Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sly Homophobia

One thing I always see when a famous person comes out as gay is a comment like, "I'm not homophobic but I don't really need to know what these people do in their bedroom.  All I care about is their work."

Recently Matt Boomer thanks his family at an award ceremony.  His family happened to include his partner, thus confirming that the actor is indeed gay.  He didn't even mention the word "gay" or talk about homosexuality or anything like that.  He simply thanked his family.  Which is what straight people do all the time.

And yet, as I read the article, there were dozens of comments complimenting the actor on his winning smile and acting skills, and then stating that they could have lived without knowing his sexuality...saying things like it wasn't important or his bedroom proclivities weren't something they cared to know.

That type of comment is a sly form of homophobia that people seem to think is okay.  It's the idea that saying you like gay people so long as you don't know they're gay is somehow not homophobic.  That's like making racist comments about black people and then saying you're only aiming those comments at poor black people, or black people who listen to rap.

I would be the first to agree that if an actor (or actress) went on stage and had gave a long, lurid description of their sex life, it would be inappropriate (unless your name happens to be Kathy Griffin or Margaret Cho).  It's inappropriate when gay people do it and inappropriate when straight people do it.

But there is nothing wrong with a man thanking his family.  Whoever his family is.

I never got why people saw all these differences between gays and straights.  When I get up in the morning, I don't drink gay coffee and read the gay news.  I don't walk my gay dogs in my gay front yard. I don't eat gay breakfast and then drive my gay car to my gay job, sitting through gay traffic on the gay Turnpike.

I suppose that if you don't like gay people...or your religious convictions tell you that homosexuality is wrong...then that's fine.  Opinions are free.  You're free to have them.  But at least have the courage to stand behind them.  I'll respect you so much more for hating me if you have the conviction to tell me to my face.


  1. You know what's odd, Shaun? I read your book, and your blog, and considered you a friend for months before I realized you were gay. I think it was when I put that gay marriage pie chart up on Facebook, and you commented (hilariously), and I was like "Shaun's gay? Oh, okay."

    On the other hand, you have to admit, it would be awesome if you had gay dogs. I kind of want a gay dog now.

  2. What I can't stand is the whole idea of gay people's lives being defined by their sexuality, like you so eloquently pointed out in your post. I read this book by Jodi Picoult a while back--Sing You Home, I think it was--and it painted a real good portrait of the way people perceive homosexuals. I myself am straight, but everything about my life--or even most things, for that matter--are not influenced by the fact that I like men instead of women.

    Know what I mean?

  3. Matthew: Dogs, I think, are always straight. Cats, on the other hand, are always gay.

    I think I've gotten to a point in my life where I no longer care whether people know or don't know or care or don't care. I mean, when I meet people, I don't immediately wonder what their sexuality is. Probably because it doesn't matter.

    Aleeza: I totally know what you mean. 99% of the things I do in a normal day have nothing to do with my sexuality or anyone else's. It's sad when people take one aspect of an individual's life and make that the one thing by which they're judged.

  4. You're right. It doesn't matter one bit. Cool people are cool, and assholes come in every color.

  5. I guess there will always be people who are sexist, racist, homophobic and even people who hate dogs. I agree with you how much it disgusts me when people make statements claiming no prejudice when their words prove the exact opposite.


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