Even in New York City gay men still experience social ignorance. I was once crossing the street in Chelsea when a random truck driver yelled, “Faggot” at me. I’m pretty thick skinned so I just shrugged and flipped my heckler the birdie. However, later that same day some random tourist with 80s hair stopped me to ask, “Why do you people wear such tight pants?” Listen, you can hate on my sexuality all you want but when you question my Ted Baker corduroys that I got at a sample sale then we got a problem.
You’d think in a country where the age of LGBT acceptance is nigh, we could at least find tolerance in a metropolitan paradise where our sartorial decisions go unquestioned. But no, we don’t.
Even friends who are allies and mean well often ask silly questions like, “How does gay sex work?” or “How do you know you’re really gay if you’ve never slept with a chick?” or my favorite, “You and your brother are gay? How did that happen?”
Yes, I’m all about educating others on the ways of homosexuality and am happy to demonstrate to someone like Chris Evans how gay sex works, but sometimes what you hear as a gay man is down right baffling.
Below are the top 5 things gay men just don’t want to hear coming out of anybody’s lips (no matter how much collagen has been pumped in them…I’m looking at you Cher).
1. “We always knew you were gay.”
I’m pretty sure every gay man in history who’s come out of the closet has gotten this one. Look, I get it. I was running around junior high with a Sailor Moon trapper keeper and an abnormally squeaky voice that was mistaken for a girl’s when I called to order Papa John’s. It was indeed obvious. However, don’t belittle my quest for self-discovery. My coming out process involved a lot of Live Journal entries and Tori Amos music. Respect. Oh and by the way…you always knew? Thanks for the heads up, jerk. Would it have killed you to have talk to me about it?
2. “Are your parents disappointed they’ll never get grandchildren?”
Truly, an antiquated remark thanks to the ever-changing adoption laws and reproductive alternatives. Also, a big shout out to the hit television show Modern Family for essentially eradicating the notion that gays can’t have their own sassy mouthed spawns. But still, in my case, my younger brother is also gay and my older sister is mentally handicap. There is a very distinct possibility my parents will never become grandparents. And you know what? They don’t care. My parents don’t spend their days wondering what if. They’re happy with the family they have and are endlessly proud of my accomplishments. Plus my fiancé and I have two spunky Pomeranians that my parents spoil like grandchildren (they get more Christmas presents than me). Every family, like a snowflake, is different.
3. “Who’s the girl in the relationship?”
My fiancé and I had just left a concert at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn when we decided to grab impromptu drinks at a bar with friends. A casual acquaintance brought her husband, whom I’d never met, and for some reason he couldn’t quite understand nuptials involving two grooms.
“Well, which one of you is gonna wear the dress,” he asked, very seriously.
I was floored. Here we were in Brooklyn, the epicenter of counter culture and asymmetrical haircuts, and the laws of traditional heterosexuality were in full effect. It infuriated me that he thought one person in our man-only relationship had to play a gender role that was irrelevant to our love. Did he have any idea how offensive his question was or was he just trying to figure out which one of us bottomed? Spoilers, asshole, we’re versatile. Sorry your wife doesn’t let you use the backdoor.
4. “It’s a girls only weekend.”
Nothing irritates me more than the girls only weekend. I can’t believe such satanic gatherings are even legal. When I was in junior high I had no male friends. I sat on the benches with the girls and discussed their periods. I was a faithful minion to all my girlfriends growing up, heard every break up story and sat in the dressing room of Forever 21 for countless hours until they found that one tube top that made their A-cup boobies look bigger. So I find it endlessly insulting when I’m excluded from bachelorette parties, baby showers, and weekend getaways just because I have a penis.
I’ve been called a fag just about everywhere I’ve gone: in front of gay bars in Hell’s Kitchen, in line for the porta potty at the Veuve Clicquot polo match, family reunions (thanks, primo), and even at the gym when I was purposely avoiding eye contact with all the muscle daddies. This one used to boil my blood and always made me feel victimized. But you know what? I’m no victim. When I hear the F-word, I find it empowering. I sometimes even turn around and shout, “Faggot and proud!” As RuPaul once said, “It’s just words. Yeah, words do hurt…[but] you know what? You need to get stronger.”