10 Cringeworthy Things That Shouldn’t Be Said to Gay Men
For this first blog post of the new year, I decided to ask some of my fellow gay men about some of the phrases, questions and assumptions that were made by our heterosexual counterparts. We understand people think these are meant to be compliments or genuine curiosities, but we would like it if you quit saying these cringeworthy things to us:
“Who’s the boy and who’s the girl?”
I get this one asked just about every time I’m in a relationship and I really shouldn’t have to explain this one… NEITHER OF US ARE GIRLS. We are two men in a homosexual relationship. And what the question is really “roundabout” asking is simply no one’s business.
“If you’ve never been with a woman, how do you know you’re gay?”
I do not recall asking you “how do you know you are straight?” This one is offensive because it’s low key questioning my intelligence and my understanding of self. And again, asking about someone’s sex life is rude. They may have not even had sex with a male, yet alone with a woman. A lot of men who were in the closet may have felt obligated at some point to try it out and this may have been a traumatic experience.
“I’m cool with you being gay, but please just don’t hit on me.”
Dear straight men, THE AUDACITY! We all know the phrase, “assuming makes an ass out of u and me.” First, not all gay men want all other men. This phrase implies that you do not trust gay men’s abilities to control themselves. This then perpetuates the negative stereotype that gay men are naturally “sexual deviants.” The fact that you had to go out of the way to tell me that you are “cool with me being gay” clearly means you aren’t.
“OMG, can you do my (hair/makeup) and pick out my outfit for tonight?!”
Yes, I can certainly do that… if you want to look like a clown and have a few accidental burns from the curling iron I’ve never used before. Ok, this one isn’t so bad, its more annoying than anything. I am gay; that doesn’t mean I came out of the womb with a cosmetology license. It is simply expecting us to be the cliché “gay best friend” that Hollywood has done a great job creating, and no one wants to be a stereotype. And please don’t ask me to take you shopping! There are other things I would rather do than follow you around the mall watching you try on a million clothes, that you have no intention of buying, while you complain about needing to lose weight every time you pass a dressing room mirror.
This one is plain offensive; just don’t say it period! One of my dear friends said he had a harder time accepting he was gay because of how the term has been misused and abused. You hear people use it to refer to negative experiences, situations, and even inanimate objects. When you hear a word that is used to describe an important part of your identity in a negative way repeatedly, you are going to think of your identity in a negative way. Not to mention, by all definitions of the word it doesn’t even make sense. On the contrary, when things are good, fun, and cool, people say “straight.” For example, let’s say someone is asking about how a party was last night and it was super fun; the response would be “man, it was straight!” Now let’s say the party was boring; the response would be “man, that party was gay.” Gay isn’t a bad word, so don’t use it like it is.
“I’ve always wanted a gay best friend/Will you be my gay best friend?”
It never fails, I’ll be sitting at my favorite local gay bar and at the 11th hour a bachelorette party comes like a wrecking ball, making god forsaken shrill screaming sounds. They start dancing, one notices me and comes over and is like “you are so cute” or “I love your outfit” and then you get dragged to the dancefloor. By the end of the night at least 3 of them had asked one of the two or both questions above. The problem with these questions is that you have whittled me down to one piece of my identity. I am more than my sexual orientation, so the answer is NO! and the term “gay best friend” is not appropriate either, I don’t call you my “straight best friend”. I’m just your friend or your best friend, and it just so happens I’m gay.
“I like you because you aren’t like “gay gay”, you know what I mean?”
No, no I really don’t know what you mean by that… and I am “gay gay.” This is typically said to cis-acting gay men or gay men who aren’t as ‘flamboyant” or feminine acting as some of us are in our community. This is basically saying that gay men who embrace their feminine side are inferior to the “straight”-acting men in our community. When this is said, it is a fine mixture of homophobia and misogyny. Personality and style have nothing to do with our sexual orientation. Its is okay not to be fond of someone’s mannerisms or swag but it’s not okay to not like them for being gay.
“I have a gay friend; OMG you have to meet him you guys would be perfect for each other.”
This one seems harmless and I know you have good intentions, but this is assuming that all gay guys simply need to be gay to connect. We just met and you really know nothing about me. There is a lot more to dating; we may have totally opposite hobbies, interests, goals, and love languages. Dating in the gay community comes with its own set of complexities. Some people might not be out to their family, coworkers, or friends yet. They may be involved in a job, religion, or organization where homosexuality is frowned upon, and some of us might not even want to date. If we did not ask you to be matchmaker, please don’t go out of your way to do it. And remember, just because “gay marriage” (or as I call it, marriage) is legal, it does not mean we all necessarily want to fit the heteronormative culture of our society.
“Do I have nice boobs?” *flashes me*
Nope, no no no please keep your clothes on! Just because I am not sexually attracted to you does not mean I want to sit through a boob or “below the waist” rating session. And, honestly half of the time we tell you what you want to hear just to get it over with A.S.A.P! Just be mindful that even though we aren’t attracted to the lady parts doesn’t mean it doesn’t make us uncomfortable. There is no shame in nudity or the human body, but there is a problem if you don’t get a person’s consent before and make them feel uncomfortable. And straight men, please stop asking if I want to see your man parts or rate them because I really do not.
“Ugh, such a waste, why can’t you be straight?”
Well, it is a simple answer, I can’t be straight because I’m gay! Wow, what a concept! Now that we’ve gotten that over with, let’s talk about what this statement is really saying. I typically hear this from girls who find me attractive, so in that respect “thank you.” However, what you are saying is that you don’t see value in my existence because I’m not straight… as if my purpose on this planet cannot be something other than reproducing and getting married. I am a leader in the community, I am a caregiver, I am a son, a brother, a best friend, a cousin, a nephew, a bundle of fun, an artist, an amazing cook, and I like to make people smile. Does that make me a waste in this scenario? I think not. Just be mindful that not everyone’s agenda needs to be heteronormative to have value.
XOXO Kirbles <3