Straight-Acting, Self-Loathing Gay Men…

Sánchez, F., Westefeld, J., Liu, W., & Vilain, E. (2010). Masculine gender role conflict and negative feelings about being gay. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41 (2), 104-111 DOI: 10.1037/a0015805

It is surprising for me to read here that there has been little research conducted into the impact of masculinity upon gay men (2010, p.105). Sanchez et al. (2010) attribute this gap, in part, to the fact that gay men only make up three per cent or so of the male population (p.105). Further, since gay men are stereotypically perceived to be ‘effeminate’, we are presumably immune from the pursuit of masculine ideals and therefore are not considered to be a research priority (2010, p.105). Wrong. The authors argue that gay men are just as likely as straight men to want to appear all things manly (2010, pp.105-106). This sets up any number of problems, from psychological conflict through to intense hatred for other gay men who are ‘less masculine’ than they should be.

Of all the problems that the ideology and practice of masculinity cause for gay men, I think that self-loathing is by far the most harmful. Gay ‘community’ can be a tough ask, where to get through the front door typically means being white, young, middle-class, professional, buffed, toned, and yes, ‘straight-acting’. That exclusion rules are rigidly enforced within the gay community makes those masculine ideals enforced in the wider community that much more harsh. After all, one of the presumed benefits from membership of an outsider group is the strength that flows from internal solidarity. No such solidarity occurs in the gay community, well at least not here in Sydney. Tensions thus, are not merely linear, point-to-point, but within individuals, within groups and between groups, amongst other variations.

Learning to hate in others what you are yourself is self-evidently, likely to adversely impinge upon your psychological well-being (2010, p.106). I know of so many gay men who absolutely loathe any gay man who they believe to be too showy, too girly, or too gay. That is, men who through their behaviours and attitudes define us in the public eye as contrary to masculine ideals. Gay men who appear feminine, weak, or emotional shame those gay men who invest so much time and energy in ‘covering’, that is, pretending to be straight (2010, p.105). Conflating masculine ideals with strict adherence to heteronormativity poses the impossible challenge for gay men, since none of us can ever achieve the mantle of ‘straight, normal’. It is the cruellest trick, and the reactive side of homophobia that gets so little scrutiny.

By surveying 622 ‘self-identified gay men’ (2010, p.104), Sanchez et al. came up with four main findings:

  1. That masculinity ‘is an important construct for many gay men’;
  2. That ‘many gay men desire romantic partners who appear masculine’;
  3. That ‘on average the gay men [surveyed] wished to be more masculine than they perceived themselves to be’; and
  4. That ‘gay men who place an importance on masculinity, who have trouble being affectionate with other men, and who are immersed in school/work activities may feel negatively about being gay’ (2010, pp.108-109).

Focusing on therapeutic work with gay men, the authors suggest that psychologists might help a gay client ‘see the connection between society’s rigid masculine ideals and his internalized conception of masculinity, and how that that ideal is affecting his well-being’ (2010, p.109). For many gay men, in therapy or not, one of our ongoing tasks is to spot and chuck out all the junk in our lives, starting with that big fat lie that we are something less than manly. That much resistance for better understanding the role of masculinity in the lives of gay men will come from the gay community itself, provides an additional layer of complexity. However, I would agree with Sanchez et al. (2010, pp.109-110), that further research on this subject is important, and necessary…

  1. May 2, 2010 at 10:30 pm | #1

    fantastic article!

    finally someone who said the unspeakable: there is indeed homophobia within the gay community.

    and – be assured – not only in sydney.

    • May 3, 2010 at 12:08 am | #2

      Sadly, as much as people have the potential for good some of us can, under certain circumstances, turn on ourselves like wild dogs. The Milgram Experiments proved that in a crude fashion. There are plenty of real-world examples, too. I can only hope that over time, we work toward developing inclusive communities for all citizens, regardless of who they are.

  2. Icarus
    May 2, 2010 at 10:37 pm | #3

    The whole idea of supposedly living up to ‘masculine ideals’ is stupid and unnecessary, regardless of whether we’re talking about gay men or straight men. People need to not take so much notice of it. My mates might take the mickey out of me for listening to Taylor Swift or watching RomComs but I don’t care and they’re still my mates.

    • May 3, 2010 at 12:12 am | #4

      That’s a really important point. Some people can be anxious little beans, afraid of the prospect of what might happen if they do or don’t do x, y or z. It’s only when we take a few risks in life that we might, as you have done, discover that the sky doesn’t necessarily fall down.

  3. May 4, 2010 at 12:25 am | #5

    The author, either of the blog entry and/or the ms (i’ve not read it) make an odd statement – ” Gay men who appear feminine, weak, or emotional shame those gay men who invest so much time and energy in ‘covering’, that is, pretending to be straight (2010, p.105)”

    Being gay means being attracted to men. With many people, that’s where it stops. It needn’t be a lifestyle, and needn’t define you as a person any more than the fact that you have brown hair – being gay and how you appear to others are two totally different ideas. I know gay men who are very masculine and I know straight men who most assume to be gay.

    Appearing as though you are straight is not the same as covering up or pretending to be straight. I may equally posit that straight men are covering up their camp side. The term ‘straight-acting’ is unfortunate in that it directly suggests covering up, but that’s not how the term is interpreted by many.

    • May 4, 2010 at 8:49 am | #6

      The term ‘straight-acting’ is highly problematic, not the least reason being that gay men are not straight and that trying to act straight is both futile and well, a little repulsive. Straight-acting as an expression of self-loathing does, unfortunately, include that element of also loathing any gay man who does not play the stupid, straight-acting game. That straight men, as you point out, like gay men, are also caught up in the charade of restraining their true emotions, fundamentally means that many men are ripped off.

  4. May 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm | #7

    Interesting post.

  5. MIke
    May 30, 2010 at 2:49 am | #8

    Im a gay guy. And very ‘straight acting’. Most people who meet me are very surprised when i tell them im gay. One girl in work even said i was lying and i couldn’t be gay. And when i said im 100% gay. She just said rubbish and said i must be bi at the very most. But its not an act, its just me. Im not homophobic but i do sometimes feel abit uncomfortable around camp gay men. I think that ‘straight’ people think that all gay men are camp. But they just think that because its the camp men that stand out. Most gay men are just normal acting men, so people have no reason to think otherwise.

    • May 30, 2010 at 9:18 am | #9

      It would be ideal if we could learn to love and accept gay men of all types, and all demeanours. I am glad you confound people around you. Their discomfort proves that they have to ‘re-think’ their concepts of what a gay man is, or should be.

    • November 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm | #10

      I see a few things in your post that can be interpreted as internalised homophobia. Apart from your use of and identification with “straight acting”, I find the most problematic part of your post to be where you state:

      “Most gay men are just normal acting men.”

      This is what upsets me the most – the fact that you consider one way of “acting” to be “normal”. So what does that mean for a camp man? Does that mean he is not “normal”?

      This is not an attack on you at all, but I don’t like your view for this reason. To the camp man, the way he is “acting” is normal to him, and to the ultra masculine man, the way he is acting is probably normal to him too. So what is normal? And who gets to decide what “normal” is?

      If you are saying that to behave or “act” like the majority of hetero men is “normal” then how do you think that makes people feel if they don’t act or behave in that manner? I will tell you – it makes them feel isolated, separate, and not “part of the group”. Just because, in your eyes, they are not “normal”.

      Camp guys are just as normal as you and every other guy out there. I hope you can see this.

      • rob
        March 14, 2012 at 5:55 am | #11

        Unfortunately your posts reflects what is in fact insecurities with traits like campiness.

        Heres the problem. Normal by definition denotes “typical, conforming to a defineable average, common expected patterns.” Most of us (straight gay or bi) are NOT normal in some aspect or other. We are all going to have to all accept that certain behaviours, personality types, and personal expressions are not and will not likely be considered typical, average or common (aka normal).

        I think instead what you are alluding to is a reference to whether being one way or another denotes morality, “being broken” or “inappropriate.” This of course is a completely different matter. Being campy, a leather guy, a drag queen, or a blue haired lumber jack, is more than appropriate… just not common or typical of most of humanity.

        Depending on our circumstances… being “normal” will always be subjective. But let us not confuse it with the insecurities that draw many of us to conclude that we are societally inappropriate. Frankly normal is a bit overratted.

    • Jordan Salzmann
      November 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm | #12

      what the hell the is ‘normal acting’?

  6. SouthFerry
    August 31, 2010 at 5:01 pm | #13

    This is a fantastic rebuttal on the notion that homosexuals are one big homogenous group. I agree entirely that this community (well, in Melbourne, not Sydney) is dysfunctional, hypocritical and, essentially, deeply shameful of who they rae.

    Good job!

    • September 1, 2010 at 1:16 am | #14

      Trying to explain to gay friends who want to experience the Melbourne scene that there is Camp Abbotsford and Camp South Yarra is difficult, especially when I get to the part that yes, you probably will have to choose.

  7. Confused
    January 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm | #15

    This whole debate is really tiring. Some gay boys play with dolls and dress up in women’s clothes. Some play football. So what. I am tired of being called homophobic and self hating just because I am attracted to more masculine men. I have worked with and socialised with effeminate men and enjoyed their company. Occasionally have I taken it further and let a girly boy fuck me. How homophobic! I am a gay man. I am attracted to men. I have been told all my life that this is wrong. Now I have to put up with other gay men telling me my sexual attraction is wrong? Fuck off.

    • January 13, 2012 at 11:42 pm | #16

      Yes, I would have thought that all so many gay men have ‘fought’ for over the years was that essential right, ‘to be’. How you think, act or feel, who you fuck or how you otherwise live your life should be your own business and not open to judgment.

  8. January 14, 2012 at 11:55 am | #17

    Excuse me! No one is saying anything about who you should fuck. It’s not about that at all, its about the language of exclusion that has become too prevalent in the last 10 years amongst gay men. It’s this whole “No Femmes” attitude, and also labelling used by so-called “Masc Men” that causes other gay men distress.

    Once again, if only the focus could be on want one WANTS rather than what one DISLIKES. This is the issue here. I want there to be an accepting gay community, where the diversity of our sexuality can be celebrated, rather than turning on a gay dating app and seeing NO THIS, NO THAT every time I look at a profile.

    I am also what would be described as “masc” and this is, like you, not a choice, just the way I am. I try to be just my authentic self but am often mistaken for being hetero. This is not some internalised homophobia on my part trying hard to be straight, as I’m an avid pro-gay rights campaigner.

    It’s just that there is so-often a strong flavour of “I hate faggoty girlie gay guys’ that comes across in most “masc” profiles, and it needs to stop.

    And when “masc” guys push the whole “only into masc” thing too hard, they come across as homophobic, which is why you may have been accused of that on occasion.

    How does all this sound to you -I’m not trying to attack you, just get to the base of the issues here.

    • January 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm | #18

      I’ve got a site about this issue where people can go if they like: its called:

      http://www.stopracismandhomophobiaonhrindr.com
      :-)

    • January 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm | #20

      That men fuck and how men fuck has always been pivotal to homophobia both from without, and from within the gay community. Few things seem to upset the straight male psyche more than the fact that any man might desire to be penetrated at all, let alone by another man. I note with alarm that the current obsession by the gay elite professional/academic hegemon with proving how ‘normal’ we all are via claims to marriage equality, home loans, poodles and babies has denuded the gay rights movement of that which does indeed makes us distinct, or different. ‘Collective covering’ might be misconstrued by some as our coming of age but I would tell an alternative story, and the evidence would back me up here, that is, that as a dedicated bloc campaigns to complete our tranformation into designer beige, those fags who still dare to live on the edge become even further marginalised. You oft refer to diversity and inclusion and I would totally agree that as citizens in a democratic society, each of retains that absolute right to be whoever or whatever we want…

    • Patrick
      May 10, 2012 at 5:36 am | #21

      You cannot force a masculine acting gay guy to be sexually attracted or simply like effeminate gays. I am a masculine acting gay guy and I simply do not find normally any common ground with effeminate gays (e.g. talking about perfumes), full stop. It is not that i hate them but it is true that they are portraying an image that is not the one of not effeminate gays and they tend to be annoying and cicky (e.g. trying to flirt with other men in public, straight or gay, with obviously no chance whatsoever, just pathetic and embarrassing).

      • Jason in Sydney
        June 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm | #22

        Could you just stop? We don’t need to hear any more about how you want to steretype “effeminate” gay men. Basically, what you just said is that ALL effeminate gay men talk about perfume, and hit on men in public that they have no chance of getting. You are an idiot. Let’s talk about facts instead, which is something you can’t seem to do. Not all effeminate gay men talk about perfume, but some of them do. Not all of them hit on men they can’t get, but some of them do. In fact, many of the “straight men” they hit on actually have sex with them (there’s a huge market for it, something I’m sure would make YOU jealous). A lot of my effeminate friends report that a lot of so-called “straight/bi” identifying men have sex with them on a very regular basis. At the end of the day, however, people have a right to make passes at anyone they like, adn if they are rejected, they are rejected. When you complain about them doing this, it only reflects on yourself, on your own sense of shame at being gay, and not the other way around. In fact, I would go so far as to say you are JEALOUS and ENVIOUS of men who are so comfortbale with themselves that they come on to whoever they like. I can tell from your language that you are probably one of those gay guys who is still too insecure with his sexuality to be able to freely express your sexual desires. All of this combined shows that the only person who is PATHETIC and MEBARASSING is yourself. Effeminate men exist, but they are a very diverse bunch. You, on the other hand, are homogenised and formulaic, and its all because you are too uncomfortbale to express yourself. Go away.

  9. January 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm | #23

    Agreed

  10. Ryan King
    February 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm | #24

    You are all out to lunch, from what I’ve read. A straight-acting man may desire an equal or better relationship… which has nothing to do with the “circus” of gay lifestyles, nor should he be stigmatized for puking on Gay Pride Festivals, where I personally have found nothing to be “proud” about… prancing down the street half naked in a g-string, and this is supposed to be behavior which causes the rest of the world to look on you as someone to respect and be respectable?? Give me laugh. Or more… a cry. A straight-acting, and so desiring man does NOT hate himself. But if he is a righteous guy, he surely doesn’t wish to live in or be associated with a dishonorable lifestyle. Nor does he want to be labeled “Gay.” And quite frankly, it is very difficult to live in (or supposedly be forced to accept and live with) the pigpen, if you are not a pig. This neither means a straight-acting guy does not disdain the arts, and only loves football and pizza; in fact the opposite could be true. Personally, I loathe sports, and the whole sports mentality. I am not a lumberjack or ball-busting cowboy. In fact, I am on the softer side of life in my interests. But I wish to lead my life not among nor with a virtual swishing circus of perverts and sex-by-the-numbers males, who brains are basically geared to their genitals… and think of little else. Which IS how the gay world comes off to the rest of society, like it or not — and I wonder why? Because you can tell a tree by it’s fruit, and wisdom by her children. And if that’s the picture you have created, who else can you blame but yourself?

  11. February 3, 2012 at 10:18 am | #25

    Well, Ryan King, I would like to start off by thanking you for so clearly demonstrating exactly the kind of self-hating vitriol that proponents of the term “straight acting” are so often guilty of. Far from feeling put in my place by your point of view, I feel as though no one could have proved my point so clearly as you just have. Your language is hateful and shows a deep unconscious resentment towards being gay. You stereotype gay men into morally corrupt, g-string wearing, depraved animals, whilst at the same time somehow trying to equate “straight acting” men as genuine guys with wholesome attitudes to life who are being victimised in some way by a misperception that all gay men are disgusting animals. The fact that you categorise gay men as living in a “dishonourable lifestyle” does nothing but prove just how little respect you have for the enormous diversity of gay culture. You have focussed on one small subset group of gay people, done the typical homophobic thing of stating they represent everyone, and then vilified them for being who they are. Here is a snapshot of the negative language you have just used towards your own kind: CIRCUS OF GAY LIFESTYLES, PUKING ON GAY PRIDE FESTIVALS, PRANCING DOWN THE STREET, DISHONOURABLE LIFESTYLE, THE PIGPEN, SWISHING CIRCUS OF PERVERTS AND SEX-BY-THE-NUMBERS MALES. It’s those people swishing down the street for the last 40 years that has allowed you to comfortbaly lead your non-scene gay lifestyle without fear of being locked up for having a mental disorder or imprisoned, or worse still, living in a prison of your own making with a wife and children. They deserve your respect, not your disgusting language of hate. We are not straight, not you, not me, and not them. “Straight Acting” is an offensive term, used by unsconscious individuals who hate themselves and hate other gay men because the straight-world has fashioned you so. I thank you once again for proving this point so clearly, even though you have no conscious idea that you have done so. You, my friend, have a lot of evolving to do, not just as a gay man, but simply just as a human being.

  12. Ryan King
    February 7, 2012 at 6:53 am | #26

    You missed the whole spiel by focusing on your blatant sexuality, and the flaunting thereof.
    I have evolved. And the issue is a spiritual one. Which you seem to ignore, forget… or want nothing to do with, as long as you can wag your wanger in public and expect to be treated as a mature, intelligent person with values?
    And thus, it comes to a simple matter of paying attention to what is sin? If you are a non-righteous person, this means as little to you as it does to an atheist. And I grieve that so many hunky, attractive, (otherwise) intelligent men have chosen to disregard God and His standards because they’ve been taught God hates them… so they are not about to sign up and join the righteous, because they wouldn’t be allowed to wave their wangers so freely and without consequence. (Sort of on the idea, like Christ said… if your right eye offends you, and would keep you from getting into heaven, then pluck it out. And so we can imagine how many super well hung guys would elect to cut “it” off, ignore it, or what have you, to go to heaven? Quite a conflict, there. Indeed, after all, didn’t the Almighty give you your equipment to use and enjoy?) So to compensate for any spiritual need, which is rather inborn into our species, they instead tend to run off into all sorts of weird and false spiritual trips… because then they will not have to be accountable to a righteous God, and therefore can ignore sin-restricting labels, by doing as they please without consequence (they suppose) by creating their own God, or trying at best (as Satan did) to become at-one-with, or even equal to their creator. Doesn’t work.
    So the major issue goes back to being a “righteous” person. Because sin is sin for the sexual or the non-sexual alike… regardless of gender or nationality. And THAT seems to be of no consideration to anyone these days. But you make your choices. Every day, regarding almost everything. Who am I to change you; it is not my responsibilty?!! But it is my responsibility how I will or will not conduct myself, whether publicly or privately. I have no desire to be a monk, either. But it is simple as pie. You either find what you are looking for, or you don’t. Otherwise, you will settle for less… and that’s exactly what you will get, and get to keep.
    And the choice both for life in the here and now, and the life there and hereafter… is simply yours. And you WILL have to endure the consequences thereof.
    Enjoy.

  13. February 7, 2012 at 8:39 am | #27

    You have not evolved. You are constrained by the shackles of a cult that still slavishly adheres to the non-sensical tenets of a 3000 year old scrap of paper. But at least we all know where you are coming from now. I feel sorry for you, because you are so full of hatred and bile for yourself and other gay men (which does nothing if not to prove just how NOT-righteous you actually are). There’s no use furthering this discussion with you, because your insecurities and weaknesses have been exploited by religious concepts that are illogical and designed to prey upon your fears. Basically, you are a lost cause, and it’s people like yourself that, unfortunately, contribute a lot more damage to the gay community than any idiotic hetero-homophobe ever could.

  14. February 7, 2012 at 8:45 am | #28

    PS – no further communication will be entered into with Ryan King – there’s no point communicating with bigots, their fear, hatred, and ignorance of others blinds them to any logical discussion.

    • Ryan King
      February 8, 2012 at 5:51 am | #29

      As stated before, a tree is known by its fruit, and wisdom is known by her children.

  15. Brandon Chant
    February 8, 2012 at 8:01 am | #30

    On a brighter note, there are many, many gay men who have accepted themselves and their sexuality, and who lead very good lives full of compassion and love, who accept the enormous diversity of human sexuality as a beautiful thing, and treat others the way they themselves wish to be treated – with respect. These strong, proud gay men are doing an excellent job in educating the “straight acting” assimilationists on how negative an impact their self-hating insecurities are having on our community as a whole. Despite all the anti-gay fervor coming from outside and also unfortunately from within the community, these people know that they have a right to equal rights and equal respect simply because they are human and deserve those rights and respect. They know they do not need to conform to still deserve these things, despite what any hater might like to shout.

    • November 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm | #31

      I’m gay and i’m proud of that, although nobody has so far guessed it that i could be gay, i love working out in gym not because i have to impress someone, its just my passion. I love the company of effimate guys but i have always want that my partner would be just like me. I’ve never done anything wrong to anyone, humanity comes first thats what i believe. Whenever i go to clubs gay guys stare at me sometimes i thought that i’m different but i’m still waiting for my right guy, i’m not a guy who has sex with anyone especially the present times when so many diseases out there and guys taking drugs. Good things comes at the right time.

  16. March 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm | #32

    I personally LOVE it when a guy writes ‘Straight Acting/Masculine or No Fems’ as it tells me right away to delete, block or run a mile.

    Its funny how some guys here think that its either this or that. So I’m wondering where I fit. I’m a 6’5 ex-model, been told I’m too fem yet I trail run in the Daintree Rainforest (my home) most days. I’m very strong emotionally & physically. I do Yoga everyday. I’m fashion forward & have a child like playfullness. I own & run my own massage business & very successful. That straight or gay acting?!?!?!?

    My point is I totally get sexual attraction is personal but entirely different to emotional attraction. Guys aren’t attracted to me because I’m too ‘fem’ (I’ve been told) but are hopelessly drawn to my obviously strong sense of self & confidence. Something they sadly lack it seems. We ALL have internalised homophobia. Guys inadvertently leak it out when they write Straight Acting/Masculine or No Fems shit! Its a great filter!

  17. March 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm | #33

    RIP Ryan King

  18. rob
    March 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm | #34

    So back to semantics wars. I would really appreciate a word that describes what I appreciate in a man’s personality. If “straight acting” and “masculine” cause confusion can anyone think of a word that better describes that which I am and desire?

  19. Lalaland
    March 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm | #35

    Masculine is fine. Straight acting is offensive. Cisgender or cismale also spring to mind (google them). Point is u have many options without resorting to homophobic statements. It’s not semantics at all. It’s about using language to include rather than to insult. Pretty simple stuff.

  20. rob
    March 14, 2012 at 4:42 am | #36

    I was with you until you pulled the homophobic card.

    Personally I would find “masculine” to be a much more negating term as it draws on a conclusion of what it is to be masculine and male. You are correct that “straight acting” is offensive, but NOT on those that are not “straight acting” but to those that ARE and the inference that they are “acting.”

    Unfortunately you are trying to demand counter intuitive language of people that are cis male and the language they are trying to use to describe themselves… but no matter what they use it STILL offends those that are not that. Unfortunately its not about you.

    It is appropriate to say what you are and what you seek. “I am a masculine, professional, white male that seeks similar.” It is not appropriate to use negating language: “No ethnics, unemployed or fems.”

    If the greater gay community is so easily offended by such language then the onus is on them to create common language that includes and is descriptive without negating those that must wear it. Concluding that a gay man is self loathing and homophobic because he is a cis male is utterly rediculous and absurd????

  21. Lalaland
    March 14, 2012 at 6:45 am | #37

    Honestly just a total load of drivel. You need to read a hell of a lot more before you bang on like a fool. You are a self loathing homophobe, and like all the others you are too brain-dead to see it. Respond how you like, I won’t engage with unconscious people like you who have zero self awareness

  22. rob
    March 14, 2012 at 6:49 am | #38

    Honestly Lalaland do you not hear yourself?? You are desperately trying to speak to another’s level of self awareness but only revealing your own? Typically it would seem that when people revert to name calling and mudflinging, it is a reflection of thier own personal struggles???

    Best to you.

  23. March 14, 2012 at 9:18 am | #39

    If you are a gay man who feels uncomfortable with ‘campy’ or ‘girly’ gays because it makes people think all gay men are like that…well….sorry to say that’s YOUR problem.

    Does it mean you have internalised homophobia? YES!

    Does it mean you have the same issue as most straight men against gay or straight ‘girly’ guys YES!

    Does it make you any more masculine having this issue? NO!

    Do all gay men secretly seek masculine or straight acting men? NO?

    I’m tired of gays with such rank old issues & dress them as a justified concern.

    Get over yourselves…not everyone wants to fuck you!

    • rob
      March 14, 2012 at 11:37 am | #40

      Um WHO is that aimed at????

      I am understanding that the point here is that many do not like the term “masculine” or “Straight acting?” Again back to my original point… what is an appropriate term?

      I dont think anyone is jumping on campy or girly guys?

      • March 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm | #41

        That comment wasn’t directed at you at all. As for an appropriate term , why do you need one? I’m curious given that what people define as masculine is so different.

        My idea of masculinity is someone who is intune with their feelings (sexy) , isn’t afraid to show their feminine side (really sexy), Totally comfortable with their sexuality & therefore not afraid to be open about their attraction to the same sex. Someone who has a child like & playful enthusiasim (highly attractive), someone who is adaptable & not afraid of change….A far cry from societys ‘general’ idea of ‘masculine’

        I don’t need a ‘term’

        Why not say ‘comfortable with myself’

  24. rob
    March 15, 2012 at 12:31 am | #42

    Thank you Mike

    Mike you are articulating a very real truth that I am aware is a very real insecurity for gay men that do not fit into the established, cultural criteria of masculine. I agree with you, as stated before, that “masculine” is a term that does tend to place cultural restrictions on what it means to be male.

    But still you infer into that statement all kinds of the same inferences in reverse. You conclude that being someone who behaves in a manner that our society deems to be more masculine as someone “who is afraid to show their feminine side.” Again a reference that (to use the term above) a cis male is only “acting.” Unfortunately that is incorrect.

    I feel remiss to remind you of what is actually YOUR argument and aim it back at you. That which we describe as feminine or masculine is only a social conscript and therefore is not a reflection of fundamental realities. It is genitals that make someone male or female not whether he acts masculine or feminine. In the same light it is orientation that makes someone gay or straight not masculine or feminine behaviours. Therefore, it is just as inappropriate for people to infer that those whose behaviour is the typical male stereotype are “acting, repressing their femininity or internalizing homophobia” is simply ludicrous for just the same reason.

    Again this entire topic is NOT about those whose behaviours are not the typical male behaviour but about those whose behaviour DOES fall into typical male behaviour. I am asking for a term that these men can use to describe themselves that does not demean others. How can such a person describe themselves without inferring something on those that are not such?

  25. rob
    March 15, 2012 at 1:03 am | #43

    According to the Thesaurus some synonyms for Masculine are: caveman, macho, manly, mannish, mannified, guy next door, red-blooded, stallion, stout-hearted, strapping, strong, tuna (WTF?), machismo, average or regular Joe, typical guy, butch, unfeminine, unwomanly, tomboyish etc.

    If I described myself as a “tomboy” would that fairly describe who I am without making a negating comment on anyone else??

  26. March 15, 2012 at 6:44 am | #44

    opps! Your statement that I was inferring that not been afraid to show your feminine side infers they are hiding something is factually incorrect. The more comfortable you become with your feminine side the more masculine you become. Comfortable, balanced gay men don’t need terms, don’t differentite between gay / straight acting & don’t really care. Again….back to you…why do you need a term?
    Why not just ‘comfortable’ or ‘at peace’

  27. rob
    March 15, 2012 at 7:05 am | #45

    Again I ask for a term to be able to describe myself without offending others. Descriptive terms are a fact of life. There is no need to find a reason to use them… they simply are?

    Being able to comfortably describe onself in healthy language is far from being “unbalanced?” Unfortunately though “comfortable” or “at peace” paint lovely pictures it fails to establish the point that many are trying to articulate.

    By virtue of comparison I would describe my mother as a tall, white, strong willed, feminine, and above all a lady.

    I would describe my straight brother as a tall, white, butch, “guy next door” gentleman.

    So since I am gay and you cringe at descriptors, it would seem that I need to describe myself as a tall, white, comfortable, at peace guy. Why am I not allowed to infer the word “masculine?”

  28. Stop racism and homophobia on grindr
    March 15, 2012 at 7:38 am | #46

    I think as long as you steer clear from “straight acting” I don’t think it matters. Even if using “masculine” seems disingenuous to others it’s still the word used to describe traditional male traits. However I feel your continued “please give me a word I can use” line is a deliberately loaded de-railing technique – you sound as though you are sarcastically saying “well if your so upset by one term then it’s your responsibility to provide me with another.” I don’t think it is anyone’s responsibility but your own. Another poster provided options such as “masculine or cismale” so that perso answered your demand for another term. Maybe you’re not saying it in this way but it just sounds like you are to me.

  29. rob
    March 15, 2012 at 10:11 am | #47

    Ah no I think you miss read my sincere intent.

    As for terms… agreed let the user come up with their own terms. Cis male or cisgender unfortunetly will most likely never be terms in common language and certainly will never make their way into everyday street language. I am more than pleased to used the term “masculine.”

    I still question the jump to “self loathing” and “internalized homophobia”

  30. Stop racism and homophobia on grindr
    March 15, 2012 at 11:02 am | #48

    Fair enough, it’s hard to judge tone online, so I will accept the sincerity of your. I don’t question the jump to “self-loathing” or “internalised homophobia” at all. Examples of self-loathing appear in such a high volume of profiles that mention masculinity/straight-acting. Let me explain what I mean. A simply, “Masc guy looking for same” explains a pretty basic thing. Whether or not the person actually is masculine is debatable, and you would have to meet him to find out, but it really doesn’t matter one way or the other. However, A LOT of profiles go way further than this. An example would be profiles that state “Very Masc/Str8 Acting, you be the same! No Queens, No girly Boys, No Fems”. If you can’t see the connection between this sort of language and internalised homophobia then I really don’t know if you ever will (said with respect, not venom). To me, the connection between these profiles and self-loathing is blatantly obvious (and funny thing is, whenever I have met with a person who uses this language, they are almost 9/10 times quite effeminate/affected themsevles, without realising it).

  31. rob
    March 15, 2012 at 11:16 am | #49

    Well I dont think I disagree with a lot of your conclusions, though I question that self loathing being limited to those that claim to be “masculine” or “straight acting.” I see it just a clearly in the defensiveness of those that claim the opposite.

    To me, it has seemed that the gay community is wrought with all kinds of personal issues and the land mines seem to be everywhere. I would venture that there are many reasons for this originating from BOTH outside and inside the community. Self loathing is a very real struggle for many gay/bi men. As you noted the limitations of the written tone above, I am just not so sure that it can easily identified by the use of one term or descriptive word.

    I do find it interesting the use of terms like “Queens, girly boys and fems.” Are these terms such that others find appropriate? If so… why?

  32. Stop racism and homophobia on grindr
    March 15, 2012 at 11:41 am | #50

    Agreed, the terms “masculine” and “straight acting” alone are not enough to assume 100% of the time that the person is self-loathing. In many instances, the “straight acting” male has simply not thought through the implications of the term (hence why so many people using the term feel so confronted when challenged that it is a homophobic term – which of course it is). The term is homophobic, even if the use of it is innocent enough.

    All that said, I again need to reiterate the point that when these terms are used in combination with the NO QUEENS, NO FEMS, NO GIRLY BOYS then they do in fact indicate self-loathing. It is the hatred/revulsion of feminine aspects within the male condition, which, in the most basic terms, is homophobic. It is the identical language used by homophobic heterosexual society to denigrate gay males, and its use by gay males in this context does not dilute the homophobia.

    I think we all need to stop making excuses for these men and start raising awareness that this language is far from beneficial to any of us.

  33. rob
    March 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm | #51

    Lets see if we can further this discussion without inciting each other or in anyway trying to make it personal?

    Of course, as I have tried to articulate, I agree with the concept of promoting what you are about rather than what you are not. I would venture that this is probably a reflection of respect, maturity, manners and etiquette foremost. The reality, as you have articulated above in the “get over yourselves, not everyone wants to fuck you” comments, there remains in all of us a list of what we personally seek and what we don’t. The challenge of grown ups is to seek what we are about without negating others along the way.

    But you point out a “hatred of the feminine aspects within the male condition.” I do wonder if maybe this is an overgeneralization or even a simplification? Without meaning to stir up an inappropriate dust up… can we talk about this and approach responses?? Let’s jump?? (Sheepishly really wanting to have this conversation without inciting anyone!)

    First off, I don’t think it is news to anyone that there are men (straight, bi, or gay) that consciously or unconsciously reject the feminine. Our feminist friends have been saying this for years. In this I am speak of a very wide spectrum of personalities that range from healthy but immature to unhealthy and also destructive.

    But there are also those that do not see the behaviours of to use your words “Queens, girly boys and fems” as feminine but as cultural idiosyncrasies that they cannot identify with. In fact there are also some professionals that have equated SOME idiosyncrasies of such with histrionic behaviour.

    It’s this that seems to be far more the subject of contention. Contention with those that may not understand another’s foreign behaviour. Consternation for those whose behaviours are untypical from established social norms. Some Psychologists call this phenomena “conditional membership.” This speaks to the alienation that individuals that have been marginalized to begin with feel when they are sensing it again within a sub group.

    The reality is that gay culture holds “many” of these contentious landmines that probably reflects the relative immaturity of the culture as a whole. This sense of consternation and alienation is articulated by many within the culture; biphobia, ageism, racism, body images etc. I wonder if what we are trying to articulate is more a reflection of individuals still struggling to grasp the vastness of the community at large than it is about repressed hatred?

  34. March 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm | #52

    At the end of the day I think people should be able to use ANY term they wish if they feel the need AND they are NOT responsible for peoples reactions to them. Ultimately, inadvertently or otherwise the terms people use for themselves, whether it be what they want/are or don’t want, reveals a lot about who they are to the reader. I used to be bothered by ‘terms’ but I’ve noticed as I’ve matured I seem to use them for myself less & less & be bothered by others less & less.

    Like attracts like. I seem to attract only gorgeous, termless men now!
    XMike

    • JAY JAY
      June 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm | #53

      I’m not attacking you directly, but let’s use your logic in an example. Let’s say that heterosexuals en masse started to call gay men “AIDS faggots”. Or let’s say white people en masse reverted to calling all African Americans “niggers”. Are those people NOT responsible for the reactions people have to those terms? Because that is what you just said. And equally, what of I described myself as a “just a white guy who’s not into faggotty niggers”. Is it not my problem if that upsets a gay black man? Or is it his problem for reading my words and being offended? (Full apologies to all people offended by these terms. I HATE HATE HATE to use them. And I HATE HATE HATE to write them. But I feel an extreme example is necessary to investigate what this guy means with his statements above.)

  35. Pete
    April 14, 2012 at 2:49 am | #54

    In my opinion, the idea that the vast majority, or even a sizeable plurality, of masculine gay men are somehow self-hating and repressing their own nature is an utterly ridiculous one. I’m a typically masculine gay guy; I can earnestly say I am not repressing some kind of inner effeminate personality. I really like being an averagely masculine guy, as it happens. I don’t hide my sexuality at all (except in situations where it may still be too risky to be public about it, obviously) – all of my friends, the majority of whom are masculine straight men, have known I was gay from very early in our friendships. I also have effeminate male friends, gay and straight – hell, one of them is a professional drag queen in Soho. I have absolutely no issue with them. Certainly, I tend to date men similar to me – but I have dated, quite happily, men who were more stereotypically effeminate than me. As it happens, I dislike both extremes. I find overly butch men unappealing as romantic partners, too.

    Straight acting is not a term that is offensive to us as gay people – it is a term that is utterly offensive to all people. There are plenty of straight men out there who are more stereotypically effeminate but very much heterosexual, just as there are plenty of masculine gay men who are the opposite way around. The term “straight acting” is equally offensive to both; it implies heterosexual behaviour is an instrinsic part of masculine behaviour in men or feminine behaviour in women, when this is simply not the case.

    In a world where notions of masculinity and femininity were flipped so that they applied to the opposite genders, I am confident I would very much still be the man I am. I would still be, by our society’s standards, masculine-acting and homosexual. This is who and what I am. What we need is for society to relax its standards and to move beyond rigid notions of masculinity and femininity; gender-identity and related behaviour and traits, like sexuality, are fluid. It is absolutely fine to be a traditionally masculine gay men just as it is absolutely fine to be an effiminate gay men. It is not fine to proclaim that one is the “correct” kind of gay to be. And depending on where you live, the standard is different – many here have complained that traditional masculinity is the norm for gay men, to be exclusion of traditionally effeminate gay men. Where I live, it is the opposite – men like me are very much in the minority and are discriminated against by the opposing majority.

    • Jason in Sydney
      June 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm | #55

      I like what you have written, but as for your first paragraph I think you’re a little off the mark.

      I don’t think anyone is really saying that all masculine gay men are self loathing. I think they are more trying to say that most self-loathing gay men happen to be trying very hard to be masculine, and tend, as a result, to denigrate other gay men they perceive to be too feminine for their tastes.

  36. ddavid
    May 30, 2012 at 8:46 am | #56

    Hmmmm… well, while I do apprwciate and have many effeminate gay friends, I have to disagree that I am “acting” straight. People, gay and straight, are rgularly

  37. John
    August 3, 2012 at 12:19 am | #57

    People who believe that dislike of effeminacy = homophobia are intellectually confused.

    • Jason in Sydney
      August 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm | #58

      Well don’t we all like irrational “drive-by”, factless comments like these. Dislike of effeminacy is in fact the number 1 tell-tale sign of internalised homophobia. Anyways, don’t believe me, how about we approach some sources instead!

      1. Wikipedia on Internalised Homophobia:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophobia#Internalized_homophobia

      2. Excellent article written in plain, simple English so everyone can understand: http://revelandriot.com/resources/internalized-homophobia

      3. Psychiatrist’s dissertation on connection between internalised homophobia and higher rates of alcoholism amongst gay me: drnicely.com/downloads/Dissertation.pdf

      4. Letting go of Internalised Homophobia: http://www.bilerico.com/2010/05/letting_go_of_internalized_homophobia.php

      5. How to Deal with Internalised Homophobia: http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Internalized-Homophobia

      These are just a few links found in one simple Google search.Internalised homophobia is a thing. It’s real. There’s no denying it. The only people who have a problem with the concept have been brainwashed by society and have not yet become conscious of it within themselves. “It’s just a preference” is not a defence, it makes no sense, and none of us should accept such ridiculous statements any more. Especially since its 2012.

      • Evan
        September 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm | #59

        Wow, with your post you are just proving how intolerable feminine men and part of the gay community really are. So if I don’t think something or feel a certain way, then I must be wrong is basically what you’re telling. It IS in fact a preference. Deal with it. I’m just not into typical feminine gay men. I’m not going to change my preferences or views to fit someone else’s to please them. And speaking of “brainwashing”, all the uptight fems are attempting to brainwash other masculine men into acting more feminine to “express” and “accept” their sexuality and “be who they are” because apparently, not being feminine is “repressing your femininity” and “self-hating”.

        There’s no denying that there is indeed internalized homophobia, but not every masculine gay man possesses it. Some of us are just comfortable as masculine men who pursue more manly interests. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: If I wanted a girl, I’d date a real girl.

  38. Evan
    September 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm | #60

    I’m tired of hearing about it being wrong to be considered masculine and attracted to masculine men. Saying that every gay man must be into girly men and be girly instead of just themselves to fit some group is stereotyping them. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way some of us(including me) are. We are men who are attracted to other men. To put it bluntly, if I wanted a girl, I’d date a girl, not a hybrid girly man. Not all masculine men are self-loathing or internally homophobic. I don’t mind other people knowing I’m gay. Do I wear it on my sleeve? No. Do I let it define who I am? No. My sexuality is only part of who I am, and just because I don’t look it doesn’t mean I hate gays or myself for being gay. I’m sorry, but I’m not attracted to most feminine gay men. It’s my preference. I am, afterall, attracted to men because of their masculinity. I’m not changing my preferences just to please others. After all, aren’t we supposed to ‘be ourselves’? Clearly, since I’m a masculine man, being all girly like putting on makeup and wearing high heels and a dress and stuff would not at all be being myself. I like rugby, football, going to the gym, playing video games, all the stuff men like to do. I’m sorry that feminine men aren’t respected well in society, but there is nothing that I as an individual can do to appease that problem.

    Honestly, I don’t think of feminine gay men as saints compared to stereotyped ‘douchey’ masculine gay men. Many of them that I have come across are actually pretty bitchy and intolerable of differing views. If it doesn’t fit their agenda, then it must be wrong or cruel. Also, many can just be uncomfortable and really awkward to be around. I’m not saying all of them are bad, and I do have some fem friends, but there are quite a few that I can’t stand being around. I’m sorry, but that is my view on the matter. Disagree or not, I still have a right to my opinion.

    • Jason in Sydney
      September 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm | #61

      Yeah, that’s what a lot of ignorant people say: “I’m tired of having to defend myself.”

      No one is telling you tom “change your preferences” and its an insult to everyone here that you simply assume I’m a “feminine gay man” simply because I have an issue with the ignorant way self-identified “masculine” men present their preferences to the world. I don’t identify as either masculine or feminine – I have evolved way beyond all of that, but just so you can get a slight understand online of what “kind” of gay I am (since you “masc” types always need to put everyone in a nice labelled box) then I am the “kind” of gay that people like yourself usually harrass constantly to fulfil your Rugby fantasy, get my drift. I’m 6 foot, 110kg of hairy beef, and there’s not many men I couldn’t throw around a room. So back off with your ridiculous “if you don’t agree with me, you must be femme” argument.

      Me? I’m really TIRED of people like you completely missing the point. Where is anyone saying you have to “act girly” or “act feminine”? No one is telling you that, so where is this coming from? I’m also tired of reading the same old rubbish coming out of so-called “masculine” men’s mouths about “I’m just being myself”. Everything, absolutely everything you just wrote positively reeked of femmephobia, and frankly its totally boring. It’s totally, boringly, mind-numbing just how many so-called “masculine”men have a problem with this issue. What you need is to stop talking and start reading up on this subject seriously, instead of tiring us all with the same old incorrect arguments – because you are completely missing every single point on here.

      And trust me, every time you describe yourself as “masculine” all you are doing is expressing to the word just how insecure you are about your “manliness”. Masculinity, just like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. The more masculine you claim to be, the more masculinity you lose, and I’m sorry if that freaks you out but its true. How many of these hot straight men you worship have to run around telling people how masculine they are? Oh that’s right, NONE OF THEM. So why do you need to do it? Don’t answer me, ask yourself this question.

      Here are some pieces you should read before you make any further comments. No doubt you won’t read them, but you really should instead of debating this with me, because you seriously have no arguments that can compete. Hopefully you can bring yourself to read them rather than putting on your “masc” blinkers and hiding even more deeply in the land of denial. Sure, these articles will no doubt challenge you, but if you’re so “masc” as you say you are, then you should be up for the challenge, instead of finding it so “tiring” all the time.

      http://stopracismandhomophobiaongrindr.tumblr.com/post/23317265518/whats-so-wrong-with-being-masc-mate

      http://revelandriot.com/resources/internalized-homophobia

      http://stopracismandhomophobiaongrindr.tumblr.com/post/22111502453/horror-from-the-masc-o-sphere

      http://sosogay.co.uk/2012/opinion-what-old-fashioned-activist-types-can-learn-grindr/

      http://stopracismandhomophobiaongrindr.tumblr.com/post/19939675800/stereotypically-non-stereotypical

      There’s heaps more you should read, but this is a start. If you refuse to read this, and come back with even more of the same, then you can’t be taken seriously at all.

  39. September 10, 2012 at 7:44 am | #62

    Sorry you find it so tiring to have your outdated views about homosexuality challenged. No one is telling you to act “femme” and if that’s all you’re hearing then it shows how little of the information is actually sinking in. It’s embarrassing just how stupid gay “masc” men have become in 2012.

  40. Peter J
    May 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm | #63

    I’m gay and came out when I was 15. I have had many people surprised when I told them I’m gay. I don’t have feminine tendencies and I get real annoyed by overly excessive femine gay guys. I am not insecure about myself and I just have no need to change myself to conform with the stereotypical gay. I’m not covering anything up, I am being who I am.

  41. Si UK
    June 22, 2013 at 4:22 am | #65

    I agree with many points in the article, but some of it actually appears homophobic to me.

    It is true that masculinity is an important construct for gay men and that gay men generally wish to be more masculine. This is exactly the same for straight men. It is simply about appearing more desirable and attractive to partners. Wishing to have more masculine partners is actually about finding a genetically healthy mate. It’s scientifically shown that those attracted to men prefer these features.

    What I disliked was the assertion that all gay men are a homogeneous blob who are by default effeminate and those displaying masculine traits are ‘covering’ due to their internalised homophobia. This is rubbish.

    What I have noticed is the differences in masculinity between out gay males who are ‘scene’ and ‘non-scene’. There is a much greater probability of those going out on the scene being effeminate in my experience. This suggests to me that ‘becoming a stereotype’ is actually a learned behaviour from being in this cultural bubble. I’ve known guys who have started going out on the scene and a few weeks later have become a parody. Other guys have said to me things like ‘you have to be camp to survive in here’, which illustrates the point.

    Whilst there are undoubtedly people with internalised homophobia (and I also do not like the term straight acting), perhaps the reason profiles ask for this is because effeminate men do not fit in with the innate need for a masculine partner and also it is perceived as being an act. I also agree there are some naturally effeminate men, both gay and straight.

    However, I don’t think it is wrong to be attracted to masculine traits (something I believe we are genetically set up to do) and also to want guys who are ‘true to themselves’ and not putting on an act to fit in.

  42. Libra
    June 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm | #66

    Um, I don’t think gay men who dislike flamboyant gays are “covering” anything. Some gay men are naturally extremely masculine, unemotional, stoic etc – no effort required. Just as some lesbians are naturally unemotional and aren’t putting on an act. I think it’s the “feminine”, over-the-top gay men who are putting on an act and pretending to be something they’re not. You can’t tell me that bitchy, annoying, pretentious “attitude” is something anyone is born with. People can’t choose their sexual orientations, but they can certainly choose whether or not to be nice. And having a rude, arrogant, snooty attitude isn’t a good choice.

    • August 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm | #67

      This idea that people are just ‘naturally’ masculine or feminine is a real fallacy. The truth is that masculinity and femininity are both constructs and both learned behaviours. On top of that, we can choose if we like to behave in masculine or feminine ways. There should be nothing controversial in all this, it has been explained and explained and studied and studied so much it’s basically accepted across the board. Think of it like this. We have a great tennis player, and our culture loves to say things like ‘she’s a natural’. Fact is, this amazing tennis player has literally hit millions of balls to achieve a state where the way she plays looks like ‘second nature’. Think of gender in the same way. We learn it from such an early age, and it is policed amongst our peers and by our elders from before we can remember, so it appears like ‘second nature’ but it is in fact a series of learned behaviours. So saying ‘I’m naturally masculine’ is not really true – you’ve been taught to behave in that way. The problem with the way gay men behave towards effeminacy is they criticise other gay men who: have learnt to behave effeminately and feel like it’s ‘second nature’; or who have decided that they enjoy behaving effeminately and consciously do it. There is nothing wrong with a person’s choice to behave effeminately, and there is nothing wrong with a man who just feels like effeminacy is ‘second nature’. They should not be criticised as much as they are. And yet gay men who identify as masculine constantly do criticise these people, and within that criticise belies the truth – an insecurity about their own gender performance as gay men. It’s like they’re saying ‘I’m gay, but please don’t mistake me as one of THOSE gays.’ This need to police and criticise non0masculine behaviour is at the root of hegemonic masculinity, and hegemonic masculinity is, by its very essence, homophobic. If you are struggling with these concepts, or simply do not believe them and think they are all a bunch of crap, then I suggest you read the work of Kimmel (in the 90′s and 2000′s), particularly a piece called Masculinity as Homophobia. It is enlightening and it really does make a very clear and convincing argument that shows that the kind of masculinity so many gay men wish to identify with cannot be attained without homophobia at its core.

  43. Libra
    June 28, 2013 at 4:21 pm | #68

    Science proves there is absolutely no correlation between masculinity and sexuality. In other words, extremely masculine men can be gay and very femme men can be totally straight. Most masculine gay men are gay because they’re attracted to men and/or masculinity. They love their own masculinity and celebrate the masculinity they find beautiful in other men. Feminine gay men are fine – if that’s what you are or if that’s what you want to date. But I think a lot of masculine gay men, if they truly desired feminine company, would seek out biological females for sex/friendship since biological females are the original “femmes” and feminine gay men can only ever be pale imitations of biological women. In other words, if you’re attracted to femininity, why even bother being gay? You’re in the wrong community. Find a girlfriend/wife!

    • August 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm | #69

      I think you are touching upon the truth here, but not hitting it. Yes there is no correlation between being a male and being masculine, or being female and being a feminine person, that is true. It’s true because of what I wrote above about gender being learned behaviours rather than innate traits. We can actually choose which gender we want to perform. I think what makes a lot of so-called masculine men very uncomfortable about effeminate gay men is the fact that effeminate is proof in and of itself that masculinity (and gender as a whole) are not ‘natural’, are not ‘in built’. Because if gender was in-built and natural in this way, then all males would be masculine, all females would be feminine, end of story. And yet we know that this is not the case. Effeminacy is proof that it is not the case, and this freaks out males who are very closely attached to their masculine-indentities because it is proof that the masculinity they cling to so closely is not actually innate – it can be challenged and even removed. EMASCULATION is the word! There are a lot of other complicated factors coming into play in the whole ‘masculine gay men’ thing. for example, a majority of the masculine gay men have been shown to prefer the passive role, and the social construct of passivity equates it with femininity. By buying into this constructed binary, a confusion/anxiety occurs in the passive identifying gay man, and they tend to feel the pressure of the homophobic stereotype that gay men might as well just be women. As a result of this anxiety the passive gay main then starts a process of hypermasculinsation that has as its goal an identification with the prototypical hegemonic masculine man (the jock, the boxer, the construction worker etc). So they aspire to look and be like these men, and literally start constructing their gender performance around what they think epitomises this sort of male. Inherent in this association is a rejection of all things they perceive to be feminine, and on the top of this list is the effeminate gay man. Hence you see everywhere MASC4MASC, REAL MEN ONLY, STRAIGHT ACTING, NO FEMMES, NO SISSIES, even NO FAGS (followed by BTM/VERS). Of course the ‘VERS” stands as a further attempt to dissociate from the stereotype that gay men must all act like women and therefore take the passive role. By saying VERS its like newly coming out gay men who claim bisexuality – it’s a way of clinging slightly, or maintaining a tiny grasp, on the hegemonic masculinity they wish to attain/retain.

  44. John…
    October 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm | #70

    “Straight-Acting, Self-Loathing Gay Men…” = nonsense.

    Being masculine mannered is not acting, it’s just being one’s natural self without the influence of their peers. The majority of gay men have the very same masculine traits before they figure out that they are gay and come out of the closet. Once out in the gay community most lose their masculine traits as they begin “acting” like everyone else in order to fit in. Those who refuse to be indoctrinated that way are most often called names and accused of being self hating and or anti gay by those who are the ones doing the “acting” and self hating.

    A lot of gay men who have brainwashed themselves out of their own masculine traits tend to use name calling and false accusations in order to condemn others who are not like them and it’s because it’s they who hate themselves and are trying to dump their self hatred on others who still have something they lost.

    It’s ironic how those who resort to this kind of name calling and false accusations toward masculine mannered gay men are attracted to those masculine mannered men themselves, but because most masculine mannered guys aren’t attracted to them they use name calling and false accusations in order to medicate their self hatred problem.

    • Jay Jay
      October 30, 2013 at 10:58 am | #71

      Everything you just wrote is hogwash. It’s clear you have no idea from either a sociological or a biological perspective of the fact that gender is in fact a construct. Gender (masculinity/femininity) isn’t “natural” – it is a learned behaviour. People don’t “naturally” act masculine or feminine, they learn these things from their society – these things are enculturated into them. It may feel natural to you, but don’t make the mistake of assuming because it feels so, it is so. For example, we often say things like “Tiger Woods is a natural at golf”, but he isn’t a natural-born golfer. It may look natural to us, and it may feel natural to him, but what is lying behind this is years and years of practice, and millions of strokes. Gender performance is identical to this. what you are calling “natural” masculinity is just years and years of practice o certian behavioural traits, that over time many people think “just come naturally”. Now, you also say that when people come out of the closet, they “lose” their masculinity because they try to imitate their new effiminate gay friends. Some do, some don’t. Some enjoy behaving in an effeminate way, others choose not to. In relation to this, once again, they are enacting a gender “performance”. You can’t call one “natural” and the other “fake” – they are both fake, even if you cannot see this – they are both an act. But importantly, ask yourself – why do you have a problem with someone choosing to behave effeminately? And why are you so scared of the notion that your claim to “natural masculinity” is false? Instead of preaching from the heavens about “natural” gender expression, it’s time for you to open some books and start learning, because this sort of misinformation you’re peddling is a waste of everyone’s time.

  45. John…
    October 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm | #72

    You obviously can not understand what you are reading or simply choose not to because of being brainwashed and or simply just want to win an argument at any cost. The fact that any of this bothers you so much shows that YOU and others like you are the true self loathing homosexuals, who are ashamed of who and what you are and desperately want every other gay person to accompany you in your misery for the sake of providing your lack of normalcy you are unable to feel about yourself. You are simply jealous of anyone who managed to not get sucked into what you have allowed yourself to become trapped in. Plain and simple: It just pisses you and your kind off that someone doesn’t find you sexually attractive and this made up reason for your argument is your feeble attempt to retaliate. You and your kind are no different than a group-think religious cult, who think they have a right to control everyone else who shares the same sexual orientation as you. Being gay is not a club, not something one signs up for nor makes some kind of a pledge of allegiance to. You and your kind do not get to dictate what is and isn’t acceptable about being gay. Get over your false sense of entitlement.

    • Jay Jay
      October 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm | #73

      Lol. I understand what I’m reading perfectly well. You sound very upset. You keep saying “you and your kind” which I find very amusing. Your speaking like anyone who happens to disagree with your uneducated views on masculinity and effeminacy must, by default, be a raging queen! I guess thinking such a thing is the easiest way for you to deal with the fact that there is a real backlash against people like yourself who have a lot of internalised homophobia. And just for the record, there are a lot of “non-queens” out there, like myself, who have had a gut full of dealing with gay men like you who are insecure about their gender expression .

      The fact is, all the academic research that has gone into studying the way gay men perceive and understand gender confirms what I am saying: that gay men experience a lot of self loathing and attempt to overcompensate for this by trying as hard as they can to “be masculine” whilst at the same time fearing that they are not “masculine enough”.

      It s also interesting that you odd not respond to one single thing I wrote, and instead wrote a massive rant that simply attacked me. The reason you didn’t address anything that I wrote about is because, frankly, you don’t know what you are talking about and can’t, as a result, argue with me.

      But how about we approach this from a different angle? Fundamentalist, anti-gay christians absolutely hate us faggots, right? And their main argument is “gay is unnatural”. Their logic comes from a place that says “heterosexual sex is normal, therefore gay sex is abnormal, therefore gay sex is unnatural”. This is precisely the same logic that you use above, except you applied it to masculinity and effeminacy. You made a claim that masculinity was “natural” and that effeminacy was therefore unnatural. Who are you to make such a claim? And can we ask, have you actually done any studying and research into gender and how our society constructs it? I know you haven’t, because anyone who has ever studied gender would never in a million years claim that any form of gender was natural, was in-built. We are not born smacking or feminine, we are taught how to be a certain way. And society just LOVES to claim that it’s natural for males to be masculine and for females to be feminine. But just because society loves to say these things, doesn’t change the fact that we actually teach boys to behave in a masculine way, and girls to behave in a feminine way. What’s more, society a really hard time accepting it when people act any differently to the way they’ve been taught.

      Anyways, just like the main article above, there is a wealth of academic knowledge out there, all waiting to be picked up and understood by gay people everywhere. It all confirms what you are so intent on denying – that many gay men have unresolved issues around being gay and masculine, and that they express these unresolved issues via different forms of internalised homophobia. Rant as much as you like, attack me as much as you like, but nothing will stop these facts from speaking for themselves. You can continue to be ignorant and attack people like me because we trigger you, or you can suck it up, get yourself educated on the subject, and hopefully start living a more authentic life. As it stands, all you’re doing is making a fool of yourself by proclaiming as fact your truly uneducated opinion.

  46. John…
    October 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm | #74

    I understand that brainwashed people believe themselves and that people in a cult don’t know they are in a cult lol! Feeding one’s self is also a learned behavior. Why aren’t you going after people eating too?

    • Jay Jay
      October 31, 2013 at 7:07 am | #75

      Yes, well obviously this conversation won’t go anywhere. You’re too confronted by the possibility that your enculturated worldview might be an illusion, so you’re just resorting to being a troll. That’s fine, I understand that sensitive topics can trigger defence mechanisms. If you ever want to know more about masculinity and how it operates in our society, then you should read the work of Kimmel, who has produced some pretty amazing work on the subject in the last decade or so. There are also several other scientific studies like the one above that are really interesting in how they examine just how pervasive internalised homophobia has become amongst gay men. If you go to a university you should have easy access to this information, otherwise you could just go to Google Scholar.

  47. John…
    November 12, 2013 at 12:59 am | #76

    Oh. calling people you disagree with you trolls is so damn original, about as original as your getting all of your information from biased sources. There are no genuine, widely (not just gay) accepted, scientific studies on this topic. All that’s going on here is that being gay isn’t as edgy or shocking as it use to be, so in order to keep the drama going some gays are now stooping to attack each other. That’s all it is plain and simple. Try letting yourself out of your gay bubble once in awhile if you can. Perhaps you are just too well indoctrinated in your group-think B.S. to see past your nose.

    • Jay Jay
      November 12, 2013 at 10:16 am | #77

      More insults? And you call me unoriginal!

      Considering you haven’t read any of the sources I’m talking about, you’re not in a position to determine whether they are biased or not.

      But just for the sake of anyone else who is interested, these articles (including the one above) are peer-reviewed, and go through a rigorous process of scrutiny and revision before seeing the light of day. For people who are actually interested in getting an insight into gay men and masculinity in 2013, then these are great resources to utilise. They will give you a lot to think about, and I’ve found that every gay man who studies these things gains a deeper insight into himself and his culture, and ultimately becomes a better human being for it.

  48. Hmmm
    November 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm | #78

    As an aside, I find this thread and the discussion really interesting. On the one hand there seems to be one side arguing and providing sources and examples for their argument that masculinity is a construct and that gay men have a lot of trouble dealing with masculinity in general – and on the other side we have an argument that just basically dismisses the original article and anyone supporting it as “liberal rubbish”. What I’m wondering, firstly, is what’s wrong with being “liberal”? Seems to me being liberal minded is a positive thing. After all, without liberal-mindedness, none of us on this thread would even be able to have this discussion, because the gay rights movement would never have happened and we’d all still be in the closet, living miserable lives. Secondly, I want to know why these “liberal hating” gays on this thread don’t offer up anything other than their opinions? Why is this? Why can’t you point to research or thinking that supports your opinions? You guys are quick to make claims that “masculinity is natural” and “normal”, and you get really easily triggered when someone offers a counter to your claim, but unlike your opponents, you don’t seem to be able to point to anything other than your own self in support of your opinion. This is puzzling. One side is offering you all sorts of opinions, and on top of that, all sorts of information and sources which you can use to verify what they say. But instead of doing so, you dismiss this all out of hand, call the sources bias, and then continue to rant about them being “liberals” and how you are somehow the authority here. If you have an opniion, you are entitled to it. But please show us that it is an educated opinion, and not just hot steam. Thank you.

  49. Jims
    December 11, 2013 at 12:50 am | #79

    I’ve always been puzzled by the problem that the term ‘straight acting’ causes so many of us.

    Yes, if you analyse it the term ‘acting’ suggests that the individual is putting on an ‘act’, ie pretending to be what he isn’t, with all the self-loathing implications.

    But isn’t that a bit literal? Most people aren’t that analytical and might be using the term more in the sense of ‘behaving’ or even ‘being’. While not in any way accepting the views of the ‘I’m masculine and the girlie boys are embarrassing us’ brigade, surely we should relax just a little bit and accept that many who use the term ‘straight acting’ really mean ‘not obviously gay’.

  50. MQE
    December 22, 2013 at 11:40 am | #80

    Jims, I don’t think we should be relaxing about this at all. I think taking a relaxed attitude only helps to reinforce the homophobia inherent in terms such as “straight acting”. There’s an increasing amount of literature on the subject, and you seem like a fairly reasonable person, so I don’t think it would take much reading on your part to convince why terms like “straight acting” are incredibly damaging to queer liberation. What you’re saying (and this is not an attack) is: “straight = masculine” and “gay = effeminate”. That is pretty offensive, and not something to relax over Google “end racism and homophobia gay school”, or “hyper masculinity” or a number of other sources mentioned on this thread for more thorough analysis and theorising on this particular subject.

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