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Comment: The bullied become the bullies: Bullying within the LGBT community

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  1. when I read the title of this article I thought it might have an interesting point to make – unfortunately, it’s another one of these self-loathing, paranoid ramblings that have been prevalent lately. You “don’t feel gay”. If you are attracted to men, you feel gay. You feel you are being cruelly picked apart in gay clubs, could this be paranoia? I doubt everyone feels like that. Sigh.

    1. I agree with you Adam, nothing of interest here.

      1. QED, i am tempted to say. A young man expresses his feelings about being judged and dismissed by the gay scene and your comments are…judgemental and dismissive. I think his later comments about over-sensitivity to homophobia is an entirely different debate, and I don’t necessarily agree with them, but I can understand where he is coming from with finding it hard to ‘fit in’ to the scene, in your 20s.

        1. anyone who goes out to a gay club and feels the way this author felt is doing it to themselves. you can choose to go out and pay no attention to the ppl around you that you do not know, and have a great time with your friends. what this article tells me is he spent more time doing what he accused everyone else of doing thus he felt he was also being judged. if you stand around judging ppl you will feel judged. if you ignore or just simply do your own thing and be yourself you won’t feed into that paranoia or judgmental attitude. yes there are judgmental gays out there, just like there are judgmental heteros. you make the choice to stand with them and be subject to them or to simply ignore them. anyone who is judging you is not worth your time anyway, so why would you pay them any mind.

  2. I couldn’t take it seriously when he started trying to defend the use of the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative.

    Absolutely ridiculous.

  3. There are not straight bars and gay bars. There are bars, some of which are gay bars.

    Many people go to gay venues to meet people for relationships or sex. The sort of objectification you are experiencing is the same as what women experience almost everywhere, it just doesn’t happen much to us because women tend to do it less often and we are not often surrounded by gay men.

    I disagree with the idea that using “gay” as a synonym for “rubbish” is not homophobic. Even if it’s not intended as homophobic, it creates an atmosphere that says being gay is a bad thing. I find it hurtful even coming from people who I know are not consciously homophobic.

    1. normally, I just give a “thumbs up”, but just this once, I have to say: couldn’t agree more!

    2. Totally agree. Ask a straight woman if she feels more comfortable in a gay club or a straight one, or where she feels more like “a piece of meat, judged, scrutinised and made to feel horribly uncomfortable.”

      And we should get over the use of ‘gay’ to mean ‘rubbish’? Just like jewish people should get over the use of ‘jewish’ to mean ‘stingy’ and people with cerebral palsy should get over the use of ‘spastic’ to mean ‘stupid’.

      1. I feel the same Sean. Many a time I have pulled up my niece and nephews on the usage of the word and they seem to now understand how it upsets me and seem to no longer use it.

  4. Paul Brownsey 5 Mar 2013, 4:32pm

    “…on the other hand, in gay clubs and bars I have felt that constantly, everything; my clothes, my appearance, my attractiveness (or lack thereof), my speech, the way I carry myself, and who I’m with, are being cruelly picked apart.

    Anywhere else I can feel safe and just be myself; in gay clubs, generally, I feel like a piece of meat, judged, scrutinised and made to feel horribly uncomfortable.”

    Is that *bullying*? Is it really fair to liken queeny waspishness to the beatings-up and other torments that get inflicted on gay kids at school?

    1. Yeh like I said it’s just a load of bitching and moaning about a community he doesn’t much like…..I got far worse when I was a kid in school! What all that get’s down to is people. People will always look at all those things and judge, regardless of gay, or straight or alien! lol

  5. soapbubble 5 Mar 2013, 4:45pm

    I agree with Adam and David. I’m afraid that he comes across as one of those type of gay men who find even the slightest trace of effeminacy or camp somehow offensive, and who pride themselves on being indistinguishable from a stereotypical straight man (football, drinking with the ‘ladz’, etc.). I fall into the opposite camp. Most of my friends are intelligent professional straight women and a handful of gay men. Unless someone actually insults you verbally, which, let’s be honest, unless they are nuts or drunk, is highly unlikely, you really don’t know what people are thinking about you in a bar. Take the view that they are thinking something positive rather than negative. However, there is a marked difference between the bars and clubs of London, and the gay scene in other cities and towns, particularly the pubs, which feel more ‘straight’ to me. I disagree with the idea that the pejorative usage of ‘gay’ is not harmful. The context of how and when gay is used is important.

    1. I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that the author thinks negatively of effeminacy, it is more likely he simply prefers the company of the “stereotypical straight man”. He likely sees the “bitchy” stereotype in gay men at the clubs and dislikes this attitude, with this piece trying to highlight how it can be exclusionary to others, such as himself, in terms of the community and atmosphere in gay bars.

      However, I do disagree with the assessment that the use of ‘gay’ and such terms as pejorative slang is not harmful, if children are taught that the term gay is negative, what else are they to think when they hear of gay people?

  6. Not a very good article, with more than a hint of projection to it.

    I’ve met some odious people in the (particularly male) gay community. I used to go out on the ‘scene’ with my last partner (it was more his thing than mine) and the reaction I got to the fact I was dating a man who maybe wasn’t conventionally attractive drew near universal incredulity. I’ve also been assaulted in a Newcastle gay club on one occasion and avoided the scene for a long time due to the toxic atmosphere.

    There again, I’ve had homophobic abuse in a working men’s club and would probably have experienced a lot more of it if I outed myself more often.

    You are just making a sweeping, ill-informed generalisation from your own experience as a ‘straight-acting’ male. Maybe you think the word ‘gay’ as a slur is not homophobic. Is that in the same way the words ‘spastic’ and ‘mong’ are not offensive to the developmentally disabled and ‘chav’ is not a class-based slur, rape jokes are not misogynistic, etc.

  7. Paul Brownsey 5 Mar 2013, 4:58pm

    “…on the other hand, in gay clubs and bars I have felt that constantly, everything; my clothes, my appearance, my attractiveness (or lack thereof), my speech, the way I carry myself, and who I’m with, are being cruelly picked apart.

    “Anywhere else I can feel safe and just be myself; in gay clubs, generally, I feel like a piece of meat, judged, scrutinised and made to feel horribly uncomfortable.”

    Is this really *bullying*? Queenly bitchery can be unpleasant but it doesn’t seem right to compare it with the beatings-up and other torments that gay kids can go through in school.

  8. “…in gay clubs, generally, I feel like a piece of meat, judged, scrutinised and made to feel horribly uncomfortable. It is true that I feel more welcome and more at home on a football stand – even with my partner – than anywhere near a gay bar. It is a sad state of affairs indeed when I can’t consider my own community, which I want desperately to identify with, as a friendly, safe place to be.” I’m afraid this is often spot on. It is a supreme irony that many gay bars make one feel this way. I would add, however, that mundo is also correct: this is just the sort of objectivication that straight women have at the hands of straight men every day.
    I think, however, that the gay community has more need, generally, than the straight community to group together, and thus to create an environment in which people feel at ease. This is changing, as gay people become more integrated into the family and form families.

    1. ‘objectivication that straight women have at the hands of straight men every day’.

      Not just straight women but lesbians too – it’s even worse if they know you’re a lesbian.

      1. Yes it it…”You want a bit of this?” * groping his groin* “You need a real man, that’s all!” *shudders* vile!!!

  9. Firstly, being a “real” man/woman does not lie in whom you are attracted to. If you don’t recognize yourself a “real man” due to your sexuality then it is your issue, better not to generalize it for all gay/bi men. How you can comment about bullying when you initially label other people in LGBT community based on you wrong realization?
    Secondly, although I agree with you that gay scene can be sometimes judgmental or even cruel, I strongly disagree with the idea of underestimating homophobic behavior that LGBTs are exposed to in their day to day life.
    I appreciate your personal experience but not the way you addressed the issue.

  10. Brett Gibson 5 Mar 2013, 5:16pm

    While it’s true a lot of people don’t necessarily use the word ‘gay’ in relation to homosexuals, often if you ask them to elaborate you’ll get ‘you shag men’. People need to stop using this word as an insult, fortunately most people grow up after school and realise it’s immature.

  11. How comfortable are you kissing and cuddling your partner in straight environments? Personally I can handle a bitchy comment about my clothes a lot easier than a hateful stare or threat due to much more important aspects of myself.

    1. Harlequin 6 Mar 2013, 2:59pm

      In my personal experience (admittedly mostly in London) I’ve never felt particularly uncomfortable about cuddling or even kissing my partners in non-specifically-gay/homosexual public environments.

      1. I read about a young woman who was attacked by another woman as she got off the buss. The reason being she was showing affection to her girlfriend and this woman took offence. That was in the UK. London is very cosmopolitan and so people tend (though not always) to be excepted.

        Look what happened in the US in California to those two guys who kissed one another on their cheeks!

  12. To be fair to the writer, he did say this is all from his own personal experiences.

    People in gay bars/clubs will look at what you’re wearing and how you look, it’s called checking you out. I think “judging” is a bit of a strong word and more indicative of your own insecurities than a factual representation of what goes on.

    There are some terribly silver tongued nightmares on the scene, but there are some dreadful chavvy twats always looking for a fight in the straight places. You might pass as a straight boy everywhere, but people like myself get stared at…and stared at… until about 10.30 when everyone’s had a few drinks, then they feel the need to come over, and I end up getting thrown out for starting a fight. It happens like clockwork. Some of us therefore prefer gay clubs, it just means it takes an extra hour to get ready so the judges have no ammunition ;)

  13. I think you are comparing “gay community” to “gay night clubs” which are nowhere nere the same thing.

  14. I would disagree, but I am a little confused. The use of the word bullying – who is doing the picking apart. People you know in the venue, if not I think its something else. And something else again if a stranger decides to act on their assumed dislike of you. For it to be bullying I would have thought you have to be trapped in a situation with the person; school or work for example.

    I’m not sure what the use of “gay” has to do with the headline. When I see the results of what I’m good at I like to think thats gay. :) But that’s besides the point the “straights” control plenty of words, unfortunately this post couldn’t survive if I listed them.

    Just because we’re gay does not mean we’re all on the same wavelength. I’m not saying bullying doesn’t happen in the gay community. I’m sure there are some unhealthy dislikes out there.

  15. Dreadful article that lays down its agenda in its very first paragraph. It would appear to be full of loathing for the gay scene. I myself do not attend gay nightclubs, or any nightclubs for that matter, as I feel more comfortable in a pub. The article then loses its way by defending homophobic language, which the writer possibly experiences but finds it acceptable in his world for the reasons he lists.
    Good luck finding yourself Mr McAlpine

  16. Rest assured the problem does not lie with you, Stuart, but the gay “identity” as a construct, or rather its inability to accept anyone individually self-expressed:- ie. who cannot be placed into convenient boxes marked “twink”, “muscle boy”, “fashionista”, “bear”, etc.

    The gay identity – manifested in what we call the scene – is unconsciously intolerant and judgemental and often seen to embrace fascistic codes of conformity as it seeks to mould and claim, as its own, impressionable incomers into its various aforementioned cliques and tribes.

    If you don’t fit into any of these categories/niches or simply resist the pressure to change your identity to conform to the gay identity’s unspoken codes, you will in such environments be met with frozen stares and acid tongues but find solace in others, often the few like yourself.

    It’s a damning indictment and irony of the gay “identity” that many of us would lead far happier lives remainig in the closet with the door firmly shut.

    1. My girlfriend and I feel the same thing – neither of us fit neatly into any of the lesbian cliques and sub-culture labels. We feel judged going to girls events because we don’t look like all the other girls in the room.

  17. I don’t agree with this at all. It’s true there is bullying within the gay community – but from this article I got the impression that you’re acting like one of the bullies you claim to hate, Stuart. You’re dismissing people’s valid feelings. Homophobia is still a big problem and people deserve to be listened to when they have issues, not laughed at and brushed aside as “paranoid”. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away. And like it or not, words like ‘gay’, ‘f*g’ etc that are used in a negative way are done so because they are linked to being gay which is seen as something negative, which IS homophobic. Seriously, why don’t you go and talk to some other people in the community, people who aren’t the judgemental types you described in your article. You’ll see the problems are real and regularly occurring. Something has to be done about it.

  18. Fellow Queer 6 Mar 2013, 10:49am

    Horrible writer. The topic had potential because I’ve seen bullying within the queer community too, but…so many commas.

    1. you’re right. besides the ridiculous point he’s trying to make, it’s too long and badly written. It’s a pet hate of mine, all these people who want to wear the badge of ‘writer’ and doing so by targeting website which will seemingly publish anything

  19. I’m straight acting and all the nasty femmy gays are picking on me wah wah wah

  20. two words: internalized homophobia

  21. WordsmithNeil 6 Mar 2013, 1:10pm

    I read this and can’t see any actual claims of bullying.

    What I see is how uncomfortable someone feels in a ‘traditional’ gay setting such as a gay bar.

    That says less about the other people around (and I’m not denying there’s probably some vile behaviour there – just like in almost any social situation) and more about the writer.

    Perhaps the writer needs to examine why he feels this way.

  22. I feel as if the negative comments in relation to this article have proved Stuart’s point. I do not care for stereotypes, people should feel free to be whoever they want to be. The term “Straight Acting”, which was used here before, is quite offensive. For a community who rails against the use of the word “Gay” being used as an insult, can you not see that you are falling into the same trap?

    Implying that somebody is acting just because they do not have the same interests as many in the LGBT community is damaging to a great deal of people. I am Bisexual, and I don’t feel as if this precludes me from commenting, although I am sure there will be some who say it does. When I go to a football match, or watch one in a bar, I don’t feel as if I am acting. It is quite insensitive to suggest that this is just a problem in Stuart’s head. People can choose not to care, but they could also choose to avoid trying to shout down somebodies opinion piece.

    1. Harlequin 6 Mar 2013, 3:08pm

      Indeed. Perhaps people like us might be better described as ‘bi-acting’ (although I personally am hardly ever attracted to females) because we’re not ‘gay-acting’ or trying to ‘act straight’.

  23. I felt that this article initially had some potential in discussing our communal gay spaces as being superficial & judgemental & therefore self-attacking of people like us who aren’t young and beautiful i.e. Our shared experiences should lead us to embrace and tolerate the whole rainbow of diversity. His argument pretty much lost its aay when he started to become an apologist for homophobic language. We all acknowledge that language evolves, but we all have a responsibility to help define and protect meanings of words and it’s very hard to argue that using the word gay is not homophobic when the user intends its meaning to equate to being crap. Of course this has evolved from our own appropriation of the word as our own but it has evolved from the playground bullying environment where youngsters austrasise anything different. Even if someone uses this word with no ill intent it still is harmful, especially to those still in the process of self acceptance. To deny this is wrong.

    1. It appears that the writer of the article is more comfortable with himself in a “straight” environment, and with his apologist comments about homophobic language I can’t help but concur that there is a degree of internalised homophobia going on and projection of the whole gay scene and community as “other” and he is happier wearing his “straight” clothing. The gay community has many flaws but as gay men and women we have to still embrace it in its flaws, whether we choose to be active in it or not. It has been the actions of gay men and women, bitchy or not, that have enabled him to be out and for his straight friends to be accepting. This process didn’t take place in a vacuum. And although I can definitely accept that some in the gay community can be unaccepting of those who don’t fit tge narrow mould I would be surprised if he personally has been on the recieving end of what was suggested by the article. If he has been the recipient of all this unwarranted abuse while on the scene

      1. Then my apologies, but its not been my experience.

    2. Harlequin 6 Mar 2013, 3:24pm

      As Mr McAlpine wrote, ‘To me there is the world of difference between “gay” and “gay”, even more still with “Gay!” or even “Gay bastard!” we all know when we’re being attacked because we know that context is key – it is context that tells us what is racist, anti-Semitic or, indeed, homophobic: context, not the words themselves.’

      I know plenty of homosexual people who use the word ‘gay’ in the sense of ‘rubbish’ with no more intent to express hatred or fear of homosexuality than most heterosexual youngsters who use the term in that way (although I do feel that such usage can, albeit unintentionally, support a cultural debasing of homosexual people). Similarly, I often describe myself as a ‘poof’.

      1. it hasn’t proven any point, because he unfortunately is not sure what point he is trying to make. The article is overlong, rambling, at times vague and full of justification, which, if his ‘point’ had any merit, would be unnecessary. He’s a student and will be calling himself a ‘published writer’ now. I just wish the gay news websites would be more discerning in what they choose to publish.

      2. and these gay people you know who use ‘gay’ to mean something bad, really should know better. Just because they do it doesn’t make it right. Calling yourself a poof is an entirely different matter, since its akin to claiming the insult as our own to counteract the bullying, much like black people have done.

        1. Harlequin 7 Mar 2013, 7:55pm

          What, precisely, do you mean by “know better” in this context? They just accept that the word means different things depending on context. BTW, isn’t the term ‘black’ often considered racist in the U.S. these days, the proclaimed non-bigoted term being ‘African-American’? How dare you spread your hatred in these forums ;)

    3. Harlequin 6 Mar 2013, 3:25pm

      I would be far more offended by someone calling me ‘homosexual’ in an aggressive tone than by a friend calling me a ‘faggot’. Intent and context are generally far more important than words considered in isolation, just as failure to support a homosexual perspective is not in itself ‘homophobia’ by any definition I have yet encountered.

  24. In my brief time in the party scene in my late 30s (I stared very late), one guy would look me up and down, then turn and walk away. The next guy, would be all over me. I found it amusing in it’s complete randomness. Yes, there are gays who completely judge others on physical appearance – something that says more about them, then it does about you. You’ll never be truly happy/content until you like yourself – warts and all. As for those superficial gays – honestly, when you scratch the surface, they are the most insecure/sad people, you’ll ever meet.

  25. Jason Brown 6 Mar 2013, 3:36pm

    It started off ok but then he went off and said using gay as an insult isn’t homophobic.

    Gay pubs/clubs vary quite a lot, maybe he should try a different place, I’ve been to a club which I felt uncomfortable in but I’ve also been to a pub which I thought was great.

  26. Samuel B. 6 Mar 2013, 9:31pm

    “Straight-acting” as a self-described term is a railing against the many gay stereo-types that insecure, follow-the-herd gays adopt so as to fit in and not stand out as individualised, self-expressed – ie. so-called “straight-acting” – people.

    Gay as a construct demands visibility and conformity to its unspoken codes, and reveals itself in full bloom when various cliques and cadres take aspects of their identity to extremes:- as witnessed in the various caricatured manifestations often seen in environments where drugs and booze are flowing.

    The very fact that many gay-defined men find such behaviour – and the judgmental and bitchy attitudes that often accompany it – alien and something they don’t identify with propels them to reject that aspect of the gay lifestyle and use the term “straight-acting” as a device to meet others who similarly abhor those who unconsciously parody what mainstream society considers gay culture to be all about.

    In that respect we’re our own worse enemies.

  27. As I read though this it felt as if the author was just having one big moan and bitch at a community HE doesn’t feel he fits in!

    He rambles on what he feels we shouldn’t feel offended by etc. Well fine, some kid yelling “You’re so gay!” doesn’t bother you. I am glad you are so shallow that you cannot see that it does others.

    It’s not ok to call someone nig**r, or spaz, but it’s ok to use the word gay in an offensive manner!

    And personally I don’t want to see a gay bar filled with straight people. I have no problems when someone whose gay fetches some straight friends, siblings etc…But I do have a problem with groups of straight people who thinks it’ll be a giggle.

    One of the biggest problems for any gay person is finding someone. It’s not so easy in the usual “straight” bar because the chances are almost everyone is straight. Chances are far far less in a gay bar!

  28. Christopher in Canada 7 Mar 2013, 12:28am

    He’ll never be assaulted in a gay bar.

  29. The use of Gay as a slur isn’t a harmless ‘evolution of language’. It is based in a highly offensive syllogism, the use of which reinforces negative views of the gay community. To whit, when you use Gay as a synonym for “Crap” what you are actually saying is:

    You = Homosexual,
    Homosexual = Bad,
    Therefore by the transitive property:
    You = Bad.

    This is a highly pernicious cultural meme which we must do our utmost to counteract.

    There is a bullying culture within some aspects of the Gay Community. Biphobia for instance is a real problem that needs to be addressed.

    But to complain about feeling scrutinised when you go to a place, one of the primary functions of which is to facilitate romantic encounters, trivialises real bullying experiences that require actual action.

  30. I think this article is interesting in so far as that you define straight guys as one thing and gay as another in terms of how they act. It reminds me of a few gay male friends I know that are a bit afraid of what they consider to be the gay scene and I notice are somewhat internally homophobic / have issues to deal with / made up problems. In my experience anyways.

  31. I started reading this with interest, then I just saw nothing but a dislike for gay people and some kind of underlying superiority that the author felt for being so “mainstream” that’s so paki of him … oh sorry that’s not racist I’m just giving it nigga style don’t rip apart my language and see hate where there is none. I’m quite sure if I were being serious there people could see that as clearly being racist as much as calling something shit gay is homophobic

  32. Why is it that when straight people make derogatory comments about gay people, everyone is up in arms and says that society is homophobic? When gay people make similar pejorative comments, people make apologies for it by calling it a generalization from a small sample of bad applies. You can’t have it both ways.

  33. Do all straight guys get on? No. Do all gay guys get on? No. This notion of a “gay community” where everyone gets along is a daft mythical construct. It’s a form of ghetto-isation and the day it ends will be a good day for equality.

  34. Nothing wrong with using gay’ as a pejorative. It’s time we stopped being so jewish about it.

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