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Internalized Homophobia

“Must be str8 acting…”

Such is a line in a M4M personals ad in Craig’s list. More precisely, it is a line from many personals ads in Craig’s list or in almost any gay matchmaking website.

I think it is safe to assume that many of those ads are placed by gay men, at least some of whom are “out.” Let’s think about what such an ad actually says about the poster and his stereotypes.  

He makes an assumption that many gay men can be distinguished from many straight men by the way that they behave.  There is really only one key behavioral distinction between gay men and straight men.  Gay men are attracted to other men and, unless they are celibate, have sex with other men.  Straight men are attracted to women and, unless they are celibate, have sex with women.  That’s the only difference. 

Unless we assume that our poster has a fetish for straight men in that he gets sexual satisfaction simply from being in the presence of these men, I suspect that he is confused about sexual identities.  Of course, I’m being a bit facetious.

We all know what the ad really means.  The poster wants to meet a gay or bisexual man who does not meet his own stereotype of how a gay man behaves.  This tells me several things about the poster any one of which ought to disqualify him as a suitable companion–even for a “quickie.” 

First, he’s a bigot.

Second, he is so stupid that he is willing to advertise his bigotry.

Third, since he is apparently not straight and since he has such a low perception of gay men, it follows that he has some real self-esteem issues. 

Bottom line: No thanks.  I’ll take my men self-confident, out, open, smart and gay or bisexual acting.  I have no desire to watch a guy “act straight.”

Mark Twain, I believe, said that he wouldn’t want to join any club that would have him as a member.  Of course that is just an example of Twain’s self-deprecating humor.  I fear that many gay men feel much the same way.  Their self-loathing is real.

I was an athlete, and I am still a fan of sports.  I don’t dance particularly well.  I don’t have a lisp.  I don’t have a limp wrist.  I’m not nearly as quick with campy humor as I would like to be.  I don’t spend hours trying to decide what to wear to a club.  I don’t swish my ass when I walk.  I have known some straight guys who swish, lisp and stand limp wristed.  They are all good men, but they are definitely straight.  I’m not very much like them at all.  And…I am definitely not straight acting.  Okay, I went through a period in my life where I did act straight, but I gave that up years ago. 

I am very gay acting.  Like many of us, sometimes I wish I could be gay acting a little more often.  I have a life companion/lover/partner/etc. whom I love, and he is male.  We “act gay” together.  I enjoy that.  Indeed, I might enjoy acting gay with you, but don’t ask, please, because I don’t do that, and I feel guilty when I’m tempted.

Internalized homophobia is a social problem that impacts all of us.  It keeps othewise perfectly good men from developing fully.  It keeps these men from becoming part of our community, because they are ashamed to be associated with some of us.  It keeps these men from meeting some really remarkable people who happen to not meet their narrow definition of how men should behave.

I could probably meet one of those men and live up to his behavioral expectations.  If I did, though, I’ll bet he would suddenly want me to be “gay acting.”  I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction, even if I were not partnered!

Our Articles Dealing With Homophobia:

  Homophobia Is Really Heterosexism 

  Fear of Homophobes

  Internatlized Homophobia

 Homophobic Irony

A Couple Of Highly Regarded, Relevant Books:








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