In defence of the homophobic gay guy.
If you’re gay you’ve probably seen that article from Gay Times- or at least the headline in all it’s baited glory. You’ll also no doubt have seen the comments, or the quoted retweets. Scum! Get into the sea. Shut the fuck up! Umm, no! Etcetera etcetera etcetera. (If you haven’t already read it,click here and give it 5 minutes of your time.)
The headline itself does what its supposed to do; evoke a response, in this case anything ranging from disbelief to rage. Perhaps it made you feel a bit too much, commenting or retweeting your disdain without having read past the byline, but read on and you’ll find things aren’t quite as they appear…
The article starts as you would expect, the questions one faces when coming out, nothing shocking there. We’ve already been prompted by the headline to expect homophobic themes throughout – they’re blatant, but you don’t need two thirds of a psychology degree to spot the confusion staggering from start to finish. This confusion, or cognitive dissonance, gives us context and an insight in the mind of a gay guy with some internalised homophobia.
It’s important to note that when we talk of homophobia regarding this GT article, we’re talking about casual homophobia as opposed to outright homophobia. The latter is your bog standard ‘kick the queer’s head in!’ kind, while the former is more ‘I don’t have a problem with gay people, I just don’t want them rubbing it in my face’. (Rubbing it one’s face usually means ‘please don’t kiss in front of me, two men kissing is gross’ - more on that later)
Cereal Killer (CK) let’s us in on the fact he was a victim of homophobia during school – just as many of us were. He freely admits it left its mark, and yet towards the close of the article he reveals that in a recent interview he claimed homophobia never had much of an impact. How does he explain this cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. He probably isn’t even aware he said the two conflicting statements, but he has admitted this homophobia confuses him. The mental disorientation doesn’t end there - after telling us he accepted being gay when he was sixteen, CK then confides that eighteen years later he still hasn’t accepted it 100%. Again, the disparity is addressed by neither CK or his interviewer – again probably slipping under the gaydar.
There is another telling bit where he refers to his sexuality as forced – what this means I do not know. Is it an act? Can one feel pressured into being gay? I’m at a loss.
And as if this isn’t enough, the home run comes at the end -
“Am I happy in my sexuality? Yes. If I could shake a magic wand and make myself straight tomorrow would I? Yes. Am I happy about that? NO.”
Stop. Look. Read. In one sentence the man tells us he’s happy in his sexuality, then in the very next breath he tells us he would alter his sexuality if he could. Are these really the words of a man happy and comfortable in his sexuality? One could argue that he couldn’t really be in love with his ‘amazing boyfriend’ if he truly thinks this, but people in love (gay or straight) do stupid things all the time, and shocker, they also do things that are selfish and to the detriment of their partners.
This isn’t the interview of someone who deserves to be branded scum, or told they’re harming the gay community, this is the outlook of someone who is realising that Dale Winton and Julian Clarey, tank tops and Kylie, are not the four corners of the gay community. This is someone who needs a cup of coffee and a weekend with The Velvet Rage.
Internalised homophobia is a thing – it has reared its ugly head in all of us at some point – some still have it – from the masc4masc guys who hate queens to the closet cases who can’t understand why we even need Pride. Some of us get over it, some of us don’t – but it does take time, and an understanding of others and ourselves.
I’m tempted to paraphrase Mean Girls and I’ve yet to resist temptation, so I shan’t start now – We have got to stop calling each other names, it only tells straight people that it’s okay to call us names. This is the interview of a clearly confused individual, one who has yet to become comfortable in their own skin. Accepting who and what we are is never easy, and the problem is only compounded when you’ve got a world telling you you’re not quite right – we should be helping and supporting others, not raining down righteous condemnation.
Let’s put this in perspective, CK never called for the stoning of fags, nor banning the mention of us in school, his biggest crime was saying he’s still not comfortable with other gay guys showing affection in public – just as he is not comfortable showing gay affection in public. Yes, gay affection, because I have no doubt he’d have no issue kissing a girl in public.
There’s enough hate directed at us from the outside, let’s not start attacking from the inside too.