Ruminations

The chewy thoughts of a queer Christian

Straight Acting Gay

Quotes from the world of internet dating:

“I’m pretty straight acting, but that’s a term I don’t like, because I’m not acting.”

What does this mean?

To be a straight-acting gay is to be gay, but act like a straight person. That is to say, a gay person who doesn’t live out the gay stereotype, but fits rather more the straight stereotype.

Straight-acting gays are not ‘acting’ while fighting their inner queen. They are not ‘acting’ straight while secretly being gay. Straight people are also straight-acting. They are not ‘acting’ either. Both are simply being who they are.

Gareth Thomas: gay rugby player. That's quite manly.

Not all straight men are rugby players. Not all rugby players are straight men.

There is nothing in the term ‘straight-acting’ to suggest that straight-acting gays are ‘acting’. An action is simply a thing you do, and when you do any thing, you act. If you act like a straight person, you are straight-acting, whether you are straight or not.

Actors learn to act like other people. When they perform, they perform actions  and thus they act. Acting is not pretending; acting is doing.

I say this because a lot of straight-acting gay men, in the world of internet dating at least, seem to think that by declaring themselves ‘straight-acting’ they are misunderstood by somebody. Either the gay-acting gays will want them to be more authentic, or the straight-acting straights, who presume them to be straight, will find them threatening.

But all this is based on is based on stereotypes of how straight and gay people act. You are gay; you act like a straight person. But how does a straight person act? The words are empty. It doesn’t express anything. This is why the label ‘straight-acting gay’ is so limited: there is so much more to a person than that. It’s just as bad as thinking there is such a thing as acting gay. Hence feelings of being misunderstood.

The words don’t mean what you might think they mean.  Straight people don’t all act the same either.

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One thought on “Straight Acting Gay

  1. I’ve always been a strong opponent to those labels myself. Mainly because I love both football and Mariah Carey, so my label would be neither straight nor gay (but maybe vaguely lesbian)-acting. Great post!

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