10 Things Gay Isn’t: Common Assumptions People Make About Homosexuality

November 19, 2012  |  
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I’m not a gay man and I can’t pretend to speak on their behalf, but I have plenty of gay friends to know they aren’t all flaming, finger-snapping, neck-rolling stereotypes.  I may not completely understand being sexually attracted to the same sex personally, but I sure as hell know what gay ISN’T.

When the headline “Kevin Clash Gay, But Not Molestor: Accuser Recants Statement” hit the internet earlier this week, there was a part of me that was a mess of confusion and disappointment.  More so than being disgusted at the allegations made against the popular Elmo puppeteer, I was also jaded at the excitement the media seems to get off of including the word “gay” and “sexual predator” in the same sentence.  It reminds me of popular stereotypes in which gay men instantly get labeled as child molesters  or even use of the common disclaimer “No homo” when a man compliments another man’s appearance.  It’s not to say that there aren’t homosexual child molesters, but gay isn’t some kind of season pass to a world of promiscuous sex, leather chaps and deviant behavior.  Gay can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but listed below are a few things that it just isn’t:

Automatically anything emotional, feminine or sensitive

It’s one thing when I have to check high school students for responding to anything the slightest bit emotional with “That’s so gay.”  But when I have to breakdown negative stereotypes to my adult peers, that’s a problem.  Some of you could use a hug or kind word or two without feeling like it makes a statement about your emotional strength or ability to display emotion.


Something that comes with a disclaimer every time a man compliments another man

Whenever a man feels the need to premise a compliment to another man with “I’m not gay but…” I’m instantly compelled to reply, “Because if you didn’t begin with that disclaimer I would have assumed you are?”  The clarity of your sexuality isn’t compromised just because you think a person of the same sex is attractive or dresses nice.  You don’t see gay men running around talking about, “I’m not straight, but that Tika Sumpter has a nice complexion.”  Sounds dumb, right?  Guess how it sounds when you say it.

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A trait that goes hand in hand with molestation or being a sexual predator

Just because a man is attracted to another man doesn’t mean that man has to be a minor.  All gay men don’t have some kind of inclination towards deviant behavior just because society still has trouble understanding anything that isn’t boy meets girl and they live happily ever after.  It’s like saying that just because you had pre-marital sex, you’re just as likely to be a rapist.  Sin is sin, right? Wrong.  And sexuality like many things in life aren’t as black and white as we believe them to be.


A membership in the man-purse wearing, drag show walking, Beyonce in a feather boa Rainbow Club

If your whole concept of “gay” is framed by the movie “Too Wong Foo” or “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” then it’s understandable why you think all homosexual men are strutting around in six –inch heels and false eyelashes chanting, “Who run the world?”  Not the case.  All gay men don’t hate women or want to be them.   There are gay men that could fit in just as well on a Gay Pride Parade float or on the corner with neighborhood thugs.  Don’t make assumptions.  Oh and they all don’t know each other either.

A choice

We can debate all day about if sexual attraction is determined by your DNA or your conscience, but all I know is that I didn’t wake up one day and decide, “I think I am going to like boys now.”  Most of the gay people I have ever had conversations with revealed that they always felt they looked at the same sex differently than their peers and they felt like something was “different” about them.  Maybe they didn’t know that difference meant homosexuality, but they couldn’t relate to the feelings their peers had about the opposite sex.

A cry for attention

Any legit lesbian will tell you that their displays of affection aren’t some desperate ploy for male attention.  In fact, I have to say that when I first visited Fire Island, most of the lesbians looked more like Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O’Donnell than a late night Cinemax movie like “The Secretary’s Last Seduction.”  More importantly what I witnessed in most of those couples is that their relationships were a lot like any other healthy relationship between a hetero couple.  You definitely had your cabana boys who were frolicking the nude beach just looking for a good time and some short-term summer love. But for most couples it wasn’t just about sex or trying something new, it really was about love, commitment and making sure the kids didn’t eat the sand.

An episode of “Glee”

They all don’t want to sing, dance and perform like they’re auditioning for Broadway.  They aren’t all theater majors, fashion designers dancers and hairstylists.  Let’s stop acting like being gay limits you to certain careers that you just automatically excel in because of whom you choose to date.


I had an alpha-male friend who at one time refused to let one of my gay friends ride in his car.  It was as if he sneezed, a rainbow would sprout from his nose and infect all of the other passengers with incredible fashion sense, glitter and flamboyance.  If you feel like being in the presence of a gay man will somehow rub off on you and give others the wrong impression, the problem is your insecurity not someone else’s sexuality.


A reason to turn your back on the one you love.

I can respect that people have moral and religious values that are completely against homosexuality, but when it comes to your sons, daughters and siblings I can never understand completely shutting someone out your life whom you otherwise love just because of who they are sexually attracted to. At the end of the day whether they are straight or gay, what they choose to do sexually or romantically has little to do with you, and I can’t understand why people feel personally offended by sexuality that doesn’t reflect on them at all.  Why not just embrace the fact that they’ve found someone to make them happy?  Because we all know how hard that can be for anyone gay, straight or otherwise.

Any of your business.

When some people learn about a person being gay, they automatically assume that they know everything about that person’s sex life and have the freedom to comment on it.  Just like your sexual behavior is your business, a gay person’s bedroom behavior is not an open book.  You don’t know what is being inserted where and with whom so please stop acting like an expert about other’s people sex lives, especially if you can barely understand your own.


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