I know that I start many of my posts this way, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately…
Yes, I know that I’m always thinking a lot. But I’ve been thinking about something specific: gender roles.
Ever since I was a little boy I’ve known that I was different (fuck, here comes the cliché). I wasn’t that different in the sense that I was any better or worse than the majority, but I was just not really like the majority of kids my age. Especially the boys. As I got older it became more and more apparent. I wasn’t rough and tough like the other boys. I liked arty things. And I liked other boys.
I do not think, however, that my sexuality really has so much to do with my personality. After all, there are so many gay men who are very masculine and sporty, so to say that being gay is a factor sounds a bit silly. Truth be told, the only people who should really be concerned with your sexuality should be the ones you have sex with. So the thought that the highly religious old lady from a church would want to have sex with me is quite scary. Why else would it bother her so much?
My point is that I have a difficult time finding a box to fit into. I don’t wear dresses, but sometimes I like to paint to paint my nails. Most of my friends are women, but I’m not “their gay bestie who goes shopping with them”. In fact, I hate crowded shops. I consider women to be my equal, and yet I still feel that I need to let them walk through the door first to show respect. I have a beard and I wear jeans, but I know nothing about cars.
I’ve never really understood why you have to be a certain type of person who only follows certain types of rules.
Recently, when I was rehearsing a theatre production, the director told me that he wanted me to play a “gay” character. When I asked him what kind of “gay” he was referring to, he looked at me with surprise. I went on to explain that just like you can’t say all black people or all Jews are the same, you can’t say that all gays are the same. The conversation nearly escalated into an argument. He thought that I was being difficult (okay, maybe I was, just a little bit). A few days later I realized that he didn’t know that I and the sound and light technician were gay. Why? Because we didn’t behave a certain way.
I suppose that we are all a little confused when it comes to how “other people” should behave. When I was little, I thought that only men could be bad, because most of the villains in the cartoons (and in my life) were men. One time a stranger showed up at our house and I opened the door for him. Why? He wasn’t wearing a black balaclava over his face, therefore he couldn’t be dangerous. That’s what TV taught me. I thought that only men were capable of evil. A woman proved me wrong.
I’ve been trying to find a word to describe the type of person that I am. I can’t find one. I am neither effeminate nor masculine. I am an actor, and yet I shy away from big crowds. I am gay, and yet I can’t find anyone that I am compatible with. I do not wish to be a woman, yet I know that if I were a woman my life would have been much easier in many ways. I would be able to do the things I do and like the things I like without being called a faggot.
I could go on and on about the different stereotypes, but it still won’t answer my questions. Where do I belong? Where is my “tribe”? Who are my “people”?
Or do I belong at different places with different people at different times? Do I do what feels right rather than what sounds right? Do I dare to contradict, at risk of ridicule, rejection, and ultimately loneliness? Do I choose to rather be able to look myself in the eye instead of the eyes of others? To live a life that isn’t dictated by anyone or anything?
Yes, I think so.