The “Gay Best Friend.”
High pitched voice, tight fitted clothing, judgmental and quick to offer unprompted fashion advice. It’s an offensive caricature of queer men perpetuated by the mainstream media and it is probably one that you have seen before.
When you look deeper into the stereotype, it all seems to connect back to critiquing men for being “too feminine,” as all qualities of the persona are inflated critiques of female behavior. In fact, most homophobia directed towards LGBTQ men relies on emasculation.
Homophobia and misogyny are two incredibly connected things, and it is time that we start recognizing it. Activism and advocacy in any form needs to focus on being intersectional—keeping in mind how each person’s various identities, like race, sexuality, gender or creed, intersect in a way that leads to their unique experience.
Homophobia is deeply rooted in misogyny. Often times, anti-LGBTQ individuals use the idea that gay men are “less manly” as their first line of attack. Discriminatory remarks compare queer men to girls, as if acting according to female gender norms makes someone less worthy of respect.
The fact that being compared to a woman is society’s instinctual response to insult gay men is both an attack on the LBGTQ community as well as women, challenging their value as human beings.
Misogyny even impacts how society views queer women.
Representation of women loving women in the media often lacks women with masculine features in order to make queer people and relationships more palatable to men.
For example, the trailer for the movie Atomic Blonde showed Charlize Theron and Sofia Boutella acting promiscuously to attract male viewers. LGBTQ women’s existence is only accepted when it appeals to the male gaze, perpetuating the idea that women must always exist within the context of men.
Even within the LGBTQ community, women face misogyny at the hands of men. Much of white gay culture relies on African American Vernacular English (AAVE), an English dialect used by Black Americans. Many white gay men use slang that black women created—words such as “queen” and “period.”
Black women have been refused from jobs for having an “unprofessional” accent. It is deeply hurtful to Black women to hear queer white men appropriating a dialect they have been harassed for.
It is also incredibly important to consider how people’s other identities, whether that be of race or otherwise, impacts to what extent society uplifts or, rather, undervalues their contributions.
Intersectionality is key. Homophobia and misogyny go hand-in-hand and cannot be treated as their own issues.
Cisgender gay men and allies should actively listen to misogyny affected people and should consistently amplify their voices.
It is essential that we examine our spaces with a more critical eye.
Big issues like
racism, sexism and homophobia do not exist as separate entities, but rather work together simultaneously to oppress individuals.
Marginalized communities often talk about breaking the “glass ceiling,” the obstacle that prevents them from being accepted and advancing in society.
However, when one group shatters the glass, all of the people still fighting at the bottom will be hit by the shards.