YOU Do Know He’s Gay, Right?
I had someone write in to me asking for my take on when someone that is describing someone else says, “YOU do know he’s gay, right?” The first thing I wondered was what exactly does the person writing in mean? You see, even though you can capitalize certain words to show emphasis, you really do miss a lot when you’re only reading someone and not having an actual conversation with them. I think she really meant, “You DO know that’s he’s gay, right?” That said, I’m very familiar with this topic so settle in for a tale, a tale from a fairy but not so much a fairy tale. YOU do know he’s gay, right? – Don’t Get Me Started!
The first thing that comes to mind is actually not about being gay. When I first met the father of a dear friend of mine and he found out that I was Jewish, he pulled a card out of his wallet and said, “Hey, I met this guy and he’s Jewish too, do you know him?” He honestly meant it in the nicest way possible but I know that some people would have found it offensive. As for my friend she was so busy trying to crawl under the carpet during the exchange that I don’t think she can even remember the rest of that day. He really believed that all Jews knew one another and I get asked a lot if someone is gay as if we gays all know one another too. I usually say that my membership list is at home and that I’ll check it and get back to them. And although some may see no similarities, I do. You see, I think we tend to stop ourselves from going for the obvious because it’s not the most politically correct thing to do. For example, if you’re describing someone of African American descent most likely the first thing you’re going to think to say is, “You know, the black guy.” But in this day and age people would have you believe this is a racist comment and unacceptable. But is it? And does it have anything to do with the way you say (or in my case at the moment, write) things? I honestly don’t know, I’m sure someone will write in to debate with me why I’m wrong so have at it.
When I was in grade school my grandmother lived with us. Every day I would come home from school and there she would be watching Mike Douglas and Dinah Shore. Whenever there was a male celebrity that was of a certain age and had never been married, she would say, “Johnny Mathis, now he’s in his thirties and he’s never been married. Do you think….” Her voice would trail off but we all knew what she meant. After all this was the late seventies and Stonewall had happened so everyone was aware of “the gays” as my grandmother would put it. She would say, “You know the gays, they’re everywhere.” Little did she know she was living with one or did she and that’s why she said it?
Here’s the deal, if I had my druthers I would probably not want someone to describe me to someone that didn’t know me, leading off with, “You do know he’s gay, right?” because frankly I think for a lot of people it still conjures up some Uncle Arthur from Bewitched stereotypical image. (And while I love Paul Lynde, the actor who played Uncle Arthur, it’s a sad story that he never felt as though he got the recognition he deserved as an actor and went to his grave professing he was not a homosexual because it absolutely would have killed his career in those days. He lived a tortured life because he couldn’t tell anyone that he was gay…or more to the point, he didn’t think he could) There is the other side of the coin too, you see, in this day and age Paul Lynde could have been gay AND had his career so perhaps we need to look at it as badge of honor that someone can say that about us and it not be a scandal that will kill our careers, home life, etc. Maybe just maybe we have to do what we’ve done for so long, take a negative and retool it in our heads making it a positive. As I walked the halls of my high school campus, I would hear the word, “FAG!” shouted at me more than a few times each day. I trained myself to look over my shoulder as if they had to have been talking about someone other than me. Maybe we need to be glad the description is “You do know he’s gay, right?” instead of “You do know he’s a fag right?” (Though I’m sure both are used) And I guess when it comes right down to it I’ve been called worse so being described as gay is not the worst thing in the world.
I question people who say they are “color blind” when they see people, to me seeing someone’s color, great ass, fashion sense (or lack thereof), etc. is part of celebrating our differences and who that person is, made up of their genetics and their environment to create the singular sensation that is them. If I worked out as much as I should I would only want people to say, “You know, that guy with the G-A-A-A-Y triple threat” (A term I created meaning Great Ass Arms and Abs Yea!) I know I tend to be judgmental and at times superficial when I see the people with the NASCAR shirts and mullet haircuts so I guess they’re entitled to do the same to me in return. And since we’re all a little judgmental I feel a little like ending this entry with what’s going through my head right now, Stockard Channing from Grease singing, “There are worse things I could do…” YOU do know he’s gay, right? – Don’t Get Me Started!
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