Gay men have long been conflicted in society over the negative stigma associated with male femininity. Being a “femme” man can quickly get you ostracized in heterosexual circles, and that is nothing new. But a recent study published in Trends in Psychology reveals that in the gay community, there is potentially as much disdain for the perception of femininity in gay men as there is among femmephobic straight people. I’m inclined to agree with this assessment, needing to look no further than Grindr and Scruff profiles of self-described “masculine” men who openly declare “no femmes!”
I have often surmised that gay-bashers and straight homophobes are battling their own demons with each attack they inflict. In this newly published study, analysts share troubling survey results that suggest pervasive “negative attitudes regarding effeminacy and internalized homophobia among gay men, bisexual men, and other men who engage in same-sex relations.”
Given the association many people draw between sexuality and religion, and morality, it is no wonder that such conflicts exist in gay men. Though the world has become more progressive, historically, gay people were ostracized by society. Most hid their truth, married women, and lived double lives in a time far less accepting than it is today. In decades-past, a mere hint of femininity could could get someone labeled as gay, whether they were or not. This could be threatening to one’s employment, family, friends, and social status. A femme guy would be seemingly “marked” by society as if wearing a scarlet letter “F.”
Thank God much of the world has moved beyond such primitive thinking. However, many gay men still grapple with these fears, denouncing “girly” gays, suppressing traces of their own femininity in public, and wearing a hyper-masculinity facade like a constant costume. This scenario creates a fertile ground for self-loathing.
Not to politicize the matter, but in my opinion, it is this kind of gay self-loathing that creates peculiar gays like Donald Trump appointee Richard Grenell and the Log Cabin Republicans. These men align themselves with the very political party that consistently votes against their protections and civil liberties as LGBTQ citizens. They vote against their own best interest for candidates who hate them. Is it due to their own internalized homophobia that they would serve and sympathize with their oppressors, like a community of gay Patty Hearsts suffering from Stockholm Syndrome?
I don’t have time to figure that out for the Log Cabin queens or Grenell. Their self-hate is their own mess resolve.
As for the rest of us, in the meantime, I say, baby, twirl, embrace your inner “Hey girl, heeey!” and read more about the revealing Trends In Psychology study of internalized gay homophobia for yourself at Psypost.org
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.