The gays are on the rise: we are setting-then-dominating trends, we are slowly sliding our way into the mainstream media and we basically run Twitter. Gay culture is becoming better known; more popular, if you will. And while this sudden surge in popularity is great, it’s also birthed a new type of ignorance, one that isn’t rooted in homophobia, but rather a lack of education.
Ten years ago you couldn’t pay mainstream society to take an interest in gay culture, bars & rights. Now suddenly our bars and clubs have become a hub of social activity for straight girls; the world of Drag is snatching wigs from a larger audience – but this is starting to cause issues. A lot of straight people are now armed with preconceived notions & stereotypes about the LGBT community, and even though they are now more accepting, they aren’t any better educated.
The more gay culture sashays into the mainstream, the more we are going to come across this issue. We are at a turning point; we live in a world where we don’t have to hide our sexuality, we can celebrate being ourselves, which is why it is so important that we educate others. Look at the awareness and education Courtney Act brought not only to the Big Brother house, but to millions of viewers across the country. Now we need to take that willingness to educate and teach it on a face-to-face level, and I suggest we start with the straight girls in gay bars.
Straight women in gay bars is nothing new. For as long as there’s been a gay, there’s been the ‘fag hag.’ A loyal-and-probably-unwilling sidekick that accompanies her gay friend on his night out. Will had Grace, Ru has Michelle. And I have whatever friend I can lure out with the promise of cheap booze. This isn’t a new-phenomena at all, it’s been visible for years. But lately I’ve found myself having to police uneducated comments and squash sassy behaviour from a larger number of ignorant straight girls.
When it comes to going out, a lot of girls say being in a gay bar is so much easier for them because they don’t get hit on by sleazebag guys. Sure, that’s a perfectly fair reason, but the inconvenience of a guy hitting on you doesn’t afford you the right to be ignorant or disrespectful. And while I empathise with their plight and endeavour to stand up and support woman’s rights, I’d implore them to imagine what being a gay guy in a straight bar can be like. Sure, it’s 2018, but homophobia is a stubborn stain on our society, so gay bars are, for many of us, a safe haven. That needs to be respected.
This isn’t me embarking on an epic bitch about a ‘problem’ that’s always been around. My issue is with those girls that see gay bars/clubs as a novelty. The ones that see us as a sexuality & not as people. The ones that view our world, our history, as a gimmick or a trend. I hate to break it to you, Megan, but our world isn’t an epic lip-sync for your life and, just because you love RuPaul’s Drag Race, that doesn’t make you an LGBT advocate.
How many of us still suffer through the horror of someone at work trying to set us up? That classic ”omg you need to meet my friend, he’s gay, you’ll get on!’ As if us both being gay automatically makes us compatible. So, let me get this straight, you think that simply because we both have a proclivity for dick we will mate for life? Sit down, Helen. We are people, not a sexual orientation. Sure some of us choose our sexuality as our identifier and there isn’t anything wrong with that. That doesn’t paint a fair representation of all LGBT people though.
We have different ideals, alternate views; we don’t all like the same music or shows. Nor are we all ‘so’ into fashion. Not all my gay friends are as camp as I can be. We are all individuals with individual tastes ,and individual needs and although your comments aren’t sad with malice, they’re still laced with ignorance. So, please stop hurling us into the same category based on stereotype you’ve been spoon fed by straight media.
If you want to be part of our world then earn your stripes and learn our history. Just because you come to our bars, enjoy our shows and your cousin who you haven’t spoken to in six months is a lesbian, doesn’t mean you are an ally. I get it, you like the image. The environment our bars create is electric and fresh, our world is new to you, but if you truly want to embrace our culture you need to know the journey behind creating it. It’s not all wigs, sassy quips and death drops. It took decades of refusing to hide who we are, of fighting for the slightest slither of equality, of being kicked out of clubs and bars, of having homophobic comments and fists thrown at us.
As much as I love acceptance, I find it distasteful when people lap up our culture as quickly as they once dismissed it. So, I’m simply asking straight people to realise that LGBT culture and rights and bars aren’t a fad or a novelty. I’m asking them to educate themselves – to better themselves. All we are asking is that you be respectful and realise what you see on TV isn’t always a crystal-queer reflection of reality. If you aren’t willing to push harder, to learn our history, to get to the heart of our story, then please don’t appropriate our culture because it’s currently cool to do so.