17 Myths & Stereotypes About Gay Men That Need To Be Dispelled | Emily Bashforth

17 Myths & Stereotypes About Gay Men That Need To Be Dispelled


Stereotypes exist. You'll encounter them daily and will use them yourself, many have probably been ingrained into your brain for as long as you've been alive, therefore, you may not know anything different. However, stereotypes are a real issue and are becoming increasingly harmful as society progresses.
A minority group which falls victim to stereotypes frequently is the gay male community. Countless stereotypes regarding their personality, interests and lifestyles have been around for God knows how long and its about time we start destroying them. Stereotypes play a role in the dehumanising and decharacterisation of the gay community and it is vital that we challenge them in order to create a more equal, accepting and, more importantly, safe society. Whilst some members of the LGBTQ+ community may choose to stereotype themselves and use stereotypes innocently, that doesn't make it acceptable for outsiders to use stereotypes in a homophobic, discriminatory way. Stereotypes have given people false perceptions of gay men for years and the fact that they are still so prevalent is having a detrimental impact on members of that marginalised group.
Of course, stereotypes can't just be dispelled overnight, however, we must start somewhere. Below is a list of problematic myths surrounding the gay male community. If we put the stereotypes out on the table and make ourselves aware of what they are, we can take one step closer to living in a world without them. We must first acknowledge them and then commit to destroying them.

1) Gay men are "feminine"
But what even is femininity anymore? The lines between femininity and masculinity are becoming increasingly more blurred as time passes and the idea of a 'real woman' or a 'real man' is dying out. If a male chooses to express himself in a way which you may view as stereotypically feminine, whether that's via his clothing, his speech, his hairstyle, his personality or his interests, there is no correlation between that and his sexuality. Femininity and sexuality are not remotely linked. Expressing oneself in a stereotypically feminine way is okay and whilst some men choose to do so, many do not, therefore, assuming all gay men display the same behaviour is problematic. It can be extremely damaging to both openly gay and closeted gay men.

2) Gay men are basically women
I mean...no? They're men.

3) Gay men only have female friends
I mean, I'm not a gay man, however, I'm pretty sure that gay men do not choose their friends based solely on their gender. Some gay men may choose to have all female friends, just like some straight women only have female friends. Some gay men may only have all male friends, just as some straight men do. It's all down to personal preference and just who get on with. Plenty of gay men have plenty of male friends, it really isn't a big deal.

4) Gay men are gossips
There seems to be a stereotype that gay men are just bitchy guys who love a good gossip, however, I'm unsure of how being a gossip is just linked with homosexuality? Heterosexual men are just as capable of gossipping as gay men are and I do not doubt that they enjoy it just as much. Everyone is partial to a bit of goss every now and again, regardless of their sexuality. Some just may be better at it than others.

5) Gay men are inferior to straight men
I'm struggling to know where to start with this one. No social group is inferior to another and it is because of the stereotypes that exist around gay men that the stereotype that they are inferior actually exists. Just because the male gay community are considered a minority, that doesn't mean they are deserving of unfair treatment or are any less valuable than straight men and, should a straight man have an issue with a gay man, surely the straight man is the issue? Not the gay one.

6) Gay men are obsessed with taking care of their appearance
There's a myth that gay men seem to be appearance obsessed. Apparently, they love grooming themselves by plucking their eyebrows, shaving, having an excessive skincare and haircare routine etc, but surely that's just a personal choice? Many gay men aren't as bothered about their appearance as you may think but some just may like to look after themselves a little more but it isn't because they're gay. Many straight men take just as much pride in their appearance as gay men do. When a straight man goes to the gym seven days a week to work on his abs, we don't say its "because he's straight," instead we applaud him for wanting to be fit and healthy, therefore, why should we treat gay men any differently? Personal hygiene and sexuality are definitely not linked.

7) Gay men are promiscuous and sex obsessed
Apparently, gay men are incapable of monogamy and want to hook up with every guy who looks at them, which is totally erroneous. A straight man isn't interested in every woman in the same way that a gay man isn't interested in every man. Like anyone on the planet, gay men are only drawn to certain types of men who are attractive to them in some way and it is absurd to believe that gay men are incapable of having a loving relationship and staying fully committed to one individual. This myth is incredibly damaging to the image of gay men and instills fear within heterosexual men who assume they can't be around gay men as they are unable to control their desires.

8) Every gay man has HIV/AIDS
The virus HIV, which leads to AIDS, can affect anybody, regardless of their sexuality. There really isn't anything left to say. Stay safe during sex to prevent the risk of HIV, no matter who you're attracted to. Besides, did you know that gay men can't even give blood?

9) Homosexuality stems from absence of a father figure
Homosexuality is often linked with a boy growing up without a father yet this is not proven and there is no evidence to suggest that a child's relationship with their parents has a direct impact on their sexuality.

10) Gay men can't raise a child properly
Yet another preposterous claim. The notion that two men cannot raise a child as well as a man and a woman can is obscene as a child does not require a mother and a father in order to prosper in life. What's important is that a child is taught the correct values and is raised by loving parents in a safe environment, not the sexuality of their carers. There is no evidence to suggest that the thousands of children raised by same sex couples have been harmed as a result of it. Besides, a man and a woman can make terrible parents, just in the way that two men can. How good a person is at taking care of a child has nothing to do with their sexuality. Also, if a child is raised by two dads, I suppose at least they won't grow up to be as homophobic as the people who think having two fathers is a bad idea.

11) There's always a 'man' and a 'woman' in the relationship
The idea that there's always a 'man' and a 'woman' figure in a gay relationship baffles me because, surely, the idea is that, well, they're both the man? Or am I missing the point entirely here? Because we're raised to automatically think of a relationship as one man + one woman, many seem to assume these gender roles must apply within a same sex couple too - one has to be more masculine and one should be more feminine. Well, the truth is, a relationship doesn't need to have the binary opposition of a male and a female to work out and the idea that they do is extremely archaic.

12) Gay men don't like sports
There's a stereotype that sports are exclusive to straight men, when that couldn't be further from the truth. Granted, not all gay men enjoy sports, but all straight men do not either. What interests us does not define our sexuality, it's just about what you like. If a gay man likes sports, that's cool, if he doesn't, that's cool too but, either way, he shouldn't be judged.

13) All gay men love the theatre
Following on from the sports thing, some gay men love the theatre, just in the same way that some absolutely hate it. Everyone has varied interests and homosexual men are no different. 

14) Gay men love hitting on straight guys
Surely this is just some fantasy that straight guys have as they assume any guy who is attracted to guys is automatically attracted to them? Well, I hate to break it to you, but they aren't. As previously mentioned, gay men are only attracted to certain types of men and, chances are, if you aren't reciprocating the attraction, they're going to stay well clear of you.

15) Gay men are weak and delicate
Again, no evidence. Sexuality does not determine strength and I'm sure a lot of gay men could lift heavier loads with their pinky fingers than straight men. Gay men enjoy working out and being strong as much as anyone may. Some are delicate and weak, but so are some straight men.

16) Gay men are well dressed
Well, yes, a lot of them are, as are a lot of straight men...and straight women...and gay women...your sexuality does not determine how you dress. Once you come out of the closet you don't automatically become a fashionista, like, gay men aren't literally in the closet. Some people just generally dress nicer than others and, besides, if sexuality was directly linked with having good fashion sense, there'd probably be a lot more "gay men" out there.

17) Gay men are the root of all evil in the world
No.

You are worth more than the stereotypes people attach to you.

What stereotypes do you think we need to dispel? <3

Love, Emily :) xx

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