Isolationist Redux, a guest post

(written by Neo-Prodigy)


So in light of this recent fuckery here:

http://www.ankhesen-mie.net/2010/01/underappreciated-actress-of-color-11.html?showComment=1324237247037#c6541818755482640534

our esteemed bartender asked that I pen a guest post offering the gay male perspective. I was happy to oblige. I wish I could say the whole “gay men =/= real men” trope was the worst or the only thing that gay men have to endure but I’d be lying if I said that was true.

I spent the past few days brainstorming the best post to offer insight into what gay and other queer men have to contend with in our day-to-day until I realized that I post I penned earlier this year best encapsulates my thoughts on the matter. I updated the post for you fine patrons here At The Bar:

"That look. 15 years old and you already had that look on your face right there. Already learned to live alone look. It's strength like that, well, can prohibit other things. Friendship and joy. They become elusive. I'm old I can talk."

-Reggie, AMC's The Killing S01E06.

Ever had the experience of watching something on television or overhearing a conversation, something is said and it feels like the Word of God speaking directly to you? Because to say that quote didn't hit me at the core, would be the understatement of the decade.

A few months ago I was at work and I overheard a gay co-worker chatting with a colleague. He explained to her how being a gay man is one of the loneliest existences. And yet again, something divine spoke to me. Granted this wasn't news to me but it hit the core just the same.

There's a reason why countless LGBTQs stay in the closet, specifically queer men. I was having a discussion with one of my dearest friends and she made an excellent point. In our society, the worst thing a woman can be called is fat, and for men the worst thing to be called is gay. Gay: sissy, fag, queer.

To be gay for young men means to be considered a leper. And as far as many people are concerned, it's the same as being a pedophile. To come out and be honest about who you are can result in beaten, raped, having limbs broken, even killed. Sadly this is for teens and adults alike.

And forget getting support from the LGBTQ "community." If you're not white, you'll get attacked and thrown under the bus quicker by white queers than you will straight whites. As I've said countless times, I've been called a nigger more times by racist white queers than I have straight ones, and as a black man living in the South, THAT should tell you something.

And heaven forbid if you're a queer POC. Some people can't wrap their head around the fact that non-whites can be both POC and queer and others treat us as if we're some separate species. We also get attacked for having the gall to infiltrate queer spaces because everyone knows that LGBTQ movement is only for white people, unless they need a photo op to show how diverse they are and then they may allow a token or two.

I was watching this show once on gay African Americans and the narrator made the best point ever, gay black men are two things that society fears the most. After all, how is the black man perceived: criminal, savage, subhuman, a predator, a monster, a beast. The gay man: deceptive, weak, cunning, treacherous. Which is why the struggle for queer rights is vastly different for a queer white person than a queer POC.

Having dealt with racism and never having the sense of entitlement that white privilege brings, we generally have a more pragmatic look on what we're up against and our experiences being POCs have provided us with tools to help us survive being queer.

That said, having another marginalization to deal with is the last thing many of us want.

But we carry all of that and try to love and appreciate ourselves in a world that fears and hate us. But heaven forbid you actually demand better. Heaven forbid you genuinely manage to love yourself and be proud of who you are. In doing so, you will have hell unleashed on you.

I've lost count of the number of times I've taken pride in myself as a gay man and have claimed my masculinity and to say, "I'm gay I'm proud and I'm masculine and I'm awesome. Queer and trans men come in all ranges, just like cis straight men and we shouldn't be boxed in either." Only to have privileged mofos tell me that I'm self loathing because EVERYONE knows that ALL GAY MEN are dying to be a fashion accessory to be accepted by the straights. It's not unlike the many times I've been told that I'm aspiring to be white when I point out that many blacks are doctors, lawyers, academics and that we are just as successful and we shouldn't be boxed in to degrading stereotypes.

Let me just spell it out for you right now. I am a man. I am a real man. I am not deficient. I am not broken. I’m a good man. I’m a good black man. I’m that mythical good black man that’s so hard to find. When I identify as an alpha male it’s because it’s a title I’ve earned. It’s also me reclaiming an identity that’s rightfully mine. I spend each day honing myself to be a powerful, intelligent and beautiful man who is superior in most things because I realize that’s how I will garner a modicum of respect. I identify as an alpha male because I am an alpha male.

And don't be better at cis-straights and/or white folks at anything. Because that's when all hell truly breaks loose. We've seen that shit countless times. Don't believe me, look at all shade that's been hurled at President Obama and his family.

And speaking of family, needless to say the gay issue is like a tightrope if they're conservative and yet then they wonder why we steer clear of them and don’t come home for the holidays.

So you're constantly on your guard. You see while I’m out online, in real life, I keep my orientation on a need-to-know basis. It’s not out of shame or guilt but the sad fact is, it is a survival tool. Someone knowing I’m gay can make all the difference between being denied for a job, being denied medical attention, or someone trying to kill me. But more than that, I like being treated like a human being.

As a double minority, yes, I still have racism to contend with but most people are totally comfortable with me being a person of color, (provided that I: don’t exceed whites in anything, don’t date, sleep with or marry a white woman or in my case a white man, keep white people fee fees as my top priority, remember my place and don’t dare consider myself on equal footing with the white folks). But let me tell you what happens when people assume I’m straight. People go out of their way to greet me. Supervisors applaud me for the excellent work. Co-workers and peers invite me to come hang out with them after work. I’m considered one of the boys. Not only am I respected but I’m actually liked as a human being. Women shamelessly flirt with me and colleagues male and female alike try to hook me up with a single lady in their life because I’m such a wonderful guy who’s good looking, charming and a great catch and they don’t understand how I can possibly still be single.

And when they find out I’m gay……

I get the silence. And the looks, the glares. The whispers. I get lectured about how I’m going to hell, and these holyrollers are even more irate when I explain that I worship the same God they do and he loves me for who I am because I’m made in his image. I’m forbidden to discuss any issues pertaining to my crushes/relationships/sexual conquests. It’s not that they’re homophobic, they just find me and mine sick and depraved and they don’t want to hear about it, but they’re totally not homophobic. After all, they just adore their hair stylist Pierre and they just loooooooove Will & Grace. And let’s not discuss how I’m not permitted to go within 20 miles of children. Because we’re all a bunch of predators. This also why I will not be watching your kids or spending time with them. Oh sure I'm sure they're perfect angels. I have no doubt that you're raising them to be extraordinary young men and women. I'm sure I would genuinely be fond of them. But see I can't afford to have any molestation charges hurled my way. No, I really can't.

"BUT NEO!" some of you would say. "WE WOULD NEVER DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT. WE DON'T RAISE BIGOTS IN OUR HOME AND OUR KIDS ARE TAUGHT TO LOVE AND ACCEPT QUEER PEOPLE."

Oh I'm sure you do. And I don't doubt you for a second. Real talk, it's not even you or your kids that I'm worried about. It's the fact that your kid could be at school or at little league and they mention to their friends, coach, or teacher, that they had a fun weekend with their parents and Uncle Neo and it's brought up that Uncle Neo is gay. There's a pretty good chance that accusations would fly that I'm a pedophile targeting children and it's a good chance that you could risk losing your children for letting a predator anywhere near them. Trust me when I say, I'm doing you a favor. You think think this shit doesn't happen, do your research.

And for precocious loner types like myself, I've learned to be content at being alone at a very early age. There is a strength in it but it runs at the risk of missing out on joy and friendship.

Which often begs the question, do you live or do you survive? Because often there is a difference.

Forget meeting other people. I've told you how toxic many LGBTQ spaces are both online and in real life. Trust me when I say, that many of the ones who are out and proud, aren't exactly prizes. Many of them have their own horrors that they haven't dealt with yet, their own baggage. They numb themselves by drinking, getting high, and fucking the pain and the emptiness away. And of course lashing out on others because they want others to feel as bad as they do. And those aren't even the worst ones in this "community." There's a reason why there are countless queer people out there, you won't often find them out in the LGBTQ spots. Because it's far more toxic than many straight spaces. So meeting people, not holding my breath.

And this is where cis-straight people have privilege where queer folks don't. If a guy likes a girl, he can smile at her or go over and strike up a conversation. If she's interested, she'll show she's interested or she can strike him down and tell him she's not interested or she's seeing someone. But it's a safe bet that he won't be murdered for showing interest in a woman.

Queer males, not so much. We often don't know who's queer and who isn't and showing interest in another guy can get you killed. Hell we can't even show public displays of affection in most places.

I was working out in the gym at work one day and it was pretty empty save for one really cute guy. Pale, shaggy dark hair, nice bod, he was hawt. Digressing now. Around the time I finished my workout, I noticed he wasn't present and realized he must've been in the locker room. Walking in, I made sure to avert my gaze and keep myself from blushing. So of course when I turned the corner, I nearly plow into him, shirtless (with a very nice chest) and wearing nothing but a towel. I defensively had to look elsewhere and apologized. Because best case scenario, I could get fired for sexually harassing male co-workers in the locker room. Worst case scenario, my skull would get cracked open with a lead pipe in the parking lot one night when I was heading home from work. And while I work out, study martial arts, and can handle myself in a fight, constantly having to look over your shoulder can get pretty taxing after awhile.

One thing I can say about conservative homophobes is while they're bigots, at least they're consistent bigots. And while I have no love for them whatsoever, at least I know where they stand. And when they're being bigots, they aren't demanding ally cookies.

It's the fauxgressive "allies" who are the biggest problem. They think because they voted for Obama, watch Will & Grace and heard a Janelle Monae song, that they know what being progressive is.

And shocker, most of them are white.

As with all things white privilege, they think they're entitled to your space, to your time and your energy and know nothing of boundaries.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard from condescending caucasians essentially, "It's okay to demand equality, just as long as you remember your place." Or this shit from white folks, "I agree with what you said, but I don't like how you said it. It hurt my fee fees." And of course, "My token black/gay friend says I'm magical and you're wrong. So there!"

And I won't mention how many white women have expected me to be their fucking fashion accessory or when I tell them they're crossing a boundary, or that their slash m/m fic is offensive as fuck, they'll try to pull some Rosewood bullshit and scream how the big mean Nigger Savage is raping and attacking their white woman virtues or because they're queer or a woman, they should get a pass on their racism, homophobia, and even misogyny towards WOC and trans women.

Case in point, the time I went out with my ex to a gay club and this psychotic white lady kept harassing me because I wouldn't tell her what my ethnicity is. And shit like this is the reason why with the exception of an elite few whites that I've come to love and trust, I steer clear of white womynz who luvs their gay boyz. Because it goes beyond a fetish, to this sick twisted mindset that we're their surrogate boyfriends or our entire being wraps around them.

A buddy was telling me how a few of her gay friends had to get restraining orders because surprise, unstable gay fetishists began harassing them on their job, showing up at their home, etc. And they weren't that close.

This isn't to say that WOC are magically infallible, but generally speaking, they know boundaries. They love their gay boys too but they also know how to keep that shit in perspective and there's not this dehumanizing shit that often comes with white privilege and white entitlement.

Sorry gay fetishists, I'm not your pet, I'm not your accessory, I'm not your surrogate boyfriend. I will not be sleeping with you. And it's a safe bet that you're not going to be the one woman on the planet who I would go straight for. That honor goes to Gina Torres. Perfection herself.

If white social justice circles have taught us anything, it's that "Everyone is equal. Just some people are more equal than others. And it's okay for POCs to demand equality, as long as they remember their place."

Just because you aren't screaming fag or nigger, doesn't mean you aren't a racist or homophobe. If you're treating someone less than human, than you are a bigot. And this is why many of us don't like you. This is why many of us don't want to be your friend.

And if you were wondering why I'm all out of fucks to give, well now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Comments

  1. Well said! Thank you for being so generous in sharing some of your experiences.

    A buddy was telling me how a few of her gay friends had to get restraining orders because surprise, unstable gay fetishists began harassing them on their job, showing up at their home, etc. And they weren't that close.

    That is some wild shit!

    It annoys me to hear Patti Stanger, Kathy Griffin, and Lady GaGa going on and on about "the gays" and how much they know about "the gays and how they are doing things for "the gays." I think the topic of women and unstable gay fetishism should be explored more at some point....when you restock on fucks.

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  2. This article remind me of a situation with someone I knew. She had found a new lover but didn't want to tell me about the person cause I would be judgemental. However, she asked me to read her poems which were about the lover and very obvious but I didn't get it. The lover was a female and the person in question that I had always known to be straight was now Bisexual.
    I was angry at first that she called me judgemental, but when I thought about it I would not have been welcoming in her change of orientation.
    I would have been one of those people that would flinch and hesistate if she were to talk to me about her girlfriend.
    I am all for LGBTQ people especially those of color, but I would be lying if I were to say that there is a part of me that would hesistate if a close friend of mine was one.
    Thank you for this post, it did open my eyes. And the point about a lot of the slash fics I definitely agree, some I cannot read due to the way the characters are portrayed.

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  3. Neo, I'm sitting here with my mouth open. I've never read a post quite like this. Your honesty and frankness is very much appreciated and applauded. You put yourself out there and I respect you for it. When you don't have to deal with such vehement responses because of your orientation, you're not aware of (or you don't care to be aware of) the fact that others (many of whom you know) do go through these things. Your post is an eye-opener.

    I was told by a student (who is the president of his school's Gay-Straight Alliance) that the main function of their group is to have a haven for students of different orientations to have fun, interact and enjoy themselves without being harassed or insulted by other students. To think that he or any one of those kids have experienced that which you described is disturbing.

    And you're right--that fuckery was complete fuckery.

    Excellent post. Excellent.

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  4. Let me just spell it out for you right now. I am a man. I am a real man. I am not deficient. I am not broken. I’m a good man. I’m a good black man. I’m that mythical good black man that’s so hard to find. When I identify as an alpha male it’s because it’s a title I’ve earned. It’s also me reclaiming an identity that’s rightfully mine. I spend each day honing myself to be a powerful, intelligent and beautiful man who is superior in most things because I realize that’s how I will garner a modicum of respect. I identify as an alpha male because I am an alpha male.

    *sniffs* I'm so proud for you.

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  5. Oh man. This is excellent. I've learn a lot from this post alone.

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  6. "Just because you aren't screaming fag or nigger, doesn't mean you aren't a racist or homophobe. If you're treating someone less than human, than you are a bigot. And this is why many of us don't like you. This is why many of us don't want to be your friend."

    PREACH.

    This post was powerful, Neo. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it.

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  7. Powerful and Beautiful Post. I thank Neo for sharing his experiences and points of view.

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  8. I cosign on everything. I respect you for being so open and honest.

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  9. You have my upmost respect.

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  10. @Neo-prodigy, that was a great read. Thanks for sharing. I liked your point about how you weren't free to flirt freely, b/c it could endanger your life, and furthermore, b/c the idea of threatening another man's masculinity is so looked down upon, men who bash men don't seem to get punished so harshly for it (Well, your honor, of course I bashed his head in, he was making eyes at me).

    I had a fellow black college classmate who came out to our class in our freshman literary journal, and he wrote about trying to do the balancing act between being part of the black community and part of the gay community. It's been a long time since I've heard a similar perspective so thanks.

    One question, do you think the the portrayal of the gay best friend (much like the sassy black friend) is one reason why white women EXPECT black women or gay men to be thrilled to be chosen? B/c I can see how Grace's relationship with Will is the fantasy that a lot of them want to have.

    I also think that too many people assume that gay=feminine and that all gay men want to talk about ladies fashion, clothing, hair, or makeup (and therefore want a fashion muse) when I'd say I know more gay men who are definitely "all man" as far as their interests go and don't know or care about those things, and I'm sure you get some women who are shocked by it.

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  11. This is my biggest problem right now. I mostly associate with PoC and it's a breath of fresh air, until I hear homophobic comments from people I am friendly aqquintances with and my lovers. I try to tell them how wrong it is and why and I will continue to but sometimes I just get tired of ignorance and bigotry in general and feel like people in general just ain't worth shit and then I just feel like withdrawing.

    I once helped this mother onto a bus by carrying her stroller for her, and we were having a pleasant funny conversation. Then a transgender woman got on the bus and her whole demeanor changed. When the woman got off at her stop everyone on the bus started making fun of her and I who had a close friend who was also transgender at the time was like..."Really?" I got off that bus feeling really frustrated with the humanity in general.

    It made me angry because this ignorant woman was passing this on to her baby. Baby's are highly receptive and they can discriminate too. And if that baby turned out to be LGBT how would she feel about herself with a mother like that?

    I can only imagine how that type of stuff being directed at you 24/7 as a double minority must make you feel. You have my sympathies and support and this is a great essay.

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  12. @Ama: At least with Kathy Griffin, I give her a bit more leeway because she's a comedienne and it's tongue & cheek and she's essentially calling out her behavior by being so blatant about it. The next LGBTQ's milage may vary but I always took it as her poking fun of herself.

    And while I would take it as a personal fucking kindness if people stop trying to qualify Lady GaGa as the patron saint of me and ALL all other queer people, (and I'd be eternally grateful if motherfuckers stop signing that gawd damn song Born This Way), at least she has actually marched in Washington and has protested for gay rights.

    Which begs the question why do so many celebrities who claim to be gay friendly and gay allies, don't do dick in regards to campaigning and fighting for queer rights?

    " I think the topic of women and unstable gay fetishism should be explored more at some point....when you restock on fucks."

    That shit actually happened this summer and we saw first hand how fucking insane white women are when it comes to gay fetishism.

    I wrote a piece called How To Slash Better because legions of female slashers (writers of m/m fiction) are constantly writing the most offensive homophobic tripe ever. More than that, many of them get this shit m/m romance published which plays to every offensive trope against gay and queer men:

    http://neo-prodigy.livejournal.com/tag/how%20to%20slash%20better

    In the post I pointed out common tropes and how to avoid them. A lot of people liked the post and linked to it and posted it around. There was a huge group of white women who flipped their shit a good 10 times. They began calling me a rapist, a nigger, a misogynist (because calling white women out on anything = misogyny), they sent threats, if you look up Hollowstone on Goodreads and Amazon, you'll see the trolls leaving bogus 1-star reviews.

    I'm such a misogynist but you're buying my book. Oh that's hella logical.

    All because I told a few white girls that having women rape gay men in their stories is not cool.

    Last month there was a huge blowup in the m/m romance community as a few gay male authors were outed as white women. Needless to say the transphobia hit and the white women bawwed about how oppressed they are. It became a huge blowout on Goodreads and my point got proven.

    http://arsmarginal.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/aj-llewellyn-and-appropriation-in-mm-romance/

    Ironically they proved every point I made about how m/m romance is a homophobic genre because it's written predominantly by cis straight white women with a gay boy fetish. Surprising, where there's homophobia, racism and misogyny aren't too far behind. They hate men of color and many indulge in full on racism. And the common excuse about why they appropriate gay men and not write romance featuring women: they don't like their girly parts, men are better to write and other internalized misogyny.

    As a matter of fact, a friend sent me link to a forum where a gay man was asking for suggestions for books written by gay men because wanted to read stories from authors like him who understand his experiences. The pearl clutching commenced as this transphobic Ann Somerville and other female m/m writers and their gaggle of flying monkeys bullied and harassed him as they were determined to put the uppity homo in his place. They did everything they could to make his life a living hell.

    And these would be the same women who would call out cis straight fanboys on their privilege, but can’t even be bothered to practice what they preached.

    But again what else is new. These are the same type of people who will out transwomen on a blog and then prop themselves up as feminists. These are the same people who denigrate black women and other WOC on the regular and prop themselves up as feminists and white allies.

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  13. "One question, do you think the the portrayal of the gay best friend (much like the sassy black friend) is one reason why white women EXPECT black women or gay men to be thrilled to be chosen? B/c I can see how Grace's relationship with Will is the fantasy that a lot of them want to have. "

    I think so. I think many white people have this mindset that POCs, and for that matter gays are just dying to be accepted so we'll take whatever breadcrumbs are thrown at us. And sadly for many walking queer minstrels (and a few self-hating POC houseslaves), they think being accepted by straight white people is the greatest gift to be bestowed on them.

    And the media constantly reinforces that the sassy black best friend and the gay token's sole existence is to serve the straight white woman. So it shatters their delusions when we tell them no, we aren't interested in playing that game.

    "I also think that too many people assume that gay=feminine and that all gay men want to talk about ladies fashion, clothing, hair, or makeup (and therefore want a fashion muse) when I'd say I know more gay men who are definitely "all man" as far as their interests go and don't know or care about those things, and I'm sure you get some women who are shocked by it."

    Exactly. I've had straight white women tell me that I was a self-loathing queer simply because I refused to be their Jack from Will & Grace.

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  14. @Everyone: Thanks for the kind words and comments. It truly means a lot.

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  15. I've had straight white women tell me that I was a self-loathing queer simply because I refused to be their Jack from Will & Grace.

    *shudder*

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  16. This post really touched me.

    I remember the battle with myself to come out. My goal was happiness. I foolishly thought that when I came out, I'd be accepted and happy.

    But the discrimination we face in the 'gay world' is just as bad as what we face in the straight world. In fact, I feel more ashamed of myself in the gay world for not being good enough -- I'm too skinny, too fem, too faggy. I constantly feel I'm not good enough. No one will ever be able to love me for who I am.

    Gay dating sites are depressing. Most people (and I mean it must be at least 80%) ask for masculine "straight-acting" men. If you're not able to fit this mould, like me, you begin to despair and think I MUST BE DEFICIENT. A sizeable minority will also say "No Asians". I mean come on, guys, seriously?

    It's a shame because the gay movement of the 60s and 70s was completely radical. It was influenced by the black civil rights movement in that regard. Early gay activists wanted equality for everyone, not to be assimilated into a society that had persecuted gender benders and queers.

    But I think that as the movement has become commercialized, we've lost that. I'm white, and you make valid points about Queer POCs. I think that as the struggle for gay marriage replaces the struggle for respect for ALL LGBTQs, this is only going to get worse. Don't get me wrong, I believe gay people should be allowed to marry, but I think that in forcing frameworks from the straight world onto the gay world we also take the prejudices that are built into them.

    One of the great things about the gay scene (for me, anyway) is you get to meet people from all walks of life. I'm a white European from a working class background. I've become friends with a wide range of people; this would not have happened if I'd been straight -- I'd probably have stuck with the same social circle.

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  17. Ankhesen Mié12/27/11, 2:09 PM

    @ Shaun

    Simply type your name into NAME/URL and leave the URL blank. Like this.

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  18. Dreamlover2251/5/12, 12:32 AM

    @Neo Prodigy

    I fully appreciate your perspective and insight. Thank you for blessing myself and others with your honesty. You are definitely a man and having sex with other men does not diminish your masculinity.

    Random question that is slightly off topic: I'm a woman but I love watching man on man action. Do you have any movie recommendations? Doesn't necessarily have to be porn...I actually prefer real films with real actors, lol.

    I just recently discovered "David's Birthday," on Netflix which is totally worth sitting through the whole hour and forty five minutes. Nothing better than watching two hot, muscular men make love.

    Thank you :)

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