Bullies Are So Gay
We hear a lot about the bullying epidemic that is so prevalent in our schools today. Studies show LGBT youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers, and we know bullying is a major contributor towards depression, drug abuse, and teen suicide. Those of us who follow this topic are probably aware of organizations such as The Trevor Project and the It Gets Better Project that offer crisis intervention and inspire hope for LGBT youth. We’re appalled by the fact large numbers of heterosexuals continue to spread hate towards members of the LGBT community.
But there’s another type of bullying that we don’t often hear about, one that can be just as devastating to LGBT youth, and that’s the bullying that occurs within the LGBT community. Imagine being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning and just entering adulthood, relieved that you’ve finally left the high-school bullies behind and thinking life is finally about to get better, only to discover that you’re not accepted within the LGBT community either.
It doesn’t happen everywhere or to everyone, but it does happen. And it can get pretty ugly. In many areas, for example, there is a divide within the gay community between men who are effeminate and men who are hypermasculine. Effeminate men are at high risk of being mocked, dismissed, or even verbally attacked by their more “masculine” gay counterparts. They endure hateful and cruel comments, including:
“You’re not a real man. If I were into fems, I’d just date women.”
“You’re the reason gays get bashed.”
“You’re hurting the gay community. You make the rest of us look bad.”
Vlogger Fernando speaks out about how hurtful comments like these can be. He’s one of many who have turned to vlogs to voice their frustration over this issue. Some of this animosity stems from the fact that the stereotypical gay man portrayed (often negatively) in the media is one who is outwardly effeminate and flamboyant—the butt of most gay jokes—and many gay men do not identify with that stereotype. Vlogger XemVanAdams suggests the reason for this type of prejudice stems from personal insecurity.
On the flip side, YouTube vlogger Tyson McCormick explains that hypermasculine gay men are sometimes criticized within the gay community for trying to “pass” as straight and not embracing their “gayness”. In response to an article on gay/straight male friendships, one commenter states, “Gay guys have always been a mystery to me. When they find out I’m gay they always act surprised. One guy even said I could “pass” for straight. How do you even begin to respond to that? It hurts. The more I read about the horribly named “straight-acting gay guy” movement (or whatever) there seems to be a lot of hate thrown at guys like me, like I’m “acting” or that I probably don’t like “normal” gay guys. I’m just being who I am. This is how I was born. … I love gay guys. I’m not proud I’m gay–it’s beyond that; I feel I’m LUCKY that I’m gay. I think all men are beautiful. Maybe there’s a lot of guys in my situation, maybe not, but as a gay community we should begin to realize there is no such thing as a stereotypical gay guy.”
I recently read Cassandra Gold’s “Clay’s Challenge“, a heartfelt and thought-provoking tale about a “fem” who suffers from bullying within the gay community. He tries to change his outward appearance and behavior in order to gain acceptance of the people around him, but it doesn’t work. Thankfully, he ultimately discovers that he is just as much a man as any of the butch guys and that he’s beautiful and worthy of love just the way he is. It’s a wonderful message, and I’d love to read more stories like it. If you have any book recommendations for me that deal with bullying within the gay community, please leave them in the comments below!
On a more positive note, I also came across many blogs and vlogs from members of the LGBT community who call for LGBT members to stand together, to treat each other with the same respect and equality they hope to gain from the heterosexual community. In the video below, XemVanAdams states, “We have to learn that…because our struggles, our trials and tribulations are so alike—regardless of feminine qualities versus masculine qualities—at the end of the day, as gay men and gay women, we’re judged the same. So to separate yourself only weakens the strength of our community, and it’s got to stop.”
There are, of course, other divisions within the LGBT community that I have not touched upon, but I’ve decided to discuss the Masc vs. Fem issue here, since it relates to events that take place in Play Me, I’m Yours. It’s no secret that Lucas, the main character in the novel, is effeminate. He’s also very inexperienced and somewhat naive. He’s been teased and taunted for years by his classmates, but when he falls victim to gay-on-gay bullying, it’s a whole new level of rejection for which he isn’t prepared.
Play Me, I’m Yours by Madison Parker
Published by Harmony Ink Press
Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Liu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and he doesn’t know which is worse. His one comfort in life is his music; he feels unloved by everyone. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.
Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.
Visit Madison Parker’s Website at www.madisonparklove.com for bonus materials including character sketches, piano covers, music videos, and lyrics for songs referenced in the novel.
To celebrate the release of Play Me, I’m Yours, Madison Parker is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win your choice of a free copy of Play Me, I’m Yours or a $10 gift certificate from Rainbow eBooks by leaving a comment below along with your email address. For multiple chances to win, comment at each stop along the tour. Click here for the complete tour schedule. Winners will be chosen randomly on April 23.