“You’re so gay,” she said to me. Just seconds earlier, my car had stopped at just the right moment in time, when a female pedestrian wearing something that provoked a positive reaction in me crossed the intersection. In fact, it was such that I commented on how much I liked what the young woman walking was wearing.
I’ve spent my entire life as an artist and in my adult life I added designer to my title card. A positive and engaging aesthetic is always going to catch my eye. This extends to food, film, fashion, home, interior design and even the design of football uniforms. My city’s team is one of the worst in the NFL, for the record. I just appreciate a great visual.
And that’s just it. I just can’t turn that aspect of my brain off. It’s a spectacular trait allowing me to do what I do day in and out. I find design inspiration everywhere and I guess to a greater extent I actively seek it. What I admired about that woman in that moment was not her figure, the ideal of sexual attraction (that surfaced shortly thereafter), but rather the execution, the color, and a tessellation pattern that suggested a deeper understanding of all that was in play; she had not worn the dress simply because it was in her closet. But I guess men, straight men, are supposed to appreciate something else. At least that’s the idea that I gathered from the response I received upon explaining my reaction to the woman’s outfit.
When I heard that sentiment it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I wasn’t insulted at the idea that people might think I am gay. To me, it’s just as trivial as if someone assumed I was British. How can anyone tell without my birth certificate? At the end of the day, who really cares what side of the pond I stick my, er… toes into? The larger issue in such a rationale is that one is so willing to make such a generalizing statement that suggests there is something wrong or at least unfavorable with homosexuality. The second largest issue is that it’s a declaration that there is a specific manner in which a man should act and behave and anything in conflict with that suggests the man has to be gay.
Is this how we are dealing with our bias now? “It’s so passé to marginalize people to their faces so we shall cast stones at those who we know are not stakeholders in this minority so we can get these damaging views out.”
From the liberal use of the word “faggot” or “fag”amongst friends to the use of “gay” to describe an unfavorable situation, there is no positive outcome. We just are taking the unnecessary divide that already exists amongst people and placing it elsewhere.
Recently, Jenna Lyons, the president and executive creative director of J. Crew, wasn’t afforded an opportunity to openly display what was a heartwarming moment with her toddler son Beckett without coming under fire for promoting some ideal of gender neutrality and/or raising Beckett to be gay. Her son’s favorite color is pink; she painted his toenails in his favorite shade and the child looked thrilled. Heaven forbid a mother have a healthy relationship with her son. When I think about it, I’m pretty jealous. All I ever asked for in my youth was a bag of Tropical Skittles. I had a fifty-fifty percent success rate with that request and even when I did receive my treat it was those disgusting Wildberry ones. You know, the purple bag. If Beckett is anything, it’s spoiled.
Cutting to the chase, we should be done with this line of thinking: socialization by gender and homophobia (latent, subversive or otherwise) or as I like to call it: plain idiocy.