My Life

Aug 16, 2001 #2

Aug 16, #2 [Bob Seger, "Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You"]

<~Song that fits the mood.

Am I the only one bugged by "straight-acting"?

I guess so! Reading the Chicago gay press recently, I discovered dozens

of gay contact advertisers require this quality. Online it is even worse.

Rooms like "straight dudes m4m" are on AOL every day. Straightness

seems a highly desired trait among gay men these days.

I wonder what these guys think straight-acting is. In my experience, straight-acting

boys beat me up in school and had distressing tendency to do girls. Either

they were actually straight, or closet. [Closets always say more anti-gay

things than straight boys say, since real straights don’t stress over being


I have a confession. I’m not "straight-acting," and I don’t want

anyone who claims to be straight-acting. This is not because I’m fem-I’m

not [although would it matter if I was?]. I’m sure I could pass as straight

in the Post Office or down at the local sawdust-floor-pool-hall, or when

fixing my car dressed only in ripped overalls. Question is, why would I

want to be straight-acting? Do I want people thinking I’m straight?

What for?

Of course, history of gay life has been the history of trying to pass.

And it’s been a short history too-10 years ago, it would have been unthinkable

to come out at school, or discuss gay marriage or gays in the military.

And it’s trendy to say, "yeah I’m gay but you should still respect

me because I’m no different from you-I’m straight-acting."

But there’s a problem. See, we don’t want them to like us for being straight-acting.

We want them to like us because we’re gay, and because being gay

is a great way to be, just like any other way. As long as straight-acting

is the only "normal," then we’ll never feel good about ourselves.

Freedom means really being able to act how we want. They go around

kissing their girlfriends in the street-why shouldn’t we be able to do the

same thing? And yes-this is "gay acting." And yes, I think we

ought to do it. It’s an expression of love just like theirs, and that’s

what life is for.

When we go around dopily chanting straight-acting, we glorify the exact

people who oppress us, while rejecting the people who support us, who fight

for us.

As for the question of straight-acting versus "nelly-acting,"

I also don’t see why we shouldn’t be "nelly-acting." There’s a

lot of good things about being nelly-acting as opposed to straight-acting.

Straight-acting means being hard, not showing emotion, not ever crying,

not buying flowers, always being dominant in sex [who would want to do that?]

and generally acting like the Marlboro Man. Personally, if that’s what straight-acting

is, I would rather have someone nelly-acting. Many of the sexiest guys are

androgynous; straight people have been busy creating the "new man"

who is sensitive and has a lot of traits traditionally attributed as sex-neutral;

meanwhile, we’ve been busy glorifying Mr. Hard, who is straight-acting,

rides a bronco, and of course is never gay.

Well personally I am neither straight-acting or nelly-acting. I am me-acting,

and I don’t care who thinks so. Because in all this rush for straight-acting,

we are busy copying straight guys, and they are such a screwed-up group

I suspect they’d be happier if they copied us instead.

Plus, as everyone knows, straight-acting guys are so repressed that they

can’t get it up.

-Christian Mars

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