WTF Wednesday: It’s Hard To Be Sensitive When You’re SOOOO Different

I simply do not understand drag.  So, however insensitive this may seem, I’m just gonna ask:

1)  If you’re gay, why not be a traditionally masculine gay man interested in other traditionally masculine gay men?  Why be an effeminate gay man playing the traditionally feminine role?

2)  If  you’d prefer to be a woman, can you really say you’re gay? 

3)  Can you really blame a heterosexual man for being disgusted at the idea of something that strikes him as completely unnatural and foreign to him psychologically, emotionally, and biologically? 

…I’m just sayin’…(cue the execrations)

7 thoughts on “WTF Wednesday: It’s Hard To Be Sensitive When You’re SOOOO Different

  1. 1. The question is not just about someone’s sexual orientation. It also has to do with gender expression/identity, which is more a person’s sense of self than anything. Some people like to express the feminine side more overtly than others. It does seem a bit strange to me as well, but I also dress a little androgynously at times… is that gross?

    2. Yes you can say you are gay because many times it has nothing to do with wanting to be a woman. Again, it has to do with gender expression. These are not the same.

    3. No, I can’t blame you. People are scared (read: grossed out by) what they don’t understand. If it’s unnatural to you (as homosexuality is unnatural to the Church) it’s likely to going to be disgusting.

    This clip really helped me better understand the issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXI9w0PbBXY

    • I appreciate you offering a serious or at least sober-minded response. As a Pan-Afrikanist, I find it impossible to reject the Black LGBT community–even if race isn’t the most salient identity for them. Still, I can honestly say that I simply do not understand where they are coming from.

  2. Isn’t all anyone wants to be free to be themselves? I’m pretty cool with the idea that as long as no one is harming someone else (without their consent 😉 then live and let live.

    1) Well, some people think they’re most beautiful when they look really butch and some people like being a nellie. Just one step beyond being a femmy Mcfemmerstein Nellie is just dressing like a lady. Some guys work out at a gym and look at themselves in the mirror and go out on the prowl. Some want to do it up with some makeup and sequins and hot boots and go out on the prowl.

    I’m transgendered, and I believe so is RuPaul. and I’ve had a lot of flak from men who were gay telling me I should be proud of being a man, and butch it up. So I’m in a diff. category. Here in Atlanta a lot of the gay guys are “big strong men” and, well, for some reason the swishes don’t pay any attention to me at all. I sometimes believe it has something to do with suspecting who is top/bottom/vers… They don’t want to pick up another bottom, right? Maybe guys in drag are trying to communicate something? I really don’t know. I just try to do what I feel and if I don’t understand what someone else is up to, I ask them if I get a chance.

    2) Now if someone is actually transgendered, then maybe they shouldn’t say they’re gay. The gay men around here seem to think that. Like I said, I think RuPaul is a transgendered woman. But I am only able to seduce a straight guy once in a blue moon because I mostly look like a man. Gay crossdressers are common though (as are STRAIGHT male crossdressers). But really now, who cares what someone calls themselves? If I am seeing someone, sleeping with someone, or in love with someone… then it’s between he or she and I what we think we are (if we care at all). I’ve also been the gateway drug to men or to women for a lot of lesbians becoming bisexual or straight girls turning bi or dyke. What would you call our relationships? Maybe a straight relationship. But what about when I’ve got so much estrogen and progesterone in my body (and supressed Testosterone) that I might as well be a lady who just ovulated? I think it gets really hard to make categories then.

    3) I don’t blame anything on anybody. Really, it doesn’t bother me what you want or don’t want. I hope you get what you like and we all live in a happy little hedonistic world.

    • Wow! You are in a pickle. As a heterosexual male, I find it exceedingly difficult to find a woman that I can connect with and be myself with. I cannot begin to understand how difficult it must be for you.

      I read a bit of Rupaul’s bio on his/her (?) page. S/He identifies as a gay man, and for me that sparks more controversy.

      I feel you on identifying as a human or a person more than any other category. The problem is that there are politics (read “power”) behind categorization. This hits home as a Black man. The colorblind movement only makes sense if there is no system of racial divide that advantages one racial group over others. As a Black man, to pretend that race doesn’t matter is unintelligent. Likewise, to pretend that gender and sexuality are not political categories may not be a good move. Still, I do believe in self-determination, and no one should be allowed the to define you in terms other than YOU see fit.

      At this point, I’m very proud to identify as Black. And, while I don’t completely understand them, I’m okay with more genders and sexual categories being normalized. With that, we all have to identify in a manner that we feel best fits us. Ultimately, no one category will accurately define any of us. For example, I have no fear of becoming gay or having “gayness” jump onto me if I’m around gay men. So I wouldn’t say I’m homophobic. But, I cannot wrap my mind around the various genders and sexualities that exist outside of heterosexuality. (For that matter, I don’t understand anal sex between “heterosexual” couples, but that’s just me.) Do I constite a homo-ignorant category because I don’t understand?

      I wouldn’t mind joining such a category–whatever it was called as long as there is no hate attached. A misunderstanding should not automatically lead to conflict.

      • I’ll tell you what I found inspiring today: The quote you posted on your page by James Baldwin.

        You raise really good points. I have noticed that people use categories as a means to relate to people. To use a weird example, I knew a lady who quit drinking and smoking weed. She described some of her friends almost being upset with her at first. Others just didn’t know what to do when they hung out… Because the way they’ve been interacting with her changed.

        So we all get into a role. Maybe you’re the cool guy at the party who tells all the jokes and is a political intellectual. Maybe I’m the hipster queer that dresses like an androgynous German model. So we get into relationships with someone who is interested in interacting with that thing.

        I actually think our identity becomes a trap at that point, success becomes an enemy. Because what happens when you wake up one day and feel less like making jokes and just don’t give a toss about your politics to talk about it at the party. What if you’re feeling more contemplative and flirty, romantic? (I don’t know you, I’m just using these as hypothetical examples).

        Or for me, what if I want to dress like a rock star and pick up all the girls one day? The thing that everybody thinks is so cool has now changed and there’s going to be some amount of friction. This might not be too much with peripheral acquaintances, but with close friends, or especially family and lovers, it can get pretty intense. Ask someone who came out of the closet as gay how much that impacted their family and lover at the time.

        I dream of a world, or at least a group of people where individuals could be free to act in true spontanaity, which I think would produce a level of honesty that we don’t usually see now. Commitment and consistency are methods pick up artists use to get people to do stuff they might not otherwise be comfortable with.

        “So where’s the craziest place you ever had sex?”

        “In the top of a lighthouse”

        “Wow, what would your Sunday school class think if they knew about it?”

        “Actually, it was with a boy from church.”

        “Oh my god, you’re such a bad bad girl, aren’t you?”

        “yes I am.”

        “I think that’s really cute. I’ll give you five bad girl points for that.”

        “Hey! Only five!”

        Our pick up artists then proceeds to drive her to prove the identity that she has committed too. I know that’s a weird example, but the same principle works for cult leaders. There’s also a little bit of a sunk costs fallacy happening here (See wikipedia article on sunk costs fallacy).

        All this comes together for me in that at some point, some aspect of identity is going to become rigidified for someone… at which point they’re trapped (and might not even know it).

        Not that you’re doing that or that I’m doing it either. I’ve found that by casting myself as “gender queer” then I can choose to act however I want. People don’t expect my identity to contain specific behaviors, and since I’m “queer,” I can violate those behaviors if i want to. Like in the quote, one has to be ready to “to surrender a dream he has long cherished or a privilege” to find something greater. I think that is true partly because in the moment of NOW, the dreams or privileges of yesterday may no longer be functional, or may no longer be what is best to draw upon for the situation.

        • Commitment and consistency are methods pick up artists use to get people to do stuff they might not otherwise be comfortable with.

          I find those words to be very powerful, and you’re right! Our achieved identities often become traps. I have a bit of reputation for talking a lot or “thinking too much,” (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!), and when I’m quiet, contemplative, passion-driven, or operating in any other self that is comfortable for me but outside of what is expected, my friends react negatively.

          There is a complete set of sociological theories on this topic–expectation states theory. All relationships are defined by what we expect from ourselves and others in a given situation with a given person, and conflict often occurs when we are confronted with or are confronting others with the…(cue dramatic music)…the unexpected!

          Try as a I may against allowing others to rigidify me, I fail, and I don’t completely have a problem with that. We (humans) tend to need categories in order to understand the natural world around us. I have had conversations with people whose race, sex, and gender, were unclear, and I spent a good amount of time trying to determine in which categories they fit rather than enjoying the conversation. There’s something broken there, but I also recognize the necessity of categories. We need understanding.

          I certainly would like to better understand other cultures, sub-cultures, and worldviews…I appreciate you adding to my understanding by dealing even-handed with someone like myself!

          • Well, I think it’s a journey for everyone. I’ve explored many ways to be freer, and I hope to become more free and honest every week that I remain alive. I think one important thing is acceptance, which it sounds to me like you’re doing. I only recently discovered that principle. But you know, at the end of the day, we’re all human, right?

            I read more about James Baldwin, by the way. He is such a cool guy! Thanks for getting me interested in him.

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