Sexism in the gay community

When Jim Wallace sent the ACL’s Credibility up in smoke, I was sure that would be the topic of my second article this week.  But frankly, I’m sick of it.  Everyone has written about it, and many people have written much better material than I could.

So I’m going to talk instead about something more personal, less about rights and more about how “the community” feels to me at the moment.  Specifically, the G in GLBTI.

I’m single. I’m a nice, caring, IT geek. I look online at various dating sites like Gaydar, Manhunt, Grindr, or Scruff.  I see a bunch of interesting profiles and I click on them to look further.  It seems like three out of four make some statement about masculinity.  “masc only”,”looking for straight-acting”, “I’m gay because I like GUYS” and my personal favourite, “NO FEMS”.

So, where does that leave me?  I wouldn’t say I’m full-on effeminate, but I’d never suggest I’m “masculine” either.  What does all that mean anyway?  I’m not typically an action-film person.  I’m not exactly a love-story guy either.  I’ve learned how to hand-stitch a teddy bear, done a short course in flower arranging, know multiple embroidery stitches, and I prefer “pretty” to plain functional.  I don’t drink beer, I’m more of a wine or spirits guy. I bake and decorate cakes, love to cook in general, I build computers, and ride a motorbike too. I may not be “masculine” but I’m still a man – whatever that might mean.

What I think people mean by the above is that they don’t want “the flaming queen”. Well I have news for you, missies!  Those “flaming queens” are the people who fought for your right to be openly gay today.  Open a gay history book and you’ll find out that it was the drag queens and the gays of Stonewall in the 60s who really kicked things off for us, who were persecuted so that you could be “out” without fear of criminal charges!  And guess what?  They were still men too.

But even if they don’t mean that, where’s the “feminine” line, and frankly, why is crossing it such a terrible thing?  We who seek equality and an end to discrimination wind up reinforcing one of the oldest -isms in the world: sexism.  We use “feminine” as a derogatory word even as many of us would call ourselves feminists.

I personally don’t care about whether a guy is masculine or feminine.  I don’t want a guy to be “straight-acting” – what’s the point in putting on an act?  I want a man just to be himself, not caring about the masculinity or femininity of a particular trait or action, doing it simply because it is what he wants to do.