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Jeremy Alexander Headshot

Fellow Gay Men, Stop Glorifying Toxic Ideals Of Masculinity

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MAN FIGHTING
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I'm standing outside of the bar, holding a dirty bar rag against my face to stop the bleeding. My boyfriend has asked me to wait outside the club with security and to point out my attacker to them if I see him leaving the club. I agree to this even though I'm aware there's no point to it -- I had watched the man who punched me twice in the face run right out of the front door just moments ago.

I'm getting too far ahead of myself. I'll start from the beginning.

It's the end of the night, the last call drinks are finished and it's time to go home. I tell my boyfriend and our group of friends to meet me out front of the club while I grab my coat from the back of the bar, and they agree, heading outside.

As I make my way towards the door, he stops me. Long story short, he grabs me by the arm as I was leaving, and when I jerk away, he forcibly pulls my head towards his for an unwanted kiss. When I push him off of me, the fight was on in his mind. With no warning, he punches me twice to the face, calls me a faggot and runs out the front door. Before I can really react to what had just happened, the bartender starts pulling me towards the bar, aforementioned dirty bar rag in hand.

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A photo of my face without a bar rag attached to it.

While I can't speak for the entire gay community, I'm sure most of us have had experiences at one stage in our lives or another with an overly aggressive man trying to strong-arm you into a sexual relationship. Why does this happen? Why do some gay men see sex as an act of simple dominance over another rather than a consensual act between adults?

My theory is simple. These men want to overcompensate for their queerness, because on some level, they see their queerness as negative and that their sexual orientation makes them a "sissy" by default. So they fight this, they embrace "bro" culture, work out, avoid smiling in photos, talk in a deeper voice octave and avoid talking with their hands or watching Ru Paul's Drag Race -- anything they can do to feel they have "reclaimed" this lost masculinity through their sexuality.

Rape culture... invades even these queer spaces and imbues woman-hating behaviour into queer men as well.

Why? Because at the end of the day, they equate being gay with being overtly feminine, and femininity as a sign of weakness -- something they are entitled to dominate over. Rape culture isn't isolated to the heterosexual community alone, it invades even these queer spaces and imbues woman-hating behaviour into queer men as well -- something displayed day-to-day in the ever-growing "Masc4Masc" culture of the gay community. ("Masc4Masc" is a shortened form of the phrase "masculine for masculine," used to describe men who display the social behaviour of only associating with other overtly masculine men.)

Strangely enough, being seen as "straight acting" is something desired by a large demographic of gay men, hoping to embody these traits of the heterosexual male in their gay lifestyle. I'm pretty sure the biggest defining trait of being "straight acting" would be having heterosexual sex, but I feel these men may have missed the memo.

Personally, I don't really see the point in trying to hinder your freedom of self-expression just to get more Grindr messages, but I guess it might just be because I've already been categorized as a "sissy" and I have no idea how to operate any workout machine other than an elliptical.

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Me being super masculine.

It was understandable as to why a gay man would want to appear as a heterosexual man in passing during previous generations; wherein being visibly queer put you at a much higher chance of being susceptible to violence -- and, of course, I'm not saying that the risk of violence against queers has declined in modern times, I mean, read the first paragraph of this article again. What I'm trying to say is that gay men once idolized heterosexual expression as a means of self-survival; now, these traits breed only self-loathing within the community and effectively serve no functional purpose.

What I'm saying is that when you take a gay man trying to become this hypermasculine ideal, he kind of throws that whole "peaceful conflict resolution" thing out the window. After all, "talking is for sissies, right?"

What does our marginalized community gain by further marginalizing women, POC and trans* individuals?

All I know is I'm thankful that I grew up with supportive parents that let me grow up into who I was meant to be, telling me it was OK to like playing with dolls rather than action figures, and reassuring me that my love of Sailor Moon was totally valid for a boy my age. If it weren't for them, maybe I would be the one using the word "bro" unironically in sentences and punching people in nightclubs.

Bottom line is this: gay men cannot make heteronormative values work. Sorry, guys, we already broke the rules when we started having sex with men -- weird, huh? It's almost like these rules were created solely for the benefit of white heterosexual men. Who would've figured. So, why are we trying to reconstruct these outdated values within our community? What does our marginalized community gain by further marginalizing women, POC and trans* individuals?

This "white bro" frat movement isn't working for me, and frankly, the people who are trying to make it happen just end up looking stupid. Maybe I'll never understand what these men get out of self-regulating themselves into oblivion, and well, maybe I don't really want to. Just please try to avoid punching me in the face next time, I'm all out of concealer.

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