Here's a quote I found on YouTube today. It came attached to a video of figure skater Johnny Weir performing to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face":
Is masculinity just not attractive anymore? I mean what the f--- is happening? I am 100% in support of homosexuals, but do you have to be a flaming fairy? Why can't people just be normal dudes that happen to like dick?
All right, then. Where do I begin with this comment?
As coarse as this writer's terminology and thoughts are, unfortunately, he speaks for a lot of people. His argument is the age-old, it's all right for you to be gay as long as I can't tell you are. And, if I can tell you're gay from the way you look and act, then, one, you offend me, and, two, you're not normal.
Like I said, where do I begin?
First, I need to come clean. I'm not proud of this, but I admit a part of me cringed when I watched Weir perform his routine in the video. Yes, he's flamboyant in his attire, expressions, and movements. Yes, he's unmistakably gay. Yes, in my opinion, he seems to lay it on a bit thick in terms of putting his homosexuality out there. But that's my prejudice, and that of anyone else who's offended by what they see.
Perhaps what bothers me most about Weir is that he's been in the public eye a lot lately, especially at the 2010 Winter Olympics here in Vancouver, displaying his flamboyance and--wait for it--perpetuating the stereotype that ALL gay men are, in the words of the quote's writer, flaming fairies. Arguably, the biggest reason why I have a problem with that is, one, I'm gay, and, two, I have my own effeminate characteristics that I've worked hard to downplay over the years (admittedly, so fewer people would be able to readily tell that I'm gay, and so that I won't have to see their disapproval, scorn, and disgusted expressions).
But, you know what? Here's the thing. Why should Johnny Weir, or I, for that matter, have to go out of our way to downplay what we are? Just so we fit into someone's--our culture's--nice, neat definition of what masculine is? Just so we look and act like some socially acceptable model expected of all men? Just so we're not discernibly gay? Just so we don't upset the sensibilities of someone who claims he's one hundred percent supportive of gay men, but isn't at all?
Wouldn't it be nice if gay men were masculine like straight men, and, because of that, weren't discernibly gay, so that our culture could categorize us in the same comfortable box as all men and didn't have to deal with the fact that we like other men? Honestly, sometimes, I've wanted that too, but only because to demonstrate in any way that you're gay makes life so much more difficult, and no one needs to go through that, especially since he's only being himself.
Fact is, Johnny Weir is who he is. To him, he is normal, and to be anything other than who he is would not be normal--at least not for him. So if the writer of the quote above can't deal with that--and, frankly, if I can't deal with that, even though I'm gay myself and should know better--well, then, too bad for us. Unfortunately, those comments still have the capacity to crush and, in Weir's case, to force him to defend himself at a recent news conference, where homophobic sentiments were all too obvious.
Makes me wonder if the people at the news conference, and the writer of the quote above, are gay themselves, since some of the worst homophobes are gay.