As the world continues to learn more about coronavirus and its spread, it's vital to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. However, it's also important to make sure that the information being distributed is from credible sources. To that end, Between The Lines has compiled, [...]
By Sean Kosofsky
One thing that has bothered me for years is the bizarre hypocrisy displayed by many gay men that are in love with powerful, influential, sassy and sexy women, while still expressing their sexist attitudes toward women they actually encounter.
I routinely see gay men complain about lesbians or too many straight women being in “our” bars, or even using sexist and offensive language about women’s bodies, anatomy or mythical aromas – like gay men are experts in this area.
What amazes me also is how many of my lesbian friends seem so well-adjusted and comfortable around gay men, even when they are telling dirty jokes or talking openly about graphic sexual acts or stories of one night stands. The women are usually cool, but once the situation changes, the gay men cringe or say “too much information” or just squirm if the topic moves on to lesbian sexuality or even specific scenes in “The L Word.”
Is it just a lack of maturity? I don’t think so. I think it is still a man’s world – women know this and just adapt, while men, with all their privilege, don’t even notice the double standard. This puzzles me, because the GLBT community largely prides itself on defying gender and sexual norms, and has broken free from many of those gender straightjackets.
While the many distractions of young gay male life keep many young gay men apolitical, I have always seen young lesbians and bisexual women engaged in building community, raising children and running small non-profits. I see the unique combination of grit, common sense, sensuality and raw compassion in my lesbian colleagues. Lesbianism is probably a stronger vehicle for the mainstreaming of GLBT rights, because still, to this day, gay men are seen as comic relief on TV and in film. But the lesser threat to society’s gender norms is female sexuality, and I say we need more of it. Gay men that stand in the way of open expressions of lesbian sexuality and eroticism don’t know what they are missing or what harm they are causing. I am not saying that women have it easier, but we should exploit this common denominator.
Where would we be without the erotic and political prowess of women? Regardless of the hyper-eroticized and exploited roles for gay and bi women in pop-culture (e.g. “Basic Instinct” and “Girls Gone Wild”), there is something to say for the fact that 50 percent of the public (women) is already less homophobic toward gays and lesbians than men. And almost all straight men will admit, even the most religious, that the idea of lesbian sexuality is a powerful intoxicant. If we aim to de-stigmatize sex, sexuality, homosexuality and the defying of gender norms, we need look no further than the time-honored tradition of beautiful women.
I have found that the right wing doesn’t get as much traction when they vilify gay women as they do when they portray gay men as sexually decadent child molesters who will never be happy until every Boy Scout has been converted to a gay circuit queen. In many ways this is true of the trans community. The Christian right has spent far less time and resources fighting lesbianism and transgender people than gay men. We should look at this trend for simple truths and use it to educate the public about the double standard.
I could go on and on about how our societal double standards can allow many butch lesbians to pass as heterosexual before any butch gay boy with plucked eyebrows could even get past the gaydar of a 14-year-old girl. We should use this to our advantage.
So all you gay men out there who are enamored with Madonna, Kelly Clarkston or Cher but have no problem deliberately bumping into women on the dance floor at Q or Backstreet, just remember you could be body-checking one of our best messengers for equality, or the future adoptive parent to a child you accidentally made after a night of drinking. I highly recommend that all gay men have lesbian friends. If you haven’t hugged your friendly neighborhood lesbian today, chances are they like the same divas you do… especially Angelina Jolie.