Tag Archives: casual homophobia

Yes, straight men at my gym, it’s true – I’m secretly in love with you all

There are secrets and betrayals we must take to the grave, as to utter them would cause untold destruction. There are opinions we can never admit, secret crushes we can never act upon, and sworn enemies blissfully unaware they are at war, because nobody says it out loud. But I cannot hold back this confession any longer. It burns inside me, a raging fire that will consume me unless I finally get it out in the open. And it’s all for you, straight guys at my gym. At last, the truth: yes, I am in love with each and everyone of you.

I’ve been going to the gym now for over a decade on and off and, I have to admit, I’ve fantasised about every single straight man I’ve ever seen close to collapse on the stair master, or retching with effort taking on a full load of weights at the lat pulldown. You’re just all so fascinating, so inspiring, in your own way that I, a gay man, am simply powerless to resist your charms.

Let me count the ways in which I adore you. Continue reading Yes, straight men at my gym, it’s true – I’m secretly in love with you all


Gay’s the word

Last night my boyfriend and I were on a train coming back from a few drinks with a friend. At one stop, a group of younger people got on. They were in their twenties, I guess. They had been to some sort of concert and were wearing various items of band merchandise. I suppose 10 years ago we’d have said they were “emo” – nobody says that any more, do they?

There were four of them. One looked like an artist’s impression of Guido Fawkes, there were two more devastatingly ordinary boys and then a girl, who was very excitable and babbled about gigs she’d been to and made up loads of transparent lies about things that had happened to her at them. So far, so normal.

And then, in the middle of a really weird story about some metal band dipping their hands in ramekins filled with blood (no idea) she said “I know that sounds really gay, but…” and then continued. None of her acolytes batted an eyelid, but I, a middle-aged gay man staring into the abyss of our future hope, flinched and I felt ill and I couldn’t hear anything else they said because that word was ringing in my ears.

I thought we had done this. I thought it was over. Using “gay” as a pejorative term to mean something was inferior or unattractive, I had previously thought, was dying out. It enjoyed a brief power surge a few years ago but thanks to a largely appalled reaction, it had faded into obscurity. What a naive moron I felt. Continue reading Gay’s the word

Yesbasicgays proves oversharers don’t care who’s watching – even the bullies

We all have that oversharing friend, don’t we? The one who posts millions of selfies or is always checking in on Facebook, drowning under the weight of their own humblebrags or passive-aggressive attention-seeking.

And only the very kindest of us wouldn’t have a quick sneer with other mutual friends – maybe fire off a bitchy text or a moany DM. “They’re at it again!” And that’s OK, that’s human nature. Unless you’re very careless or downright malicious, nobody finds out and nobody gets hurt.

One opportunistic person wanted to take this process one step further. And so, out of nowhere, appeared a brand new Tumblr – many an internet arsehole’s weapon of choice – dedicated to screenshotting these needy McReadys, and adding a pithy (in their head at least) caption under each one.

yesbasicgays, featured pic after pic of gay men – of all ages – posing in a mirror or at the business end of a selfie stick, all with the same twisted mouth expression as if to say “What? Me? Taking a selfie? Nah, mate!”

Perhaps it had seemed like a good idea at the time, but the creator didn’t have the comedy smarts to carry it off. His or her comments were mind-numbingly obvious and fatally witless, playground-quality jibes drafted in seconds just so the blog itself could quickly get enough pictures on there so the second prong of this fatuous attack could begin – a Twitter account!

Continue reading Yesbasicgays proves oversharers don’t care who’s watching – even the bullies

Why I’m not buying Jonah Hill’s homophobia apology

Spare a thought, everyone, for Jonah Hill – the character actor caught on tape this week telling an irritating, confrontational paparazzo to suck his dick, signing off with the beautiful “faggot”.

No sooner had the first bored internet user finished listening to the second syllable of “faggot” spill from Hill’s mouth than the Wolf Of Wall Street star was hastily beating a retreat, apologising profusely, his Hollywood bankability draining before his very eyes like an iPhone battery at a festival.

Hill has flung not one but two apologies out into the ether since the unfortunate incident over the weekend. First up was radio DJ Howard Stern’s show, in which Hill conceded the remark was “disgusting” and then again on Jimmy Fallon’s late night talk show. Oh, this is just a coincidence, I’m sure, but Jonah Hill has a new film out.

In his most recent apology, which is at times emotional – but this is an actor we’re talking about here, so big deal – Jonah claims the photographer had been following him all day and making personal attacks against his family. So far, so unordinary.

Jonah goes on to explain he wanted to hurt the photographer back and so used “the most hurtful word I could think of at that moment”. Although Hill assures the audience he didn’t mean the word in a homophobic way, the fact this word was his first port of call when he wanted to hurl the most horrific insult he could think of is very telling. “Faggot” is the worst he could think of? Really?

Rather than ask himself why that might be, Hill goes on to pull out his best “Some of my best friends are gay” shtick by claiming he has “been supportive of the LGTBQ community my whole life”. Watch out everyone! The killer is calling from inside the house!

Jonah Hill may think that dutifully doling out red ribbons for World AIDS Day and clapping politely at a same-sex wedding means he has no more work to do, but he couldn’t be more wrong.

By choosing to use a defamatory word as “faggot” to degrade another man, he is exposing prejudices that no amount of rainbow-flag waving can wash away – it’s that last creaky floorboard you just can’t fix, no matter how hard you try.

That accusing a man of being gay and inviting him to suck you off is the worst weapon in his arsenal puts Jonah back in with the big nasty boys at school, who’d shrink away from each other, towel-whipping in the changing rooms and screaming “No homo!!!” at the top of their lungs.

Surely during his time in the battery farm of insecurities that is the American high school system an overweight teenage Hill heard, and was called, much worse. But thanks to Hollywood, Hill has managed to scale the fence out of the loser pen and electrify it behind him.

The worst thing is not the fact Hill said the word – we have all told loved ones to go blow themselves or die in a fire – but his refusal to think about why that was his go-to insult, the thought processes that took him there, that is the biggest concern. When his celebrity status is in silent mode, and he doesn’t have a sequel to flog or a chat show chair to perch on, what is Jonah Hill really thinking?

I’m sure you’re sorry, you certainly look it, but it’s never too late to educate yourself, Jonah. Get yourself to a school and ask children what it’s like to be called a faggot, and then try to understand. The concept of words associated with homosexuality now being bandied about as almost acceptable insults is a grotesque one – it doesn’t need any Hollywood champions, no matter how brief their turn in the spotlight may be.

If you need a new insult to hand next time you encounter an aggressive snapper, why not try “arsehole”? That way, if you need reminding of it, you can head to the nearest mirror.

“Gaybrows”, girl talk and the Sunday Times’ brand of smart-casual homophobia

Being gay is very political these days. What with the world and his wife sticking their noses in about whether we should be getting married and Twitter confusing homosexuality with paedophilia in the wake of the BBC sex scandals from the 1970s. Like the unavoidable pink square in a slice of Battenberg or the writing running through a stick of rock, there’s always a constant air of homophobia which lingers around the reporting of such stories, but it’s not just the heavyweight news events we have to watch out for, oh no. Now, casual homophobia has climbed down from the lofty mezzanine of broadsheet opinion columns, put on a pretty dress and has sashayed down onto the pages of a women’s fashion magazine, spiking its stiletto into the very ‘fags’ it used to ‘hag’ for.

Every week, the Sunday Times publishes a supplement named Style, ostensibly a guide to the essential threads no lady should be without. Helpfully picking out key pieces and pretty crockery for its keen readership, the magazine also slings out a weekly barometer, a journalistic tool so lazy it may as well come with a duvet and an animal-print onesie. What’s hot and what’s not, is deliberated over for what must be whole milliseconds by perhaps the office intern or the bored receptionist – different clothes, trends, hairdos, people and ‘things’ are offered up, accompanied by what passes for a witty remark, and divided into those all-important categories. These busy girls-on-the-go aren’t much use at thinking in any way other than the most binary possible, so we must make do with two camps of popularity only: ‘Going Up’ for what we should love, and ‘Going Down’ (there’s a real science to this, isn’t there?) for everything less favoured.

It’s all as lightweight as you can imagine. Last week, Anna Wintour, the Prada-adorned, skeletal editrix of American Vogue, was lauded, and thus ranked top of the shop, for insisting hyper-famous photographer Mario Testino take her passport photograph. In this edition, readers are encouraged to start using Kate Moss’s surname as a verb for getting wasted, presumably on ‘bubbles’ at a product launch of some description. It’s all a bit of harmless fun, of course. Scan the ‘Going Down’ list, however, and we encounter a small problem. At the very end, once Peter Andre, birthday parties for dogs and under-ripe avocados are dispatched to the social guillotine, we come to a trend or phenomenon described as ‘gaybrows’. “What’s a gaybrow?” you may ask. I know I did. Allow me to shine 100 watts on that for you.

A gaybrow, according to Style, is the following: “Overwaxed eyebrows for him, favoured by the Geordie Shore boys.” Geordie Shore, of course, is a reality TV show on MTV (the ‘M’ long having since switched out its original meaning of ‘music’ for ‘mediocre’) and its subjects are the overstyled, permatanned type of fame-hungry charmers you can see on any high street should you look hard enough. The brows, themselves, are quite common too. Shaped, plucked and pointed to within an inch of their lives, the wearers of these unfortunate hairy slivers usually end up looking like a shop mannequin, an alien or – sorry girls – a woman.

Like many grooming trends currently favoured by preening heterosexual men, it is likely to have some foundation among their gay brothers, but didn’t girls start having brows like this first, centuries ago? Why aren’t they ‘ladybrows’? Or ‘nastybrows’ – as they are truly, utterly horrible and make men who sport them look like they’ve had ten facelifts or are midway through turning into a cat. Well, there’s a really good reason: a shortcut for making something seem immediately undesirable to straight men and the women who get boned by them is to label it ‘gay’. Easy when you know how, and, boy, does the world know how.

David Beckham has been shaping his brows for at least a decade, but it wouldn’t do to call them ‘Becksbrows’ – it’s okay to look like Beckham and he’s the sexual ideal for many of Style’s female readers. No, they must make it clear that these brows are horrible, and thus must be associated with something repugnant, and what better way to hammer home to the ladies and their boyfriends that these brows are unattractive? Why, simply fling the word ‘gay’ in front of them! Instant cringe! It’s so sickeningly transparent and automatic that it’s entirely possible they didn’t realise they were doing it. Oh, hang ON, what is this at the end of the description? There’s more!

The brows are, Style says, “about as hetero as Elton”. Assuming they don’t mean bushy-browed comedian Ben Elton or the flighty vicar from Jane Austen’s Emma, we’re talking about Elton John here. That is how gay these things are. Elton John, with his long-term male lover and civil partnership, is ‘openly gay’, as newspapers are so fond of saying, so the intent is clear here. The brows are awful, not just because they look dreadful, but because they’re not “hetero”. ‘Hetero’ is the ideal, remember; you don’t want men to ‘look gay’ because, well, that would mean what, exactly? Might gay men be interested in them and steal them away? Unlikely if they have a girlfriend; this isn’t TV.

No, the real message here is that the eyebrows make your man look gay, and looking gay is a negative thing, because people will think he is gay, and people thinking your man is gay is massively bad. Why? A variety of reasons – perhaps mainly that you won’t make other women jealous of you if you’re not lugging round a big hunk of male, masculine, cave-dwelling meat for them to salivate after. Is that what all this is about? Another stake in the heart for ‘the sisterhood’?

So with its throwaway comment about something looking gay, which they no doubt think is harmlessly entertaining, the Style editorial team has inadvertently revealed the monstrous, ugly homophobic heart at its core, which no amount of high heels, ‘lovely things’, perfume and designer wardrobe can fully mask. Good call, ladies; now we know what we’re up against. And we thought girls were supposed to be a gay’s best friend. At least that’s one fewer stereotype for us to agonise over.