My mom always told me I was the “cutest thing she ever did see.” Her crooked smile, red lipstick, and piercing blue eyes used to persuade me out of the deepest of insecurities. For a while I believed her, that is, until I began to get into the gay scene.
When I was in my roaring twenties, I waited in anticipation for Friday night to come. My boys and I would take over the boulevard (or any other place we can find) and reek havoc. During that time, it was easy to see that we didn’t exactly fit in. Not that we were unattractive, per say. After all, I did have a 30″ waist and a killer smile, but when it came to the “hot or not” categories, I was nearly always place in the “not.”
Today, it seems like nothing has changed in the gay scene. Sure it’s an incomplete representation of what the gay community is like as a whole, but for many non-LGBT people in the world, they take it as the whole pie. As a young man fresh out of the closet, I took it as an accurate portrayal of what my new “role” as a gay man was.
Stereotyping is a serious issue in the gay culture, but more so than “Bears,” “Twinks,” “Jocks,” and everything else, the most damaging, above all, is the scale of hotness. Usually those who are 8’s and above are living the high life. They’re the ones we see on TV, film, and even radio (weird, right?). While they remain the “face” of the gay community, the average Joe’s continue to be the ones on the street. They’re the activists who rarely get air time on network television, they’re the ones that walk past your periphery whenever you’re at a bar. They’re the majority.
One might look at what I’m saying and ask, “What happened to you that made you so bitter?” The truth is, nothing. There was never a traumatizing moment in my life that leaped me towards this feeling of inequality based on physical attraction. However, being ignored by the bartender for the more attractive guy next to me, getting eyes rolled at me whenever I’ve asked for someone’s number, or even being pushed aside at my job for the more attractive “face,” has begun to add up, leading me to wonder if I’m the only person who’s experienced these things.
Just because we’re men doesn’t mean we need to resort to physical judgments. It’s true that men are visual creatures, in that we’re stimulated by what we see. It’s built in our biological structure (that pesky testosterone), but shouldn’t we be smarter than that. If we’re going to preach equality, we need to practice ALL forms of it.
Whether it’s treatment by society, views on our community, or assumptions based on our body types, every judgment we’ve been taught to feel has been implanted in our brains by culture. It’s time we unplug ourselves from the Matrix and start living in the truth – and the truth is that we should all be judged by our character, not our “cast type.”