I'll come up with something in a minute.

A type of Stereo

So I’m reading the f-list right? And I come across this bit written by a buddy in which he laments some of the stereotypes that the gay community has to put up with. The constant orgies, the drug use, so on. My impression is that he’s looking more in at the gay community than looking out at the rest of the wide world in his complaint.

While there is drug use and some orginess* among gays, there is drug use and orginess amongst straight people too. I suspect that humans just occasionally use drugs and have group gropes. In fact, I know that humans just have group sex sometimes. It’s a thing we do.

So why all the stereotypes? Well I have an idea that I’ve heard mentioned a few other places and I’m going to tell you about it here. The problem is that straight people hear sex and we stop thinking. We hear “Homosexual” and at the “sex” part of that word the straight brain just sort of shuts down. Now, the only thing a straight person can think of when thinking about a gay person is their sexuality, and thus the only activity they can picture them doing is sexual.

When the only activities someone can picture a person doing are sexual activities, they usually imagine that person must spend all day dedicated to that. It makes a bit of sense, they’ve all got to fill the same 24 hours and if they don’t go shopping or play squash, they must be having sex.

When you’ve already got people who have it in their heads that gay people are either having sex or on their way to have sex, you can see how the rest of it falls into line. In their tiny little minds they must see how people can get worn out rather quickly, so gays must be trying to get fresh recruits for their constant sex all the time. When a person of limited realistic thinking capabilities starts on that line, they sort of allow any hedonistic activities to the list. Drug use, sex bars, musical theater, all the little evils that the straight mind can produce come flowing out.

Now add to this dilemma the fact that the first experience most straight people have with gay people is when they’re all kids and you really have a problem. Since most straight people meet gay folk when they’re young and just learning about this whole sex thing. While many gay people report that they always knew something was different, I’ve talked to enough people who only really thought about sex when they hit puberty to think that a good number of gay folk must have run along the same track. The problem is that a gay person has society telling them to run one way and their feelings telling them to run the other. This regularly means a goodly amount of trying to run the proper way, getting tired, running the other way when no one is looking, and a metaphor that really doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

When you throw in the bisexuals who during those years sometimes aggressively run both ways and normal teenage/young adult experimentation into the mix, you can see how gay people get dismissed so much. Here is a little secret that no one else will tell you. Lots of people went through a “why don’t I touch a member of the same sex to see what it’s like” stage in their sexual development. While some of those people evolve into bisexuals and some of those people turn out to be homosexuals, for a lot of people it turns out to have been a phase they went through. People dismiss sexual deviance (as in a deviance from the heterosexual so-called norm) as a phase because lots and lots of people went through a similar period as a phase. As a result, any slightly straight behavior from a homosexual will be pointed to as signs that they are coming out of their phase, which is rather silly when someone points to an 87 year old queen kissing his sister on the cheek, but they do it anyway.

When a person’s mind already has a few stereotyped images in their head, they will ignore anything that doesn’t fit the stereotype. Often, if they’ve got a really narrow mind, they will ignore things that don’t fit quite actively. Often screaming and shouting at a person and demanding that they do the stereotypical things in secret if they’re not seen doing it in public. They will rant and rave about how they must be doing Activity X because and I quote “They all do it! Look at them! You know they’re up to something!**” even when the person in question is quietly sitting in the corner trying to read a news paper. The need for someone to fit a rigidly defined set of characteristics is so strong for some people that their tiny little minds can’t handle anything outside of those characteristics. The problem is that there is a limited amount of things the people being stereotyped can do to change those perceptions, beyond getting to know as many people as possible so that more straight people will smack the one bigot and tell them not to be an asshole.

Sadly, that’s really how change comes. Not from presenting a better front as a community, but by getting to know people in the other community who will then deal with their own. When the two camps sit across from each other, it doesn’t matter how good they look across the field, because we’re all sure the nice business like demeanor is just a front and all the debauchery is in the back.

Yeah, basically we all think society is just a mullet. Business in the front, party at the back, and a pretty nasty party it is too. So I guess I’m looking at a tangled mullet that hasn’t been washed in some time and probably has remnants of the time they tried to dye half their head red that one time still left over.

*Totally a real word, don’t care what spellcheck says. Spellcheck doesn’t even recognize itself as a word so who can trust it?

**Now I come to think of it, the person I’m quoting also said that about Blacks, Jews, Latinos and The Irish.

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May 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment