Stuff Gay People Like: Frequently-Asked Questions
January 1, 2011 | 8:00 am
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 4:02 pm)
I’ve gone over the basis of what Stuff Gay People Like – and answer some questions you may have about it – in about in a previous entry, about this blog. But I still get a lot of questions and concerns about what I’m doing here, and I’ll try to answer as best I can.
What’s the main purpose of the column?
First and foremost, it’s for fun. Occasionally, I hope it is informative to some people. I don’t think I’m saying “gay people like all these things,” but if you’ve noticed that a lot of gay people like something, and then you see a post about it, I hope to put some context behind what you’re observing. I try to make light of a lot of things people criticize in the gay community, I debunk some stereotypes (like ideas that gay people are all similar, or always agree with each other), and some that aren’t totally false and damaging I’ll run with.
I try to be aware of how I’m making fun of people. Most of all I like making fun of myself. Secondarily, I’ll make fun of the people in the LGBT community who are usually mocking everybody else; guys who see themselves as “str8-acting” and bash “effeminate” men, guys who have disdain for the “gay scene” and guys who see everyone else in two-dimensional ways.
I also try to call out issues with race and gender that sometimes pop up among gay men. There are also issues with masculinity, money and class. I hope that people have a fun read while also being challenged to think in new ways, and I hope people who are often slighted by other gay men are validated by Stuff Gay People Like.
So do you really think gay men act like all the things on the list?
Stuff Gay People Like is about trends – stuff you may see here and there – and maybe a few elements that are more ingrained in the culture over the long-term. I don’t think that any one gay guy shows more than 1/3 of the traits on the list.
How about you? Do you like all the Stuff Gay People Like according to the column?
I try to be funny and it’s easier to make fun of things that I take part in myself. But like any one person, I don’t think I am personally described more than 1/3 of the things in the list. (I’m not gonna say which ones.)
How do you feel about the gay community in general? I don’t like the gay community and I love how you rip it apart!
That’s not my goal at all. The gay community/scene/world is extremely important to a lot of us, and for some people it’s the only refuge if they’ve lost ties to their families or hometowns for being gay. I think internalized anti-gay attitudes are among the worst things found we deal with and something I make fun of the most; I hope by poking fun at ourselves we can be a little comfortable with ourselves.
Do you hate organized religion?
I grew up Catholic and I’m Unitarian Universalist, and am very welcoming to anybody’s self-definition whether it be religious or regarding something else. I make a lot of fun of Unitarians in a few places in the blog, because like I said it’s easier to make fun of what you are. Of course there are some elements in organized religions that have been very bad for gay people, and we all know about that already.
In the post “SGPL: Claiming They’re Bisexual” a couple folks were concerned about, I was careful to point out that male bisexuality does exist. (I don’t “think” it exists, it just does. Fact.) There are also some gay guys who “fake” bisexuality because they think being bisexual defines them as “more masculine” than a gay guy or “more open-minded” than a gay guy. I own up to the concerns that my disclaimer – that bisexuality is real, and that people are owed some respect when they say so – came late in the column.
There is also definitely “biophobia” in the gay scene, and I hope that giving gay guys some clarity to their frustration with someone who identifies as bisexual will help them stop generalizing all bi-identified men and realize that what one guy did or one guy said doesn’t apply to everyone. It can be really obnoxious for a gay guy to put up with homophobic accusations from a guy who identifies as bi, especially that guy is his boyfriend – a lot of us have been there. Alternately, it can be really obnoxious for a bisexual guy to have a boyfriend who thinks he’s lying about it – a lot of bisexual guys have been there too. I think everyone needs to be more accepting of self-definitions, identities and claims of experience from other people, and we need to clear that no orientation is superior to any other.
Some of your entries that are more political sound preachy.
Well nothing is for everyone. I’m glad you felt challenged by something, and if you want to challenge me back with an email or argument, you know how to reach me. I’m all ears.
Why is it that your column is only about gay men, and how come it’s not titled “Stuff Gay Men Like” instead?
“Stuff Gay Men Like” isn’t as catchy, and isn’t as good as a parody of Stuff White People Like. In my age group “gay” usually refers to men but, but since starting the column I’ve found that in older generations a lot of lesbians called themselves “gay women” (a few younger ones do too). I’ve considered making posts about lesbians, but since I’m not one I figure it wouldn’t be as funny and would instead come across kind of rude. Like I will keep saying, make fun of yourself first.
How come you haven’t covered the obvious topics like “anal sex” and “drag queens” and “San Francisco”?
Because they’re boring. Too obvious, or too easy. Plus, I like to make most of my posts about things that are slightly different from the stereotypical interests of gay men, because I would rather challenge stereotypes than reinforce them.
Do you think your blog topics reinforce stereotypes for homophobic people who don’t read it closely?
Homophobic people will cling to stereotypes regardless of what they read; they will walk into a gay venue and see every single thing as reinforcing what they already say is true. Here “homophobic” includes a lot of gay men who have internalized issues with being gay. We can’t live our lives paranoid about these people, we have to be able to enjoy ourselves and be open and have fun.
Is Stuff Gay People Like more for straight readers or gay readers?
It’s mostly for gay people and their closest friends, roommates and family – but I keep all our allies in mind when I’m writing. I don’t really see it as a blog attempting to educate anti-gay readers. First, I doubt they really want to hear from me or other gay people, and second, I don’t think they’re very open to changing their mind.
I liked your blog at first but something in it offended me.
I am very interested in feedback, especially from people who think something is problematic. I definitely take opinions into account when it comes to the direction of columns I continue to write, and have used feedback to influence my direction in the past. If you are interested enough to go back and read some of the older entries, you will probably notice that the tone and style changed a lot after the first 15 or so. Obviously, your comments are a lot more helpful if you have read the whole post you are talking about and not just the title. I take emails at email@example.com. I read all of them.