15 Stereotypes That Limit Our Perceptions Of Gay Men

by Clyde Engle

“Who is the girl, and who is the guy in your relationship?” an acquaintance asked me just the other day.

“Neither, my dear friend. We are both men. That is the very point. We're gay. We love and are attracted to men.”

In a gay relationship, there is not a man and a woman; there are two men.

Nonetheless, an unhealthy, pervasive and heteronormative stereotype still exists.

Stereotypes about gay men are destructive to both how society views us, as well as to how we view ourselves.

When society makes fun of and degrades gay men for things that are patently untrue, young gay men are left without proper role models, failed by a society that describes them with generalizations.

Stereotypes may be grounded in the truth or be complete and utter falsehoods, but they are dangerous regardless of where they come from.

The oppression and repression of gay men throughout history — from ancient times and early Christianity to the modern AIDS crisis — has been rooted in fear and falsities.

Stereotypes are used in a way to dehumanize and make being gay something people can only be “comfortable with” or “cope with."

When is society going to accept we are human beings, not objects?

No one should never feel pressured to subscribe to the watered-down societal tropes history has attempted to serve us.

After all, every human being is different.

Whether you like men, women, both or neither, you deserve to be yourself.

The media claims we are all sissies, sex-crazed maniacs and haters of sports.

I'm tired of being labeled something I'm not.

So, friends, let’s get to debunking gay stereotypes:

1. There’s a "man," and there’s a "woman."

This is extremely untrue, not to mention totally mind-boggling.

I want to date a man, and that is the exact point.

My boyfriend is not the "man," and I am most definitely am not the "woman."

We are not Betty and Steve; we are Adam and Steve.

The male-female dichotomy is madly heteronormative.

Although in some situations one of us is more feminine than the other, this isn't always true for every relationship.

Gender and sexuality are two different things. Gender roles can be fluid.

If you can’t wrap your head around the idea two men can love each other without taking on traditional gender role, or if you’re having trouble coping with our sexual identity, please go see a doctor and leave us alone.

2. Gay men are all feminine, shopping-loving queens.

Don’t even get me started on the term “queen.” It's unbelievably insensitive in and of itself, but alas, I digress.

I happen to love shopping. (Get me to an H&M or Zara quick!)

But, not all of us gay men love shopping.

My first boyfriend hated it so much that he let his mom buy all of his clothes. (Thanks, Mom! He looked very handsome.)

To say all gay men are feminine is to take away our male identity and personhood, and it make us just another one of "the gals."

I love my female friends, but I am a man who happens to love men.

Get the hell over it.

3. Gay men don’t like sports.

I love sports. In fact, I adore sports.

Some of my fondest memories growing up are from going to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field.

That's why I am always shocked when people are so deliriously surprised I know so much about every sport.

Gay men can’t love sports? Sorry (not sorry), but that, my friends, is homophobic.

4. We all love Broadway.

While we all no doubt love “Good Morning Baltimore,” not all gay men love Broadway.

(It is a great song. Sing, Tracy, sing!)

I hate to break it to you, but not all gay guys even like theatre.

All people (yes, including gay men) have varied interests. Some gay men prefer Monday Night Football to box seats at "Cats."

5. Gay men can’t help themselves from hitting on straight guys.

For the love of all that is holy, hell no. I do not dream about hooking up with you, "straight" boy in the locker room.

No doubt I found some of the guys in the gym in high school hot, but that doesn’t mean I hit on every straight guy I meet.

I'm sorry, but straight men are dirty, sweaty and have no taste. (How’s that for stereotypes?)

Don’t flatter yourself.

6. Gay men are basically women.

Nope. We are men, damn it.

7. One of us is always the top, and one of us is always the bottom.

While I am sure some gay male relationships operate on this dichotomy, it's just damn wrong to generalize it in all gay relationships.

Although a person may prefer one form of intimacy to another (and both are fun), most committed, long-term gay relationships are what we term "versatile."

You are both a top and a bottom.

8. All gay men have AIDS.

I’m just gonna leave this one here.

But honestly, people still think this. Did you know we still can’t donate blood?

9. Gay men are all wild sex maniacs who are incapable of monogamy.

Gay men have a reputation for being promiscuous and sex-obsessed, which probably stems from the widespread and public popularity of hook-up apps like Grindr.

However, not all gay men are sex addicts.

Many of us are in committed relationships, and some of us are even married (But for the record, no slut-shaming.)

It's 2015, and we can sleep with whomever, wherever and as many times as we like.

10. All gay men are gossips.

Someone in my family always calls me a "gossip gayty." I can't help but wonder, "What does that even mean? Is that an insult?"

Gay men are not all gossips.

Yes, I love gossip as much as the next person, but gossip is not somehow a “gay” thing.

You “can bet your bottom dollar” (yay, Broadway!) straight boys love a good piece of drama just as much as the next gay or gal.

Their dish just isn’t as good as ours.

11. Gay men are all weak and delicate.

I am pretty delicate, and my glutes were a wee bit sore after my first pilates class with my sister last week.

But, this is hardly true of all gay men.

Have you seen those gays who bench press 300 pounds in the gym? Be still, my heart.

12. We only have female friends.

Don’t get me wrong; I love my gals, but I have plenty of male friends.

Here’s looking at you, Louis.

13. All gay men have style.

False, false, triple false. Not all gay men have style.

I do, of course, but many don’t.

(You should’ve seen that man with the ill-fitting khakis and wrinkled tie on the L yesterday. It’s like he had never even heard of a tailor.)

14. All gay men are loud and bitchy.

Okay, maybe this is true. (Insert sassy gay friend GIF.)

15. Gay men are trying to destroy your marriages, take the Christ out of Christmas and bring the wrath of God upon our planet.

Sorry, Rush Limbaugh, but we are not trying to devalue your fourth marriage (That actually might be you, Mr. Limbaugh.)

We're just trying to get married.

Please leave us alone, and let us spread our love around and continue to singlehandedly stimulate the American wedding industry.

Gay men are more than stereotypes. We are people.

I think I can speak for the entire gay community when I say, please start remembering we are more than the labels you have pressed on us.