I hold the phone with my right hand, and grasp the cool, smooth surface of the bathroom sink with my left.
“They said what?” I whisper.
“She said you’re the gayest guy in our grade,” my friend says, “he just agreed – he didn’t say anything.”
“What?” I say, even though I heard her clearly. I just don’t want to believe it.
“It was on the back of the bus,” she says, “I sat there and listened to them.”
“Oh,” I say. As a fourteen-year-old, I don’t want my friend to think I care about what my classmates think about me. But curiosity quickly kills my desire to play it cool.
“Why would they think that?” I ask, “I’ve never told anyone about… you know.”
“Well, yeah, but it’s not that hard to tell by the way you act. Like, when you talk, your voice goes all high on the end, you know?”
I feel a deep flush of embarrassment, “I thought you said I had a deep voice.”
“You do, but it’s just high sometimes,” she says, “but it’s really not a big deal, forget about it.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” I mumble. I tell my friend I have to go, but instead of doing my math homework, I stare at the bathroom mirror. Do I stand like a girl? Do I really talk like one? People bully me for being weird, but do they talk about me all the time too? And as I bring my left hand up to brush back a tuft of my hair, I wonder if this body I see betrays who I am on the inside too easily.
I wonder if my mom was right when she told me I should see a therapist.
For some reason, I feel like there are a lot of people – straight and gay – who feel ashamed or embarrassed by gay guys who act feminine. There are people who cringe when guys have high-pitched voices, when guys gesticulate with their hands, or when guys wear strange clothing.
I understand, because people want to defy stereotypes. Gays don’t want to be seen as pink-loving, fashion-obsessed, flaming freaks. I’m Asian, and it can be awkward for me to explain to a relative or a friend that I love English and not math or science. Being black doesn’t mean you love KFC, and being white doesn’t mean you come from a wealthy background and have never worked a day in your life.
But whose fault is it that gays are commonly misconstrued as always being feminine? Who says that just because there are guys like that out there, that some may let the stereotype lead their minds astray? It’s definitely not the gay guys who are feminine – rather, it’s the people who try to typecast every single person of the same sexuality. This is why it’s perfectly okay for gay guys to be feminine, because it doesn’t hold any bearing in regard to their sexuality or their intelligence. It’s just an aspect of who they are.
Why does this stigma even exist? In a society that believes in accepting people for who they are, we should accept people irrespective of whether they fulfill a stereotype or not. If a guy acts girly it’s not like he’s breaking any law, besides the shallow ones implied by those whose visions’ are impaired by ignorance. Obviously these stereotypes aren’t true for everyone, and people shouldn’t waste their time with those who cannot comprehend that.
I don’t talk about it much, but I was bullied in middle school and at the beginning of high school. It wasn’t anything major, at least to my face – just a few taunts, and the occasional shove or “fag” thrown at me. What really got to me, I guess, was how much people talked about me behind my back. What’s weird is that if my friends never told me about it, I would’ve remained clueless.
But I’m past it now. Not in a pretentious way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people still talk about me even though all these years have passed – as the only mostly out gay senior at my socially conservative high school, I am somewhat unusual. I do talk quickly sometimes and have a high voice, I do use crazy hand gestures, but I don’t care. As long as I am displaying a personable side of myself by acting respectfully and intelligently, I’ll be as gay as I want.
the friends I wish I had people talk about me for different reasons. I do have horrible fashion sense and can’t cook at all, so, like everyone else, I don’t fulfill all the stereotypes. Maybe they just talk about me because I read in the middle of the hallways. Or because of that one time I tripped and fell over my friend’s backpack in the middle of class…
What do you guys think of this issue? It’s not a big deal, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people – even those who are homosexuals themselves – are bothered by gays or straight guys who act overtly feminine. Personally, I don’t care how masculine or feminine girls or guys are, as long as they aren’t rude or mean or anything like that. Now, I am off to exercise and then do book club stuff. Good night!