I have a mate called Simon and he’s homophobic.
I’ve tried to get to the bottom of his way of thinking and alter his perception, but he won’t budge. His ridiculous theories about gay people are unshakable and make me furious, to the point of wanting to push my coffee cup into his face as hard as he can stand it.
But we always end our gay debate not agreeing to disagree. Simon, by the way, is also a gay man. And not exactly new at it either. He’s 38-years-old and has lived in London for more than ten years. He’s handsome, has a great job and a close relationship with his family.
His only issue is that he refuses to come out to them, even though it’s quite obvious by now that they already know.
I asked why he’d never actually opened up about his sexuality with them. His answer was nothing to do with them being unable to accept it. The truth was that he couldn’t live with the idea that they’d think he was like ‘one of those ones’.
And as that sentence fell from his mouth, he actually did a ‘limp wrist’ gesture that made me sick to my stomach.
I saw my homophobic father – and his proud ‘poof-hating’ family – imitating gay people in such an ugly stereotypical way as a child. My only guess was that Simon had also been brought up in that kind of circle too – small town bigots seeing only the closeted gay man on early 80s TV; neither male or female caricatures, full of anal innuendo and self hatred. I believe bigoted imitations of them are why so many of us have come to loathe our ‘vintage’ camp icons so much.
Somehow, though, this ugly mentality had stayed with Simon, and the slightest unmanly gesture from a guy along Compton Street would actually make him wince and growl godawful comments under his breath.
Sadly, it’s a fact that Simon is not the only one, and homophobia among gay men is quite common. There’s something truly ugly about a large chunk of the gay community loathing even the slightest effeminate gesture and pretending to be ‘straight’.
Straight acting. It’s bonkers to believe in this day and age that so many gay guys identify as this.
If you’re a culprit of this, I’d genuinely like to know what the term ‘gay acting’ actually means to you, and why it’s so terrible?
After taking enough of Simon’s ridiculous rant, I told him this:
It’s not your right to judge how ‘gay’ someone should be acting. And it’s nothing whatsoever to do with what you find attractive. What you put across is pure homophobia, and it’s the gay community that should be ashamed of people like you.
You have problems living with yourself as a gay man and that’s something you need to deal with, without taking it out on those who are living happily with what they are.
We’ve all overcome our battles with our sexuality, our coming out and the random bouts of homophobia that still hit hard and horribly when we’re forced to face them… and the idea of having to fight it in our own community is a thought that stupefies and disgusts me in equal measure.
After three days of silence, I got a text from Simon saying that he was moving out of London, that he could not change the opinion he had and, finally, that he wished there was indeed such a thing as that dreaded urban legend ‘straight pill’.
With clear memory of having this conversation with him time and time again, I opted out of texting him back with a lecture… Instead, I simply wrote ‘a pill cannot change what you are. This is not X-Men 3’.
I haven’t heard from him since.
And, despite his opinions, I care for him very much. I hope that one day he will come to terms with himself.
For anyone who uses the term ‘straight acting’… of course, it’s none of my business. But please, for your own sake, just take a moment to ask yourself why you do. n