Gay People Please Stop Acting So [Blank]

17 Mar


There was a tweet that got me thinking. It was made by a gay man and it said “White gay guys, please stop acting like black people.” It was retweeted a few times and I’m not linking to it because people are up in arms on whether tweets can be shared or not.

Our gay performances seem to be of national concern. Gay people and complaints about acting run both ways, towards actions and behavior that separate us from the way people would like to perceive us, and to acting in ways that are too subservient to the mainstream.

Gay men are accused of acting too black, too gay, too butch, too femme. The accusations come internally and externally, from heteros and homosexuals. They appear in almost every single message board or social media outlet I’ve been a part of. I must have logged onto an AOL chatroom way back in the stone age when I first heard “gay people stop acting so god damn gay!”

As a gay man, I’m still not sure who should be listening to this? What sort of lessons we should take heart from this? The only message I get from all of this is that gay men, for some reason or another, are continuously perceived as acting, whereas hetero people are seen as being.

Telling gay men to stop acting a certain way is a judgement call, a plea for authenticity, but it’s also a trick. It puts the blame on gay men while leaving the accuser free of considering where the gay men came from, what caused him to behave that way. The truth is many gay men aren’t raised by their original communities, the truth is that many gay men reach to different ethnic enclaves that adopt and raise them. It seems that it’s sometimes easier for straight people to adopt other gay men than to raise their own.

Also, conversations about gay men who act too gay are veiled criticisms. The real complaint is that a man is acting too feminine, too flamboyant. The accuser can be a man or a woman who feels threatened because–for some reason–he or she believes that a person not acting 100% of their gender will reveal their own gender as a sham.

I’d like for straight and gay people reading this to consider the following: Gay people you think are acting are not acting at all.

Gay people, like you, are. We exist, but the road to our existence is often perilous, and our influences can be vast. If you know a gay person who acts exactly as his race and as his gender, congratulate him for me, but I can point to five other people who have traveled above and beyond their own hostile communities to become the person they currently are.

This is a particularly sensitive subject because, being latino, I don’t act it. I think most people who meet me would say I act white. I would say I don’t, I am my truest self and subject to my closest influences, and so are most gay people.

When we do act–however–you will never know. We make Meryl Streep look like Elizabeth Berkley.  We fade into the background so fast and for so long that you’d swear we were straight, or quiet, or even mysterious. We’re not, we’re just hiding from ya.

3 Responses to “Gay People Please Stop Acting So [Blank]”

  1. stvrsnbrgr March 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Reblogged this on The End and commented:
    Acting vs Being. We give out golden statuettes for acting. We tend to just cut people off at the knees for being.


  1. Dear College Students, Stop Telling Poor Gays How To Act | Meanhood - July 9, 2014

    […] a great idea to publish thinkpieces about how gays should or should not act. It’s a time honored tradition I talk about here where I mention that there is a dehumanization of gay &#822…but I didn’t go too into class […]

  2. Are We White? | Meanhood - October 20, 2014

    […] drugs. Capote’s central sin isn’t his whiteness, but his acting, which reminded me of my idea of gay people being accused of acting. Basquiat seems to be more authentic. He acts the way he is; a black […]

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