How many times have you seen the words “No Fems” on a guy’s Grindr profile and wondered if that applied to you? And how many times have you tried downplaying your “gayness” even when in the company of other gay men?
According to writer Jack Rushall, it happens far too often.
“For a lot of modern gay men, a big part of being gay is still seeming straight,” Rushall opines in a new Washington Post op-ed. “It’s likely that we entertain this demeanor in the hopes of attracting it, as if we’re part-time actors waiting for our big break: meeting a masculine dude who will accept our effeminate properties.”
Related: Writing “Masculine Only” In Your Online Profile Might Mean You’re Homophobic, Says Blogger
Rushall says he often struggles with how he presents himself.
“I have always grappled with identifying as a ‘fem’ or a ‘masc,'” he writes. “Today, some people absolutely know I’m gay. Other people, usually gay men I’m dating, tell me that they weren’t immediately sure of my sexuality.”
In other words, he’s in what you might call a gray area. And that’s led to problems. Rushall recalls a recent relationship with a guy he describes as very “masc.”
“During the honeymoon phase of this relationship, I felt I’d hit the jackpot. My boyfriend was a suave, Topman-draped journalist with a Kennedy-inspired cowlick,” he writes. “But things got weird.”
Related: Are Gay Guys More Masculine Than Straight Guys?
A month into things, his super “masc” boyfriend gave him an ultimatum: “I was going to have to bottom (and only bottom), or he would end things.”
Rushall wasn’t opposed to bottoming, he says, but “the problem … was that there was no equilibrium. He decided that he was older and felt more masculine, and I would have to accept this fixed position.”
Rushall acquiesced, but he says it felt more like “a sacrifice to keep my boyfriend around” than anything.
Months later, his boyfriend suggested they move in together. But because of the dynamic that had been created over the whole masc=top-fem=bottom-thing, Rushall turned down the offer.
“I couldn’t shake mental images of me in an apron, placing a hot pot roast on the table while he demanded a refill of his gin and tonic,” he writes.
Related: Are You Finally Ready To Embrace The Idea Of ‘Inclusive Masculinity?’
Soon after, the couple broke up.
“I admit that refusing to let my ex move in with me was a fruitful conversation to have with myself,” he reflects. “The takeaway from our break-up was that I am comfortable inhabiting my own space … I deserve a voice, regardless of how it sounds.”
In conclusion, Rushall says, “I can’t promise that I won’t compromise myself for a relationship again. In fact, I hope I do. Love should mean middle ground.” But, he adds, “love itself is not gendered. In case we’ve forgotten: that’s why some of us are gay to begin with.”
What do you think? Are modern gay men obsessed with seeming straight? And what are your thoughts about “masc” and “fem” roles? Sound off in the comments section below…
This is site is obsessed with straightness and straight men.
PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
Plenty of peeps around of different stripes and spots to suit almost all preferences, so please stop whining. Would you masc-shame a F-T-M wishing to realise and affirm his internal sense of gender? If not, shut up. This is a juvenile level of discourse. Can’t speak to any of the top/bottom nonsense because I don’t give out back stage passes but I”m happy to look on and applaud your entrances and exits
Masculinity is hot, rigidity is not.
here’s the reality – as more and more people come out, fewer and fewer will feel any pressure to monitor and police their manner and behaviour.
Closeted Reddit-trolls want to believe that in time “more masc gays will come out!”
but that’s not what is going to happen. what’s going to happen is fewer and fewer gay men will care at all how “masc” they may appear to others, or how “masc” other guys will appear to them.
there will simply be openly, proudly, comfortably gay men. and the miserable folks with one foot and both cojones in the closet, furious that everyone else is more comfortable than they are.
that’s what’s gonna happen, folks. more of us will come out. rigid and narrow ideas of “masculine performance” will erode. and the “masc4masc no fems!” crowd will be relegated to where they belong – complaining, anonymously online, that everyone else stopped worrying what Bigots think, and they’re still trapped in a hopeless and forced isolation of adhering to a bully’s idea of gender performance.
so, get over your insecurities, fellas. or you’re gonna be left to miserably stew alone.
Jack Rashall has written this article in terms of relationships and compromising roles in relationships. I have never felt a need to make such compromises or definitions in a relationship and I don’t personally know anyone who has.
What I have noticed is how many gay men try to pass themselves off as straight or bi on hook up sites/apps or at cruising venues to the point of lying on their profiles or blatantly lying to your face. Of course once you get to know more about these guys or spend enough time with them you soon realise they are gay guys putting on a front.
I have always been curious about what drives these men to put on this front and what they think they are achieving by it. I refer to them as self hating gays who sadly value straight men over gay men and treat them like some kind of prize if they think they have just gotten off with one. It’s all quite laughable really.
The title is a bit misleading. The story was more about rigid heterosexual gender roles (1950s style) in gay relationships, than it was about trying to appear straight. At least that was what I took away from it.
It’s kinda counter intuitive, isn’t it! If you are ‘acting’ masculine, your gay community will not know that you are and ignore you as a potential friend or partner.
On the other hand, I don’t see many friends of Dorothy hiding it so anyone who falls into this group are not attractive to the rest of us. How can you possible love me if you don’t love yourself?
There are many gay people and couples on reality tv, some you know off the bat and some you don’t until they say. We are as diverse and screwed-up as everybody else.
So…..what’s the point? We all have different views and I see no big deal here, it is time to move on.
Honestly, it’s the gay blogs that seem far more obsessed with “Straightness” than actual gay people fro what I can tell.
DAMN, DAMN, DAMN. I knew in my heart that was not Jack Rushall in that thumbnail picture but I just HAD to do a google search to prove myself correct. Now I get it, put a pic of something that sure as hell DOES turn ol’ Bob LaBlah on so that he will read the article just like all the other dummies who didn’t think to look and see just what he (Jack) looks like. I deserve better and I DEMAND a date with the guy in the pic of this article to calm me down.
Look just be who you are. I am a gay man that many straights would think is straight. It has nothing to do with me trying. Its just I guess how I carry myself and I am not flaming. Those who are flaming more flamboyaunt continue to be who are you. Just don’t be fake.
People are as they are.I don’t understand why we look down masc or fem gay people.Accept us but queerty is not entitled to criticize the straight fetish.The reporters are obsessed by straight.
What does “acting gay” mean anyways?
I like dating and have sex with guys. I’m not into “fem gays” because to me it’s like having sex with a woman. That’s my feelings and desire. I love having sex with guys who are versatile. It’s not the pumped up guys that interest me it the guys who act like guys. Just saying.
@Mack: stated: I like dating and have sex with guys. I’m not into “fem gays” because to me it’s like having sex with a woman.
Just in case you didn’t know, women don’t have penises.
I used to have a problem with seeming straight. So I got rainbow tattooed on my forehead.
(no not really, I put a rainbow sticker on my car:) )
Interestingly, I felt mildly insulted the other day when a customer and attendee on my group rides (retail cycling trade) expressed surprise when I mentioned I was gay. He mentioned another member of the group and regular customer of mine who was much more stereotypical in his behavior (and a ridiculously good cyclist). The only actual “straight behavior” for men is to have sex with women. The only actual “gay behavior” is to have sex with men. To assume there is a set of behaviors otherwise appropriate for either straight or gay men, or that one set of behaviors is better than another is silly. To denigrate others for the specific behaviors they find attractive is also silly. There is nothing wrong with being either conventionally masculine or feminine as long as it is not overlain with a stupid sense of superiority (that is immature and insecure).
And it should not need mentioning, but there are total tops who are “fem”, and absolute bottoms who are “butch”. That is just the way things are, and putting value judgement on it (or on what people are drawn to) makes little sense.
@Kevin Wotipka: Seriously thought, just be yourself. Whether you seem gay or straight isn’t the issue.
As a veteran of the world BEFORE HIV toasted everything, all I can say is that “modern gay men” are ONE HOT MESS.
You guys are weird! Every body used to be versatile! Back in the sixties and seventies!, tho nowadays you have guys who think they are tops only! And never experienced being bottom?? How the hell. They know what feels good to other guy receiving?? Sorry not into this total top stuff! And now you got guys say they are straight or only do straights?? Huh!? If straight they only do women! Dumb at least acknowledge being Bi!
Gay-identifying men are obsessed with labels and bars. They are like neurotic women.
Obsessed with seeming straight? Yeah no. Just because they’re not running around in makeup and screeching like queens doesn’t mean they’re trying to be straight, it means they’re being themselves, we’re not all over the top and feminine.
Maybe it is just that the obsession with “gayness” is dying.
I like men. I do not like women or men that behave like teenaged girls on a sugar high. But it’s also important to understand your environment and modify your behavior in small ways based on the situation. At times, let your guard down and just fucking relax. Nothing is more uptight than a couple of faux-bro’s laying it on way too thick in a room of gay men.
I feel most attracted to BEAUTIFUL and YOUNG men, regardless if they are fem or masc. It does not make ANY difference to me.
Shit WTF at 66 I’ve been enraged with people presuming I’m straight or a bottom or pretty boy (not so much any more) I am GAY a FAGGOT cuz I don’t fit in any box. I have had to work struggle to define myself all of my life. So when I see folks wanting to become a “fixed” known identity I say they are just weak SOB’s The beauty of being Gay Faggot Queer is that NO ONE can define you but you. All of these current ‘identities’ to me are signs of folks either too shallow dumb frightened or lazy to discover and claim themselves beyond any nameable identity that includes more than all of the nameable Bull shit.
This sounds more like an issue of emotional maturity than a gay/straight, masc/fem thing. Emotionally immature people — which, by the way, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with age — tend to want lots of rules and guidelines so that they don’t have to deal with anything with which they’re not prepared to deal.
@Kangol: Yes it is, every day it seems like they post an article about hetero/straight men.
I don’t come across as identifiable gay, almost every new person I meet is surprised and/or shocked. I am not closeted at all, I just don’t feel the need to bring it up unless the conversation turns to relationships. My partner and I have been together for over 12 years and live openly.
That all having been said, our gay male friends are all similar to us. We have nothing whatsoever in common with fems or guys who proudly revel in their gayness. We are neither ashamed nor proud of being gay. It just is.
Baba Booey Fafa Fooey
@Kangol: Yes, thank you. Don’t click on those “straight guy” articles. The more clicks they get, the more they write about that topic. Ignore those articles. I have, besides this one and it’s because he’s right – sadly. Hopefully more will as well. But, “straight guys have gay sex” or “straight guys kiss” – ignore them.
Surely you jest? Gay men trying to be masculine, I wish!!! Nearly every depiction of gay men is feminine. Almost all nightlight is about drag queens. We don’t have masculinity problem we have fembot problem. There is a TIRED narrative within the gay community that being feminine is something to aspire to.
Be masc or femme… just don’t be a narcissistic douchebag who talks during movies and live performances.
PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
@DCguy said: “Just in case you didn’t know, women don’t have penises.”
Oh shiiiiiiiite you went THERE!?!! Duck and cover!
You in my prayers, bruh.
PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
I positively choose, discard, or modify from among those tradition gender characteristics I feel are of value or utility to me.
I happen to find BEAUTY in a powerful and unambiguously male voice and associated mannerisms and to a lesser extent presentation (fashions change radically), therefore for me — FOR ME — it is an asset worth preserving or attaining, requiring no justification nor apology.
Not so much for me the hunting, grilling, guns and NASCAR of the painfully self-conscious “gaybros” ( I guess also add in spitting, drinking to excess, whittling, monster trucks, Steven Seagal and/or Chuck Norris) — all these I see as superficial and purely temporal manifestations of cultural masculinity.
All while the dangerous reality is that reading books or being clever is no longer seen as a masculine virtue SMH (Plato swirls in his urn)
From women I value emotional availability, emotional IQ, empathy. and kindness; their freedom to cry at a movie without quaking in fear of the lights going on outing them as a soft beta.
But I eschew the emotionally manipulative side of women such as crying as a weapon to get your own way in the workplace, passive aggression born of powerlessness, andd emotional incontinence etc.
I believe also in the traditional male virtues of stoicism, self-reliance and resilience when it comes to dealing with personal pain (and women would do well to take more of that on board) — but not to the extent where it paralyses him from seeking road directions or puts a gun in his mouth rather than ask for emotional or psychological help.
In truth these so-called “male” or “female” characteristics properly deserve quote marks as they’re available to everyone regardless of chromosomal profile . But not all. And we should value and celebrate the differences as much as the similarities.
PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
*tradional gender characteristics
PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
Oh what’s the fucking point. I give up.
I agree that some men are closet cases and just scared to be seen in public with a feminine man. But there are also men who are not attracted to femininity, but I would think that guys like that aren’t behaving like the closeted ones.
In short, there is some truth to this article – at least in my experience.
I feel like a pioneer in the sense that I’ve challenged anyone over the years who’s used the phrase “str8 acting” – to which, I counter, “& what does that mean exactly?”. To me, ‘str8 acting’ = in the closet. I have always found that term off-putting & distasteful.
(Similarly all these jackasses online who overuse the over-played & ubiquitous label “bi-sexual” – which I always make a point to call them out on …pun intended)
Same goes for “Top” & “Bottom” – all around gross! I think those terms have disparaging connotations & are limiting, basic, & are outmoded.
I’ve ALWAYS said, I’m “neither & both – depending on the guy & situation”. There’s so much more to sex than labeling yourself a pitcher or catcher! (ICK!)
For many guys masculine means “the look” for others “no feminine characteristics”
I’ve met the most masculine looking and acting guys that had the queeniest and c*ntiest attitudes.
Saying it without a lisp doesn’t make you any less of a b*tch.
Most of us are somewhere on a sliding scale in between the two extremes. People are attracted to who they’re attracted to and trying to force someone to conform to a rigid PC standard is bullying. Just because someone doesn’t want to sleep with someone else it doesn’t automatically mean they’re self loathing or latent homophobes, it might just mean they’re not attracted to that other person and that is legitimate. And if enough men are rejecting a guy for sex that he feels the need to write articles and blog posts projecting his lack of sexual conquests onto his desired mates as internalized homophobia or self loathing maybe he needs to take a look at himself, instead. But that’s harder and more painful than just blaming the other guy, isn’t it?
@AtticusBennett I agree !! gay men need stop conforming to society !
I am a modern gay young effeminate bottom. I so am not into acting straight. I am a fabulous Queen some would say a walking stereotype but I am proud of who I am.
PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
From top to bottom you embody “bottom” better than the topmost biggest bottom because your bottoming is bottomless, @bottom250.
I did the same thing as Bob LaBlah and Googled the writer. The actual writer is a nice looking guy. But yeah, I get it. The handsome hunk up top in this Queerty piece is apparently just the example of “straight.”
I hang out with a foursome. We meet for dinner or a play now and then. One of the guys, Mike, is straight. When I first knew him I thought he was gay. His interests and demeanor fit with that, if I may say so.
Mike doesn’t fit that super masculine straight image. Many average straight guys probably don’t. This article made me wonder if straight guys also sometimes tailor how they act and sound. I wonder if Mike enjoys hanging out with us because with us he doesn’t have to do that.
It’s 2016 why are we still equating masculinity with heterosexuality? At the end of the day if you aren’t [email protected] deep in a girls naughty place you aren’t straight acting, you are just an insecure h0m0.
I struggle with this myself… insecurity? … Yes, probably, but I certainly don’t hate myself. I am 52 and for many of my generation it was the only way to survive in a dangerous world. I am a bit more relaxed now though and I have to say I enjoy seeing younger LBGTQ people being/expressing themselves and having a “personality” and yes, a little sass.
As the genie advised Aladin: “Beeeeeeeeee yourself.” Everything else will take care of itself.
@bottom250: Exactly! When you stop being obsessed with appearances and simply be yourself, that is something you can be proud of! It doesn’t matter how masculine or feminine you are; that is so not the issue.
@AtticusBennett: have you ever stopped to think that some men are just naturally “masculine”? Just like some gays are so fem they’ve never had the luxury of being in the closet (convincingly, anyway), some guys occupy the other extreme and plenty the middle. The fact that this bothers you says more about your insecurities than the closeted scapegoats you perpetually bash on this site.
As social acceptance of gays continues to rise, more men will come out, mainly because living a lie is excruciating regardless of your mannerisms. Maybe someone is worried that, as more masculine guys come out, the gay dating pool will get big enough that other guys will not feel obligated to date snarky, negative, sanctimonious closet bashers anymore 😉
@MCHG: your projection is typical, as is your lack of reading comprehension skills.
Truly, comfortably, authentically masculine, principled gay men are comfortable calling out not just anti-gay slurs, but “femme-phobic” statements, too. Truly masculine men aren’t threatened by, nor even bothered by, perceived “effeminacy” in others. Confident men tend not to worry about how others may perceive them. I would posit that the opposite of masculine is not “feminine”— masculine is being a man; the opposite is being a boy. Boys lie. Boys give excuses. Boys evade. Men stand up to be counted, and meet their challenges from a place of honesty.
When a gay man expresses his learned disdain for “stereotypical” or “effeminate gays” what he usually tends to be saying is “I don’t like those gays that my family made fun of. I don’t like those gays that the people around me mock.” And mostly, “I haven’t evolved as a man past the point of hating who and what my dad hated, especially guys who act like EFFEMINATE STEREOTYPES instead of men.”
as social acceptance of gays continues to rise, what will erode are gay male insecurities about “how gay they are” – fewer and fewer of us will worry at all about how we’re being seen or perceived by others.
there are no “masculine” closeted men, because there’s nothing “masculine” about being Closeted. it’s cowardice.
but hey, let’s be real – do you have the orbs to show yourself? no. because you’re not the masculine man you want people to think you are. and that’s ok!
as for me, i’ve been doing rather well for myself 😉
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