For some reason, three different people searched “biker’s homophobia” recently and were directed to this blog. One from Olathe, Kansas; one from Ottawa, Canada; and one from Warsaw, Poland. That led me to thinking, “are bikers homophobic?”
While there are both male and female bikers, for purposes of this post, I will talk about male bikers, because I am guessing that homophobia displayed by men what these queries are about.
Some bikers assume a macho persona — that is, behaving in overt masculine ways, from being boastful, posturing from a position of strength, and dressing the part (jeans, muscle shirt, boots, tattoos). It is also common, but not absolute, that many bikers take on the Alpha Male personality traits. “Machoism” and “alpha male” traits tend to go together.
However, many bikers do not act über-male. In fact, most of the men with whom I ride my motorcycle regularly are just regular guys, comfortable in their own skin, and seldom display overly-macho characteristics. None of them are gay, but none display homophobia, either. None have said anything to me or in my presence about gay men (negatively or positively.) Perhaps it is because they know me, like me, and do not want to offend me.
Side note: I am aware that some members of my riding club talk about me behind my back and visit this blog to see what I am saying about the world of being a gay biker, but that’s another story. That behavior is more like being a high school gossip, rather than overt homophobia.
Perhaps I am one of the more fortunate, since the people with whom I choose to associate are educated and enlightened. People who are educated and open-minded generally are not among those who would utter remarks and behave in ways that are consistent with homophobia.
I also do not think it is fair to paint broad strokes and label any group of people as all having one perception about gay people. Some do, some do not. It varies.
I acknowledge that most bikers, being masculine guys, are generally uncomfortable with males who behave effeminately (good point made in a comment on a a recent blog post titled, “Optimism and Masculinity.”) Most straight guys expect men to behave like men, and women to behave like women, and become confused and annoyed with men who behave effeminately. That confusion may be displayed as homophobia — backing away and saying negative things about that person.
I admit that I distance myself from some gay men, too. I am not comfortable with gay men who behave effeminately. I don’t say or do anything directly in the presence of more effeminate gay men, but I choose to limit my associations with gay men who behave that way. Is my discomfort and deliberate disassociation with more effeminate gay men due to the fact that I am a masculine man, and if someone does not know me, he can easily assume that I am straight? That point is definitely one to ponder.
In summary, not all bikers are homophobic. Not all gay men are effeminate. Everyone is different. This is what “accept diversity” means.
Life is short: be yourself.