Being a gay man means being part of an all-inclusive community that rejects rejection and embraces the losers, the outcasts—at least that’s what is used to mean. Apparently, it is now par for the course to reject behavior that is “too gay” within the gay community itself.
Some have an expectation that other members of the community should not act in a typically homosexual or heterosexual way for lack of a “real personality.” However, I’m confident that I could speak with any gay man, however many boas he may be wearing, and have an intelligent discussion about gay identity and internalized homophobia. And he would continue on his way, skipping down the street singing showtunes. The stereotype is not “the other”—it’s us. When we push away other members of our own community by labeling them as a thing rather than a person, even though we acknowledge that the concept of this “thing” comes from outside the gay world, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Renato identifies this (correctly, I believe) in the film as partially coming from “self-hate.”
Pruitt’s insightful commentary pairs well with an otherwise infuriating documentary. As he mentions, most gay men are not going to say, “I basically fulfill every gay stereotype,” but every single gay man is capable of acting in stereotypical ways. These “gay guys who just want to sleep with each other,” or “boa-wearing gay guys,” or “ninety pound boys in tank tops screaming” are images that we’ve convinced ourselves exist as whole people, and not just elements or stereotypes:
We all have this concept of “the other”: those flamers out there ruining it for the rest of us; but we’re ruining it for ourselves. This internal judgment becomes external when we try to act cool for the straight guys by hating limp-wristed clichés as much as they do. We do ourselves a disservice when we continue to perpetuate gross stereotypes, even in attempts to distance ourselves from said stereotypes.
Don’t forget about certain manners of speech contributing to the stereotype. Perhaps it’s time to shelve some of that animus, sssslap a rainbow flag patch on your backpack and sssskip down Christopher Street singing Streisand all the way to Stonewall.