As two groups ostracized from straight male “culture” (consisting mostly of lesbian porn, the NFL, and other tasty misogynies), gay men and women often find common ground regarding the oppression we’ve endured. This is great; not only because misery loves company, but also because overturning oppressive systems requires acknowledging shared difficulty.
But, for a community YAAAASSSSing our asses off at the #feminism shown by powerful women in Hollywood, there are way too many gay men struggling to actually respect women in our day-to-day lives. We don’t deserve FEMINIST Beyonce on a moving stage (hold up, I know I have that GIF somewhere; we all do) if we aren’t able to acknowledge our privilege and the part we play in the institutional oppression of women.
So, on behalf of the ignorant and/or obstinate gay men who treat women unequally, an apology. To all women everywhere; I’m sorry gay men often deny you the common decency that should and must be afforded to every person.
1. I’m sorry to Female Anatomy.
Far too often, gay men use vulgar terms when reluctantly and/or offensively referencing female bodies; we aggressively criticize your features and shame the shapes that brought our gay asses into this world. But regardless of procreative capacity and other anatomical specifics, y’all are temples and we should treat your bodies with the same respect we give our own. Or more. Yeah, probably more.
2. I’m sorry to Straight Female Friends.
While I am of course always sorry that many of you choose to accessorize with your gay male friends, we’ve shown our fair share of discrimination. I’m sorry you’re sometimes treated poorly in your friendships with us; de-legitimizing your feelings and subjecting you to consistent sexist commentary under the guise of being “one of the girls.” We aren’t, we don’t know what it’s like, and I’m sorry that happens.
3. I’m sorry to Gay Women.
I have neither the time nor the full extent of knowledge to comprehensively apologize to gay women. Our LGBTQ counterparts in so many ways, you are too often excluded, belittled, and disregarded in your preferences, the prioritization of your comfort, and your immense significance to the LGBTQ movement. I’m sorry your contributions and personhood are too often ignored.
4. I’m sorry to Trans Women.
Apologizing for the atrocities faced by trans women at the hand of cis folks could fill a goddamn book. For the thematic sake of this article, I’d like to apologize for the gay men unable to see beyond their prejudices to bother giving a damn about your genocide-level murder rates. I’m sorry gay men are too often idly watching, or actively participating, in your degradation. I’m sorry many of us still say ‘tranny’ like that’s at all acceptable. While we can’t understand what it means to be on your journey or to face the struggles you’ve endured, we can make damn sure our movement is just as inclusive of your narratives as it is of our own. I’m sorry we are too often a catalyst for hate, not for change.
5. I’m sorry to Women of Color.
Feminism is a dynamic movement; pretending race doesn’t play a critical role is ignorant to intersectionality. That said, overstating my voice only adds to the already deafening white noise, so I’ll offer a quick apology for the gay men claiming your identity as a sassy alter ego, and for the multitude of other ways in which gay (especially white) men have participated in several layers of your oppression. Your are not a caricature to be tried on by gay guys. I’m sorry your whole self is so often appropriated.
6. I’m sorry for the way we talk about you to straight men.
Too many straight men say truly revolting shit about women; whether in regards to a prospective lover, an uninterested target, a former lover, a not desired target, a professional boss, a passerby, or the many others that could sadly occupy this list. I’m sorry we often choose to laugh along or actively participate in these anti-feminist conversations instead of being the much needed voices of advocacy within the privileged class. Rape jokes are never funny, fake sexism hurts like real sexism, and women don’t exist as objects for male gaze so let’s be better, male gays.
7. I’m sorry for not acknowledging this privilege.
Technically numbers 1-6 hint at this too, but it’s worth mentioning upfront. Listen up; as men, we are privy to many institutional benefits that women do not receive. This doesn’t diminish the prejudices we face as gay men; in fact, many have rightly argued that they stem from the same societal misogyny oppressing women. Our struggles are not a Get Out Of Privilege Free Card (which can be purchased at doesntexist.com/STFU) and living these struggles should only put us in a more sympathetic and advocating space for women, not a space of disregard and denial. I’m sorry so many gay men refuse acknowledging their place in this global problem.