The 'Right' Kind Of Gay
Like every kid considering coming out I was terrified. I had no idea what people would think, how they would react or if they would still love me. And like most the prospect of spending a couple more years tucked away in Narnia seemed alluring in comparison to the uncertainty of coming out.
But for anyone who knows I did come out and if you’ve stuck with me for sometime you know I actually had a positive coming out experience - but that isn’t the case for everyone. You don’t get to just come out and be a gay man anymore, you have to be a particular kind of gay to be accepted. In particular a masculine kind of gay.
Masculinity is something we’re taught to aspire towards from an early age. We’re taught to ‘man up’ to hide away our emotions and reject anything remotely feminine. Essentially forced into a box. A ‘man-box’ - nailed together by toxic masculinity, internalized homophobia and misogyny. The problem with this ‘man-box’ is that it’s created without everyone in mind. It forces the narrative that all men must be inherently masculine - which definitely isn’t the case.
Masculine gay men are more accepted by society because they fall into this ‘man-box’, although they are gay they still fit into the mold society has created of what it means to be a man. They don’t threaten straight guys masculinity - they replicate it. For feminine gay guys that isn’t the case. They don’t conform to societies norms, they don’t buy into toxic masculinity they reject it. They show that they can be exactly who they are, as they are and still be a man. A concept that most of society including gay society has a hard time understanding and because of this they aren’t always accepted.
This is the case inside the gay community too. With apps like grindr and magazines like Attitude often only displaying hyper-masculine gay men it drives the narrative that masculine is the only acceptable way for a gay man to be. Which in itself is damaging. There is no wrong kind of gay man.
You, exactly as you are right now is perfect. You don’t need to change, you don’t need to give up a part of yourself to be accepted. Society is what needs to change, our own community needs to change. We fight for acceptance, we always have - yet we often don’t accept members of our own community. Masculine, feminine, neither, either or a mix - it doesn’t matter. It’s a social construct. You are you and you are perfect - embrace it and I’m sure eventually society will catch up and embrace it too.