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Why a growing number of LGBT+ people are incels – and angry they aren’t having sex

Why a growing number of LGBT+ people are incels – and angry they aren’t having sex

  • The ‘gaycels’ claim that the LGBT+ world’s unrealistic standards of beauty force them to be ‘involuntarily celibate’. But are they making it worse for themselves?
Bradley Birkholz.

Most people think of incels – or involuntarily celibate individuals – as heterosexual men who hate women because they won’t have sex with them.

But the movement is growing increasingly popular amongst the LGBT+ community.

‘I am ashamed to say that I’m a gay incel. For a long time I’ve felt deprived of getting the attention of men. It has made me bitter and resentful towards them.

‘I don’t want to say that I’m shallow because I like a wide range of men as long as they’re masculine. Maybe to some that sounds shallow. But I don’t care because it’s my life and I have a right to choose who I want to date or have sex with.

‘Why should I have to settle for less because I have a hard time finding a date?’

That’s what one frustrated gay incel wrote in repsonse to my heavily opinionated video titled Too Ugly for Sex: Gay Incels.

You can see that original video about the world of ‘gaycels’ here:

A trans guy commented on the same video, that: 

“I relate to some incel content. But it stops as soon as they get into the realm of pure hatred towards women because… Well, I kinda used to be one of those.’ 

Indeed, I’ve had similar comments from queer women and men alike. All of them loathe their inability to obtain sex and romance. Moreover they all blame society’s cruel beauty standards for the barriers they face.

So in my new video I’ve taken a deeper look at their comments to try to understand the LGBT+ incel world:

The real challenges of gay and bi incels

A lot of folks found out about incels due to the radicalisation of several North American mass shooters by online incel communities.

These online groups promoted violence as some sort of revenge for the unfair reality that incels live in.

Of course, not all incels are monstrous misogynists or violent shooters. Most of them are ordinary individuals feeling disenfranchised from society based on their appearance.

They find solace in online groups which affirm their experiences. However, in many cases, these same groups echo their own insecurities right back at them – that they’re ugly and unlovable. 

As a bisexual man, it’s no surprise to me that gay men have joined the ranks of the incel community.

I’ve seen first hand the negative affects of gay beauty standards. They have driven mental health issues – such as body dysmorphia to dangerous heights – in the queer male community.

Indeed, a lot of the issues that LGBT+ incels say disenfranchise them from society are very real. Fat shaming, skinny shaming, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, racism, and femmephobia are rife in our community.

Many LGBTQ+ folks, myself included, have struggled with some of those issues.

Meanwhile, apps like Grindr heavily contribute to feelings of worthlessness in the LGBTQ+ community.

Not long ago, a poll discovered that the majority of Grindr’s users found the app made them unhappy. That’s alarming given millions of gay and bi men regularly use the app.

Therefore, for those for whom rejection becomes a regular experience, the incel community may seem like the only place others understand them.

Looking for love in all the wrong places

However, incel ideology is not the answer. 

I would argue that most gay and bi incels aren’t actually ‘involuntarily celibate’. Instead, they are ‘volcels’ – voluntarily celibate.

That’s because many incels are – by their own admission – only attracted to people they perceive as ‘10/10s’. Of course, highly attractive people are more likely to repeatedly reject them.

Meanwhile a lot of ‘gaycels’ are searching for love and sex on the likes of Grindr. So they’re bound to face far higher rates of rejection.

After all, everyone faces rejection on Grindr. They’d be more likely to find romance if they used apps and dating opportunities that allowed their personality to shine through.

Moreover, plenty of incels are – in fact – conventionally attractive. But a lot of incel ideology is based in the fictional, frequently cruel world of our imaginations. Meanwhile incel forums online only serve to perpetuate our own worst insecurities.

For example, I had a guy comment about how hard it was being fat, and how nobody was attracted to plus size folks. But right beneath it was a comment from someone saying they loved plus size dudes and just wish they could find a plus sized person to date.

Step into the real world

Bradley Birkholz.
Bradley Birkholz says incel groups reinforce their own negative views. Bradley Birkholz

It may seem hard to see beauty as subjective when your life experience is filled with shallow rejections.

But beauty is, objectively, subjective. And although the world of beauty standards is enormously problematic, anyone can achieve love and happiness.

I don’t have all the answers, but I encourage all the beautiful LGBT+ incels out there to step down from the forums and into the world around them.

There’s so much beauty and love to experience in life, both platonic and otherwise. And you won’t find it in a world of self-pitying disdain.

Meanwhile – to the LGBTQ+ community – you’re not off the hook either.

If the beauty standards we demand and portray – including in much queer media – were far more representative of different bodies and real, everyday people, we might not see so many of our fellow LGBT+ people seeking solace in toxic ideology. We can do so much better!