Are you afraid of being thought gay?
Are you frightened of showing affection to other men because you are worried they might think you’re a ‘fag’?
Homophobia is bad enough for gay men, but the truth is that it takes its toll on all men, straight, bi or gay.
It’s closely interwoven with having to “prove” you’re a man. ‘Men’ don’t express emotion, dance, behave flamboyantly, or show affection (at least, Australian men, anyway). Fear of being gay straitjackets how we act, til we don’t even notice that we’ve grown into the straitjacket – after a while, it’s scary to take it off. So we don’t become ballet dancers, artists, designers. We dress to fit in.
Fear of being thought gay blocks men from sharing emotions with each other, from talking more deeply than work, footy, and the weekend. It’s hard enough to work out how to relate to women, but men also miss out on forming solid and emotional bonds with other men. It’s scary enough to form emotional bonds, and trust, with people, let alone to worry that you’ll be ostracised for being gay.
So homophobia is external; little boys are expressive and affectionate; but at some stage after that, they are whipped into line by the other boys in the schoolyard. Given enough time, they join the gang too, and internally check themselves and others from deviating.
If you’re a woman and reading this, imagine you had to fight another girl to ‘prove’ you’re a woman. Imagine being scared of forming a bond with another girl, because you might be thought a lesbian (I’m sure this happens too, but I think women have some more license here).
Homophobia is brutal, it crushes all men. Homophobia represses their expressiveness, their creativity, their compassion. Let’s eradicate it.
Hug your mate when he leaves for his honeymoon. Ask your Dad how he’s feeling (and don’t let him just talk about his bad back), tell him you love him. Tell your mates how much you appreciate them. Tell them how your marriage is going. Ask them about theirs. It’s not a nice-to-have, we fuckin’ need it.