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Acting Straight
By Josh Aterovis

I recently watched the first season of the hit Logo series Noah's Arc on DVD. While I doubt there are any Emmy nominations in the show's near future, it's really sweet and entertaining. I count myself among its fans now. One of the things that most impressed me was the way it didn't shy away from tackling tough subjects with unflinching honesty. One of the topics raised was the way gay men have a tendency to worship the heterosexual image. In white culture, it's the whole Abercrombie model obsession. In the African-American culture, they call them homothugs.

That got me thinking about how often I hear someone gay use the expression "straight-acting" to describe another gay man. The more I thought about it, the more offensive it became. I'm sure I've been guilty of using it in the past, but more recently, I've come to realize just how damaging the term can be -- both within and outside the LGBT community.

CowboyHow does one even act straight? Is there one prescribed way to be heterosexual? And why would a gay person even want to act straight? Possibly because the flip side of acting straight would be acting gay.

Ask your average Joe on the street what it means to act gay and you're likely to get a laundry list of gay stereotypes: limp wrist, lisp, obsession with appearance, flamboyant, and effeminate, maybe with a few "you go, girls" thrown in for good measure. Do I know any gay people who fit that description? Sure. But I know even more who don't. The truth is there are as many ways to act gay as there are to act straight. It's the stereotypes that scare some people, though.

I used to date a guy who could easily have been described as straight acting. By his nature, he was very masculine: liked guns and cars, played in a death-metal band, and always dressed in a sloppy-casual style that was as far from the typical "gay style" as you could get. He had a sweet, sensitive side, but he viewed it as more of a weakness than anything. On more than one occasion, I heard him make extremely homophobic remarks. It always bothered me, but I was still struggling with finding my own identity at the time, so I never made an issue of it.
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