Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bro Mail #3 - Everyone Is a Little Different

Bro Mail #3 in picture form below 'cause it is long as shit. 

First off, thanks to Bruce for reading and taking the time to think about this stuff and write to me. I like the letter because I think it raises some interesting questions and has common misunderstandings about my views and standpoints.

1.) "I can’t help but feel lame if I were to try to describe myself as “bro” or “gaybro” because that mentally makes me feel like a try-hard attempting to forge an impression of a masculine identity on others for the sake of my own ego."

Do you think that there is no such thing as a "bro"? Or that all guys who associate with this culture are faking it? Or that being gay and being a bro are mutually exclusive? Personally, my friends and I all think bro culture is hilarious, and while we may live it at certain times, very few of us would self-describe as "a bro". Also, I have never called myself a "gay bro", if that's what you were insinuating.

2.) "Why is so much of this “gay yet bro” identity not made by what an individual does but rather the estrangement of the greater community as a whole? I want to be proud to be gay, but it is hard when gay people I relate to the most all find pride in behaving as a stereotypical straight male. I’m not saying don’t behave that way, to each their own and more power to you, especially if you are confident enough to be who you are. But if being a “bro” is who you or anyone else is, can’t you be that and still be a proud gay man?"

I don't think being a "gay bro", or whatever the hell, requires "estrangement of [sic] the greater community as a whole." However, I still currently find the idea of being me and being a "proud gay man" at odds with each other. First of all, I've spoken about pride at a length, but I'll quickly reiterate that I don't think it makes sense to be "proud" of something you were born with. Personally, I derive pride from accomplishments or things I did; given that I was ostensibly born non hetero, I am not proud of that trait, per se, any more than I could be proud of my eye color or enormous penis. And not trying to get (too) dickish about semantics here, but if the question is "am I content being non hetero?" then the answer, on most days, is yes.

3.) "I am 100% out and I feel like my doing so is in its own way my fair share of contribution to the community. I am usually my friends’ first non-hetero friend and at times I take the role of educator to show them that we are all distinct people and they are capable of being friends with one or more of us."

I completely accept your holier-than-thou stance on this, actually. I totally agree that having guys like me come out will help dispel stereotypes more effectively than most other things. But part of the reason I'm not out is that I haven't wanted to spend my time educating the non hetero community. All that said, I am in the process of coming out—I'm just going about it stupidly slowly.

4.) "The big difference between you and I [sic] is I see myself as a normal guy who happens to be gay. I am proud of who I am and I like who I am. I make no effort to hide any part of me. You, and others like you, on the other hand, are gay guys trying to convince everyone else you are normal. The thing is though, you ARE normal."

Wow, you really "got inside my head" and "nailed me" with your engineer's psychoanalysis, man. You know what the difference is between you and me is (besides understanding how to use pronouns)? Okay that was dickish. But seriously: I don't assume that I know other people better than they know themselves, nor that just because I experienced something in a certain way that others must have as well. I'm not "pretending" to be pretty stereotypically masculine—I just am. It's funny that people frequently bring up feeling "heteronormative pressure", but rarely acknowledge all the pressure homos exert on each other to be "a part of the community" and behave in certain ways. I've written more about masculinity here and here, but basically I think that everyone should feel free to behave however they like, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. 

5.) You may be wondering if I have all this to say why do I read your blog and if I don’t like it move on? Well, 1. I think it is important to read a lot, especially things that challenge what you think. And 2. Because I don’t have enough gay things in my life and your shit is pretty ok.

We should all continue to have an open mind and conversate the hell out of this stuff for as long as necessary, amen.

In sum

No comments:

Post a Comment