Last week, late-night talk show host and openly gay Bravo TV executive Andy Cohen was criticized for being “divisive” and elitist for describing himself as a “Gold Star Gay.” But what is a Gold Star Gay (or the elusive “Platinum Star Gay”)? How did these “awards” come about, and why do some consider them inappropriate?
What is a Gold Star Gay? It’s a point of gay pride
A so-called “Gold Star Gay” is a gay man who has never had sexual contact with a vagina. We say “vagina” rather than “a woman” because some trans men have vaginas and because, well, that’s the definition.
A “Platinum Star Gay,” a term re-popularized by a recent Will & Grace episode (clip below), is a Gold Star Gay who was born by cesarean section and has never had any contact with a vagina whatsoever.
We’ve heard drunken comments about “Silver Star Gays” or “Bronze Star Gays,” but we’ve never heard a consistent definition for those, so let’s ignore them for now.
These designated “awards” mostly function as humorous jokes that value gay men who buck the societal expectation of all men to be heterosexual. Furthermore, Gold and Platinum Star designations take pride in gay sexual identity, awarding those who’ve only been physically intimate with other penises.
Considering the extreme social, religious, familial and cultural pressures for all men to have sex with women — Republicans and other conservatives constantly say that families are “the building blocks” of American society; white supremacists and many religious leaders say it’s a man’s duty to his race to father as many children as possible; the Christian religion calls men who lay with men an “abomination” and damns them to hell; numerous countries allow so-called reparative or ex-gay therapy to forcibly convert gay men into heterosexuals by means of psychological and physical torture — it makes sense why gay men might say, “Fuck that!” and take extreme pride in having only ever had contact with other penis-wielding men.
Why is the term Gold Star Gay seen by some as problematic?
Even though this star system is meant mostly as a joke and a symbol of gay pride, our friends over at the site Everyday Feminism delve deep into what’s problematic about it.
Namely, these Gold and Platinum Star Gay awards treat vaginas (and any association with them) as shameful, basically ranking vagina-phobic gay men as superior to bisexuals, people with vaginas and the men who’ve had sex with them — whether by choice or because of socio-cultural pressure.
The idea of Gold and Platinum Star Gays is also seen by some as sex-shaming. They feel we should be encouraging queer people of all sorts to experiment sexually with whichever consenting adults they choose, not shaming them into avoiding vaginas at all costs just to keep a made-up star.
What do you think of the term Gold Star Gay? Do you consider it offensive? Sound off in the comments.
Featured image by DanielBendjy via iStock