FUFBUF

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Acting Straight  (Read 7355 times)

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
Acting Straight
« on: November 08, 2006, 02:36:58 AM »

Acting Straight

Quote
That got me thinking about how often I hear someone gay use the expression "straight-acting" to describe another gay man. The more I thought about it, the more offensive it became. I'm sure I've been guilty of using it in the past, but more recently, I've come to realize just how damaging the term can be -- both within and outside the LGBT community.

How does one even act straight? Is there one prescribed way to be heterosexual? And why would a gay person even want to act straight? Possibly because the flip side of acting straight would be acting gay.

Ask your average Joe on the street what it means to act gay and you're likely to get a laundry list of gay stereotypes: limp wrist, lisp, obsession with appearance, flamboyant, and effeminate, maybe with a few "you go, girls" thrown in for good measure. Do I know any gay people who fit that description? Sure. But I know even more who don't. The truth is there are as many ways to act gay as there are to act straight. It's the stereotypes that scare some people, though.

...

So many gay people are caught up in negative image ideas. Some feel they have to act a certain way in order to be gay -- you have to worship Madonna, call all your guy friends "girlfriend," and sleep around as much as possible. Hey, if that's who you really are then great! You be you. The problem is, I've seen so many young gay guys just coming out embrace these traits simply because they've been led to believe that's what being gay means.

On the flip side, I've also seen many gay guys who are so busy trying to emulate heterosexuals that they start to resent their more flamboyant brothers. I hate to hear a gay man say something like, "I can't stand flamey guys." That's just as homophobic as Fred Phelps picketing a gay funeral with a "God Hates Fags" sign.
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
Acting Straight
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2007, 08:09:21 AM »

Quote from: "Feral"
Acting Straight

Quote
That got me thinking about how often I hear someone gay use the expression "straight-acting" to describe another gay man. The more I thought about it, the more offensive it became. I'm sure I've been guilty of using it in the past, but more recently, I've come to realize just how damaging the term can be -- both within and outside the LGBT community.

How does one even act straight? Is there one prescribed way to be heterosexual? And why would a gay person even want to act straight? Possibly because the flip side of acting straight would be acting gay.

Ask your average Joe on the street what it means to act gay and you're likely to get a laundry list of gay stereotypes: limp wrist, lisp, obsession with appearance, flamboyant, and effeminate, maybe with a few "you go, girls" thrown in for good measure. Do I know any gay people who fit that description? Sure. But I know even more who don't. The truth is there are as many ways to act gay as there are to act straight. It's the stereotypes that scare some people, though.

...

So many gay people are caught up in negative image ideas. Some feel they have to act a certain way in order to be gay -- you have to worship Madonna, call all your guy friends "girlfriend," and sleep around as much as possible. Hey, if that's who you really are then great! You be you. The problem is, I've seen so many young gay guys just coming out embrace these traits simply because they've been led to believe that's what being gay means.

On the flip side, I've also seen many gay guys who are so busy trying to emulate heterosexuals that they start to resent their more flamboyant brothers. I hate to hear a gay man say something like, "I can't stand flamey guys." That's just as homophobic as Fred Phelps picketing a gay funeral with a "God Hates Fags" sign.
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2007, 08:09:45 AM »

Quote from: "Feral"
Read this.
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2007, 08:10:07 AM »

Quote from: "MonkeyBoy"
Quote
How does one even act straight? Is there one prescribed way to be heterosexual? And why would a gay person even want to act straight? Possibly because the flip side of acting straight would be acting gay.


While I agree with this fellow in some respects, I think he's being too reductive.

We all know what "acting str8" is, and no, it's not just one mode. It's how we tried to act when we were 12, for good or ill. It's about repressing and conforming. *That* is what's personally damaging about it.

Hell,  in that sense, I imagine alot of str8 guys don't much like it either.
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2007, 08:10:40 AM »

Quote from: "Feral"
I do think that when a gay describes himself as "straight-acting" (however this behavior might look in person) he is characterizing himself as not "acting gay." Of course, this immediately brings to mind the question "just what is this 'acting gay'?" I don't think the question really needs to be answered. The motivation here is to both characterize some nebulous concept of 'acting gay' as undesirable behavior and to advertise oneself as exhibiting virtuous behavior that is called 'straight.'

I've known people who claimed to be "straight-acting" and they seemed like perfectly average 'mos to me -- and not fellows who would easily be confused for straight. If one were to advertise oneself as "not femme" that would be one thing. To advertise themselves as straight is a rejection of their gayness.

To make matters worse, this phrase "straight-acting" is more normally part of a larger construction: "straight-acting and looking." Apparently it is possible to "look" like a total fag, but otherwise "act" straight.
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2007, 08:11:25 AM »

Quote from: "'berto"
Well, I had this saved to my hard drive, but I don't have a URL for it any more. It says something about "acting straight", though...

The Myth of Gay Macho
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2007, 08:11:43 AM »

Quote from: "Feral"
Here's an URL for it. Think you might could redact it just a tad?

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0226,goldstein,35992,1.html
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2007, 08:12:11 AM »

Quote from: "Feral"
Quote
So many gay men are living with GIDS, so common is our sense of alienation from other men, that it's fair to say we've never seen a natural gay identity one that isn't shaped by persecution. What we have seen are various strategies to defy or compensate for this primal wound.

Consider the disco-era clone, with his costume shrieking blue-collar butch. He was a creature of reaction to the playground trauma, wearing his masculinity on his sweat-shirted sleeve. But his attempt to claim the trappings of masculinity had an unintended (if predictable) consequence. Straight men fled from the attire gay men had borrowed from them in order to look manly. If gays liked their jeans tight, straights liked them baggy; if fags wore white briefs, real men switched to boxers. So the clone look perpetuated the problem it was meant to cure.


Mr. Goldstein is right about one thing certainly: there isn't anything about gay identity or culture that isn't shaped by persecution. The only people for whom this is not the case are those who haven't been persecuted. When you consider that imagined persecutions affect behavior and identity as surely as real ones, I'm not at all sure that there are any people whose identity is NOT shaped to some degree by persecution.

I think Mr. Goldstein is grievously in error about the clone thing though. The clone look was intended to be masculine, but it was never intended to be camouflage. Quite to the contrary in my view -- it was a peacock's plumage. Further, this supposed straight flight from 'gay attire' was completely invisible to me in the 70s and 80s. I witnessed quite the opposite phenomenon. Just about every affectation of dress that gays adopted was not long after taken on by the straights. It was my observation that the clone look, which held on as occasional costume for quite some time precisely because it WAS such effective plumage, eventually came to be viewed as "tired" by gays. We switched to the much nattier (and baggier) "collegiate" look. My straight college roommate was still quite proud of the fact that he could strike a blue-tipped match on his tight 501 jeans around this time.

In short, I think Mr. Goldstein either lived in a place with a much different straight culture than I was exposed to, or he's twisting (consciously or unconsciously) his memories to fit an agenda. Not that a world "where no man needs to butch up to fly right" is necessarily a bad thing... I just question his tactics.

Quote
Homocons cite a certain survey of sex ads to bolster their contention that most gay men are basically butch. This study found that nearly all men who place personal ads in gay papers describe themselves as masculine. What's more, most seek the same traits in a sex partner. If this were really the case, femmy guys would be sitting home alone, which they certainly aren't. Soulful sissies, flaming creatures, ripe papis, and beamish boychicks all get their share. The stud muffin is a recognizable type in the gay community, but he isn't the norm. There is no gay norm, virtual or otherwise. But some types are more acceptable than others. The real question isn't whether gay men are naturally macho, but why we feel compelled to wear that face in public. The answer has everything to do with status.


I am dismayed -- surely a survey of sex ads is among the last places one should look for information on gay culture. This is not a survey of gays, this is a survey of gays who advertise. It omits the entire array of people who manage to inspire people to have sex with them in person. I might suggest that the preponderance of "straight-acting, straight-looking, seeks same" ads indicates that this category of 'mo has a hard time getting dates more than it indicates anything else.
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2007, 08:12:53 AM »

Quote from: "'berto"
Quote from: "Feral"
Think you might could redact it just a tad?


*mmmmwwwwwaaaaahhhhhh*

Done.
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2007, 08:13:16 AM »

Quote from: "Feral"
Dude... yer allowed to quote from the thing  :D

Quote
The homocons' solution to the playground trauma is not so different from the clones'. They want us to stop acting like faggots. Hang with straight men, join a rugby league, take testosterone if you have to, and fercrissake stop empathizing with the victim and start identifying with the aggressor. This self-help program points to a major difference between the gay left and right. Liberationists don't want to reform gay behavior; they want to change the system that needs faggots in the first place.

The world that queer radicals would create is one where no man needs to butch up to fly right. Masculinity would be something every male possesses, not a test every boy must take. Gay men would be free to follow their hearts without sacrificing prestige and so would straights. After all, macho is a wound for everyone. It isn't just about boys bonding and dads passing their cojones along to their sons. It's also about boys brutalizing each other to establish a hierarchy based on fear of the feminine, and fathers injuring their sons for failing to make the grade. It's about mothers repressing their daughters, and butch girls suffering through the female equivalent of the playground trauma: the prom from hell.


I can't help but take one more shot at Mr. Goldstein's self-serving false dilemmas. This creature that he terms a "homocon"... just what is it? I know who he's talking about -- they're the same folks who don't like the Pride Parades because they're so undignified, so flamboyant, so really 'faggy'. I suppose you might draw parallels between these people and straight theocons or social conservatives, and it'd be a pretty fair rendering. These people may be conservative, but not because of the behavior that's being depicted in this piece. These "homocons" are just assimilationists. They aren't integrationists who wonder why we just can't all get along... they're dyed in the wool assimilationists. They want to dissolve into a great undifferentiated sea of straight people. They mistakenly think this is normal. These are fake straight people, and this rabid rejection of all that they perceived to be gay, coupled with a lemming-like move toward all that is straight and "normal" is internalized homophobia of the worst sort. I can sympathize with them, since I know what drove them so mad to begin with. Sympathy only goes so far, however... there is no comforting a dog with rabies.

The problem here is that Mr. Goldstein's classic solution from the Left is just as mad, just as homophobic, and really quite pointless. This is the voice of the old GLF. The organization may be long dead, but it's "Liberationists" carry on. Sadly, liberation of the gay people is never what they had in mind -- and this would be the cause of that split between the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance: the liberationists not only aren't paying enough attention to gay issues, they pay attention to everything BUT gay issues. These Liberationists style themselves as some species of Messiah -- they will save the whole of humanity from themselves, if only given the chance. Here, they propose to solve the entire problem of masculinity in men by changing straight people. Good luck with that. I can understand the impulse to identify the cause of an affliction and root it out at the source, but it doesn't always work out that way. The fact remains that gays just don't have the power to re-mold straight society into a form that suits us. One might even argue that even wanting to is immoral. Gays having a great deal to say about the way straights raise their children is not too unlike straights having a great deal to say about the relative levels of dignity on display in one of our parades.

I will agree with Mr. Goldstein that straight people are the single worst choice in care-givers for a gay child -- and there ARE gay children. They ought not be brought up to be straight; it does incalculable damage to them. Many of us manage to re-align ourselves with a more appropriate culture, but far too many of us are turned into metaphorical rabid dogs for whom little if anything remains to be done. Gay children should be raised by gay people, and at the earliest possible opportunity. Identifying and securing the safety of these children would be a titanic task, but it is one that has a far greater chance of success than some pipe-dream about recasting civilization in our image.
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Vizier

  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 22
    • http://www.thelastbaron.com
Re: RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2007, 05:11:24 PM »

Quote from: "Feral"
Quote from: "Feral"
Read this.


He's in college. In the U.S. Need I say more?  

Okay, I will. I was terrified in college. It was the 1970s. I was good looking, gay and scared, like many. All the chutzpah, all the balls, the courage to go line up with the nellies men and scream "We're here, we're queer, get used to it, don't fuck with us!" came light years later.

By '93 I was fat, dressed in a purple sweat suit that made me look like Barney the Dinosaur.  A group of us drove all night in my Dodge Omni (6 in that tin can!) to march on Washington.

Nearly 20 years after college, almost everything had changed with personal experience, the pain getting fat as a gay man had inflicted, and the realization that it was okay to be me - gay, queer, a faggot, "one of the girls" or whatever else I wanted to call myself...

When they're too young, take them off the hook and throw them back...  :wink:
Logged
izier - a yummy person!

Feral

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1984
    • Feral's Treehouse
RE: Re: RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2007, 05:58:43 PM »

He IS in college (certainly was when the article was written).

Youth has it's drawbacks. Fortunately it is a malady that improves steadily with time -- and all without treatment. :P

This particular young man is among the more thoughtful I have encountered. As the views of a twenty-something, I take them very seriously. My own perspective on such matters is unabashedly that of a forty-something. My college experience was a world away from anything  chronicled by this "Ridiculous Raw Youth." I must say... his seems to be an improvement over mine. (Though the real, live, free-range hippies of my day are an experience that he is deprived of. This may be among the positive changes that have taken place.)
Logged
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

vanrozenheim

  • Administrator
  • Guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 513
    • http://gayhomeland.org/
RE: Re: RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2007, 12:05:07 PM »

Logged
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it." Thomas Paine

Kyleovision

  • Administrator
  • Hero member
  • *****
  • Posts: 300
RE: Re: RE: Acting Straight
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2007, 12:52:13 PM »

Quote

(Though the real, live, free-range hippies of my day are an experience that he is deprived of. This may be among the positive changes that have taken place.)


Much like the real, live, free-range punks of my day. (Sorry, dear, to inadvertantly point out that your day and my day were, errr, somewhat separated in tiime. :P)
Logged
"That buzzing-noise means something. You don't get a buzzing-noise like that, just buzzing and buzzing, without its meaning something."

berto

  • Guru
  • *
  • Posts: 1258
Acting Straight
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2007, 01:28:00 PM »

Hey now... don't be dissin' the hippies! :D
Logged
"The dignity of an animal is measured by his capacity to revolt in the face of oppression." -- Mikhail Bakunin
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up