The Masks We Wear

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Yesterday, I wrote about how certain people in the gay community have strict types, how they automatically reject those who don’t fit their type, and how ageism, sexism, and racism have become a part of the gay community. I find it ridiculous how as a community we reject those who don’t conform to our expectations, and this goes beyond just the gay community but to humanity as a whole. I also mentioned the “bromo” type. Coop wrote this in his comment, and I wanted to share it with those of you who might not have read the comments:

There are a lot of talking heads out in the gay community who like to chide gay men for acting too straight or (allegedly) trying to downplay the fact that they are gay by saying that they are straight acting. My first thought when I read the word “bromo” in this post was that somewhere some know-it-all will have a problem with that designation/group/ whatever you want to call it.

The thing is that we all have our prejudices, no matter how hard we work against them. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. When we chide each other for being too “straight-acting” or too “flamboyant,” we cheapen ourselves as a community. Those of us who are closeted know that we must appear straight or the rumors that you’re gay fly around like a bat out of hell. I have several close friends here and away from here who know I am gay. I even have many who suspect that I am gay, but never say so. I have different ways of acting around different people. I keep up appearances, which is part of the deception of being in the closet. I don’t like it, but it’s reality.

The point I’m trying to make is that we are all unique. Some of us are naturally flamboyant, while others may be more “straight acting” or just a “good ol’ boy” or however you want to put it. I dare not say normal because what’s normal for me is not necessarily normal for you. With that said, we all have it in us to show different personalities to different people. For all things there is a time and place. Sometimes, I can be flamboyant when I want to be, and sometimes I’m not and do my best to blend into my surroundings. It’s according to the situation. I think all gay men have it in them to be flamboyant. Sometimes it just comes out in us. I have to catch myself to keep from calling everyone “honey” or saying something is “fabulous.” I often say instead that something is “fantastic” but that can sound just as flamboyant as fabulous at times.

Anyone who says they are completely straight-acting is being ridiculous. There is nothing straight-acting about giving a blowjob unless you’re a woman. Therefore, I understand the gay pundits who rail against those who call themselves straight-acting, but I also understand why someone can describe themselves as straight-acting. No matter how much we hate labels, they are often useful.

So no matter what mask you wear, I urge you and myself to be ourselves more. We can still wear the masks that hide our sexuality, but if we hide who we truly are then we lose ourselves.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

2 responses to “The Masks We Wear

  • Roy Beatty

    Hi Joe, I just have a quick question about the photo you’re using on this blog post (the nude guy with the mask on). Where did you originally find that? My boss is releasing a LGBT-themed New Orleans thriller novel and is having me make his media content, and this picture would be absolutely perfect for the content, so I’m trying to find the original owner and ask their permission for use. Do you have any place you could point me towards to find such a person? Thank you

    • Joe

      I’m sorry. I have no idea where this picture can from. I probably got it off another blog on Tumblr. I’d love to know more about this book when it is released. I love New Orleans.

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