Lately there have been a lot of new words bantered around by men who are openly attracted to other men but prefer not to use the term gay. This month let’s look at how I feel about “gay” and the “movements” of men reluctant to identify themselves that way.
For the most part I think we can all agree that homosexual is a clinical term that has a lot of negative charge for just about everyone. However clinical it may be it is an accurate description of a simple dynamic, being attracted to a person of your own gender. I’m using gender here because I am sometimes attracted to trans men.
I also agree with the many “alternative to gay” movements in recognizing that gay and homosexual are not synonyms. A man can be homosexual without being gay. Gay is a cultural identity. It describes a sub-culture that was born to create a safe space for like-minded people to come together and connect.
I identify as gay. I have been part of gay culture since I came out at 15. As our community diversified sub-segments of gay culture divided along other cultural lines like language, country of origin, age, etc. As a group gay people have become more diverse and so has the definition of what it is to be gay. I do not fall into many of the stereotypes. I’m not feminine, I don’t like “gay music”, I often prefer a relaxed style that isn’t particularly fashionable.
I have no issue with anyone wishing to find an alternative to gay culture as long as they are doing it for the right reasons. Let’s explore a couple of those alternative communities and see what they have to say.
An Androphile is someone of any gender who is attracted to men. No issue there. But the positions the community takes are more disturbing. Belittling other men who express more femininely is of no value. Rejecting the gay rights movement because it is rooted in socialism and left-wing politics is simply ignorant. While it may be historically true, there are many gay identifying men from everywhere on the political spectrum. The only reason we’re able to have this conversation is the hard-won rights that movement fostered.
Then there’s the G0y’s who shun effeminate behaviour as cowardly. It seems to me that effeminate guys are far braver given the price they pay for being themselves. It is far more cowardly to hide behind artificial standards of masculinity. The G0ys also find anal sex distasteful. But, humans across the sexuality spectrum engage in anal play. It isn’t a “gay thing” The G0ys seem ignorant of greater human reality and fixated on not seeming gay.
Perhaps a healthier approach would be to challenge the stereotypes rather than creating closets with new terms. Why not change the meaning of Gay by showing how diverse we are rather than isolating our brothers as pariahs because they choose to engage in anal sex, or don’t meet some narrow definition of masculinity.
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