Toxic Masculinity and Femmephobia Were Front and Center During This Gay Couple’s Reality Show Date
A term we haven’t heard in a while is straight-acting. Usually when gay men are trying to communicate their toxic preferences these days they stick with “masc.” Both are gross terms and preferences, in our humble opinion, as they’re drenched in toxic masculinity and femmephobia.
Both of these things were fully on display during this gay couple’s meetup on First Dates, a popular British dating show. Before the date even began, the audience watched Joe reveal he only likes to get on with men who are “straight acting.” What is this, a Gay.com profile from 2002?
The date only got more femmephobic from there. After Joe sits down with his date, Jack, the pair chat about what they like in men, where again Joe reveals his tastes but in an even worse way than before. He says, “I’m looking for a straight guy who just so happens to be gay.”
What kind of nonsense is this now? Who the hell is that, a closeted gay? Or are you talking about a masculine gay man? They do exist, you know, and you don’t actually have to put masculinity and femininity in the same categories as sexuality and gender.
Gay men can be masculine, and straight men can be feminine. And there’s nothing wrong with either. We actually can’t believe we have to write this in 2018, but obviously we do if blokes like Joe and Jack are getting air time on one of Britain’s most popular reality shows.
The pair feels they may have finally found what they’re looking for. Not only do they each live up to the other’s high standards of masculinity, but they both share the sentiment of wanting it in their partner.
Joe says, “When you find a gay who also likes football, it’s like finding a Kit Kat which is fully covered in chocolate, and you’re like, I’ve won this.”
Upholding “straight-acting” behavior and masculinity to such a high standard can only lead to queer people internalizing homophobia and self-hate. Many of us don’t act like we’re straight and are indeed feminine, so seeing two white, cis gay men act like femininity is such a stain on our community is problematic AF.
But also, the things these guys use to determine masculinity are … idiotic. I’m extremely feminine, but I also grew up a huge football fan, drove a massive pick-up truck in high school and drank more beer than I did vodka when I was a drinker. Attributing masculinity with sports fanaticism is a stereotype we thought was ditched back in the ‘90s, but obviously there are still some gay men who uphold it as truth.
What we need to see is more representation of femme gay men in the media, and not just as the token best friend or the campy queen. Frankie Grande, Ross Mathews and Carson Kressley are important role models for our community, but we need to make sure we aren’t limiting representation of that personality type to a convenient, safe box that is digestible for straight people.
We need to see representations of femme gay men as sexual beings, because femme men all over the world do in fact have thriving sex lives. The media should act as a mirror, reflecting this to deconstruct the stigma associated with being femme. Femme lives exist, and not only are they fabulous, they’re sexy as well.
We’re happy that Joe and Jack have found each other, because regardless of being “straight acting” and masculine, they seem like they are the worst, and all the beer guzzling and football watching in the world won’t ever be able to change that.