…Being ready with a ‘we are both men’ answer to the (dumb) ‘who’s the girl’ question.
Being setup on blind dates with ‘other gays’ by heterosexual women friends because you are both gay and should get along. Because you have no type.
Being expected to feel complemented by bigoted statements like ‘You’re gay? Such a waste!’
Being expected to feel complemented by ignorant statements like ‘You’re gay? You don’t even look it!’
Curating a culture that the rest of the world can appropriate without a single care… Where do you think ‘shade’ came from?
Being reduced to the stereotype of the fashionable one even when you have little or no interest in fashion – and there are MANY gay man who have no interest in fashion…for whom clothing is utility, whether they know it or not.
Having to hear ignoramus heterosexual (usually religious bigots, but not limited to them) calling your identity a lifestyle and feeling justified with that BS.
Reading the Bible and skipping every single verse those patriarchal homophobic authors penned condemning you to stoning, death, sulphur and brimstone, hell or all of the above.
Knowing that you live with ‘no fems’ as a legitimate preference within your community; understanding that ‘no fems’ is actually an expression of gay men’s toxic masculinity that is rooted in the hatred of women.
Knowing that ‘no blacks’ is a legitimate dating preference within your community, that the endemic nature of this discrimination in heterosexual communities may ‘normalize it’ but does not make it acceptable or right.
Living with the tensions of a community that intimately understands discrimination yet readily perpetrates discrimination within itself.
Being part of a community that is so marinated in racism that during Johannesburg pride in 2012, gay men screaming “go back to the township” to the queer women from the 1 in 9 campaign protesting corrective rape on the backdrop of a less political pride march was not that surprising.
Ignoring the plight of black lesbians against violent rape when we should be with them on the frontline of the fight against ‘corrective rape.’
Having your identity used as an insult in hip-hop.
Dealing with fragile masculinity every day from every straight guy who thinks you want him and you deserve a beat down for his assumption when most of the times, you really don’t want him, even if he were gay.
Learning to master a ‘straight walk’ from those troublesome teenage years so that those mean kids don’t jeer at you or bully you. This always results in an awkward bounce accompanied by a hollow voice deliberately that is three octaves lower to sound more ‘masculine’.
Being ‘straight acting’ because you have been marinated in a society where gay is an insult and you’re better off acting straight than being yourself.
Coming out. The very fact that you have to come out, knowing that and living with it alongside heterosexual people who never have to come out.
The fear of being abandoned when you come out. The fear of losing the people you love. Perhaps more the fear of finding out that the people you love unconditionally love you with conditions. Many of them.
The tension of loving people you know will choose not to love you if they knew you were gay. It’s a bad religion.
Creating your own bubble of friends who become as close as family because in them you trust that you will not be judged but loved unconditionally, more than you do in your actual family.
Being polite when questioned on how you do ‘it’.
Being a dude about it when heterosexual men say things like, ‘you’re so lucky you get oral sex from a dude – they must be better at it’ as if the backhanded compliment at the expense of women is something gays should accept gracefully.
Sexual liberation. Embracing being an ‘other’ and allowing yourself to explore different takes on intimate relations that heteronormativity forbids, like open relationships, trouples, polyamory, asexuality, etc.
Being asked what the secrets to great fellatio sex is. All the time. Every frigging time.
Feeling so beaten down that you feel there is no other means of escaping the horrors of your lived experience except through chem sex.
Being told not to be too sensitive, to lighten up, because you can get married now.
Feeling lucky that you can get married in only one country in Africa, no country in Asia, four countries in South America, 32 countries in Europe and two in North America.
Knowing that even in those countries where same-sex marriage is recognized, legislation still does not protect you from bigots.