Sometimes I just think there’s no hope for non-heterosexuals anymore. It’s been over 40 years since Stonewall and all the pride that comes when a minority demands it’s freedom seems to have dissipated. We are a broken group who have handed over our essence in exchange for… For what? Nothing! We’re still not equal!
And then there’s the whole concept of equality. It seems even the word “equality” has been confused with the word “same”. Non-heterosexuals, especially gay men, ESPECIALLY gay men, don’t have a uniqueness about themselves any more. All the anger at being treated like shit by heteronormative society has been turned inwards, and is now being directed at those of us from within who don’t pass as “straight”. The whole gay marriage rights movement has been hijacked by people demanding rights for being “the same” as heterosexuals, for being “normal”. It ignores the FACT that all of us deserve equal rights not for being the same, but for being human.
Society in general has always emasculated non-heterosexual men; it has always tried to box them into stereotypes that are then criticised and ridiculed and hated. The problem isn’t these stereotypes, because most of them actually exist (to some degree within every single gay man, including the “straight actors” whether they want to agree or not). The problem is how the stereotypes are treated – which is always badly. So as a knee-jerk reaction the gay community en masse has attempted to repress the stereotypical parts of itself, and to hate on the stereotypical gay men who don’t repress themselves, with as much, or even more, loathing as any homophobe ever could. And when we repress ourselves, we’re hating ourselves, and the repression comes out in violent, unhealthy ways. As a community (and know this: I always cringe when saying “community” these days, because there is no such thing anymore, it has been killed dead by this new wave of hetero-normals) we are incredibly emotionally violent towards each other, with the Internet and Grindr facilitating the most fucked-up of these violent interactions and normalising it.
Is it the insecurity that comes along with constant overt and covert homophobia that drives our community towards blanket repression of itself? Is that the cause? Of course it is! I find myself having to constantly acquiesce to statements such as “well a lot of us are just normal, masculine guys that don’t fit the stereotypes”, but something about such statements does not ring true to me. I strongly believe that if a gay man is completely honest with himself he will always admit that he is in touch with both a masculine and a feminine energy (remembering that “masculine/feminine” are social constructs anyway). But the problem is the exasperating conversations myself and people like me have to have with all these “straight acting” repressed men in the current day. They deny a massive part of who they are, and the by-product of this is they become non-authentic in every aspect, to others and to themselves, and by extension this perpetuates the homophobia of heteronormative society, and internalises it. These guys have repressed such an essential part of themselves, and are usually so incredibly unconscious of this, that it becomes impossible to even discuss this topic without triggering intense defence mechanisms and an argument that always ends badly. And if you’re unfortunate enough to start a relationship with one of them, then watch out for all the mind-fucking you will quickly start to experience (repressed men like these are complete sociopaths).
When I was younger, and just out of the closet, I was internally homophobic. I grew up in Sydney, and I HATED the Mardi Gras for all the same reasons these internalised homophobes hate gay culture today – because I was conditioned towards the heteronormative, and I thought to be gay meant I had to sashay down the street in gold hot pants and body shimmer, with shaped eyebrows, bleached hair, singing along to Kylie Minogue’s Better The Devil You Know (owoh owowoh owowowoh). Add to this I was a skinny thing who hated his own body (I was 5’10” and weighed 58kg – YES I WAS A TWINK) and of course thanks to my conditioning I was only attracted to big, muscular, masculine white men. Thankfully, the gay community at the time still interacted in the physical world. It wasn’t long before I met other gay men who would not tolerate my self-hatred projected onto them and others. They bitch-slapped me down, and the more I resisted the harder they slapped. They ostracised me until I learnt that I needed to respect all of my community, no matter how different to the heteronormal these people chose to express themselves. The point is, at that time (1993) I was in the MINORITY.
Nowdays, people with the disgusting attitudes I once possessed are ostracising people for being THEMSELVES. They are saying “if you do not pass as a straight man, you will not be accepted, and we will ridicule you for being a stereotypical, wrist-flapping, flaming queen.” It’s even more subtle than this. I’ve noticed that you can act as hetero as you like on the outside, and still be ostracised by these “normatives” for the crime of having a point of view (too gay), for the crime of thinking about queer politics (too gay), for the crime of thinking anything at all that doesn’t fit squarely inside the narrow parameters of “masc/straight”.
This sort of internalised homophobia and addiction to heteronormativity has always been around from what I can tell when reading stories from our past (far too few of these exist, by the way, thanks to the plague in the 80’s). But in the past it was harder for our community to splinter itself into fragments, and we had to physically interact. Once the Internet came along, the need for physical interaction (and common courtesy) dissipated rapidly. With courtesy gone, any differing points of view could be conveniently ignored/blocked away. It also meant the pack mentality could set in. People no longer had to evolve on any level, because it became so simple to resist any point of view that didn’t fit their own. BLOCK. And that pack turned into a herd, a massive herd. And there are now so many men in that herd who have never had the heteronormative brainwashing of their childhood and adolescence challenged in any way, that their fucked-up, self-hating view has become the “norm”.
But as anyone who is using their brain knows, just because a herd of people agree with each other, doesn’t mean they know what they are on about.
What can we do? That’s not a rhetorical question, I’m asking anyone who is reading this: WHAT CAN WE DO? Any ideas? We live in an age where gay men are increasingly becoming unconscious of themselves, where we can’t have authentic relationships with other humans because they are “acting straight”, where most of us are despising each other for “being gay”, and where an increasingly large number of us are living in isolated pockets of large cities with little to no interaction with our own kind.
How can we communicate these concepts without triggering the fear-filled knee-jerk (also known as the block button) of these “masc straight actors”? If you got all the way to the end of this piece, please reblog (REBLOG, DON’T JUST LIKE!!!!!), and add your thoughts.