“What’s the big fear of being looked at by a gay person? Why do some straight men feel their masculinity — their very heterosexuality — will be questioned if a gay teammate sees his penis in the shower, or if a gay man at a club tells him he looks handsome that night? Are these men afraid of a pack of gay wolves lurking in corners of locker rooms, ready to pounce on unsuspecting straight athletes if they allow a gay man to look at them? Are they afraid a casual glance will somehow turn into more? Hardly.
… they’re afraid of what it means if they don’t mind it… afraid of what it means if they aren’t sickened.”
— An excerpt from Fair Play, the new book of Outsports.com founder and LGBT sports writer Cyd Ziegler, discussing “the Straight Fear of Gay Gaze in Locker Rooms”. Ziegler, who spoke with us about why the pro-sports world is less gay-friendly than the church and military, adds that while male athletes crave attention for their bodily appearance and ability, they often verbalize any willingness to accept a gay teammate with disclaimers like “as long as he knows how to behave” or “as long as he doesn’t hit on me”.
Similarly, supporters of transphobic “bathroom bills” also use fears of sexual predation and harassment to discriminately forbid trans people from public toilets and locker rooms as well.
(featured image via Huskies Football)