Bil Browning

10 things every gay man should know

Filed By Bil Browning | December 03, 2007 1:27 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: gay men, lists, men, top ten

Don't you wish being gay came with an owner's manual sometimes? Wouldn't it make things so much easier if we just had a checklist? In that spirit, I thought I'd share what I consider the top ten things every gay man should know. Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

  1. You will never find "the one" by trolling for sex on Manhunt.
  2. Just because you're part of a minority group doesn't mean you know how all other minorities feel.
  3. Some churches don't think you're sinful and in need of redemption.
  4. You don't have to be married to be in a committed relationship.
  5. HIV/AIDS is a gay disease. So are cancer, leukemia, bipolar disorder and cerebral palsy.
  6. Just because you're "straight-acting" doesn't mean you're better than someone who's not.
  7. Dick size does matter, but not as much as knowing how to use what you've got.
  8. You are not the spokesperson for our cause. Others might have a different experience.
  9. Steel Magnolias is not the best movie ever made. Neither is Brokeback Mountain.
  10. Ass-less chaps are not appropriate evening wear for a fancy restaurant.

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Bil, totally agree about the assless chaps.

Here's my list of what every lesbian should know.

1. Just because you've gone on a 2nd date with someone, you don't have to move in with them.
2. A mullett is never a good idea.
3. Flannels went out with alternative/grunge music.
4. The Indigo Girls are amazing, but they're not the only fish in the sea. Same thing applies for Ani Difranco and Melissa Etheridge.
5. Although the wimmin are smokin' hawt, "The L Word" is not representative of our communtiy.
6. Lesbians can get STD's, too. Get familiar with dental dams and save yourself some explaining later on.
7. "Tipping the Velvet" is pretty much a mandatory film that all lesbians should watch.
8. Stud is the new butch.
9. Don't jump right into the first relationship you have after coming out. Try out lots of different kinds of ladies and sample what life has to offer. It's like a candy store. Yes, chocolate-covered raspberries are delicious and worth going back for. But so are lots of other kinds of candy. Sample before you buy.
10. Just because you can't get knocked up doesn't mean you should support reproductive choice for others.

OK . . . now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Dammit! I didn't get first comment! I wanted that sort of attention!

I'd take issue with #1, but then again I've never hooked up off Manhunt. Are you letting us know a little somethin' about you, Bil?

K, here goes my three:

11. Most people are willing and able to exploit the fact that you're gay for personal gain. Learn how to notice this quickly.

12. Being gay doesn't mean you have to limit what you see as possible for yourself. It's a boa, and like any other, if it feels constricting, then you're wearing it wrong.

13. Don't pay attention to those who'd use their experience as a gay man to get first comment on a prescriptive list about "the" gay experience. They're usually just attention whores.

14. Remember that you flipped off your pre-destined gender role the day you came out to yourself, such defiance scares people even if they won't say it, and that's why you're going to be hated.

10. Meanness isn't cute, even if you're gay.
9. People have the right to disapprove of you.
8. People don't have the right to hurt you on the basis of their disapproval.
7. They will anyway, so grow a thick skin.
6. You don't have to follow the stereotype. You also don't have to reject it. You can be a person who's more than just gay.
5. Not every homosexual is a liberal.
4. Most people don't really care about your sex life.
3. Being gay and then complaining or gossiping about someone else's sex life is odd at best -- "slut" is a pejorative label, just like "fag."
2. The sexiest things a man can have are interests outside of sex.
1. Learn to deal with rejection with grace and good humor.

A. Being gay and being a part of a family are not mutually exclusive, even if some families make a point of excluding their gay members.

B. Never lose that feeling of difference; it keeps you on your toes and gives you an edge.

C. Gay man/straight woman relationships are important, but not the only ones you can (or should) have.

D. For gay white men of a certain class, specifically: Don't make the mistake of defining "gay issues" as issues that only pertain to you, because being gay is the one way you feel particularly marginalized and discriminated against.

E. Not all gay men are sassy, but sass is one of our most important contributions to society-at-large.

1- Learn to prioritize yourself rather than being the eternal sidekick and amusement source for straight women. These so-called "supportive" friends often screw the description as soon as their man comes into the frame. Case in point: The boyfriend is a homophobe and she refuses to sever relations with him. The least a friend can do is stand up for you; someone who will not even fill that primordial need is and should be dispensable.

2- Just like "heteronormative" is scorned, so should the "homonormative" be. Choice is a beautiful thing. Don't let anybody tell you you're an "assimilationist," for such ironic remarks remarks are results of assimilating to a "gay community."

3- Do not bear to be tolerated. Acceptance and respect is mandatory for a healthy relationship.

4- Do not pair up with a person for rational reasons. Chances are that eventually you'll come across someone that makes it rational to leave your previous pick behind and vice-versa. As cheesy as it sounds, nothing can replace the unique and exhilarating qualities of being emotionally attracted to someone. Irrational is good, so long as the distribution is not one-sided.

5- Despite the typical gay man's uneasy relationship with sports, it is important that you do not let the hostility drive you away from athletic habits.

6- Don't let anyone call you monothematic. It is often a shameless and hypocritical tactic used to distance you from priding yourself in your kinship and constructive work with a community of your own.

7- Always carry a gun for personal protection. Gay bashings CAN and WILL happen to you eventually. Considering the cases often show gay men being outnumbered and beaten to a pulp, a gun could make the difference from death or permanent damage to spending an undisturbed night of entertainment. Avoid walking in isolated/solitary areas, where there are no witnesses when something happens.

8- Never hang out by yourself with a stranger you met at a club or any other place, even if you think he's "irresistible." Baiting gay men is a favorite pastime of several straight men.

9- While aesthetics are of importance in choosing partners for having a functional sex life, do try to be moderate in your priorities. You don't need to pick a Plato in contrast but remember: He can tuck his tummy, he can get implants, he can get botox; but, as a favorite comedian of mine said, "You can't fix stupid."

10- While maintaining some degree of individuality and uniqueness is important, by being a member of a society and benefiting from its laws and systems, you should be cognizant of the fact that convention will need to be met in some areas in order to be successful. You may rationalize all you want, but the law of numbers will always apply: The individual will be crushed by the group if the two are to enter conflict.

1. Being Transgendered doesn't mean you're gay/lesbian
2. But expect everyone, gays included, to think it does
3. But that doesn't mean you're not allowed to be gay/lesbian either
4. Transsexual is just a subset of being TG: don't look down on non-TS TG's who you think are weird
5. Intersexed is the forgotten part of TG, and there's safety in concealment
6. Being Transsexual is something you may grow out of after treatment.
7. Or you may not. There is no one true way
8. Remember, dating is potentially fatal for you. Be careful out there.
9. Keep a glass sliver or means of emergency exit at all times: there's worse things than a swift death. This is especially important in crossing national borders if your documentation isn't consistent.
10. Live every moment, it's a gift.

Rule Number 11: Your stretching a tshirt emblazoned with the words "I'm a Bear" over your 450 pound body does not make you attractive. You're really fat. Own it. Fix it.

Rule Number 12: Just because you all said sweet things to me about my recently colored hair, don't think I don't know what you all said when i left the room. OK, so it looked a bit pathetic. The silver is back. I'm owning it. I won't fix it again.

Janis Walters | December 4, 2007 8:14 AM

Comment for Serena on her #3 - Do you mean I have to get rid of all my flannel shirts? Gosh, now I will have to buy a whole new wardrobe!

Thanks Zoe for including a list of Transgender issues. #1 & #2 are the most mis-understood aspects of Transgender individuals. Yes, I am TG and I am a lesbian, but that does NOT mean that every TG is gay or lesbian.

These are some really good additions to my list.

Serena, you should post your top ten as it's own post! And Patrick, next time I'll have you make the list for gay men - some of yours were better than mine! :)

Thanks to everyone for adding on to the list. Let's hope others decide to keep adding to the list. We can all learn some things from what we've laid out here.

"Just because you're part of a minority group doesn't mean you know how all other minorities feel."

This is a great statement, however, I'm just wondering how does my being part of a minority group help me understand how other minorities feel? What experiences, if any, do all minorities share in common?