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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Straight-acting

“Straight-acting”

That’s the term most people use to refer to PLU who act like the traditional straight guy instead of the stereotypical homosexual. It’s a term that has a couple of things wrong with it: first, it assumes that those PLU are only trying to imitate straight guys. Second, it claims that certain behaviors “belong” to straight-dom and thus they should be acknowledged. Therefore, it is a term that supports discrimination and stereotyping. Despite this, it is also a label that many PLU strive to be under.

Being labeled as “straight-acting” has its benefits. The biggest of these, of course, is the so-called market value. We are men who like men, after all, so it just follows that our desirability is directly proportional to our masculinity.  Another big benefit is lesser discrimination. The closer we are to the norm, the less hostile society appears to be. Heterosexuality is still the norm and, in our case, straight-acting is as close as we’ll get.

People always suspected me to be gay when I was still in the closet. There were telltale signs, like I was never into sports, I didn’t dig the fratman brand of humor and I used words rather than fists when in a fight. In the midst of all the suspicion and the pressure from my friends to come out, I tried harder to act like my straight friends. It was really to convince myself more than anyone else that I was really straight.

I eventually learned to accept who I was. Ironically, while people strongly suspected me to be gay when I was still in denial, a lot of people I met after I came out could not believe that I was gay. But I was already out; I no longer needed to act in any way for anyone. I loosened up and, since then, I allowed myself to act and speak in whatever way I chose. “Tol” and “pare” became replaced with “friend”, “astig” was replaced with “sosyal” and “panalo”, and my movements were no longer awkwardly stiff. However, even after dropping all the pretensions, I was still not “gay enough”. It seemed that many of the straight-ish aspects that I labored to acquire were already drilled too tightly onto my system that they had already become who I was. I must admit, it felt good to be told that I looked straight and that I was manly. It somehow felt as if all the hard work I spent trying to be acceptable have paid off.

It’s been several years since I came out. I’ve since come to fully accept that I’m gay. I no longer pretend to be someone I’m not. I have been in three relationships. I have come out to my mom. I even joined an LGBT organization. But I’m ashamed to admit that I still like it whenever someone tells me that I’m “hindi halata”. In all my claims of being proud of my sexuality, even going as far as joining in the fight against discrimination, I’m still not brave enough to hold that flag with my head held high. In the end, a part of me still just wants to fit in and be like everybody else. That is why I still can’t bring myself to correct those PLU who pretend to be someone their not just so they can have their own little share of acceptance.

But this has to stop. I am not straight. People may mistake me for one, but I’m not.  I should stop feeling pleased for being desired or accepted for who I am perceived to be instead of who I really am. If I keep doing that, then I will live a sad life where every day is a quest for validation and false acceptance. I am gay, and that’s what I should be proud of.

24 comments:

  1. Hmm. Very affirming post. It reminded me of something I read a while back, about why some "out" people wanted to out closeted gay guys - all for the interest of other gay men.

    They reasoned that, for as long as there are closeted men, there would be no equal rights for gay men. Why? Because the closeted guys are enjoying the best of both worlds - a gay life, with the benefits of a straight persona. Outing them would force them to campaign for equal rights too. I know that's not your point. It's just something that I remembered after reading your post.

    But, most people don't think like you. It's one thing to be proud of who you are. It's another to be practical. One hopes that the two are one and the same. But they're not.

    I wish there would be more men like you. Heck, I wish I could be more like you. But I'm not. Maybe someday. Who knows?

    I wish you all the best. :)

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  2. does People Like Us really mean being straight acting and all that?

    i must have been mistaken. but you know what, there is nothing despicable on people mistaking your appearance as straight, because that's how you register on them. won't it be worse if you try to become someone who is not you? i mean, you need not to act or talk in a girly-fashion just for you to be credible on the advocacies that you are carrying with you.

    pa-plug:
    Isang Paglakbay (KK)

    salamat!

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  3. they're just luck that their testosterone levels are high..

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  4. As a rule, you tell you're straight-acting only to guys who are still in the closet.

    As for the rest, you drop the label and tell that person, you're a friend.

    In the end, actions and words speak louder than claims.

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  5. Jason, ummm naa-upset ka if people mistake you for a straight guy?

    How about those who are really straight, in every way, except the fact that they sleep with men?

    or can we just remove the labels?

    hay naku, bat ba ako parang warlatik ngayon.

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  6. whatever makes you tick nishigurl.
    whatever makes you comfortable.
    and personally i don't see anything wrong with feeling pleased if you're desired and accepted based on perception. of course we want to be accepted for who we really are, what we are but that's asking far too much.

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  7. Once naman kasi mapasama tayo sa grupo ng mga straight naaadapt natin yung ugali at kilos nila.

    I like this. :)

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  8. (Clap clap clap clap) Well done and well said. You're brave Nishiboy, and you've become a man. ;-)

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  9. "We're here, we're queer, get used to it!" Hehehe!

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  10. lol at last, natapos din, at naipost na rin. another mema comment hihi.

    ah wait, me naalala ako. remember when you were still "in the closet". we chat a lot and you told me not to tell anyone of you being gay. and...inaway ako lagi ni freakin ex dahil nagseselos sya sayo. lol that was so funny, i cant tell him...omg he is gay!!!

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  11. i super love this entry jayson. bravo!!! :)

    basta ako, KEBER. kung hindi mo trip ang kabaklaan ko, pwes, magpakamatay ka na. ganyan. LOL :P

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  12. We all have our preferences on how to deal with being a PLU. Pero, I always believe that labels will never define who we truly are. Kaya I guess kung saan siguro tayo mas komportable. Ewan. Siguro. Lol. :)

    Truth be told, I like this entry of yours. :)

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  13. I'm not going to try to fit in the stereotype. Like I said, this is who I am. I'm done trying to change for other people. What I'm saying is I should stop feeling proud for being thought of as straight. That's like saying that straight is better than gay. "Straight-acting" is a label. I should not treat it any differently from "effem" or "bakla". Otherwise, I wouldn't be truly fighting discrimination.

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  14. The hardest and most strenuous of trying to fit in is trying...

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  15. I think labeling came from self loathing which PLUs (we) created.

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  16. This is precisely why I detest labels. They have an overt way of simplifying, inequitably, a person's being into something as pedestrian as gender preference. We are more than this. Way more.

    And if we are not claim it, does that make us any less of a human being? Isn't brandishing it like a brand, makes one in a way branded? We can choose not to be a minority. Because, quite ironically, we never were.

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  17. I'm a girl and I burp loudly, curse like a sailor, use my teeth to open the plastic seal on top of water bottles, call people "dude/tol/pare".
    My point? Screw gender ideals! As human beings, we are far too complex to be put into a box which specifies how we ought to act based on our sex.

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  18. But we are all labeled whether we like or not.
    .
    .
    The thing is, I detest most the rampant discrimination within our circle. It's terrible!

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  19. I-affirm nating gay ka na hindi straight-acting. sadya lang na natural na yan ang kilos mo at sadya lang din talagang lalaki ang hanap mo.

    Good to see a few people are taking that word out of the LGBTTQI dictionary. Straight-acting? What the FACT is that?

    But you made me smile with your "Straight-acting" post.

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  20. I agree with Desole Boy.

    But it depends on the context. I now live in the province and the gay community here is very flambouyant and closely-tied. Colors everywhere. Straight-acting gays are discriminated, which is quite the contrary when you are in the city. The market here is all about getting straight boys. Gay to gay relationship is a taboo. The general public considers this a very expensive life as they think gays are paying the boys or whatnot, but I think it is more worthwhile than living your life trying to fit in a self-destructing label. And it's more expensive I guess. Buying good clothes than just wearing your mother's garments. Haha. Seriously, you don't have to straighten up your swishy demeanor to be more marketable, or be more accepted in the society. The society already knows our existence and trying to fit in doesn't make you like them.. Unless you have xtreme survival issues like violence.

    I think all this' rooted from the very nature of gay-to-gay relationship. It's not really about family/peer acceptance. Most of my city gay friends do effort to look manly as not to disappoint whoever they are meeting up with. And it is so sad to think that camaraderie is already in question by default through appearance and body language. And that defeats one point of coming out, which is to be yourself.

    This is a long, never ending issue. And also how often the word 'bisexual' means to most as 'straight-acting'..and not as the thing it is really about. how very sort of stupid. sorry for venting in a long comment :)

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