Pop Culture
Mar 31, 2008, 09:19AM

Not Gay Like That

There's more to being gay than just being gay. From The Daily Pennsylvanian.

If I'm not with them, I'm against them.

A sidebar in the QPenn supplement on Monday labeled me a heterosexist for thinking that "LGBT people are too outspoken about LGBT rights." Ironically, this same sidebar implored readers to think of gay people as interesting people who exist beyond their sexuality. Well maybe that's all I want.

Malek Lewis writes "the LGBT Center belongs to everyone." You can even stop by to watch Project Runway! Or Make Me a Super Model, Desperate Housewives and even ESPN.

Shows about fashion and catty suburban women for the stereotypical gays and a sports channel for the stereotypical lesbians? Not all of us gays get whipped into a frenzy by that cute little chenille number they were showing on Runway last week.

But it's about more than the insufficiency of stereotypes. For some of us, being gay isn't as exciting as all the pomp and circumstance around QPenn week might have you believe.

The LGBT Center is the domain of those who are Gay with a capital G - and that's not all-inclusive of guys who are attracted to other guys or even guys who identify as "gay." For the folks at the LGBT center, gay is pretty big, and it's important that the world doesn't sweep that under the rug.

These are super-activist types who slip gender-neutral pronouns like "ze" and "hir" alongside "she" and "his" and are adding an increasingly large number of letters to the "LGBT(QQA)" nomenclature to make sure that even the tiniest of minorities is represented.

I take a more pragmatic approach. I've marched in pride parades, I don't play sports, and I enjoy musical theatre.

But when I first came out, one of my closest friends advised me to never let "gay" be who I was, just what I was.

I took that to heart. It's just something I am.

I haven't chosen it, I'm not good or bad at it, and it's never gotten in my way (I can count on one hand the number of times I've encountered homophobia).

I say "fireman" instead of "fireperson" to avoid the requisite double-take that the latter elicits. I don't want to distract from my fascinating point about folks who drive around in big red trucks and put out fires: Gender and sexuality don't have to permeate every conversation I have, even if I am gay.

I'm not one to shy away from strong opinions, but even as I write this, I'm filled with guilt. Maybe I've been spoiled by growing up with liberal parents in the Gay Marriage State.

Maybe I'm quick to disagree with the very types of people who have fought for the acceptance that I take for granted.

In fact, all the noise that's being made this week is the sound of a movement fighting for people like me - fighting so that I can go off and concentrate on whatever else I want to be, without having to worry about the politics of being gay.

Feeling alienated by Runway-watching, politically-vocal gays is an accident of personality. Not to participate in that culture is my choice, but neither of those things makes me anti-gay or heterosexist.

There's always a lot of talk about liberating repressed, closeted gays - the gays-in-hiding.

I won't be out in much force this QPenn week but not because I'm hiding in a closet.

I keep my gayness openly hidden, so I can continue to be "the design guy" or "the computer guy" but never "the gay guy."

  • This is a wonderful article. It's such a hard balance for those of us who want to do everything we can to further gay rights (knowing as we do that we still have a long ways to go) but feel like too many Americans think gay has to mean "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" gay, or Broadway dancer gay, or hairdresser gay.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment