About a year ago, a man I affectionately dubbed “Nail Biter” for his maladaptive Freudian oral fixations was making small talk expertly as salarymen are wont to do, as we were waiting for our train. He informed a group of us how he had numerous gay friends — though he denied vehemently that he himself was gay, unprompted — and how he and his friends had once decided to meet up for dinner, but he’d arrived at the meeting place early and found that his two other gay friends, a couple, were the only ones there yet. He joked that he had felt threatened and anxious in their presence, which was the stunning punchline that somehow managed to generate bouts of hearty laughter. It’s such a tired joke, that gay people are indiscriminating in their taste and are after all the dicks, any dick that falls across their path. It might only have been a joke, a polished anecdote carefully prepared to fill empty silence, but it was so boring, so unoriginal. To joke that his friends, in a loving relationship and committed to one another, would somehow make a move on him and threaten his oh-so-fragile sense of masculinity? conception of self? his little eggroll? simply because they both happened to be gay? Hilarious.
So many tired jokes and stereotypes that are in dire need of debunking, I shall just go ahead and make you a top 5 list:
1. The Gays Are Out To Getchu
False, you ain’t nearly as cute as you think you are; invest in a mirror and calm the fuck down. Just as a heterosexual person might assess desirability based on a complex combination of numerous physical and personal characteristics, so goes for the gays. Sit down. No one likes you.
2. Lesbianism/Bisexuality Is #FakeNews
The sexuality of gay men somehow goes unchallenged, but the above myth persists with amazing resilience. Another popular one is, lesbians and bi girls are simply in need of “experiencing” a man — heard a cute story from a bi friend about how a guy asked her which she liked better now, guys or girls, in the midst of hooking up, as if it were a competition of sorts — she simply said “I like you” because she was starry-eyed with lust and didn’t know any better at the time — but the correct answer is “both”. The ego! to believe your touch so magical, so seductive and compelling, that you could simply cure one of their silly little phase and tilt their spectrum irrevocably! Because lesbians and bi girls are closeted straights that simply haven’t been fucked properly yet, am I right? Nah, boy. Next.
3. Gayness Is A New & Western Perversion
I suppose the fairly recent adoption of the garish rainbow as the universal symbol for the LGBT community and all these newfangled acronyms, clumsily used as English loanwords in most languages doesn’t help to ease this popular misconception. With new technology, sex change operations have become possible, allowing trans individuals to address their gender dysphoria and thrusting them into the public spotlight in a way that only seems to further boost this notion that all of is just modern-day, privileged, expensive nonsense.
Certainly, Dave Chapelle candidly addresses how he’s been called out on his homophobic and transphobic comments in his Netflix standup special, “Equanimity”, in an unexpectedly serious and heartfelt moment where he referenced a fan letter. In a previous special, he briefly spoke about how in light of police brutality and the loss of black lives, it seemed rather an exaggeration to equate discrimination against gays with that against blacks, and that bathroom equality and sex change operations reek of white privilege. I sympathize somewhat with his views in some aspects and yet, his views erase the existence of non-white trans individuals around the world and the disproportionate amounts of violence that they face. The Caitlyn Jenners of America — thin, gloriously rich WASPs — did not invent transness, nor are they the sole members of this community. Trans individuals have always existed, and definitions of gender, masculinity and femininity were so much more fluid before white Christians went around philandering and colonizing all over the world and fucking everything up. Many cultures had “third genders” in their ancient histories, and same-sex relations were just run-of-the-mill, part of ordinary life. See the smattering of Wikipedia links below for a tiny excerpt of forgotten histories:
・Sappho in Ancient Greece
・Two-spirits in Native American communities
・Hijras in India
・Wakashūs in Japan
・Male homosexuality in pre-colonial Uganda
(Note: female same-sex relations are not as widely documented simply because women were not allowed in the public sphere and surprise! men write history)
4. It’s Any Of Your Business
Because none of it is any of your fucking business, really. How odd it is, how some people seem to believe that they are entitled to know information about the most private aspects of one’s life, whether it be their genitals and who and how they’re fucking, etc. simply by virtue of their not being straight. Mind your p’s and q’s.
5. But Global Warming…!
Issues such as gay marriage, gender-neutral bathrooms, and whether businesses have the right to refuse service to LGBT individuals on the basis of “religious freedom” may seem inconsequential and petty in comparison to say, global warming or the Syrian war. However, “But global warming…!” is such a lazy-ass argument. The magnitude of and number of people that these issues affect are undeniably smaller in comparison, but that does not diminish their importance or make them magically go away. Pontificating that “there are starving children in X country” does not ease the fact you’ve not had breakfast and lunch and are consequentially ravenously hungry, for example. If you’ve ever had the experience of desperately holding in your liquids/solids while you wait in a ridiculously long line for a bathroom, then surely you can muster up some empathy and see the need for gender-neutral bathrooms, in order to protect trans individuals from being sexually or violently assaulted in these spaces. The right to piss and shit in a public restroom, the right to rent, the right to marry, the right to visit your partner at a hospital, the right to serve in the army, the right not to be jailed, lashed, or executed simply for having sex, the right to buy cake or pizza, the right to live a life of dignity, all of these should be universal without question.
Yes, our planet earth may be hurtling towards almost certain environmental demise and Trump, drone wars, American imperialism, etc. — but why not make the world an equal and better place for everyone in the meantime?