First Dates & Playing It Straight

Gay dating apps are inundated with “MASC4MASC” dude-bros screaming “no fats, no femmes, no blacks, no Asians’’. Except it’s more an Eric Video’s guttural growl rather than a scream, cuz y’know, that would be way too femme, and heaven forbid a man should display any femininity. Which leads me nicely to self-proclaimed reality TV ‘personality’ Daniel May, whose comments about ‘camp’ men have seen him rightfully critiqued on social media. 

 


“I really do believe certain gay men make it really hard for us gay guys who are not camp,” Daniel stated in an interview immediately following his disastrous dinner on Channel 4’s First Dates. A dinner where he told cutie Paolo that his penchant for wearing high heels wasn’t ‘’normal.”

“Unfortunately we still live in a world where being gay is not fully accepted and there are certain gay men out there that I cringe at and they make me embarrassed to be gay myself,” he continued.

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It’s one thing to state your “preference” for a man that likes sports, or has brown eyes, or can contour (it’s a skill that needs to be appreciated), it’s another to disguise your bigotry as “preference” and shame femme people.

The cisgender whitewashing of the recent “Stonewall” movie aside, history will tell you that femme and gender variant people are the ones that largely fought for the rights many gay men enjoy today. But we know that femme people are often thrown under the proverbial bus by those that hold the most societal power within the LGBT* acronym: cisgender white masc men who adhere to and enforce the rigid restraints of the gender binary and benefit from white supremacy and patriarchy.

 “It’s one thing to state your “preference” for a man that likes sports, or has brown eyes, or can contour (it’s a skill that needs to be appreciated), it’s another to disguise your bigotry as “preference” and shame femme people.”

As gay people won more legal and social rights, cisgender gay men began to distance themselves from their femme and trans “siblings” in the pursuit for assimilation. “We’re just like you’’, gay rights movements insisted, silencing the voices of those that don’t adhere to the hetero values that many gay people have embodied as they take their seat at the table that their sexuality otherwise denied them. Cisgender gay men like Daniel echo the sentiments of their hetero oppressors and disguise it as “preference”, ignoring that our “preferences” are not just innate but informed by social conditioning, Eurocentric beauty standards, and centuries of social oppressions like racism and misogyny.

Daniel went on to record a video where he apologised (topless, obvs, lol) but quickly backtracked and just further tried to pass off his ‘embarrassment’ of femme men as his “opinion.” It was pitiful to watch him as he sat there topless, displaying his gym honed physique in an attempt to appeal to his attentive audience of masc gays who would be dazzled by his pecs and overlook the underlying bigotry of his words. The comments were flooded with people who simply thought femme people were somehow “scorned” because he wasn’t attracted to them.

I’m a nice guy,” he stated as if ‘nice guys’ aren’t capable of upholding prejudices that further hurt and marginalize, as if his views don’t filter into real life violence for femme people. In a cruel twist of fate, Daniel was the victim of a homophobic attack a few days later. I wouldn’t wish harm on another member of the LGBT* community but as a friend said to me: “maybe he will think about the struggles and harassment effeminate men receive on a daily basis, and how the visibility he received from the show, is the same spotlight effeminate men are shot with when they sissy that walk.”

Daniel, and many like him who echo his sentiments, contribute to the harassment and abuse that femme people face on an almost daily basis. We need to challenge and rewrite our heteronormative views of gender and support our femme siblings. Don’t leave the rest of us behind just because you think the fight is over.

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