Homophobia doesn’t end when you come out of the closet. It’s a strain of poison that sticks with us for as long as we allow it. While it’s easy for gay guys to point to the world and cry “homophobe,” it’s time we turn a spotlight on ourselves.
We’ve become our worst enemy. To make ourselves feel powerful, we’ve become the bully. We steal other people’s worth to make ourselves appear more valuable. This in a nutshell is how bullies gain power, and we have become the victim of our own success.
The problem didn’t start by being gay. It started by being born a man.
Manliness is a construct. It’s a blueprint we all feel pressure to follow as men, and it doesn’t stop when we come out of the closet. We’ve made masculinity a type of currency: the manlier we are, the hotter and more valuable we become to the world.
Naturally everyone wants to look and feel like someone of worth, so we try to desperately to be more masculine. As a result, we resort to playground tactics and start bashing feminine behavior, both in ourselves and in others. Femphobia is alive and well, and it affects us all. Look at some of these signs and see for yourself:
- #1) You swipe left, or block, guys who look gay.
Forget about looking too gay, it’s about looking gay at all. If you can tell a man is gay from a picture, you probably won’t give him a chance. Pictures allow us to fantasize and fetishize over guys, which allows us to raise the standard.
When we’re talking to a man online, he doesn’t feel 100% real. We’re alone in our room; he feels like a computer rather than a real person. We filter away guys we probably wouldn’t have tossed in real life, and only accept prototypes of “men” that are universally appealing. But the more we filter, the easier it is to transition this kind of judgment to our conscious lives.
- #2) Your type is “Real men…”
People ask what your type is, and you typically say “Men… like, real men,” to which they say what the f*ck does that mean? Your response is wishy-washy at best. What you mean to say is you’re not attracted to guys who act too gay. What do you mean when you say “real” men, that feminine guys aren’t real men? Their private parts have a different opinion.
The truth is you’re the one chasing an idealistic fantasy. You want the man you see on billboards, in action movies, even in porn. You’re the one that has it misconstrued, probably because you don’t know what a real man is because you’ve never been comfortable in your own manhood. When you invest time to discover yourself, you will waste no time judging others.
- #3) Your attitude changes around straight guys.
For many young gay guys, straight men represent everything we believe society wants us to be. It’s like looking in a mirror and seeing a reflection we know doesn’t represent who are, but we try desperately to emulate. We think our gayness might make them uncomfortable, when the truth of the matter is it makes us comfortable.
To force masculinity upon yourself basically sends a message that you’re not good enough. You can bulk up, try to be “straight acting” or feel better about yourself because you’re associated with straight people, but at the end of the day the best kind of man is a genuine one. If you’re forcing yourself to be something different than what you are, life is going to be much harder. Relax.
- #4) You start emulating them when they’re around.
For whatever reason, you change your tone of voice and talk down on guys you feel are more feminine than you. I once met a dude who baby talked to me like a puppy: “Hey there, buddy…” he said through his lips. I wanted to kill him.
A funny thing happens when you meet a person you think fits a “type” the media makes fun of. There is subliminal pressure to copy mannerisms in an effort to hide your discomfort with being around them. In an attempt to convince the world you’re not femphobic, you start emulating speech patterns, saying words you probably never have said in your life, and wave your arms in angles you’ve only seen in movies.
By the way, unconscious racists do the same thing when they’re around black people, Hispanics, and Asians across the board. It’s a natural instinct we have to make ourselves more comfortable in moments likes this. If you get uncomfortable for no reason around feminine guys (or any minority for that matter), you have a lot of work to deal with in yourself.
- #5) You lose your groove when someone is more “masculine” than you.
Super masculinity isn’t true masculinity to begin with. Being good at sports, being able to fight someone on the street, or drinking until you’ve passed out are not signs of being a man. They’re sad attempts of trying to prove your worth as a man.
None of us want feminine traits to be exposed. Since we were kids, boys trained us to hide them—we’d get made fun of otherwise. No crying, no sissy fits, no emotions, no interest in fashion, drama or dance (those are all “gay” things). We’re constantly fighting our 10-year old selves, so when we come across a guy who seems to be more masculine than we are, we become a little boy in the playground again.
A man who is more masculine threatens our ego. Alpha Males are the leaders in society’s construct. When one comes across, we have no choice but to either fight him to prove our worth as an Alpha, or to just give power over to him. Most of the time we don’t question it. It’s easier to feel better about ourselves around feminine guys because we feel like Alpha Males. But at the end of the day, we’re only as “Alpha” as we feel inside. True leadership and manliness comes from character—not competition.