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March 19, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]


Some queer people describe themselves as ‘straight-acting’.I don’t like it. Now, I see where these people are coming from. Some guys prefer to get with guys who are more masculine, and some prefer more stereotypically gay types, so as a way of describing oneself, it sort of works, but c’mon… straight-acting? The last time I checked, straight guys don’t like other guys’ dicks.

The same thing happens for queer women too. Ladies who could ‘pass’ for straight are described as ‘femmes’. Some lesbians like to wear lipstick and have longer hair and can outrun you in heels, and some don’t, and both are awesome, but neither is pretending to be heterosexual. Neither is straight- acting. They’re not acting—they’re being themselves.

‘Straight-acting’ is a descriptor that applied to the queer folk of yesteryear, when we literally had to act like stereotypical straight people to avoid being attacked. Such a term, and the baggage that comes with it, is a hangover from bygone days.

The only thing that makes you straight- acting is pretending to like the opposite gender exclusively. If you’re not doing that, you’re not acting like a straight person. The only thing that makes a person gay or lesbian or bisexual is liking the same gender. Everything else is extra. If you’re gay, and you pretend to like women, then you’re straight-acting. If you’re gay and masculine, then you’re masculine, not acting like a straight guy.

If you’re a masculine man, or a feminine lesbian, are you acting? Nope. If I’m masculine, it’s because I am masculine (whatever ‘masculinity’ is). It implies that we are imitating masculinity rather than being masculine, as though a gay man being masculine is an unnatural thing.

By the same token, associating the the word ‘gay’ with femininity doesn’t fit either. There are certainly feminine gay and bisexual guys, and masculine lesbian and bisexual girls, but it’s not the way you act that makes you gay, it’s who you’re attracted to. Is it a sort of internalised homophobia to protest “Oh, don’t worry, I’m not like those homos. I totally act straight.”? Yeah, I reckon so. Straight guys don’t have a monopoly on being socially masculine.

So go forth and be fabulous! Or not—if that’s not you, then go forth and be whomever you want to be, but whatever you do, don’t do it to be straight-acting.


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