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Are you a bad gay?

Being gay should mean the freedom to embrace your preferences – not conform to the same tastes, says David Hudson

Are you a bad gay?
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RuPaul will not be pleased..

Unless you were raised by gay parents or were fortunate enough to be surrounded by LGBTI role models, it’s likely you experienced some struggle in accepting your sexuality.

You probably felt like an outsider: ‘The only gay in the village’.

The relief many of us feel when we finally come out is hard to describe to those who have not been through the experience. Suddenly, you feel that you’ve found your club: other gay people offer some sense of belonging.

Except, it doesn’t always work out like that, does it?

I was reminded of this when a friend posted a status update to Facebook about a first date that had gone awry.

‘Getting judged on first dates because I don’t watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, I don’t like Britney, I can’t stand musicals, I hate gay clubs, vaginas don’t scare me and I don’t hate myself,’ he semi-jokingly fumed.

It reminded me that gay people can be just as bad as straight people when it comes to embracing stereotypes.

They can fall back on the same assumptions. Or impose their own membership rules on who can join their imaginary big, gay fraternity.

I too have sometimes felt like a ‘bad gay’: I hate clothes shopping with a passion; I have never watched Mean Girls; and can take or leave Eurovision.

‘You don’t seriously like that guy, do you?’

Then there’s my taste in men.

When I first came out, way back in the late 80s, I hung out with other students at my college LGBT society. Everyone seemed to lust after the same, chiseled guys with washboard abs; gay media seemed to idolize the same images of male beauty (Mark Wahlberg in his Calvin Klein’s, in a nutshell).

What sort of gay could I be if I didn’t find the same sort of men attractive?

There wasn’t really a bear scene in London back then. Telling people I found big guys sexy sometimes prompted laughter or outright horror from my fellow young queers.

‘You don’t seriously like that guy, do you?’

For a while, the club I thought I belonged to didn’t seem as accepting as I first thought it might be.

I thankfully outgrew this phase. I discovered that the LGBTI community is more a multitude of many communities, each made up of individuals with their own unique tastes and quirks.

Making the gay grade

As a gay man, the only thing I have in common with other gay men is an attraction to other blokes and – at a push – some experience of oppression in a hetero-normative world.

No, I’m not claiming to be straight-acting: I don’t wish to act like anything other than myself.

I’m also not in denial because of internalized homophobia (although I’m big enough to acknowledge I carry some around). I’m just at a point in my life where I’m more likely to respect someone for having unique and different tastes than feel threatened by them.

I’m sure most people reading this could name several ways in which they’re a ‘bad gay’. Some way they fall short of making the gay grade.

The truth is there are no more bad gays than there are bad people: just lazy stereotypes.


David Hudson tried to find old friends via social media

David Hudson


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