A local queer MC put a call out on Facebook last night, requesting that gay male disc jockeys, drag queens, entertainers, singers and poets contact her regarding an upcoming event she’s hosting. The immediate responses, of course, came from straight men who were like, “ZOMG I’M NOT GAY BUT I’M AWESOME PLEASE PLEASE HIRE ME.” The MC thanked them for their interest but clarified that it’s an LGBTQ+ event with a focus on LGBTQ+ performers, and, to their credit, the straight dudes understood… except for one special guy, who had an all-out-Alice meltdown over the unbearable discrimination of it all.
His initial comments were intrusive and inappropriate (“Why they gotta be gay? Do they have to have sex?”), but at least fairly mellow. However, when he still got no for an answer, the shit fit commenced in force — and once he realized that everyone was ignoring his apoplexy, he resorted to mocking the gay community for its “disgusting, destructive, dehumanizing hypocrisy.”
Needless to say, he didn’t get the gig. And while the MC patiently went through the thread and deleted his posts, all I could do was sit back and think, “Wow. It’s the phantom penis all over again.”
Gather ’round, my loyal Marjorettes. It’s story time.
Several years ago, a friend and I decided to start a social group for gay male Pagans in the Houston area. We wanted to gauge interest before planning anything, so we posted a message in a Yahoo! group (remember those?) to see if there were any other gay guys around who might want to participate. A couple did, which was nifty, but the majority of replies we received were from heterosexuals, divided right down the gender line.
The female respondents declared themselves “hag fags” [Ed. note: They meant “fag hags,” which is, y’know, almost but not quite as offensive] and announced that they would be joining us, regardless of whether or not we wanted them there. We stated that once the group got off the ground we’d maybe open things up a bit, but for now we really wanted to create a space for gay men, and the women clapped back by patting us on our little heads (it’s so cute when we try to think for ourselves, apparently), and reiterating demands for dates and times. The straight men, on the other hand, denounced us as exclusionary: They would never be caught dead at a gay event, mind you, but the fact that we weren’t inviting them in the first place meant that we were oppressing them. I stopped paying attention when one of them started ranting about gay v. straight water fountains.
At the height of the fracas, a cishet woman — let’s call her Viola — informed us that we were required to grant her admittance, because she was a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. We did our best to explain that, no, that did not actually make her a gay man, and Viola replied that yes, in fact it did, because she had (I swear to the Gods I’m not making this up) an invisible, “phantom limb” penis. And oh, it got her into all sorts of trouble, that penis did. Because (direct quote) you know how gay men are. Thinking with their dicks or whatever. Like she does. With her mighty ghost phallus.
On that note, allow me to relate a true story of a gay man trapped in a woman’s body.
Back in college, my friend Kathleen sat a few of us down to let us know that she was transgender and would be transitioning to male. In return, we let her know that we’d already figured that out, on account of her unusually large collection of books on gender reassignment, and the fact that she’d been living as a man for the past year and a half. So Kathleen became George, and then he fell in love with a cis gay man, and they’ve been together ever since. And the rest of us were like, “We’re confused, but you’re happy, so it’s all good.” And I wore a leg harness to their wedding.
So, in review…
George: “I was assigned female at birth, but I am actually male, and I went through several intense, physical and mental ordeals to be comfortable in my own skin.”
Viola: “I am capitalizing on my hetero privilege to take what I want from minorities.”
A subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless.
I get having an identity discordant with one’s anatomical and/or biological makeup. Really, I do, because a) I’m a demiguy, and b) I know way too many Furries. Selfhood is polymorphic, The End. But if owning that identify means contributing to the marginalization of the community to which you claim to belong, then honestly, you’re a much bigger part of the problem than you’d like to believe.
PS: I told the MC that I used to do a lot of spokenword poetry. Should I be asked to play a part, I promise to showcase something a little less on the money than The Night My Dick Put Out the Lights in Georgia.