To The Confident Straight Man,
Being an out and proud gay man is no easy feat in this world and in some parts of the world, it is damn near impossible without being tortured, jailed and put to death. That reality makes allies essential when standing up for yourself, fighting for your basic human rights or at the very least, trying to move through life with a sense of integrity and honesty. Living in several different places, I have had the blessing of befriending some of the most open-hearted and open-minded individuals who have stood up for me and had my back in the ugly face of adversity in both subtle and obvious fashions. But out of all of the demographics of friends, the straight guys are always the ones who catch the most hell for being associated with me personally.
I think the reason for this phenomena is because in our society, as well as others, women are considered the weaker sex, in spite of being generally smarter, more emotionally intelligent and being strong enough to endure the incredible yet incredibly painful miracle of childbirth. Beyond that, masculinity is valued exponentially over femininity and any slight against that concept, like a man dressing as a woman, results in becoming a pariah. And a man allowing himself to be dominated by another man in the same way most women are dominated by men falls into that realm of discontent.
So when a straight man is willing to be a friend to me, a gay man, it means so much more because of this systemic homophobia we are saturated in. He is willing to see past our different preferences concerning genitalia and see me as another human being looking for human connection. He empathizes with us in the face of societal shaming. He acknowledges my struggles and my adversities and he is not afraid fight with me against those trials nor is he afraid of the backlash from his peers for his dedication to our bond. To the straight man who sticks his middle finger to what our culture says is acceptable and accepts people like me as equal…
Seriously, thank you for enduring your manhood being constantly questioned due to being associated with me. Thank you for allowing yourself to be a part of our jokes. Thank you for not minding the occasional and not-so occasional objectification of your body and having enough of a sense of humor and self to not be offended or take it personally. Thank you for accepting me into your home and often families when portions of my own won’t. Thank you for having the audacity and compassion to stand up with me against the social injustices and prejudices I often face when you could have stayed out of the fight. For that, you are the bravest man on the planet and I am honored and grateful to know that men like you exist in this world that lacks your brand of integrity and heart.
But beyond that, thank you for being evolved enough to see past my sexuality to see my worth as a person and a friend.
The Appreciative Gay Man.
Photo Source: Kenneth Givens