Born Male, Woman I Am Not Being born a male, society has made it to be that I am expected to act, think, and talk a certain way to represent my sex. There are numerous categories that can define the concepts of being a man, but the one we understand today that represents being a man is to be masculine. Being masculine means that the male should be stoic and less emotional than women. But at some point, some men do come out with a soft side to them which make them no less than humane. Aside from me being born male, I am a male who is gay. Growing up as a gay male was hard for me to be myself around others because society has made it so: that the lifestyle “we chose” immediately emasculates us. The feminine side of my manhood might be a little overstated and practiced more than the typical straight man, but I am still a man who possesses all the male characteristics. What I found funny about my situation is that the people who are close to me didn’t know that I was gay until I told them. They were so surprised at how masculine I was, but would have never known if I hadn’t told them. My friends never questioned the reason to why I was gay which made me believe that everything will still be the same between us; as a result, they started to emasculate my masculinity!
Often, the media’s depiction of a gay character is portrayed as the effeminate, glamorous, and a character of colorful dressing; on the other hand, the heterosexuals (or straight men) are the dominant characters who show their masculinity by way of their definite manhood. The way the media portrays gay men is a misrepresentation that allows others to stereotype and treat all gay men alike.
A gay columnist for The Advocate, and the editor in chief of Out Traveler, Neal Broverman writes about an elevator adventure he experienced with the encounter of his straight colleagues who gave him the “respect that honorable men bestow upon women” when he got off the elevator (Broverman). Broverman decides if he was handed a silent compliment, thinking it may have been his tight Top Shop pants and polo shirt, or that he was given the shaft. We all can agree that we often make judgments, and associate how a person dresses to a category that we recognize; therefore, we will treat a person by the way he or she dresses. More so, we judge people by how they dress by how we dress. Me being gay, my statement of the straight man’s choice of wardrobe is not the best fitted compared to a gay man’s. Not to say that it doesn’t go both ways. It’s also not that a straight man doesn’t want to dress to impress, instead, it’s because he doesn’t care. The straight man doesn’t understand or care what statement he is being perceived by others; consequently, this is what makes them masculine. –they don’t care how they look in public. If the person is gay, knowingly, due to their well-fitted shirt with his accessories complimenting his man bag, what constitutes the right to how a person’s engagement toward the gay person any different from one who doesn’t have the same interests? I choose to look dapper not because I want to be singled out, but because being well dressed is my interpretation of being masculine. Broverman says that not only do straight men do this to gay men, but also straight women and we allow it (Broverman). To be complimented for looking sharp is one thing, but to be treated like a woman for dressing differently from what is unknowingly understood is another.
Most women have the perception that we, gay men, are like them, and that they can emasculate us whenever they feel the need to. My women friends assumes that it’s ok to take me out shopping with them while they run around from store to store trying on clothes while I wait patiently and give them honest feedback for their wardrobe choices because I am “so into shopping” like they are. But truth is, I’m not “so into it” at all as they think I am. I’d rather be shopping with my grandma…