Alex Blaze

Cultural ex-gayism

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 20, 2007 1:06 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: ex-gay, gender, gender performance, internalized homophobia

Anyone who knows me knows that when I hear queer people describe themselves or their desired mate/sexual partner as "straight-acting", it's like nails on a chalkboard. I cringe, because there's too much internalized homophobia and self-contempt packed into that one phrase. And it's hard not to take it as a personal insult towards me, because what's wrong with acting gay? I'm not saying that gay men and lesbians should act like walking stereotypes, but that we should all be free to be ourselves, and, in that way, we can create our own identities and collude to construct archetypes of queerness that are diverse, inclusive, and constantly falling apart.

In other words, we should be who we are and love ourselves for it.

So when I found out about this, I just wanted to throw up. It's a site for gay men who describe themselves as straight-acting. Not much of it is up right now, although they do have a cool site intro, which makes me wonder how much work people have put into this. But you can take their Guy Quiz, think hard about the inane details that normal people don't obsess over, and, like I did, get told:

Hardly anyone would be able to pick you as a homo boy. All your actions are carefully crafted in a way that they never appear to be considered too fem. Only a fellow level 2 -- buddy might suspect you with the proper gaydar and it's just the way you like it.
After that, stroll into the message boards and read tens of thousands of posts about how everyone's just "relaxed" and "just being me". Funny how for gay men the act of not caring about your gender performance is itself a gender performance that one has to carefully maintain (c'mon, we all know what "chill" means in a personal). I wonder if that's developed the same way in lesbian culture?

Anyway, I'd have to say that this site actually affected me more when I first found it than Fred Phelps' page. Not because it made me angry, and it didn't make me sad either, it just made me rethink a lot about gay male culture. I knew that we definitely have an issue with trying to be like straight people. I just didn't think that people would make a snazzy webpage out of that sort of internalized homophobia. All that effort, and do these people really think that homophobes are going to accept them because of it?

Oh, and their T-shirt model doesn't wear pants. WEIRD!

(Crossposted from Q-Bomb)

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Marla R. Stevens | February 20, 2007 6:23 PM

Actually, I do think they think that they're going to be more accepted and, worse, that they think that that's a good thing. There's plenty of truth in the adage that homophobia is a weapon of sexism and internalized homophobia is no exception. I wish for them freedom from their victimization -- and from their victimizing. Both are pain-filled at the level of the soul.