Monday, May 18, 2009

What a Drag!

I am a masculine gay man in my thirties and I can't understand why there seems to be this incredible preoccupation with drag, or at least this perception that all or most gay men are into wearing dresses. I've never had the slightest desire to dress up as a woman and neither do any of my gay male friends. Why does this stereotype persist? A character came out on a TV show and his mother started asking his dress size! Perplexed.

Some time ago an actor on a soap opera was giving an interview. He had just been told that his character was going to turn out to be gay. He said: "I guess I'll have to go out and buy some dresses."


Yes, you would think that this tiresome confusion of homosexuality with transvestism -- or of equating gay men with women -- would have gone out the window long ago. I don't think most gay men are preoccupied with or have any interest in drag, but the media makes it seem otherwise. As for TV shows, we've got stupid writers who can't come up with anything original. We all know that there are "queens"-- in and out of drag -- in our community, and I'm certainly not suggesting they should be put down in any way, shape or form. Our world would certainly be a little bit duller without them. But the whole world already knows that there are femmes in the gay male community. It's time we saw more portrayals of gay men as most of us are: non-stereotypical -- not to mention the bears, leather hunks, super-butch types and all the rest. It's gotten to a point where if you see a bear-like or just masculine gay guy in a movie it's considered a big joke-- how could somebody like that be gay?

Drag queens seem to be a disproportionate part of the gay community because whenever there's a march, parade or event, the cameras instantly capture the more colorful members of the community -- which includes drag queens. This has in part created a feeling among people that there are many more drag queens than there really are, and that drag is an inherent part of every gay man's life, while nothing could be further from the truth. Hopefully TV people and filmmakers will eventually explore the gay world in all of its diversity.

But I'm not holding my breath.

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