Alex Blaze

Gay men are men, and some men are sexist

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 30, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Politics
Tags: BBC, lesbian, men, uk, women

It shouldn't really be that complicated, but there's a mini-uproar over Graham Norton (a gay, British comedian) being reprimanded by the BBC for making a derogatory comment about lesbians. He said, while pointing a picture of a large woman in a jumpsuit, that she was a "strange lesbian" and implied that lesbians have bad haircuts and are fat. You really have to see it to understand what happened, so the video's after the jump.

Anyway, I've already read half a dozen articles about a "gay man being accused of homophobia." To me it seems more like a case of a gay man being accused of sexism or lesbophobia, since the stereotypes he repeats aren't really so much about sexual behavior but about what defines a proper woman and how women who look different should be treated. As Will & Grace showed, gay men can be plenty sexist.

I also think that part of the problem has to do with certain comedians thinking they're "controversial" and "edgy" no matter what they're saying, in the same way Bill Maher does even when he's just making fun of fat people, one of the least-controversial groups to make fun of. Just look at the way this article on the topic (from the BBC, of course) describes Graham Norton:

There are few subjects off-limits for risque comedians like Norton[...]

Way to pat themselves on the back. Saying unfeminine women are lesbians, and that all lesbians are ugly is so controversial it has to be true.

Anyway, the article does go on to provide some interesting discussion from gays and lesbians in the UK:

But Lucy Masoud, a journalist on Love Girls, which describes itself as a fun website for gay girls, says, in robust terms, that Norton's remarks reflect a wider stereotype perpetuated by some gay men.

"On the gay scene, you do hear men - usually younger gay blokes or older queens - saying they can't stand lesbians, they are all this or that. They're butch, they're chicks with dicks, they're men with fannies.

"But spend five minutes in Soho [an area in London popular among gay people] and you'll see that the stereotype of a typical lesbian is nonsense."

It's an inexcusable attitude but it's human nature to want to feel superior, she says.

"If you're seen as being at the bottom of the pile, you want someone to be further below you. In theory, all minority groups should be fighting together. People experiencing racism should be fighting with gay people and disabled people for equality together."

Within the gay community, there is some antipathy both ways, she says, because some lesbians joke about gay men as promiscuous. She has overheard lesbians who have walked into a gay bar and said 'Watch out you don't get AIDS'.

"How do you respond to something as ignorant as that? It's hugely damaging. All this in-fighting means we are not fighting together for things that are important. People are so apathetic now.

And another insightful comment:

This kind of humour is sometimes expressed by gay men but it's not a serious problem, says Peter Lloyd, news editor of Gay Times and Pink Paper. He thinks it's partly to do with ownership.

"When you have people that are part of a sub-group, there's a certain freedom of expression within that so it's much easier to make comedic references about other people within that community because it's much safer.

"So there's an element of this within the community but ultimately there's a shared level of understanding about our aims and objectives."

But it does have repercussions in perpetuating a lack of visibility of gay women in mainstream society and gay culture, he says.

"It's surprising that there can be sometimes a sense of polarity within the community."

Indeed, there is a sense among gay men that lesbians are gay women, so we can make gay jokes about them and get away with it. On some level, it's true that we will probably get away with it, but does it really help when one of the most visible gay men in the UK is making fun of lesbians for being ugly?

Personally, though, I stay away from the sorts of gays who make these jokes because they're usually insufferable.

Here's the video:

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You said it with your post title Alex.

Queer women experience double oppression. Gay men need to own that their gayness doesn't entirely negate their male privilege.

FYI - Graham Norton's on British TV, but he's actually Irish.

Gay White Men love, more than anything, to pretend that just because they are gay, they suddenly don't have any of the privileges that being a white man give them. Sorry dear, a gay white man is still a WHITE MAN.

If I may quote Justin Chin, from his contribution to "Queerly Classed"

"Once, I said, to a friend's annoyance, that gay white men must be the most bitter people in the world: Here they are told that white men own the world, but simply because of their sexual orientation they are ostensibly denied easy access to this realm of "power," whatever that means these days. So we're told that gay rights are important, and we're asked to fight, fight and fight for them. But when there are gay rights, people of color will still be people of color, and women will still be women, and they'll still be fucked while the happy white fags run off to the disco. My friend said I was being divisive."

@This Southern Faggot

What in the hell does this specific post have to do with his whiteness?

Gay black men have neither white privilege nor straight privilege but they do have male privilege. And gay black men (including myself) can be as sexist as their straight (and white) counterparts.


My comment was using this post as a base to build on and is not specifically about this post.

I spoke specifically about white faggots, who use the 'I'm not an oppressor card, I'M GAY!' card, because we hear that much more frequently. Gay's of Color don't have the privilege of thinking that the only thing that oppresses them is their sexuality.

So then let's build on it.

Gay MEN of color DO have male privilege, period. All too often I have witnessed (and even participated in for awhile) the most outrageous misogynist BS from gay black men.

When I was living in D.C., I worked in the kitchen of one resturant with 2 other gay men and 3 straight (but willing to experiment, lol) men, all black. Actually, it was us gay guys that used to get the misogyny fests rolling in the kitchen with even more obscene language than the straight guys used.

And I will note (since the conversations usually started around the discussion of the straight guys love lives) that the misogyny was directed at straight women, though I have also seen that misogyny hurled at lesbians (across racial lines, actually)

Just because you lack privilege in one area or even several areas does not erase your privilege in other areas AT ALL, as you must know. Indeed, I think it's likely that the lack of privilege in one area might lead to "pushing back" in other areas where privilege exists.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 1, 2009 4:58 AM

What an offensive utube. It is an insult to "toilets frozen into blocks of ice" everywhere.

This is comedy. Why is it I remember women posting to this site telling us all how they collect "Diesel" bags.

I already had one.

In an equal opportunity world of "People who shop at Wal Mart" included in the realm of comedy I would not find this offensive. All comedy cannot be about dumb white men you know.

I invented a joke circa 1977 that I will share with you. Or was it a quip? or a joke-quip?

I had been road traveling with the same four fellows for breakfast lunch and dinner. The one of us who was straight at the table always asked at breakfast:

"Do you have any fresh fruits."
"Do you have any fresh fruits."
"Do you have any fresh fruits."

Always the answer was no they had canned fruits.

By the fourth morning I had enough and added, after the waitress told us that they had canned fruits: "They also have a fairy who talks back."

The wicked Gay men laughed. :)

Strange, he never asked for fresh fruits again.

Now we can talk about "reinforcing stereotypes" or "privilege" until the cock crows but any comic worth his or her salt will tell you that everyone can be both comic and tragic and the fewer subjects off limits the better. In fact, if we are not spoken of we are invisible. We are not above being laughed at. If you want equality accept that as well.

We put on those "Gay Pride" parades all by ourselves.

***Anybody got a six foot high head dress I can wear with this feather gown?***

***Look out, the dykes on bikes are coming! Run for your lives to the leather men!***

When we lose the ability to laugh at our own (and ourselves) out of enforced "correctness" we have lost a lot.

Pshaw. Harmless. Mountain out of a molehill. Even the lesbian sitting beside him and asking questions was laughing.

Ha ha! Because she's fat and offended!

Er, um....

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 2, 2009 7:41 AM

You "wannabe" married couples are so bitchy! :)