We’ve brainwashed ourselves into thinking we need to act a certain way in order to be taken seriously.
As a teenager I was constantly in a state of panic. I didn’t want people to figure out I was gay, so I tried my hardest to hide. I hid from my parents, my friends, my teachers, my classmates, and myself. But it didn’t matter—they noticed anyway.
When I was in high school, it was: “Are you gay?” As I got older it became, “You’re gay right?” Now it’s, “Oh, I just assumed…” I’ve given off a gay vibe all my life despite my effort of trying to be unidentifiable. And I’m not the only gay guy who does.
Why is there such a problem with people assuming we’re gay?
Why can’t we be who we are? Why can’t we be what we are? Why do the terms “masculinity” and “straight-acting” need to be in the back of our minds 24 hours a day?
We’ve brainwashed ourselves into thinking we need to act a certain way in order to be taken seriously. Since we were kids society has shoved ideas in our heads about what it means to be a man—it’s a leadership role that comes with certain obligations. We need to chop our own wood, take care of our families, be the breadwinners, pack leader etc. Being gay is a chink in the armor, so we feel pressure to compensate.
But underneath our noses we’ve become the victims of our own success.
For decades LGBT people wanted to simply be accepted by the world. Now that society has embraced us into their lives more openly, it seems like we paid a larger price: have we chosen to hide, to conform, and not to make waves in order for the world to accept us?
We’re told to “man up.” This is when masculinity becomes valuable—the more we have the more attractive we are, and the more people will take us seriously.
Those who don’t want to be targeted will always feel pressure to hide. We might not be sent to jail or denied a driver’s license or denied a hospital visit, but in today’s world discrimination isn’t so obvious: it’s a glance, a look, a silent treatment reminiscent of our teenage years, and we’ll do anything to keep ourselves from living it again.
Masculinity has become more than just a social quality. It’s a safeguard, a mask we use to keep ourselves ambiguous. Even more so it’s a trait we find highly admirable in the gay hookup world because it’s safer.
The idea of what a man is has been implanted in our brains, and we desperately want to be associated with it. It means we haven’t been emasculated, and in a deeper way it sends a message to the world that we’re still a man.
But the thing is we’re always going to be men, we’ll always be manly and we’re never going to not be masculine. That’s our biology—it’s always going to be this way.
If you are offended when people assume you’re gay, you ought to ask yourself why. What kind of insecurities are you still holding onto? Why does it make you so uncomfortable? Do you hate being gay or do you hate the stereotype?
Whatever the case maybe, the most important part of life is knowing who you are—minus the gay, male, even human thing. Find your voice, find your heart and connect your spirit with the fire inside yourself. Whether it comes across as masculine or feminine doesn’t matter. Do it boldly. Be proud of the person you are.
Screw everyone else.