and then subsequently mocking him by saying he probably meant drag queens. 

I respect the fact that you’re standing up for people who are victimized by behavior that is harmful to them, such as the persecution in the gay community of people who are overly feminine or in the drag business. I whole-heartedly support your cause and have voiced my same opinion on it several times. However, what I’m trying to get across is that the way you’re “fighting” this is by systematically doing what you’re trying to fight against to other people. You state that what your “site IS about is educating people to be careful in the language they use in discussing what they’re attracted to. It’s about using a language that respects others and doesn’t make them feel like shit.” Like I’ve said before, I support your cause whole-heartedly. However, what you’re doing is the anti-thesis of that; you mock this man’s sexuality by saying that he hasn’t accepted the fact he’s gay yet by saying he’s bisexual (an extremely offensive statement, honestly), make fun of his spelling when he describes the type of men he’s interested in, guess at what creates a “real” man for him (while also suggesting he’s secretly interested in RuPaul’s drag race and can’t admit it), and then call him homophobic for listing what he finds attractive. You showed absolutely zero respect for him, whether you found him to be homophobic or not, and described him as a self-hating gay because he wasn’t interested in more effeminate men. How on earth is that supposed to respect others and not make men such as myself who aren’t attracted to effeminate men feel like shit? As I’ve stated before, and as you stated in the post I’m replying to, we cannot control what we are attracted to. If someone is stating they’re attracted to (or not attracted to) something in a healthy way, that is not grounds for them to be summarily attacked or ridiculed. I agree that this man needed to be classier with how he stated his interests, but the way in which you attacked him was offensive to several different groups. That’s all I’m trying to get across here. 

As for the final step in your list, the reason I used the term “somewhat straight-acting” is because that was the term I’d seen you use. After reading my other post, I’m certain you realize that I hate the term just as much as you do, and it annoyed me to have to describe myself that way. However, there aren’t any other readily available words at hand and I’m currently on medication after a tonsillectomy. This combination certainly doesn’t lean towards finding a thesaurus. Like I’ve said a thousand times over, I see nothing wrong with feminine traits, just like how I see nothing wrong with masculine traits. However, I’m only attracted to masculine traits in men. The way your posts are set up seem to convey that simple fact to be somewhat homophobic; though I agree that people bash on flamboyancy in the gay community and that it does need to end, please realize that bashing on people who enjoy masculine qualities the way you’re doing it can be just as hurtful to people who may already feel as though they, too, are a minority within a minority. 

1. Sorry for being offended by the title. It’s a mis-communication. I meant newbie as in “new follower of my blog”, and “straight actor” well, because you called yourself “somewhat straight acting”.

2. I stick to my guns about my belief of the person’s sexuality, but I agree there’s no way to know. I think this because I’ve seen it time and time again – the most homophobic people are almost always the most gay. He claims to be bi, but his entire profile is centred around finding a male partner for whatever, and not a single mention of women, YET THIS IS ON A SO-CALLED STRAIGHT SITE. If the profile was on Grindr I’d still have an issue with what he had written, but not an issue with the word “Bi”. However, I do not know how you and I can continue to debate this particular point without going around in circles.

3. Yes I mocked the guy, and I’ll do it again. I have no tolerance for these sorts of people at all.

4. “You say one of the reasons for him being homophobic is how he’s pretending to be straight” – I don’t recall giving that as a reason at all. Might want to clarify that point for me.

5. “The way you’re fighting this is by systematically doing what you’re trying to fight against to other people.” You go on to say how little respect I showed him, and how that makes me just as bad as him, and how my behaviour is the anti-thesis of my site. NO. This is a common de-railing argument. I think you should go and get more information, from sites such as www.derailingfordummies.com or just Google “de-railing arguments”. Using the “you’re just as bad as they are argument” is moving away from the topic at hand, and it is a way of suggesting that I am somehow on par with people like the guy in question, who uses language to stigmatise and insult non-heterosexuals that don’t fit his heteronormative ideal. I can guarantee you that if I sent him a nice, sweet message asking politely for him to reconsider the language he uses, the response would be a swift, merciless, insulting attack from him. Why can I guarantee it? Because I’ve tried that tactic countless times, and IT SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK. The only tactic that has yielded even moderate results is the “Name and Shame” approach, and that is the one I choose. The “you’re just as bad as they are” argument is insulting, because it suggests we have to sit by and put up with discrimination, otherwise be labeled as discriminators ourselves. Again, NO.

6. I reject your arguments altogether about how people like this man shouldn’t be summarily judged for their language. They should be. They need to be. They will not learn otherwise. Again, you are trying to push a “softly softly” approach, an approach which doesn’t work. This was the approach the whites kept telling the blacks they should use during the Civil Rights Movement – they were insulted by that request and I am too. When fighting ignorance and bigotry nothing is achieved with that approach. You are also feeling sorry for the offender, rather than for the people his offensive language damages. We have had enough. He will either learn from this, or remain an ignorant arsehole. But people like myself aren’t going to sit by and allow these fools to propagate their bullshit in public on the internet and on our phones any more. 

7. You also indicate that you think my reaction to his profile was too severe. Again, another de-railing technique. It’s the kind of statement that trivialises issues, and disregards the damage that his type of language has on individuals and the community. The fact that we are having such a lengthy debate also indicates to me that in fact, my reaction was not an “over-raction” at all – this subject is loaded and these issues need to be discussed. To me, and to many other people, this issue is not trivial. Just because you are new to this issue, or at the very least new to seeing it dealt with in this way, doesn’t mean my many months of dealing with it in the public space is negated. Basically, I have a lot more experience than you in dealing with these types of people, and I think it would be better for you to go through my blog a bit more before arguing on this particular point with me.

8. You’re last point about your use of the term “somewhat straight acting”. I guess you should just always remember the actual word is “masculine”. Whilst masculine opens up a whole other can of worms, it is not an offensive term like “straight acting”. But on this last point, it seems to me we have just had a bit of mis-understanding rather than anything else.