AI: On Proving Oneself Straight and Teaching Kids How to Do It
A good friend of mine just joined the cheerleading squad of her university, and she’s been complaining to about the fact that they can’t get dudes to join (even some who seem to find it cool) because they’re afraid of all the people who might think they’re gay. Which sent me back in time and got me thinking of all the times I’ve seen that happen.
Boys who won’t join ballet, even if they’re good at it. Girls who won’t play certain sports, because it would make their bodies “manly”. It comes with them from their child life and then they’re those grownups who won’t hang out (or won’t be too close to) people who they know are gay. Up to this day I have “friends” who can’t hug me in public for what “people might think”.
I can’t quite grasp where it starts, but it ends up as a vicious cycle in which people said to be straight won’t do things because society says it’s gay (because people said to be straight won’t do it). Which, to me, seems to be hurting everybody involved.
It’s the fear of being mistaken for, labeled as and, especially, turned into a gay person. A kind of fear that comes from many internal and external levels, and that is reinforced every time something is stereotyped into something only gay people do. A fear that makes people deprive themselves of stuff they love, just to prove they are what they should be (whatever it is they actually are).
What would it take to break that cycle? How do you deal with that kind of situation? How do you deal with the people who perpetuate it (and the people who teach their kids to perpetuate it)? What mechanism do you think is most responsible for that kind of thinking and what would be most effective to disarm it?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on every Tuesdays, Thurdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.
Image is a cartoon by Daryl Cagle from here.