Encountering True Homophobia

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was like, ‘Really guys? Really?’”

CONTAINS SOME STRONG LANGUAGE.

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Transcript for Encountering True Homophobia

CONTAINS SOME STRONG LANGUAGE.

I encountered true homophobia for the first time.  And just true, deep-rooted elitism, but what struck me the most was the homophobia.  During the Winter Olympics, several years back, I was working in the Weather Center.  We were watching ice skating, men’s skating, and…was it Johnny Weir, I think?  Johnny Weir, one of the skaters, who was kind of pretty much, everyone’s like, ‘He’s probably gay.’  He was pretty flamboyant, stereotypical, and just, I mean, he’s basically an ice-skating dancer which to a lot of people, it’s just, that’s something that’s associated with being very effeminate.

And then, I remember he had a very, very interesting costume that was quite effeminate and very sparkly.  But his routine was beautiful and gorgeous, and I loved it.  I was seriously trying to watch it and like, respecting the athleticism.  And to me, I don’t really care.  I’m just like, ‘Dude, if you like dudes, you’re fine.  If you’re a dude who likes girls and you are just perfectly fine with being in sparkly tutu, that’s also fine.  I don’t care.’  But some of the guys—oh boy, they cared.  They just were making horrible comments and jokes continuously at his expense.  And it wasn’t just like the ‘haha’—it was just like, like when people make a joke about say those ‘Sassy Gay Friend’ videos on YouTube, those are often made in good spirits.  It’s not meant to be malicious.  That’s not the feeling I got from this when they were watching this skater.  They were honestly like, ‘Uh, what a homo.  Eww,’ and just throwing out all sorts of slurs.  And I was just honestly like, ‘Shut up.  What is wrong with you?’  You guys like How I Met Your Mother, right?  But you just keep in your head—you’re like, ‘Neil Patrick Harris isn’t gay no, no, no, no, no.’  Except he’s got a committed partner for years and years, but people don’t like to think about that.  Just like, ‘No, I’m just thinking of him as being funny.’

Whenever you insult somebody, why are you saying that he likes dick?  Yes, excuse my language, whatever, but that’s what they’ll literally say, or worse directly.  But apparently, that is the most taramount [sic] insult that a guy can throw out, and that to me just underlies some deeper sense of just homophobia than I’ve ever encountered.

Even though they’re not individually saying, ‘I hate gay people.  I hate this.  I’m shunning—all gay people shouldn’t have rights.’  They’re not saying that directly.  But it underlines just this kind of attitude which I had not encountered before.  And, I mean, it was most explicit during the Johnny Weir skating incident where it was just—I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  It was just like, ‘Really, guys?  Really?’

  • Natalia Terzic

    I think this has to do not just with homophobia but also with the general male view of femininity. A lot of homophobic people don’t care that Neil Patrick Harris is gay while they’re watching How I Met Your Mother because Barney Stinson is a smooth talking, “suited up” womanizer; he isn’t an ice skater in a sparkly costume and makeup. This problem that a lot of men have with feminine gay men has SO much to do with the “feminine” part, and it’s both interesting and horrifying how it ties back to our culture’s view of LGBT people as well as women and gender roles. It’s no coincidence that “flamboyant” (i.e. feminine) gay men get more flack than the more masculine gay men do.