Straight men need to accept gay guys as we truly are
Let’s admit it: Pride month is like Christmas. From the attention brought by political activism to the freedom of sexually liberating parties, this month is definitely the most exciting of the year. But what if I told you that on my way to celebrate Lisbon´s 2017 Pride Parade, my happy gay bubble was burst? We are all used to stares, glares and ignorant comments from hetero normative idiots. But what if I also told you that, this time, the ignorant comments did not come from a stranger?
We saw some proud kids on their way to the parade, all glittered up and ready to have a blast. What happened next left me speechless. A friend who was with us asked “Why do they have to be all glittered up and dressed like that?”
I understand that our bubble can sometimes blind us. We do it even within our own community. But it reminded me that heteronormative ignorance isn´t just a socially distant reality. In fact, it´s found even in our closest social circles. And for us, gay guys, we often find it in the contact we have with some of our male straight friends.
I´m sure you too can relate to a series of unfortunate events that I’ve come to experience. Frankly, I think it´s time we recognize that we don´t have to be silent about how we feel about said “friends.” A friend is supposed to cherish everything about you, everything that makes you who you are. Nitpicking what they like about us while at the same time insulating themselves from what they´re uncomfortable with is self-absorbed and duplicitous, plain and simple.
Our straight male friends love to talk about their sex lives, and we often listen to their sexist comments. But why is it that when any sexual subject comes up they act as if, because we are gay, we should remain quiet and removed? Yes, gay men like sex (maybe even more than straight men do). And yes, we have anal sex (and we love it). It´s perfectly okay for straight guys to talk about their anal sex fantasies with women (the majority of whom don’t want it). But when gay men want to talk about it during a sexual conversation initiated by a straight guy, instead of openness we witness nothing but discomfort and disgust.
When we invite our straight friends to come out to a gay nightclub, we do it because we like having them around, and not because we want to get into their pants. When we compliment their jeans, or the volume of their biceps we are voicing our thoughts in an honest-based relationship, we are not trying to hit on them. Straight men don’t become less straight if they have a real, trusting connection with gay men. But unfortunately not everyone thinks this way.
These fake, heteronormative friends will tell you that they have “no problem with you being gay.” Which in of itself is one of the most patronizing and ignorant statements anyone can utter. I’ll admit that some people will genuinely feel that they need to assert their tolerance. But we shouldn’t confuse tolerance with acceptance. When I say I don’t have a problem with something, I’m also projecting a negative connotation onto it. So let us not be fooled by fake tolerance from people who drop their cheap act the moment gay men show even the slightest window into their sexual identity.
Obviously, not all straight men behave this way. One of my closest straight male friends is open, respectful and interested. In fact, his presence in my life is what made me notice the stark contrast between what it means to be a genuine straight friend and its polar opposite: blatant falseness. During a conversation, he asked me how prostate orgasms differ from regular ones and how he could go about exploring anal pleasure. He feels comfortable around my boyfriend and me. He even made it a point to join us at the Pride Parade. That´s what a supportive, true friend looks like.
The only way you can discern one kind of friend from the other is for you not to be a toned down version of who you really are. If you hide yourself in shame and shyness so that other people, people who don’t have your interests at heart, can feel comfortable in their heteronormative bubble, what’s the point?