labels. really?


i don’t guess i’m all that surprised. we gays love our labels.

yes, that’s a stereotype! lots of straights like ‘em too—women and men—whether it’s clothes, rims, glasses, toilet paper, chain saws, you name it: we like labels!

anyway, tonight i participated in a twitter conversation about labels. specifically: labeling what kind of man and how masculine you are based on your sexual position/role. *augh* really? it’s 2011 and we’re still behaving like this?! that’s as ludicrous as the discussions about whether a stay-at-home mom is a better mother than a working mom or the one that occurs within the black community about skin color making someone a more desirable person. (though it’s still debated in circles of many colors,  we’re all beautiful, no matter our skin’s hue and any mom—whether she works outside the home or not—can be an excellent, loving, effective mother. i know several!)

that kind of thinking just hits me wrong. almost as much as describing gays by which “list” they’re on, a notion no-doubt coined by someone who perceives himself to be on the “A-list” [aka “douchebag”] or a person with a poor self-image, whose envy has gotten the best of himself.

and speaking of the notion of an “A-list”—a concept not original to the gays as both the hets and the homos have been keeping lists since, well, Adam, Eve, and, well, Steve—let’s talk about that ridiculous show “the A-list.” no wonder society perceives us they way they do with ill-conceived garbage like this, no doubt the brainchild of some snarky gay hoping to profit by exploiting the negative stereotypes of this particular group of people. that show represents no one i know in real life, only the stereotypes i rue and occasionally mock.

yes: i laugh at these men but not in a good way.  i can empathize with some of their situations but some of their behaviors leave me shaking my head. and trust me: I know many vapid, vacuous people; gays do not have the market cornered on these characteristics.

so back to labeling. yes, some of us are eccentric. many of us dress better than many of our hetero compadres (although this metrosexual thing is really catching on thank goodness). a lot of us express ourselves creatively and talk with our hands and love shoes and secretly love/hate/want to be Martha Stewart and love musicals and The Oscars and sports and believe in the importance of family and are productive members of society and make great neighbors and think of others generously by giving money and time to worthy causes and…

….wait…

i think i just made my point.

but in case i didn’t, let me conclude, in my usual “this is not really a conclusion, i’m still going” mode.

first: masculinity is not defined by sexual position. it is made up of many characteristics, most of which extend far outside the bedroom. [duh. but apparently it needs to be said. again.]

second: stop it with the stereotypes. society loves them and we gays sure love to label people (oops) but really—is it anyone’s business?! yes, i am hypersensitive to labels. i still remember when “Three’s Company” was on TV, becoming one of primetime TV’s earlier attempt to parody homosexuals. (“Soap” preceded it but came on after your local news; i was allowed to watch neither.) The very next day, kids started asking me if i was gay. That was fifth grade. and so it began…

Ok so what. Yeah. i knew then i was gay. (i actually knew much earlier.) But what i didn’t realize then, i finally realize today: i’m also creative. and smart(ish). And sometimes funny. And i love to talk and share and laugh and a million other things that many other humans like to do. my identity as a gay male is just one piece of who i am—not my entire identity. yes, stereotypes are fun to laugh at (although wow Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara and Jessey Tyler Ferguson push them so far that they’re more uncomfortable than funny.) but hey: it’s good for a laugh, right?

at the end of the day, we are not the sum of our labels. we’re all just equal human beings with basically the same DNA, except the precious few deviations that give us our own unique identities, personalities, and traits.

it’s just that some of us have better shoes.

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14 thoughts on “labels. really?

  1. Me and my friends were talking about the A-list the other
    day. We know people like that but keep hearing gay men say that’s
    not how gay men really are. I think that gay men in my age group-
    twenties- show some very, um, undesirable qualities while those
    older have grown up and don’t act that way. As for stereotyping-
    that will always happen. It’ll never end because there will always
    be ignorant, hateful people til the end of time.

    • yes, stereotyping appears to be with us for the duration. but I agree: WHY does it matter what Kind of gay we are or that “oh I’m less gay than he is.”

      ppl just need to be comfortable with who they are and let others be the same, right?

      thanks for your comment!

    • There are older men that act like they’re still in their twenties and can’t hold a serious relationship, can’t be trustworthy, can’t commuicate in an adult manner…..

      The A-list just represents a part of the gay community just like the preps represent part of hetero community….

  2. Let’s not forget that’s the NYC “A-List” definitly not
    portrayed to represent all of the gays and not regionally either!
    So with that in mind let’s see who represents the next batch
    because I’d rather pay attention to someone that’s not
    self-centered. That’s all they really showed.

    • but I don’t think you can broadly characterize all NYC gays (or even the Dallas gays) like that, can you?

  3. People have a need to label things they don’t understand or
    are afraid of. For some straight people it’s easier to think of all
    gay men as effeminate because they think to have sex with a man you
    have to have feminine characteristics. And when they see a man
    enjoying “womanly” things like shopping or knitting it’s outside
    their comfort zone and they label that man gay.

  4. Not @ all but its all the selection process. Flamboyance
    and Fabulousness is kinda boring to me. I would consider myself
    “D-List” and I can rock with that. My people in NYC rock and they
    know who they are! Just as long as they don’t get up on TV thinkn
    they shit don’t stank!

    • but see–using their scale of measurement, their characteristics earn them a place on the “F-LIST” whereas it’s ppl like you and so many other great ppl and their own personal variety of “fabulousness” make up the kind of people I’d like to see more of.

  5. so, do you want peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey?

    I remember when I first officially heard the unceremonious “outing of Todd”…. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and thought “now he can BE who he is”.

    Whether I said it or not, when we had that first discussion, to your statement “I’m gay”, my brain was screaming “oh hun, OF COURSE YOU ARE!”

    and that wasn’t because of labels.

    yeah, straight or gay, you always had the BEST hair 🙂 but when you had the straight jacket on, you were so incredibly uncomfortable in your own skin – to me it was obvious that something was not right… but constrained in the environment where we were at the time, I just loved you where you were at the time and poked fun at your fashion sense while I showed up in baggy pants, old tshirts wishing I could have gotten away with going braless!

    so, altho I’ve used alot of “you’s” in this response, its not just aimed at YOU TODD… but humanity in general.

    Be human
    Be compassionate
    Be real
    and you will be who you are supposed to be
    and you will find happiness

    so do you want peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey?

    love ya!

    • thank you for being a part of this post, for your comment, and for being my always-sister-friend!
      you have always made me feel accepted, loved, and admired regardless of who i was and you’ve always made me feel welcome among the general kookieness and driven nature of your life–a serious honor!

      you were one of the first I told and THE first to embrace me immediately after. you’ve defended and protected me and my little ducklings!

      and as far as what goes with peanut butter: from you, it has to be HONEY!

      much love!

  6. being ourselves is what ALLOWS us to be real, human, kind,
    compassionate…….because there is nothing more constraining than
    wearing a facade. i know you are a happier person now todd, and
    while you were always a great guy, being who you really are has
    made you TRULY kind and compassionate. coming out has meant growing
    up for you. and i LOVE the grown-up you! people WILL always put
    labels on others………..whether straight, gay, top, bottom,
    butch, femme. but as long as we refuse to wear those labels, it’s
    all going to be okay.

  7. I feel that if u take part in the labels, you’re joining the label makers….
    Ppl are going to be ppl. They’re gonna do what they want to do, Say what they want to say and if u stand up for what u believe in an have sum validation, you’re set…

    • thanks boo for the comment. what you said is a good reminder!
      I know I have a tendency to “label” too…so this post was to me as well.

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