There is one thing I don't like about being gay...

Jesse Joseph's picture

I read a book awhile back. The title? I don't recall. The Author? I don't remember. [I'll find out later today and change this post to have that info] But suffice it to say that the subject of this book was group selection [which pardon my French is more or less BS] but it also had alot to do with conformity, and that made me rather sad.

Sad because everwhere I look there is something I do not see very often: original individuals.

This may have something to do with geographical location, but I've found that homosexuals are ever more conformists then heterosexuals. In terms of look, style, behavior and all around culture I find that the Gay community is more homogenous then the straight community. It makes me wonder.

Is conformity that important to us that we can stand no deviation? I'd like to think that homosexuals, having been ridiculed and ostracized in the past would be less conformists. The sad state of affairs, as I have so painfully been made aware of these last few years, is that after being unable to conform to the standards of society we have not disregarded the concept of conformity and praised individualism which we should have done. Rather we have formed a whole new community with its own standards of conduct and rules of behavior. Our gay community is just as enshackleing as the larger Community which we so despise. Both seem to look down on the freedom of individuals, and both are not for me.

My quesion is "does it work like this?:" during adolescence the drive to conform is at its most powerfull. As gay people we are unable to conform and we never satisfy that urge. So when we find others of like inability to conform we now realize that we can meet that urge to be like everyone else but in a different system with different rules. That may seem a bit Fruedian, but I'm curious as to what you people think about that.

jeff's picture


conformity isn't a gay-specific issue, it is just a different conformity than straight conformity. Not sure one is better than the other, really, both boring.


Scruffy the Vampire Slayer's picture

maybe clones maybe not

i think that some people conform to being flaming because they want to fit but also they might finally feel like they can act how they want and express themselves. ditto to say many rocks fans (for example) you've the ones who really like the music and the ones who are posers.
"The hardest thing in this world is to live in it" Buffy- The Gift

Luke's picture


Hmmm...Yes, it does appear that there are a LOT of clone queers. But there are an equal number of queers emmersed into various subcultures. Look at all the punk/goth/grungy/theater geeks there are on Oasis alone! I'm neither condeming nor supporting this emmersion, but it would appear that many GLBT people do not find acceptance in the larger culture, so they turn to more accpeting counterculter groups. I'd like to see myself as a novel individual, but I definitly see distinct traces of conforming to the local rock band geek culture in an effort to fit in more. Again, it is debatable wether these countercultures are original, or at all nonconformist, but I don't think that is necesarily an important issue. People like to belong, and they find accpance where they can get it. Sometimes it's bland, but it gets the job done. Also, I can now work my signature.
The Head of Security for the Movement to Free Oompa Loompa Land from the Tyrannical Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka

greyboi's picture

Not True.

"This may have something to do with geographical location, but I've found that homosexuals are ever more conformists then heterosexuals. In terms of look, style, behavior and all around culture I find that the Gay community is more homogenous then the straight community. It makes me wonder."

Read A Place at the Table by Bruce Bawer and you'll see who the real "conformists" are: far-left radicals who center themselves on their sexuality and far-right closet cases who feel the need to conform to "traditional" heterosexist roles. The average gay person just wants to be him or herself, but people on polemic extremes want to get others to conform to their political agenda and way of life.

eTgen's picture


original individuals.

Perhaps the second funniest oxymoron after: Microsoft Works.

I had a similar led discussion before the implosion of Oasis back in September, in which I argued that unique individuality can never exist because you simply follow a clone of another. Sure people can be individuals, but they can never be original. They always follow some clan, a copied subset of a predetermined (oh dear god, the post-modern crap again) meta-narrative. Yes folks, but no one is unique.


CEO, President, Founder, and First member of:

The Movement To Free Ommpa loompa Land From The Tyrannical Rule Of The Evil Capitalsitic Despot Willy Wonka And Associates


suffragettecity's picture


"I'm a non-conformist, just like everybody else."

I bought into the whole punk thing when I was in high school, so I probably shouldn't be preaching, but sometimes you find that people who profess to be "non-conformists" are the biggest conformists of all. Just go to any punk show, and the audience is a big sea of spikedomes, mohawks, leather, and more or less identical political views.

Western societies, especially American society, (as opposed to the group-centered societies of Asia, Africa, Native Americans, and so forth) are by nature individualist, and we're constantly pressured to "be ourselves," "express ourselves," and "not care what others think." Thus, you'll notice a lot of advertisements for things like cars and clothing attempt to give consumers the false impression that the products being advertised will help a person express his or herself, and that to drive a new VW Beetle that's purple with pink polka-dots is more an act of individualism than driving one that's all black.

That's my perspective, anyway. Then again, I may be subconciously taking that from somewhere else, for all I know...

hol's picture


This is going to be a sparse yet hopefully hitting point.

How do you know that someone is a homosexual? We've all talked about our faulty gaydar etc, so really, the only way that you can truly tell with absolute certainty if any given individual is gay is if they tell you. Second to that is reading the *signs* of homosexuality (the type of things you list here in your conformity argument), and supposedly stems from a "in the know" reading practice.

My point is that essentially you're missing most gay people because they do not conform to this sort of amorphous gayness that you posit here. Homosexuality is not like race or ethnicity, two identity markers that are (arguably) visible. To be homosexual is to affirm that identity. And if you choose to adopt the signs of gayness so that you can easily be spotted, to be part of a community, than that is really where I think your so-called-conformity comes from.


Jesse Joseph's picture

You are most likely correct.

Oh yes that makes sence, I see your point. To only homosexuals that I can "spot out" are the ones who conform. All the nonconformers are invisable to me so the only homosexuals I recognize are conformers.

That makes much sence.

However, I have known a number of people who were not out of the closet who behaved in a certain manner. Yet when they came out to everybody they started acting in a more...oh how to put it...flaming way. Not that I have a problem with peole acting that way. If they were "flaming" befor comming out I would not have a problem with it. It is that they only started acting in a stereotyped manner after they came out. This I see happen to a number of kids.

linds's picture

I think that often happens...

because gay people, especially when first coming out, can feel pretty bereft. It may be easier for some to first adopt the trappings of the community (another amorphous thing at best) in order to feel, at least internally, that they aren't alone.


Special Envoy to Tea-Drinking Nations for The Movement To Free Oompa Loompa Land From The Tyrannical Rule Of The Evil Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka And Associates

jeff's picture

not to mention...

They may have been repressing that side of themselves before. They may have been willfully acting "straight" before coming out, and this is who they are with their guard down.

Overall, though, you need to worry about yourself because you will never solve this issue, if it even is one.


In darkness together we are forming's picture

to be honest i don't think yo

to be honest i don't think you can generalise like that. people conform, whether they be straight, gay, whatever. people need to feel accepted, and however much some may argue that they don't need other people's opinions, they don't need to fit in, it's simply not true.nobody is truly original. lets face it we wouldn't act how we act, we read what we read, we dress like we dress, if we thought we'd end up as a total outcast. so you gay, who cares, it's not sexuality that determines how much you conform, or whatever you want to call it. personally i don't think i beleive in such a thing as a true non conformist. everybody wants to be accepted by someone.