Saturday, February 18, 2006


The other night at a discussion on black feminism I met the greatest couple. At the time they met, he was only having relationships with men and she was only having relationships with women. They said this gets them a lot of weird looks, but they're happily married. They were both Latino and yet the man had such stereotypically gay mannerisms that I had been wondering all night what the story was - had he been white I would have figured he was just raised unusually free of gender regulation, but being Latino I kept thinking "There's absolutely no way this guy is straight. There's no way he wouldn't have had that gesture beaten out of him by the age of twelve."

I once had to explain to Ricky what I'm surprised he hadn't figured out already: why straight women like gay men. In most cases, I think it's because they're safe. You have a defined relationship with them (friendship) and you know what's going to happen and what's not. It's the same reason I'm able to be friends with guys who are taken in some respect: I'm not spending my energy trying to keep boundaries between us. It's the same reason I like dancing with married men more than single ones. It's not that I don't like men - it's that I don't like the idea of them liking me.

But beyond that, I think I have an expectation of queer people that they'll have thought more about gender and be less trapped in it. I'm sure it's not always accurate, but in my experience it's held true. My friend Carter put it really well: "I know the rules, and I think they're crap. I could talk about T-and-A and football and drink like a fish and curse every other word. It's easy to come off as straight." All of the men I'm close to, straight or not, joke that they're bad at being "real men". Do they think I'd be close to them if they weren't?

No comments: