June 2001

"Bad at Being Gay"

I've received a lot of comments in the past, and got another just recently. "Micheal," my close friend said, "you're just so BAD at being a gay guy."

I had to crack up.

My friends tell me "Everything about you says 'straight.' In fact, I see a blinking neon sign above your head that says 'straight.'"

I checked the mirror, and I don't see it. I do understand the point, though. I've received a surprising amount of flak from other gay people saying that I'm repressing my sexuality, or I'm afraid to be myself. Just the opposite is true, however. I simply am who I am. Yes, I am gay, and I'm quite content that that is the case. Just because I'm gay, though, does that mean that I need to rewrite my behavior to fit some stereotype?

I thought the gay world was enlightened enough to have grown beyond labels by now. I don't go around flaunting my sexuality, but I don't go around denying it, either. I'm out to anyone who asks, or if it comes up it's fine by me.

I also competently replaced the clutch in my car, change my own oil, and open jars for old ladies. And I've tried to feign a lisp... tried really hard, mind you... but I just can't do it.

I'm not demeaning any of the 'typical' mannerisms that qualify as 'gay traits.' Hell, I'd be glad to have the sense of style most gay men have. As it is, I often have to bring women along when I'm clothes shopping (don't tell!).

All I ask is that I not be judged because I'm not 'gay enough' to please people. We're all individuals, and, to an extent, we're all in this together. And just like we tell the straights... don't make assumptions. Don't assume that just because I don't care for Barbara Streisand or poodles that I am denying who I am.

I embrace who I am. I invite you to do the same. I also welcome any fashion tips...



Micheal is a 20 year old student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He's visiting South Dakota for the summer and invites his readers to send in tips regarding the Art of Being Gay, that he may practice and be ready for next season's competition. Micheal may be contacted at fearofignorance@yahoo.com.

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