Here is another take on this age-old conundrum about gay men and masculinity:
Someone from New Jersey searched “do gay men want to be masculine?” See the search here:
Let me point out one quick fallacy of logic in that question — it assumes that all gay men are not masculine, but perhaps some or all of them want to be.
What is masculinity in this context?
I have blogged a lot about masculinity before, but for purposes of keeping this post shorter, let’s just say that “being masculine” in this context is from observable characteristics of behavior.
I am admitting up front here that I am guessing that this question was asked by a straight man who is wondering about the gay culture, with which he has little experience. Just a guess on my part, and I could be totally wrong. But for purposes of this blog post, let’s assume this is the operating principle behind why this question was asked.
What I would like to say to this person is that he may have made assumptions that all gay men are the same and have the same interests or desires, and that those assumptions are incorrect.
There are some straight men who do not understand gay culture and make assumptions based on inputs from media, including entertainment television as well as the internet. Some straight guys assume that all gay men behave effeminately — and there may be some gay men who want to act more masculine.
I believe that by the time a male has reached adulthood, he has adopted and demonstrates his outward behavior patterns already. If a guy behaves in a masculine manner — that is, confident, secure, and strong — and he adopts what society dictates are masculine behaviors — such as protecting personal space, not showing emotions publicly, enjoying and engaging in sports, working out, and so forth — then he is who he is regardless if he is gay or straight.
Some guys behave in a masculine manner, and some guys behave more effeminately. Granted, there are more gay men who have effeminate mannerisms than straight men with such mannerisms, but that is not the case for all gay men. My partner and me being among them — we’re men, and behave as typical guys. But we also love each other and are not interested in women. Does our disinterest in women make us less masculine? IMHO, not.
This stuff is so hard for straight guys to figure out about us gay guys. I think they would like to have us all be the same and act the same and behave the same, and some have trouble dealing with the diversity of the gay culture. But the converse is true — straight guys aren’t all the same, either. Some behave with more masculine mannerisms than others. Some are open and accepting of gay men, and some reject us flat-out, as if they could “catch” our “gay gene.” (Thank goodness for my straight friends who are secure enough in themselves that they enjoy a friendship based on mutual interests, caring, and thoughtfulness — and nothing about the difference in our sexual orientation.)
Anyway, back to the focus of this post — do gay men want to be masculine?
Some gay men may prefer to behave differently — perhaps more masculine. Why? My partner and I think that some gay men may want to “be” masculine for two reasons:
1) to continue keeping their sexual identity a secret — that is, continue living in the closet. After all, the Grand Assumption is that men who behave in a masculine manner can’t be gay.
2) they are attracted to — and want to attract — gay men who behave in a masculine manner. This is truly a case where similar behaviors are attractive to one another.
In summary, my point is — by the time a guy reaches adulthood, he has adopted his mannerisms and behaviors that will not change (or change much if one tries). Does he “want” to behave differently? Yes, perhaps for some. “Will” he behave differently? Probably not.
Life is short: be who you are.
Sorry if I went on another academic tangent here, but that’s where my doctoral work comes out sometimes. But I hope you enjoyed the read — it was interesting to write!