Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kinder and Gentler?

I'm a straight woman, but it seems to me that gay men tend to be nicer, gentler people than straight men? Am I correct on this or way off-base? G.

Well I'm sure there are a lot of women who may feel as you do -- but it's probably because a gay man isn't likely to give you the grief that a straight boyfriend or husband can. Straight women can fall in love with gay men and become heart-broken, but it usually isn't because the gay man has led them on.

The image of gay men as being nicer and gentler -- that is, softer -- is why a lot of people think erroneously that gay men aren't tough enough to serve in the military. As I've often said, we're a diversified bunch. I've met gay men who are very sweet people who'd never hurt a soul, and gay men who are real S.O.Bs. Ditto for straight men. You've heard women complain about guys who say they're gonna call but never do or otherwise mistreat them? Well, some gay men often have the same complaint about the gay guys they date.

Gay men may be more open-minded and less sexist than their straight counterparts, but in general gay men come in all varieties, some nice, some not so nice. We're just people, after all. And we are men, with all -- good or bad or in-between -- that implies.

On the other side of the coin, there are people -- including, sadly, gay people -- who think that gay men are somehow worse than straight men in certain ways. In his book The Price of Achievement: Coming Out in Reagan Days (1995), which I just caught up with, Gay Republican (!) W. Scott Thompson states that gay men are more likely to steal and lie! This is probably because Thompson, who had been married with children before coming out, expected that only straight men took somebody's phone number, said they were gonna call, and didn't. (He broke up with a second fiancee by letter!!!) He also invited guests to gay parties at his Dupont Circle townhouse and some of them stole the silverware. But this is a guy who admittedly picked up good-looking tramps on the street and brought them home, supposedly to help improve their lot in life, so you can imagine his choice of party guests wasn't too ideal. [May I say that Thompson's book is stimulating, thought-provoking and well-written, but I disagree with his generalizations of gay men (possibly motivated by a degree of buried but not obliterated self-hatred?) Republicans!

Gay men are no more likely to steal from their friends or lie to people than anyone else, and it is outrageous to suggest so.

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