Straight-acting is a term for a same gender-attracted person who does not exhibit the appearance or mannerisms of what is seen as typical for gay people.
If you’re an out and proud gay man— why would you label yourself as straight-acting?
This is the ultimate version of internalized homophobia for many gay men.
Ah yes, another Grindr profile with “straight-acting” or “Masc4Masc” in the description! I wonder if the guy who wrote that has a secret desire for drag queens? How emasculating!
“Ya I’m gay, but I’m a man, dude. I’m normal. I want a man, not a woman!”
That also rings misogynistic, which by the way is part of what homophobia is: a fear of anything that is not heteronormative, not defined by prescribed gender roles, or religious ideologies. Men should be men, and women… well, women know their place.
Queer People Didn’t Die So You Could Call Yourself Straight-Acting
As gay men we are not the root problem or the cause of homophobia, but we are part of the problem.
This is why we still need the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia — a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities on Thursday, May 17, 2018 of this year.
While we’re still fighting regressive politics, oppressive regimes, and bigoted evangelical Christians who want to send us to conversion therapy (or concentration) camps, we also have to fight the homphbobic virus within ourselves.
Some gays think homophobia is dead.
They falsely believe that as gay people we’re the problem, because we talk about oppression. They think we don’t have thick enough skins. How ignorant! My skins is hard as fuck from years of feeling stigmatized and less than. Many of us have far deeper, physical wounds that prove the violence of homophobia. Many of us are not alive today because of homophobic bigotry.
We used to think the world was flat. We used to think witches caused sickness and illness, until someone discovered viruses and a cure in penicillin.
Two thirds of the world still believes a collection of ancient texts, based on oral tradition, that are over 2,000 years old. Before that we believed in a pantheon of gods led by Zeus. Where did he go? That’s so stupid it’s biblical!
“You’re either a man or a woman and nothing in between!”
Can you see how that enables violence in hyper-masculine straight men with a limited understanding of the diversity of masculinity? These are the men who fear homosexuality and cause the greatest harm, verbal or physical, to both women and “gay” men. Hello?
These hyper-masculine men FEAR gay men… oh the irony. This only goes to show the fragility of gender as a construct. Going too far to one extreme induces the possibility of violence to prove one’s gender. Only facades need defending.
How does straight-acting hurt others?
As a gay man, if you call yourself straight-acting, you’re making things worse for every other man, of any sexual persuasion, who happens to be more on the side of the feminine in his characteristics and mannerisms.
Straight-acting is a limitation.
In truth, you might be de facto straight-appearing. No problem with that. You might love the touch, connection, intimacy, and partnership with another man. Yet you exist in the masculine domain without question or contemplation. So what?
When you label yourself straight-acting, you are mis-identifying.
This label defies the truth of your identity — you are more than a collection of mannerisms and characteristics that fall mostly on one side of the spectrum of feminine or masculine.
We respond more truthfully to the world around us in different ways, at different times. We are not a fixed representations of a number of human characteristics — including gender — nor are we only one but never another. That kind of fixed identity limits one’s perception and acceptance of the world. The perception limits understanding and critical thinking.
One of the so-called characteristics of masculinity is strength.
Straight-acting is a misidentification borne of fear and ignorance, and possibly self-preservation.
Strength can only be expressed with it’s corresponding or opposite feminine characteristic, flexibility. You are in your strength as a gay man if you are naturally masculine — if that’s how others see you and who you are without thought — without having to act or force yourself to be that way.
”But I’m a guy and I like guys!”
Good for you. So am I, but I’m not an asshole about it. I’m not ignorant of the pain false masculinity causes other men who have grown up ashamed for being more naturally feminine. Saying that out loud hurts because by saying it you disqualify another human being.
No one is forcing you to be attracted to something that you’re not.
Why do you hate being gay so much you call yourself straight-acting?
Hold on a moment!
Is that part of the problem? Is that your problem? Are you attracted to the feminine in men but ashamed to admit it? Or do you secretly feel things that don’t involve “being a real man” and make you feel more… feminine?
What if you got to know another man — another gay man — simply for who they are?
I know. I understand. When you grew up you were safest when you appeared like the other boys. Maybe that’s how you avoided being singled out. Maybe that’s how you always got picked for the team. Maybe that’s how you passed and fit in.
When you play straight-convincing long enough, it’s hard to let go.
It’s hard to come out of the heteronormative closet that has you hating yourself for having any kind of feelings or mannerisms remotely feminine. Is this why you never smile and why you’re still so angry?
It’s why your life is a facade — a play — and you are the classic, straight-acting male lead. How very Rock Hudson of you!
What you desire from straight-acting isn’t real — acting is a fiction based upon reality that you are tying to box yourself into. Don’t be an actor within the play that the status quo wants to cast you in.
Be real, vulnerable, and open to the possibility that expressing what you’re afraid of might bring you the greatest gifts in life.
The only way we can make progress in eliminating homophobia is to own the problem.
We are the solution. We defeat gender norms when we unabashedly embrace the complete spectrum of so-called masculine and feminine characteristics. And by “embrace” I mean you consciously displaying or honouring gender diversity.
Feel free to be all that you are without apology.
“Haven’t had a dream in a long time
See, the life I’ve had
Can make a good man bad
So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
Lord knows, it would be the first time” — The Smith’s
Labeling yourself as straight-acting is an indirect apology is to the status quo that you’re not valid as a human being.
Don’t be less than.
Be gay. Be trans. Be bi. Be lesbian Be gender fluid. Just be you.
Be a proud, fucking-in-your-face queer!