A self-described straight 21-year-old has turned to the webs in an attempt to make sense of the tug-of-war he perceives between subversion and expectation.
And while his logic is rather flawed, we can empathize with his internal dilemma and hope he learns soon that the “normalcy” he’s holding onto is actually itself a warped funhouse mirror that deserves to be shattered.
In a post titled “Am I a bigot for wishing I was gay or queer so defying gender norms would be more socially acceptable?” he writes:
“I’m…at an age where I’m trying to discover who I am and what I want to do in life, I have a rebellious streak and I feel the most constructive way of harnessing that would be to defy gender norms. However I’m having great difficulty getting into performing arts/crafts without people wondering what kind of person I am. Gay men I think are generally accepted in society – and society allows them to break gender norms through drag, dance, poetry etc without batting an eyelid. If I started doing these things however, I think because society associates them with gay culture my friends and family would start to think I’m closeted or unwell. Potential partners and employers would question what the hell was wrong with me and I’d be castigated.
Or maybe not – maybe people would have a few minor doubts but continue to accept me as I am. I don’t know because I think I’m more well versed in feminism/queer theory and more inclusive than most. However I think I would still internalize this idea that people are judging me and become extremely insecure, making experimentation not worth while in the first place. I feel as if I were to start dancing and doing poetry all of a sudden, I would have to tell people I’m gay just so I would be at ease with myself.
I know this sounds deftly irrational but its what I’m feeling anyway. Am I a bad person for this? What the hell is going on? Does anyone else have similar experiences?”
Whew, see what we mean? Where to begin?!
First, it’s incredible that in the world he observes as a 21-year-old, he takes the statements “gay men are generally accepted in society” and “society allows [gays] to break gender norms” as token facts.
Piece of advice number one: read up on your hersotry!
Perhaps if you understood the sacrifice and risk (past and present) involved in various forms of radical self expression, you wouldn’t shrug it off so cavalierly.
But here’s the bigger takeaway: rebels don’t care how others choose to define them.
If people think you’re gay, they think you’re gay! We’re pretty sure David Bowie, the epitome of “straight guys who play with gender norms,” didn’t mind when someone thought he was gay. Actually, he encouraged the idea.
And here’s the even bigger takeaway: you don’t have to be gay to be queer, and if you have an authentic inclination to prance around in women’s clothes, you might be more queer than you think.
We mean that in the best possible way. Embrace it — it’s all love.
Anything you’d add to help him along on his path towards fabulousness?