The other day I was lying in bed with a friend discussing several topics about life in general. Somehow we ended up talking about the attitude of gay men towards each other, and how the simplest of things can make a guy want to date you or hate you. Then we started talking about how many “butch” gay men are kind of brutal towards “feminine” guys. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why a guy would want to date a guy who is masculine and not a total queen diva, but is the labeling really necessary?
My friend went on to explain that he feels that we always want to define things. We always want to be detailed when it comes to the character of people, and I totally agree with him. For example: I recently heard someone talking about a fashion designer and they couldn’t remember the person’s name so they told me, “that gay designer.” Like seriously? Most designers are gay, but that’s not the point. Why is it necessary to disclose or state the designers’ sexual orientation? We have to give the individual credit for his talents not for whom he is sleeping with. At any rate… it ended up being Tom Ford who we were discussing.
So why do we do this? Why do we have to bring up a person’s race, religion, gender, HIV status (if we know it), etc. when speaking about them? I mean we all know Justin Timberlake is straight, but we don’t say, “That straight singer Justin Timberlake.” But if the person belongs to a minority group or had different religious belief, which we found different like Hinduism, we would include it. We don’t see people as individuals instead we see them as part of a collective. I personally don’t see why we do this, but I catch myself doing it every now and then – and don’t think I don’t slap myself a little for it too.
As humans we try to define, categorize, and compartmentalize everything around us. I don’t know the reason but I can only conclude that it makes us feel better. From an early age we are taught girls play with Barbies and boys with soldiers. That simple lesson that our parents teach us to familiarize ourselves with our sexuality and who we are suppose to grow up to be initiates the desire to define. So how does defining mold us as gay men? Well it hurts us as gay men, that’s for one. We always want to define other gay men as queeny, fem, butch, jock, bears, etc. But is that really necessary? Why cant’ we see past the makeup “queeny” men like to wear? Why can’t we see past the muscles the “jock” gay guy has? Why can’t we just see past the whole “gay” title and call gay men, MEN!
We are all individuals with different beliefs. We are all different in our own special way and we need to see past that. It is our individuality that makes life interesting and fun. If we would just stop using race, religion, sex, and titles to categorize us we would be taking a bigger step forward towards equality. It would help us open our minds and understand each person for whom they are and not what they are defined to be.
We may all look different in front of the mirror, but we are all still humans under the sun.