WATCH: Why Gay Men Hate Other Gay Men

Filmmaker Blake Pruitt decided to make the documentary short, 20MALEGAYNYC, after hearing his gay male friends express in one way or another their “hatred” for other gay men. He sat his friends down and interviewed them about being young, gay and living in New York in 2012, while trying to get to the heart of the matter.

“The problem is that the self we hate isn’t totally defined,” Pruitt writes on The Advocate. “I have heard so many times, ‘I know I’m stereotypical in a lot of ways, but…’ Why is there a ‘but’? What we see as resisting these clichés is only keeping them alive. I can see how a young gay man would be scared to come out and enter into a world in which acting too stereotypically will not only lead to bullying by others, but also a total dismissal from fellow gay men.”

While there is certainly a level of animosity among young, openly gay men in New York, Pruitt is right in that it stems from a confusing but also confused identity. This confusion is born from just being young, born from living in a city of faceless millions, born from a culture still attempting to define what “being gay” means.

But is it a New York thing that Pruitt’s friends are expressing? Do gay men across America have a similar experience? Or perhaps, is it a generational thing, where the advent of mobile hook-up apps renders other communication and forms of expression secondary? Sound off in the comments.

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  • QJ201

    Reaction Formation (Freud). The things that we hate in other people are the things we secretly hate about ourselves.

    Still can’t get a good explanation for the Big Butch Muscle God who screams “f*ck my c*nt” though.

  • viveutvivas

    If Big Butch Muscle God wants his c*nt f*ck*d and expresses it, good for him!

  • the other Greg

    wow – I clicked on this with literal DREAD, but they have some really interesting things to say. The headline is a bit drama-queenish – it’s not the title of the film and nobody in it actually says they “hate other gay men.”

    As someone who lived in New York in my 20s I think Nico (?) and Queerty in the last paragraph are right, this is somewhat of a NY-specific problem. Funny about the Boiler Room (bar on E. 4 St.), I forget exactly when it opened (late ’80s?) but apparently it’s a time capsule where nothing ever changes.

    They all seem to have the right idea: the stereotypes are imposed from outside, but if you buy into them you’re propping them up from inside. Eventually the “gay culture” house of cards collapses and you’re left with… the real individual you, dealing with other real individuals.

  • Little-Kiwi

    i kept thinking this was a PARODY video….did he intentionally seek out the stupidest gay men in NY?

    from the idiot who’s parroting the same “omg, like Lady Gaga, is just like, co-opting gay culture,and like, i dont’ like relate to that…” this is just stupid beyond words. seriously. what a bunch of non-cognitive gay men. who, whilst attempting to distance themselves from Stereotypes and The Scene, are the utter EMBODIMENT of them.

    Blanche, please.

    at some point, gay men need to grow some orbs and stop worrying about “stereotypes”.

    and step repeating the rhetorical nonsense you learned from insecure straight bigots and regurgitating it as truth.

    gay culture and the community is what you make of it, what you bring to it. this sounds like a bunch of boys who go to bars and clubs and then say “omg, like the gay scene is all about like ______”

    hey, boys – try something other than drinking and clubbing. for real.

  • the other Greg

    They’re not exactly a… “diverse” group, are they. The only part that really made me cringe was the guy who said he was mostly attracted to black & Latino guys who were “straight-acting.” The filmmaker seems to see “NY gay youth” as an all-white cast (unless Nico is “Latino-adjacent” or something), which does NY itself a disservice.

  • CaptainFabulous

    Because homosexuality has developed it’s own genuine “lifestyle” that many adhere to while others loathe.

  • Andrew

    Though I don’t live in NYC, I can understand the issue presented here. To me, it all boils down to people not being true to themselves. “Do you,” as they say. Don’t think that you have to act a certain way, just because you’re part of a minority group. You don’t have to buy into the subculture. Now, if you do, because you like it and identify with it, go for it. As long as you’re being true to yourself.

  • JH

    It makes me really sad that these guys are living in NYC and seem to have such limited exposure to the gay community. I’d love for these guys to get involved with some of the various gay groups around the city and meet people outside their immediate circle.

    I’ve always been of the mindset of “be yourself,” and it makes me sad to hear these guys feeling like they have to conform in order to fit in as a gay man here in New York. The best thing about this city is that if you have really diverse interests, you can find someone else out there who loves/hates all the same kinds of things that you do. But they’re not just going to fall into your lap, you have to go looking for them. And while the bars are great, they’re not the only place to meet people!

    PS anyone else throw some real side-eye at the screen when that guy mentioned Boilerroom? I mean, why would you want to go to Boilerroom if you want to feel “special?” ;)

  • Wilberforce

    I didn’t need to see this video to know that mainstream gay culture hasn’t changed.
    Of course there’s a lot to celebrate in gay culture, camp, good taste, fine living, our diversity, and the caring community.
    But there’s also low gay culture, as shown here, the ignorance, group think, self hatred, self destructiveness, obsession with looks over character, judgmentalism, etc.. This junk has been the mainstream for thirty years, and it isn’t going anywhere. Count me out of it, Mary.

  • Little-Kiwi

    what’s amazing, and appalling, is that this came out of NYC.

    NYC doesn’t have a “gay scene” – it has DOZENS of gay scenes.

    if you’re a gay man in NYC and you can’t find your “scene” or your “crew” or “gays like you” then it says nothing whatsoever about “the gays and their communities” and everything about your own insecurities and refusal to get out of your own ghetto.

    it has a thriving collection of utterly diverse LGBT-mixed communities, scenes, and social spheres.

    this video is nothing more than a concentrated example of Confirmation Bias.

    east village. williamsburg. park slope. west vil. greenwich. chelsea. hell’s kitchen. harlem. and within those regions even more variation from individual-establishment to the next.

    ten bucks says the boys in this video have all been Out for less than 5 years. grow up, kids. and get over your chosen baggage. there’s a whole world out there that you’re already refusing to acknowledge.

    i’m always a bit puzzled by comments about “the gay lifestyle”

    what is the gay lifestyle? most descriptions of it sound pretty much like what most straight twenty/thirty-somethings are doing: not marrying young, dating, hooking up, making friends, going out, being social, making money.

    yes. i learned about The Gay Lifestyle from Sam Malone on CHEERS.

  • Little-Kiwi

    dear blake pruitt, venture into a different gayborhood for once. and feel free to experience something of the gay Scenes that is more than bars and clubs.

    and feel free to talk to gay people from different backgrounds who’ve been Out for longer than these boys.

    this video is simply a perfect example of Gays in their own bubble of misery.

  • ofigner08

    @the other Greg: I’m Renato, the guy that referred to straight-acting black and Latino guys (and for the record, I’m Peruvian – born there, moved here when I was five). I’m grateful for the reactions to the video both here and elsewhere, and I’m not ready to write everything that’s on my mind, but I will say this: A small group of guys was simply asked to be honest. And we were. Of course we’re not a totally representative sample of gay men – this ten-minute clip doesn’t purport to be a hands-on, wide-ranging documentary – but more importantly, a few minutes per person isn’t a totally representative sample of the bundle of contradictions we all are. But I think it’s a great start, and I, for one, am quite willing to learn from what others are saying.

  • Little-Kiwi

    Renato, read The Velvet Rage. immediately.

  • ofigner08

    @Little-Kiwi: So funny you mention it, because I actually read the introduction/first chapter during a B&N browsing session two years ago and started crying on the shoulder of the friend I was with. (I was also a little drunk, but that’s besides the point.) Will do!!

  • Little-Kiwi

    good. and kudos to your willingness to grow – for what it’s worth, every thing said in this video, by you and the others, are the same things i was saying (to myself, and others) before i became more comfortable with myself, and my gay and queer identities.

    i’ve been where you (guys) are. more than a decade later, my sense of self, identity and community has utterly changed.

    so, good on ya for being open to it.

  • the other Greg

    @ofigner08: Thanks for writing and I apologize. I kind of liked the video as I said in #3, & I was just thinking – hey, those guys are PROBABLY going to see these comments, it would be ironic & sad if the comment thread degenerated into a lot of bullying.

    Queerty’s headline maybe threw readers off. I think it has things exactly backwards: the guys don’t “hate other gay men,” they’re afraid that other gay men will hate THEM.

    (That’s my memory of the feeling.)

    @Wilberforce: As Mark Twain said, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it.” Replace “weather” with “gay culture” and it still works!

  • viveutvivas

    I like Nico, he is the only one who has some maturity and has well thought out views. As for the others, they are kids, give them a break.

  • Wilberforce

    @the other Greg: The point Twain was making is that nobody can do anything about the weather. It’s beyond our control. And we can’t do anything about gay culture. Low gay culture is set in stone. The only thing that’ll change it is time, and judging by the last thirty years, it’ll take a very long time indeed.

  • Little-Kiwi

    gay culture is what you make of it. or what you allow others to feel about it.

    you can choose to live each day defensively, trying to not be associate with something, or you can simply choose not to care.

    sort of like Coming Out.

    coming out isn’t just about admitting to being gay – it’s the first step, of many that are needed to be made, wherein you start to live your life by your own rules and without fear of what others think.

    but one thing is for sure – you cannot complain about “gay culture” and intentionally try to avoid it, whilst hoping it somehow changes.

  • the other Greg

    I wish I had a dollar for every time since the ’80s I’ve seen a complaint about “gay culture” in gay media. The complaints never vary. The complainers always want something about it to change – and they don’t always agree WHAT needs to change – without ever having any suggestion about how the magical feat is to be accomplished. Which ought to be a clue to them that it’s kind of like the weather.

    A comprehensive gay culture doesn’t really exist, and therefore, it would be meaningless to avoid it – kind of like avoiding ghosts or leprechauns.

    @Wilberforce: You say “low gay culture is set in stone.” But high gay culture is not? Is it easier to change one than the other? Why?

    (As for the weather – Twain was talking about the 19th c. but I guess now we humans ARE doing something about the weather, we’re heating it up and melting the icecaps!)

  • Little-Kiwi

    the other greg – it’s like the girls in high school who always complain about the school dances, yet never join the committees that organize them.

    what makes no sense about this video is that it dares to include “NYC” in its title – this is not indicative of the incredibly diverse and varied and THRIVING gay and LGBT communities in NYC.

    this is a small group of young boys.

    and yes, you’re right. this is a group that knows what it doesn’t like (yet doesn’t accurately nor intelligently understand why) yet cannot state what they are FOR, nor do they offer any form of proactive applications to make it a reality.

    here’s the blueprint, young’uns – read up on your gay and queer history in america. it didn’t happen by itself. people had to take it upon themselves to create “scenes”, to create cultures in the brightness of light and not the shadows of secrecy, “gayborhoods” didnt’ always exist. they were created by people coming together over a shared link, the thread that does indeed unite every single one of us, whether you’re comfortable yet to acknowledge it or not.

  • Tom-NY

    All of this negative karma and self shame from the video interviews is a bit overwhelming, and is beginning to bum me out……so I decide to choose “positive and happiness”…….. by moving on to the article about Donna Summer being inducted in the R&RHOF.

  • RLS

    I don’t even feel like I need to watch the video because I know exactly what they’re going to say. I bet it’s nothing I haven’t said myself. What I needed to learn and I think what all gays need to learn is that there’s a great big world out there besides the gayborhood and it’s just waiting for you to find it and explore it. The NYC thing is very specific, so I’ll just reference that. I’ve been here for 5 years. I grew up in the Midwest, went to school in upstate NY, and moved to NYC. Getting here at first is absolutely thrilling because you think *WOW!*. There’s this whole culture of gay people. I can have gay friends, hang out in gay neighborhoods, go to gay bars, and everything can be gay, gay, GAY!

    At first it’s great, then the negative aspects of it begin to come out. The cattiness, materialism, racism, body fascism, etc, etc.

    If you’re smart, at that point you realize that it’s 2012 and that most people you will be exposed to in NYC in 2012 couldn’t give two shits that you’re gay, and maybe it’s time to not limit yourself to the gay “scene.” The happiest gay guys I know are the ones who either through luck or purpose have social lives that do NOT revolve around all things gay. They have a diverse mixture of friends, activities, and interests that have little if anything to do with the fact that they happen to suck cock on a regular basis.

    I’ve been lucky enough to make very good friends here. Some are lesbians, some are straight men, and my best gay BFF in the city is a hipster guy who’s more into the Williamsburg scene than anything gay in Chelsea. If this all sounds a bit assimilationist maybe it is, but I just know for myself that I was NOT HAPPY with my life completely revolving around what passes for “gay culture” in NYC. Too much pressure. It’s as if the gay guys here are living the high school popularity contests that eluded them. There are so many scenes here that are not explicitly gay but filled with funny, interesting, smart, well-adjusted gay people to get to know.

    If gay guys here are having a problem with the culture maybe it’s time for them to move beyond it and figure who and what they are besides people with a same sex attraction.

  • DirtyOleMan

    Cute, but very very young and naive!

  • Peter

    I think some of us expect all gays to accept each other, hold hands, and sing kumbaya. I see a trend of gay men desperately wanting the approval of others, and if they don’t get it they accuse you of internalized homophobia. I will never accept fake people who are living, breathing stereotypes of every gay cliche imaginable.

    Having said that, I like how the femme guys in this video seemed honest and true to themselves and not cliche in the least. I feel for all the guys in the video and personally identify with what they’re going through. I hope they find the answers they are seeking. (It was like listening to your son tell you about his day at school. LOL)

  • Brian

    What’s there not to hate? Like straight guys, gay men are promiscuous, sex-obsessed individuals. It’s a life based on a very narrow premise. What makes gay men even creepier is that they dishonestly advertise their promiscuity under the “rights” notion.

  • Peter

    The above is why I don’t rely on the opinions of others to validate my self worth. Prejudice is an evolutionary adaptation that will never go away. Someone will always hate you, even if you’re Jesus Christ hanging from a cross. So the only acceptance that truly matters is self-acceptance. If you seek it in others you’ll always be disappointed. I think it comes down to having a healthy ego: to be able to accept yourself with all your shortcomings AND be able to accept and tolerate others as well, even though you can’t stand them. It’s hard being openminded and emotionally secure, without lashing out at others, or being sardonic or resentful, but I think it’s something we all can achieve if we work on it.

  • the other Greg

    @Brian: !!! – I’ve seen some self-hating tirades here, but I never saw any male complain about gay men’s AND straight men’s basic natures like that. Have you looked into castration? :)

  • the other Greg

    @Little-Kiwi: Thanks! That’s a funny metaphor.

    @Peter: I identified too. I think some commenters are forgetting what their expectations & imaginings about gay life were, in the few years BEFORE we came out. We were maybe expecting a kumbaya greeting or something. We didn’t know exactly what to expect but we were sure it would be wonderful. Then when we finally got there it was quite an anticlimax. Or, the sex was good but the emotions sucked. Or worse, maybe it seemed like high school only with gay bullies. It doesn’t surprise me (since I happened to go initially to New York, from a small-ish city) that this sensation might be even more extreme in a big place like New York. But it’s an initial impression. Your comment #26 is a good idea what to aim for.

  • jheryn

    Like many posting before, I too think that this is specific to the filmmaker’s personal community and friends and to a larger degree, New York. Personally I don’t care if you are gay or straight. There are good ones and bad ones in each group. My liking a person depends on their character, not their sexual identity. What I find incredibly stupid is the expectation that all gay men must like and support each other as many gays seem believe. I don’t think so. Ever. I will support you as long as you are a worthwhile human being. Being gay does not make you that. I’m not saying this as a gay man who hates other gay men. I am saying this as a gay man likes people regardless of things they cannot help such as gender, sexual identity, and race.

  • streeteditions

    “Gay” took the place of “homosexual”, as with other linguistic changes with negative terms that are now African-American/black, Latino, etc. As a Jurassic “queer”, I’ve been exclusively male-to-male for my entire 63 years, but even so I prefer reclaiming “queer” as a word with more than one connotation. Queer is inclusive for all lgbtqi persons. Sort of like saying, I’m not part of the 90-95% of the rest of humanity that behaves and relates in a certain way. I don’t behave or think like that. I can, but I chose not to. I’ve learned to ne the queer person I am. I’m queer!
    As for the young men in the video, welcome to the new cultural urban phenomenon of instant culture/society. Cities have always been the site of discovery, whether intellectual, socil, or physical. Enjoy!

  • BlueEyedCubTN

    Gay on gay hate is alive an well in the South. I live in Tennessee. What I hate the most about gay men: the superficiality and above all, the dog eat dog culture. If you are happy, they will try to ruin your life. If you have, they will take. Thieves, liars and drama describes typical gay culture here in Tennessee. I used to be a performance drag queen, but quit after facing the horrible judgmental and thieving bitches back stage.I only did drag to cure me of debilitating shyness. It worked. They laughed at me and said I’d never win a crown. I did. After I gave up my title, I quit. I have few gay friends anymore because I don’t need the hatred and drama.

  • homonongrata

    I have to admit that as a rule I do not enjoy other gay men as friends. I try but honestly it is simply too much trouble. I have worked in different environments with other gay men and usually those are the people it’s impossible to be friends with. If it’s not the self-absorption, superficiality, cattiness or high drama that gets to you, it’s the “if I even talk to you you’ll think I want you” attitude that slops over from the gay scene. It’s like Mean Girls, Adult Gay Male Version. Other people smile and say good morning while gay guys strut through the workplace with disgusted diva face, acting like they’re trying to avoid having to give an autograph.

    As a gay man I know we are a wounded lot, and that a lot of that behavior is a defense mechanism. However, while that may explain this reality, it by no means justifies it. These are also usually the same men who are chronically single and constantly complain about how all the good men are taken.

    So next time you dismiss someone’s negative reaction to you as homophobia (or if they are gay, as internalized homophobia), take a look at your own behavior and see if maybe your own behavior might be to blame. No one likes a c*nt, gay or straight.

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