What is it with Men and Being Gay?

I want to preface this post with a warning. It is a rant. It is my opinion based on my experiences and life so far. I am not an expert nor do I profess to be.

So last night I “went into the out”. It was a rewarding experience. But that is not the story I want to tell.

I ran into a man I had met before. I couldn’t remember if we got naked together. He didn’t mention that we had. So I am confident we didn’t. Things started out OK. He was nice, mostly polite. Sort of funny. Very keen. I thought “maybe”. Then a couple things happened. I took on a task to help a friend and my potential suitor was left waiting for longer than he liked.

While he was waiting he continued to make conversation with Mr Jones and myself. He related a story about being hit on by another male who he had asked to help him out with a tech problem. That in itself wasn’t an issue but his reaction was. For some reason he seemed to think a man placing his hand on another man’s thigh without permission or invitation was far more offensive than a man touching a woman on the arse, the boob or any other unwanted advance. Because it was a man touching another (not gay) man. It was more offensive than a woman coming on to another uninterested woman. It was just THE MOST OFFENSIVE THING EVER.

Why? Because my friend (who had just removed all possibility of being naked with me) is NOT GAY. In fact he was so NOT GAY he had to explain how NOT GAY he is at great length.

When I related this story to The Unicorn she voiced the opinion that he is probably a closeted gay. Honestly I think if he relaxed just a tiny bit he might enjoy interacting with another man sexually. There is a strong possibility he does want to do this but he can’t bring himself to because he is simply NOT GAY. I don’t think he is interested in having a full blown monogamous relationship with a man but sexuality is a spectrum, right? I remember when I was The Unicorn’s age I had similar theories about similar types of men. As a much older person I feel the theory has some merit but it isn’t quite right.

There is a whole swarth of stuff to unpack in this situation. One item is this whole culture of men insisting they are NOT GAY and using “that is gay” as a way of expressing their dislike of a situation. I work with 15 – 18 year olds. I am at the coalface of changing that culture. But this post is not about that.

The thing I found irritating about this man’s attitude was the way he reacted to being touched by someone he wasn’t attracted to. In general (and this is a generalisation minorities and exceptions calm your tits) women approach people with the idea that they may not be acceptable / desirable very much in the front of their mind. Men, in the majority of cases, have the opposite idea. They feel that anyone they are interested in (man or woman) would obviously like them and therefore are surprised when that is not the case. What is amusing is a situation like this one. A man was pissed that another man told him he should be flattered because he was on the receiving end of some unwanted attention. He didn’t see why the gay man should think he would be attracted to him because he was NOT GAY!! Furthermore he couldn’t see how this approach was like the thousands of approaches that women receive over their lifetime.

I read a post this morning written by a bisexual man complaining about other men who message, presumably through apps like Grinder / Tinder etc, to hook up. The complaint being that these suitors are expecting their target to drop everything and be available right now. He was complaining about men who don’t stop to consider that the object of their affection might have a life / job / commitments and not be at their beck and call. I don’t know why this man thinks he is special and that this is a problem specific to bisexual or gay men.

All of this complaining highlights something for me. Often men genuinely don’t get how their behaviour affects other people. Straight men created a society where they feel completely entitled to express their sexual desires and expect that someone will hasten to meet their needs. In our modern world men who are interested in other men are coming out of the closet. No longer is the sexual desire being expressed solely for a woman. What hasn’t changed is the sense of entitlement. It is amusing to watch the reaction of men when they “get a taste of their own medicine”.

I don’t hate men. Truly I don’t. I know that many men have realised that being an entitled twat is not the way to be. And their respect for women and other humans in general shines through. But some days it feels as if we are changing this culture one man at a time.

Smile for the Picture

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame during a morning tea for state and territory recipients in the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards at The Lodge in Canberra, Tuesday, January 25, 2022.
Source – SBS News website

I don’t normally listen to the news but as I was driving to work yesterday I was intrigued by the story that accompanied the above shot. Recently the woman in the photo, Grace Tame, was attending a function at The Lodge whereby she was passing on the baton as Australian of the Year to the incoming recipient. Ms Tame is an advocate for, and survivor of, child sexual abuse and this advocacy was the reason for her being awarded this honour in 2021.

The media storm that surrounded this function and the footage that featured Ms Tame refusing to “smile for the camera” has focussed recently on comments by the Prime Minister’s wife about the rude behaviour of Tame. Ms Tame’s response to Mrs Morrison’s comments has been;

“survival of abuse culture is dependent on submissive smiles and self-defeating surrenders. It is dependent on hyprocrisy.”

Powerful words. Ones that make men like Scott Morrison squirm in their seats. Privileged white males who survive on the premise of civility. As a child I had one of “those” family friends who stood too close, put his hands on my thighs and tried to touch me inside my panties. My mother was like Jenny Morrison, always telling me to be nice and smile for the camera. I could never tell her about it because she wouldn’t believe that this man would do something like that. There are millions of stories like mine hidden behind the nice smiles in photos. I am one of the lucky ones who was never seriously touched.

The people who did this never seemed to be outed or dealt with by the adults who should have known better and protected their children. Why? Because looking nice to the outside world and not having to explain why Uncle Arthur or Auntie Gladys were invited to family functions any more was more important than the safety of a child. Ms Tame’s story is similar. Aged fifteen she was groomed and repeatedly abused by a teacher at her expensive girls high school. When the case was brought to trial the court found that the school had multiple opportunities to intervene but chose not to. It was up to the vulnerable teenage girl to stand up against the establishment and out her attacker to stop the abuse.

Fast forward to now. This young woman has done some pretty remarkable things. Which is why she was awarded the status of Australian of the year. She is incredibly intelligent and clearly not up for accepting any bullshit. To be told by a condescending woman to smile for the camera is the ultimate insult. What is even more tragic is that this woman is raising daughters. Do her daughters have to stand next to a relative that makes them feel uncomfortable and whose hands linger just that little bit too long? Who insists on kissing them when they don’t want to? Jenny Morrison says Ms Tame should be ashamed. She should be ashamed for not realising the world needs to call this crap to attention.

For all the children in the world I have this wish: Know your body, value it as the temple it is. Never believe that other people have the right to touch you in ways you don’t like. Nor do other people have the right to tell you to smile when you don’t like the person you are standing next to.