“I don’t care what you do behind closed doors, just don’t shove it in my face.” Is a common indication that the person you’re talking to is a homophobe but they don’t want to come off as one, so they hide behind a false sense of tolerance and further deflect any criticism you might throw their way. Because, hey! They’re alright with gay people.
I think I speak for a lot of other queer folks when I point out exactly how misleading that phrase can be. I’m sure I’m not the only one who at one point, when I had this sentence chucked at me, felt a slow sense of relief because, within our petrified mind, all we can hear is: I’m fine with gay people. As long as we’re not going to be victims of a hate crime, even if the requirement is to hide who we are, we’ll be fine with them. We might even think they’re good people. After facing so much hate, anything can feel like sweet mercy.
But it’s important to unpack the complication of the “behind closed doors” phrase.
Now, first of all, I don’t condone anyone going wild in public. Definitely, keep that in your bedroom/hotel room/whatever. No one wants to see you and your partner get down and nasty. Regardless of your sex or sexuality. Ew.
My problem lies with the fact that every time the issue of gay couples comes up, people automatically jump straight into the idea of sex. There’s this bizarre expectation that a same-sex couple would immediately start sticking it into each other the moment they show any tiny PDA. For a lot of straight people, it seems that anything that has to do with gayness is inherently a sexual topic.
“Don’t let the kids see it!” “Keep it behind closed doors!” “I have nothing against…yall, but just don’t rub it in my face.” “Keep it in your bedroom!”
Being queer in public means navigating unnecessary comments when you’re not even doing anything remotely sexual. It seems that giving your partner a peck on their cheeks, holding hands, or even simply calling each other pet names can warrant the morality police, demanding you to retract all visible sign of gayness just in case it dirties a young innocent mind.
Well, news flash. If the first thing you think of when you see a queer couple showing any type of PDA is what position they fuck in, then I’m sorry to break this to you, but you’re the dirty one.
And it seems like the psyche of mainstream culture is just so fascinated with the sexualization of gay men in particular. Apps like Grindr and Scruff become the staple topic for any straight girl who wants to find something in common with their gay friends.
“Oh, I heard about Grindr.” The 22-year-old marketing graduate nods enthusiastically over a Margherita. She has one gay friend who told her about his experiences one time so she is now the straight ambassador to ‘gay culture’ to all her clueless girlfriends. She smiles brightly as she launches into her detailed explanation of gay hookup culture while her friends lean on, completely immersed in this tale of a mystical land of men who find other men attractive and express their inner desire.
First of all, Karen, stop. Second of all, painting the entire gay community with a broad brush and assuming we all spend our days douching our ass and waiting for a message on our five hundred hookup apps is quite damaging. After all, for the past century or more, the justification for criminalizing same-sex activity was rooted in this idea of unquenchable promiscuity within our community that would inevitably lead to the moral downfall of society. Just because being gay isn’t illegal in the Western world doesn’t mean it’s not still extremely damaging to be seen as a raving sex-addict simply because we like the same sex.
Furthermore, it feeds into the stereotype that gay men in particular but also to an extent, gay women are somehow super predators that prey on innocent straight people (because you guys are just so much more attractive aye) – I’d like to notify everyone that this type of thinking has an actual body count.
So, next time, straight people, when you want to talk about us queer folks, talk about us like normal human beings. Stop throwing us down the gutter, stop painting us as sex addicts, stop the stereotype that we’re some sort of predator that needs to constantly fulfill our lust.