Jonathan P.

January 2001

The weak and the brave.

This month's question is an easy one: Are gay people, by nature, weak? I got this thought into my head while I was lurking in a chat room. A question came up of who was straight acting and who was feminine. The whole room had been involved in the previous question, yet, at the mention of this one, few spoke up. The two who did immediately said masculine or straight acting. I watched the exchange back and forth a little more, the room growing more and more quiet.

Clicking off the monitor, I immediately sent out a letter to a friend of mine. He's the sensitive type. You know the type, cry at weddings and mushy movies, can't stand combat, thinks blood and anything relating to medical "eewwwy." I posed him the same question: Are we all weak by nature or did some of us just get different genes.

Later that night I prodded through my family's movie collection. I pulled out two movies: Pillow Talk and Titanic. I watched Pillow Talk first. Through the entire movie, I kept trying to spot where Rock Hudson could possibly be gay! First he's a pompous businessman, the next he's a rugged, sturdy, MASCULINE cowboy! Shazamm. I ran back upstairs and dug through the Internet a little on ol' Rocky baby. Sure enough, his entire life he was straight as an arrow. In posture only. Then I watched Titanic. Yeah I know, Leo hasn't come out yet, but he will. Leo's always been a bit of a "fem" so to speak. I read an article in Newsweek where he went from being that cute, adorable, gag-me-you-dolt boy in Titanic, to this punked up, yo-wuzzup guy from LA in the article.

What gives?

I've been asked many times if I am straight acting or if I'm a fem. One person had the gall to ask right out: "are you a queen, cuz if you are I'm leaving." What nerve! I think the world has this misconception about gay people. I think the jocks at school and the politicians see gay people as this weak, almost 100% female sect, that when pushed, will cry and shrivel at any strain.

I decided to list everyone that I knew and beside them placed a checkmark for Straight, Feminine, or Queen. Since these three seem to be the main stereotypes for our OWN culture, I figured why not use it for this basic test. Out of sixteen in-my-own-opinions, only two stood out as masculine. I think a lot of gay people try very hard to be straight. I think when we're young we really don't give a shit. But as we get older, I think we see some need to be straight and present a masculine, professional attitude to the world. God forbid the world think we're gay.

Everybody who's under eighteen, go play star wars, this next part's for those of us who grew up in "the eighties". Okay, the kids gone? Good. I wonder how many of you out there were harassed in school or singled out because you "acted gay". Regardless if you came out or not, just the sheer hint that you were gay by some politically charged, media biased population of straight-dumbshits. Remember the people in school who you knew were straight, who by all accounts liked girls or you might have, through conversation etc., found them to be straight, were still picked on because they "acted" gay.

In my own high school, THE WONDERFUL LAKESIDE HIGH SCHOOL OF AUGUSTA GEORGIA, that by the way has suddenly had an influx of gay people, there were numerous incidents of people being harassed and driven to break down because people ASSUMED they were gay. Straight people assume a lot. Straight people assume anybody with a lisp or slightly feminine behavior has got to be gay. At the same time, though, a lot of gay people assume that just because a gay person is feminine acting, they're automatically discharged from their liking.

I think people who dismiss feminine acting gays solely on that basis, are actually afraid that their rough, Rock Hudson cowboy exterior, will diminish and they might just become themselves. I myself am pretty much straight acting. I've actually TRIED to be gay. I've tried to cry at weddings, tried to watch Titanic fourteen times through (loving it each time). I've even tried to watch Beaches; personally it sucked.

So what gives? Is it something in the water, the genes, or is it the way we're born and raised. What makes us "straight acting" or "queeny"? I'm in deep pondering of this question and, I'm sure, by the end of this article I will have an answer.

For now, let's float back to our under eighteen ones. Come on now kids, put the video games and the boys (and girls!) down and come over here. Suddenly there has been this huge influx of gay teenagers in America's schools. Forget where or the environment. Many teenagers are finding it easier to come out of the closet without fear of prejudice or pain. This is going to sound crass but seriously, I think the world changed for a slight better after Columbine.

Oh God, I can hear the e-mails now. You bastard! You scum sucking, rotten tomato-in-the-fruit basket. How DARE you say ANYTHING good came out of Columbine??!!?! Well I do! I think Columbine, a tragedy as it was, served as a kind-of slap-in-the-face for society. It not only opened up how terrible things can become when children are left unchecked, it also brought to light how much misery many kids go through in society. Never before has the school bully gotten on the front page of the newspaper. After Columbine the media had a field day. Politicians demanded that schools watch for bullies and students whose lives and academic futures were destroyed because of harassment.

On a personal note, following that tragic April 20th, the harassment, the abuse, and the misery I had experience in school suddenly stopped. I cannot say for sure what made it stop. I do know this: Up until the very day of the Columbine incident, I was harassed, abused, picked on, and beat on by my fellow classmates on a daily basis. On April 21st and until the end of the year, it felt as though the weight of a thousand years had been lifted from my shoulders.

So I think the younger generation has, and will have it, easier than the older will ever. I think that gay people are, by nature, a sensitive group that is more in tune to their emotions, senses, and affections. I think what makes some of more masculine than others is our rearing. I don't think society makes us gay or makes us feminine, but it makes us stronger. Society's mistakes and misfortunes are often the oppressed's biggest ally.

In closing, I hope everyone will take a good look at themselves and the people around them. Decide if you're masculine or feminine. Decide if that image is really something to worry about. I think if we all just stop trying to be someone we're not, and if we could just learn to let our guard down a bit, for the sake of our own sexual culture, then I think many of us will open a new world of possibilities. Who knows, maybe the next Rock Hudson and Leo will marry and we can all rejoice.

Godspeed, and as always, email me anytime.



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