Magneto to Closeted Gays: Come out!
I was always iffy about changing my “interested in” status on Facebook to “interested in men.” For me, it was a lot easier to just leave it blank and hope that if any cute guys were creeping on me, they would just say “hmm he likes Lady Gaga, David Sedaris, and 30 Rock. And look, he doesn’t specify that he’s interested in women. He’s gay!”
That’s how I found my imaginary boyfriend from Yale, anyway. He’s on the wrestling team.
At first, I didn’t want to change it because I wasn’t “out” yet and wasn’t comfortable with everyone knowing. As I became more and more immersed in the gay community, however, my motives changed. I kept coming across this strange sentiment that it was wrong to be openly gay.
“Yeah I’m gay but I don’t freaking advertise it,” one said.
“I just hate it when guys are in your face about being gay. I’m gay, but I don’t feel the need to tell people!” said another guy at a party. He later kissed me, which I found funny because that was him being gay in my face.
But anyway, you know what, I agreed with them. I guess I just didn’t want to be the kind of guy you knew was gay.
Some of my intentions were pure - I didn’t want my identity to be reduced to one aspect of my existence.
Some, unfortunately, were homophobic - I wanted to avoid being thought of as a flamer and still wanted people to see me as masculine.
It was a real concern for me. The guys I was into made it clear they were “masc” and would only be interested in me if I was too. Now, I do like a lot of straight up dude stuff. I’m a gym rat, enjoy gaming, and don’t put a lot of time into my wardrobe or cleaning my room.
On the other hand, I love me some Lady Gaga, I’m deep into art, and I’m well-versed in pop culture.
But I felt the need to downplay the “gay” side of me and accentuate my more stereotypically masculine traits. I wanted to be the kind of gay guy who appeared as “straight” as possible because I thought that’s what people wanted and would find attractive.
And then I watched X-Men: First Class.
As geeky as it sounds, it really got me to thinking. Why did I consider going to the gym and being a gamer and being a slob in general to be “masculine?” I mean, I was gay, and here I was doing all those things.
And why did i have to categorize my love of pop music and pop culture as “gay?”
It was all me.
In my opinion, Mystique characterizes - as much as a blue mutant can, anyway - the precarious plight of gay people in America.
We are an interesting minority. Many of us can blend in perfectly with the crowd and you’ll never know who we really are. Sometimes you just can’t see it in a person. Sometimes we do so to protect ourselves or to fit in. And then, sometimes, it’s because we don’t want to admit who we are.
And I’m not just talking about people repressing their sexuality. I’m also talking about the guy who hates on “fems” but secretly longs to wear a sassy scarf. Or the guy who hates on pop music but bumps Born This Way in the privacy of his own car.
You don’t have to be anything. You don’t even have to put yourself out there if you really don’t want to. But when you start putting effort into hiding parts of yourself is where, I think, there’s a problem.
“Mutant and proud!” I say. I may not be “in your face” about the fact that I’m gay, and I may not try very hard to make it known, but I am proud, and I won’t change myself for your approval.
And after watching the movie, in a move that wreaked of geek, I changed my “interested in” status on Facebook to “interested in men.”
Because, damn it, I am. I am very interested in men, and the only reason I didn’t have it like that sooner was because I still wanted people to think of me in a certain way. In a way that didn’t really reflect the real me.
So, all those in the closet trying to hide your true self… I leave you with this bit of wisdom from Magneto:
“If you’re using half your concentration to look normal, then you’re only half paying attention to whatever else you’re doing. You want society to accept you, but you can’t even accept yourself.”