June 1998

Too Gay?

Recently I've seen the phrase "Too Gay" used in the media and also in Oasis, and I've been forced to stop and ponder the meaning behind it. Too gay? What exactly is "too gay"? And how does that term apply to us? This month I'll offer my opinion on that.

As a bisexual I literally live in two worlds, or as it sometimes feels, two planets. I live in a area where you basically are encouraged to totally flaunt your gayness or else you're not considered a "member of the club", and the more you flaunt it the more respect you're given by your peers. It's sad actually to see how far some people take this, to the point of acting like a total asshole in public, just for the sake of achieving somebody's vote of approval.

Since I work in retail I have to deal with a wide range of customers, or should I say characters? I've had to put up with some serious bullshit from people, and at times you really do wish that the laws against murder could be lifted for just a few minutes. Of all the customers that I dread, the openly gay ones are often the worst. I'm not trying to be mean here, I'm just being honest. For instance, how many of you would like it if a guy came up to you and asked where the toilet paper is, and then went on to say "Not the hard shit sweety, I need the soft stuff for my sweet ass". How hard is it to just ask where the toilet paper is, without the added comments? The list can go on, but I'll stop there.

There are different standards for the gay and hetero worlds, and as a bisexual I feel like I'm caught in the middle. The message that I think many young gays seem to miss is that they are a minority living in the straight world, and in their quest to be different and stand out in the crowd they're alienating quite a few people along the way, including some who may be willing to give them a chance but are instead turned off by their disrespectful behavior. The lisps, sneers, and ass shaking may be cool in the gay world but doing that -- and with intentional exaggeration -- in the hetero world tends to add fuel to the gay basher's fire. I've dealt with that numerous times, and while it may seem cool to be in public talking as loud as possible with lisps and using the Lord's name in vain, I bet most people would say to themselves "What a bunch of gay assholes!" Now is that the kind of attention you want? I sure hope not!

I've been long told that the first impression you make is what matters the most, and when that is a negative one you can be sure that it will most certainly last and may even be shared with others. Which do you think would make a better impression on someone, rude and obnoxious stereotypical behavior or acting like a decent, respectable human being. Do I even have to ask? Granted, acting like the latter may not draw as much attention to yourself, but most likely the attention you're given will be positive. And if you're wearing one of the popular symbols of the gay culture then you just might add some sorely need respectability to our small community.

Movies such as "The Birdcage" and "In And Out" have in some ways opened up the masses to the gay society, but at the same time I feel that they have also made us look like a bunch of idiots. Is there any way to achieve a higher stereotype per minute ratio as was shown during "In And Out"? Come to think of it, I the last time I saw a gay character in a film or TV show that wasn't molded to fit the stereotypical image that is so prevalent in our society was in a HBO show that aired in the mid '80's about a young gay teenager that formed a relationship with a older man (I can't remember what this was called -- any assistance would be appreciated!) As a friend of mine pointed out, there needs to be some way of showing that a character is gay, but I have to ask myself , is that actually necessary? Can we not move past the stereotypes?

You tell me.


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