Are All Straight Men Homophobic? (I Ain’t Never Scared)

0 Posted by - June 29, 2011 - News & Current Events

homophobia crossed out

ho·mo·pho·bi·a [hoh-muh-foh-bee-uh] noun

Irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals

[dc]B[/dc]ased on the above definition, someone that is homophobic fears homosexuals. But if you ask the average straight person if they’re “afraid” of gays and lesbians, more than likely, they’ll say no. Disgust, hatred and religious sympathy are the adverbs most would use to describe their feelings towards this group of people. Fear wouldn’t necessarily be a part of their emotional analysis. Well, not on a surface level at least. So, by definition, can someone like that really be considered homophobic?

While some yet-to-be-created term may be a better label to throw on those who oppose homosexuality, I just realized that a lot of men, myself included, can actually be labeled homophobic by its true definition. Let’s be clear, that’s not to say that I hate gays and lesbians or anyone in the LGBT community, but I can acknowledge my own past fears, as well as those of other straight men.

Hear me out…

For the most part, when a gay man is in the presence of straight men it can be the most uncomfortable situation for the latter group. Straight men are so afraid of being perceived as gay that they act extra macho and get kind of nervous. Sounds like someone is a bit scared to me.

Speaking for myself, I know for a fact when I see a clearly visible gay man that I don’t want to make any kind of eye contact whatsoever. My face screws up and my eyes trail down to the floor or off to the side. Anywhere but the direction of that individual. Uh uh, buddy, you’re not making googly eyes with me. I know I’m not alone, straight guys tense up all the time in the presence of a gay may. Why? It just makes us very uncomfortable for various reasons.

Case in point, a few years back I was in New Orleans on an assignment to interview Lil Wayne and wound up having dinner with a co-worker, photographer and his crew—one of which was gay. We all went out for drinks at some bar after the shoot and at the end of the night my co-worker and I said our farewells while the photographer and his crew stayed around.

Apparently the gay guy in the group was outside having a smoke and before I could finish extending my hand to say goodbye he hugged me. WTF? Maybe he was drunk, but regardless it was the most awkward thing ever. He totally threw me for a loop, and I was baffled. But I took it for what it was and kept it moving like any other straight man would’ve done. It’s not like he kissed me or grabbed my ass or anything.

But the question is why? Was this not a man just like me? (Well, not exactly just like me, but a human being regardless). If you’re not gay and have no desires to be gay, why should the presence of a gay man make you uncomfortable? Isn’t it almost the same thing as being in the presence of a girl you’re not attracted to? You’re not interested so any advances on her part are pointless as they’ll get shot down and you’ll keep it moving? Why doesn’t the same thing apply for a gay man? And who’s to say that every gay person wants you anyway? Maybe you’re not their type. (We can hope for as much, right? LOL)

Still, many straight men exhibit fear around gay men. I bet if a gay person were to walk up to a straight man and randomly pick lint of his collar that the straight guy would jump back like he saw a ghost. That, and probably be ready to fight. But would he have the same reaction if it were an attractive woman doing the exact same thing?

Maybe that wasn’t the best example, because who really just picks lint off of someone they don’t even know, but hopefully you get my point. Maybe more of us are homophobic (in its true definition) than we thought we were. It’s all about perception. It’s like there are straight men who feel that just by being in the presence of a gay man that the gay will somehow rub off on them and make them look weak, soft or like a punk. But just because a person likes someone of the same sex it makes you nervous? Now who’s the punk?

Just something to think about…

Do you think all straight men are slightly homophobic? Am I the only man that feels uncomfortable around gay men? Do you think most people who are opposed to gay people are more scared or hateful of homosexuals? Do you think people that are so adamantly against homosexuality are actually bi-curious? Do you believe that gay people should have the right to get married legally? Why or why not? Are you secure enough in your own sexuality to have a friend that was gay? Would you ever be concerned of people thinking that you were gay as a result? Are you okay with people being gay as long as they don’t come on to you? Does that make you homophobic?

Speak your piece…

  • KaNisa

    Your feelings around gay men pretty much describe how I feel around most dudes…especially when I’m in a relationship.

    (Not interested. Keep your eyes in your socket. Don’t flirt with me. Don’t touch me. Don’t think about me naked…(lol).)

    Don’t think all dudes are homophobic…think more that some people are extremely uncomfortable being sized up sexually by people who they are in no way attracted to.

    Extra so if you’re extremely particular about your romantic choices and the ones sizing you up are not.

    (ie. ‘I’d smash’ theme said by people who’d probably have sex with 80% of vaguely attractive people anyway if given the opportunity.)

  • Up too late

    I’ve had one encounter where a guy said, “oh u must b gay.” because I didn’t give him my #!! lol…Negro please! I dnt care wht u call me it won’t phase me the least. But to think ur gods gift to women offended the hell outta

    &&& anybody should b able to marry who the heck they please! Being gay isn’t the ultimate sin! A sin is a sin. And from what I know we all do it! Love whoever u want!!!

  • Lonias

    At the root of hate IS fear. People who are disgusted and and/or hateful toward those in the LGBT community are afraid:
    • That they will be perceived as “gay-by-association”
    • Of being seen as “soft on sin” (religious)
    • That it’s a condition that might “rub off”
    When we start justifying fears that have little foundation, hatred can grow. No one was afraid of Black people until they were reminded that the slaves were intelligent people, too, capable of anger, aspirations, industry…in short, people who COULD take over.

  • Older & Wiser

    This is an interesting point because I don’t think it’s the same for women. We may know someone is lesbian but not feel uncomfortable in her presence. Even if she touches us or hugs us we don’t feel anxious and scared like a man would.

    I think the term homophobic is moreso for men rather than women, IMO.

  • Tea

    Reply wasn’t working for me but I agree with KaNisa. What you describe is how I feel oftentimes in the presence of men I don’t know. Its that you feel like they may be watching or getting some kind of sexual arousal…idk it’s hard to explain but I feel you. And I wouldn’t call it a phobia either.

  • Rastaman

    Yeah a lot of straight men and straight acting men behave and opine in homophobic ways and I would say you are probably not alone in expressing feelings of discomfort around gay men. Having grown up in a culture where homophobia is rampant, I can attest to the fact that most of the fear and hatefulness is borne of ignorance. People expressing strident homophobic views have either never met a gay person or if they did do not know any personally, I grew up and speaking that way too and I can only recall ever meeting one openly gay person. Folks especially uncomfortable with their own sexuality fear being around gays may cause them to become gay sort of like a spontaneous combustion

  • Rastaman

    Having spent much of my adult life on the NYC nightlife scene meant frequent interaction with gay folks and I came to realize in time is that gay folks are just as screwed up as the rest of us. No more, no less. So hating or fearing someone because of who they sex is on par with disliking people because they sex ugly people. It is not something I would ever do but I shouldn’t bother me either. One of my best friends is a lesbian, she is probably more dangerous based on her tech skills rather than who she sexed. Like I tell her all the time I can empathize with her plight, as I am a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.

  • Rastaman

    My first time at a predominantly gay party, I was real nervous about being guilty by association but after a while it ceased to be a concern. They just people like the rest of us and if you ever spend any time around a gay crowd you begin to learn that they are just as screwed up as everybody else and they not all on some life quest to get in your pants. Truth be told, most of us will probably be disappointed that we are not even some folk’s type. As for gay marriage, I say go ahead why should gays be protected from all the potential anguish of legally tying yourself to another person. Maybe after this happens we can get more buy in on radically reforming marriage overall.

  • Lovely

    Honestly, I have felt uncomfortable around lesbians that dress and act like men, but I don’t feel uncomfortable around “lipstick” lesbians. I’m not sure what that is about, but I felt some kinda way when a gay female dressed like a male came into the public restroom at school the other day.

  • Dolce Diva

    I think that men don’t understand what would make two men attracted to each other. They don’t get that with these women on the world why would a man rather stick his penis in the butt or mouth of another man instead of a woman. They don’t get the satisfaction. They don’t understand anything about being a homosexual male. They know that it looks strange and that it looks nasty. They go by what they see: “girly” or “sissy” men that have no interests in things that are considered “manly.” Why would a straight man want to explore an try to understand the dynamic? Men would much rather keep their distance and remain ignorant. They can stomach lesbians because they are women. I don’t know what the big deal is. I’m secure in my sexuality. I can come across a female and thinks she’s sexy or attractive, but know in my soul that I’m not gay, so it wouldn’t go beyond a gaze or glance because that is not how I roll. Why aren’t men secure enough or open-minded enough to be in the same space as a gay man with jumping into “protecting their manhood” mode? They are people just like us and they are going to get in the way of my blessings.

  • Dolce Diva

    I left out the word “not” in my last sentence.

  • Tiffany

    I agree with Rastaman about maybe not even being their type and if you truly hang out with them, guess what you will find out they are just like the rest of us(heteros)…I mean really I think some straight dudes feel this need to prove their straightness. It is not like a gay dude is set out to “turn someone gay” I am sure there are enough complications in relationships, gay or straight, than to add any additional foolishness.

  • da ThRONe

    I use to feel this way until I matured enough to say “Who gives a fuck!”. I don’t care if gay people are into me. Hell why wouldn’t they. :D

    Either way some can step out of line just like anybody can. You simply(and politely) put then back in place if they do. I really don’t understand how we can live in a society that the majority of people claim to be “Christian” yet are so full of hate.

    I really don’t care what other people do in their own private space.

  • Dave Capital

    The LGBT Community would like to think that people are scared of them in attempt to shame people of their “cowardice”. But the truth is people just flat out disagree with the lifestyle. You don’t dislike something out of fear you do so because you do not value it. Imagine how much nonsense the world would make if we applied the false logic of “homophobia” to the rest of society.

    So the truth of the matter, those who society deems as “homophobic” are in fact anti-gay. We don’t claim that people who target the most often hated groups to be afraid of them, where their hate is directed towards blacks, Jews, women, Arabs, or Mexican. We call them racists and not racialphobes, we call them sexist and not sexiphobes, we call them anti-Semites and not jewiphobes. So let’s cut the nonsense. Fear has nothing to do with the disgust some have in seeing something they do not value.

    • Cyberia

      Did you READ the article or is your head still stuck in your ass like it was when you wrote that crock of shit?

  • jaclynsd

    I can’t submit my comment!! UGH

  • AConleyCreation

    Hell yeah there is fear in homophobia! I don’t think there’s one clear-cut answer or foundation for homophobia, such as fear or disapproval, but fear is definitely a factor for some.

    “If you’re not gay and have no desires to be gay, why should the presence of a gay man make you uncomfortable?”
    EXACTLY. If a straight woman were to hit on you, you wouldn’t feel the need to throw her a punch, yet men are quick to say they’d do it if a gay man hit on them. That to me says irrational fear.

    NWSO, I use that same argument if that man who hugged you would’ve been a woman. I assume you would’ve minded less, even if not accustomed to hugs.

    I don’t think your reaction was necessarily homophobic, but more so subconsciously influenced by societal conditioning if you truly have no issues with homosexuality.

  • KaNisa

    By his definition :

    “ho·mo·pho·bi·a [hoh-muh-foh-bee-uh] noun Irrational fear of, AVERSION TO, [OR] discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals”

    Seems anyone with a strong dislike of how someone else is romantically attracted to someone of their own sex….

    See can’t even continue that. How is that anyone’s business?

  • NWSO

    Am I the “his” you’re referring to? I got that definition out the dictionary word for word actually so it’s not my definition persay

  • NWSO

    :( Try clearing your cache/cookies or a different browser. I’ll check the spam folder

  • torontostaar

    i feel kind of uncomfy around butch lesbians mainly because i dont understand the concept of not being attracted to men but acting/dressing like a man, and before someone points out that gender is mostly a social construction it STILL makes me feel uncomfortable, gay men however i get along with, humour/fashion wise and i understand i am playing into a certain stereotype. but alas, tis my opinion

  • Sabrina

    Our society adds a lot of pressure. If a lesbian was flirting with a straight man he likely would not have a problem. However, if it is gay men his reaction would be probably be different, because he wants to seen as being the macho man.

    I don’t think that we can totally just blame society. If someone is a totally straight man or woman, then why would they care if someone gay is in their presence or flirting with them? They know that individual can’t do anything for them, so why is it a big deal.

  • da ThRONe

    What does LBGT stand for?

  • NWSO

    Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender

  • AConleyCreation

    Lesbian Bisexual Gay Transgender

  • Maria

    Lesbians don t act or dress like a man.They may act more masculine as other women, but there also lots of straight women who do that.It s called personality.

    Society dictates what s normal and according to society being attracted to a woman as a woman isn t normal.It actually is pretty normal.There also lots of lesbians who like to dress up,wear High Heels etc.

    I feel kinda sorry for the gay men who are hanging out with you if they are just kinda fulfiling your imagination of how a gay man has to be.

  • Gemini

    Have I been Black Socked? Why can’t I post my comment?

  • NWSO

    Try clearing your cookies/cache and also a different browser. For whatever reason sometimes people have said they’ve had problems posting a comment (even though they end up posting the shorter comment saying they can’t comment). It’s been an issue that will be resolved in the coming weeks as my designers are on the case. But definitely try the above tricks to work around it until it’s resolved. :(

  • Sean Mims

    I don’t sweat the gays. Gays are simply people. I guess I am too old to worry about what other people think. I personally find myself too manly to be labeled gay by association. If I was thrown in a room with one thousand gay men, I’d be easily identified as the straight man in the room.

  • jaclynsd

    I’ve always thought that homophobia on a man’s part was due to his own fear, or questioning rather of his sexuality.

    Some of that fear or anger towards gay men may be some men’s own personal anger w/gay men being able to be so open and comfortable about their sexuality. If you look at our society, a gay woman is way more accepted than a man will ever be. A girl kisses another girl and its sexy…so sexy Katy Perry wrote a song about and everybody loved it!

    I mean if you think about it every time you see the news you have this anti-gay preachers, politicians, and so on, so against gays and gay rights. And what happens 99% of the time? These same people that were holding rallies against gays and holding up family values end up themselves being found w/gay lovers! Their fear of homosexuality or God forbid maybe even being homosexual themselves leads them to campaign against something that they fear, or even hate inside themselves. Now I’m not saying that applies to you or all men that react that way but for many it does.

    When I was younger I remember a guy wearing a shirt that read “real men don’t fear gays” I was only 13 but it made such an impression on me. It made me think that maybe that man’s shirt/statement was right. What’s the real fear there?

    Now I’m not going to sit here and try to understand what men go through because I know it’s hard to really define at times what a man is, looks like, or even should act like. But maybe men (homophobic men) should ask themselves what the real fear is and is it really valid, or should they just face it, and then try and get over it.

  • ATLs.Marc.of.Excellence

    Down here in the Land of Gay Man (ATL), I’ve been come on to by so many dudes it makes no sense. Apparently green eyes and soup-coolers are unisex magnets (who knew?). It used to bother me terribly, freaked me out, angered me…until I joined this mens group, where one of the guys was gay. He just might be the funniest person I have ever me! I eventually asked him why gay guys tend to flock to me… if I was doing something wrong, He simply told me to look in the mirror and try to find a reason anyone, regardless of sexual preference, wouldn’t find me attractive (I had really low confidence back then and this was an exercised designed the group suggested). That one moment helped me to understand I can’t help it if they find me attractive… and since then I really quit giving a d@mn and kindly say no thanks and keep it moving.

  • Maria

    I can t post my original comment (was pretty long).
    So: dismissing,judging and discriminating somebódy based on their race,sexual orientation or religion is nothing but pathetic and narrow-minded.

    And to all the straight men who have the idea that all gays they ever meet want them in their bed should get over themselfes and actually spend some time around a homosexual man.

    Surprise!They got the same problems as you and deal with the same sh*t and they also have to deal with being dismissed by so many a man (and woman).

    An aquaintance of mine uses to sa (he s gay) :
    “The only thing harder than being a woman is being a homosexual man”

    And aslong as people are going to judge people by their sexual orientation as they still do equality between men and women is far, far away.

  • Gemini

    Can’t post using my IPad either. I give up.

  • NWSO

    Aargh. Working on the issue. Appreciate your patience. Thanks for specifying it was an iPad issue in your case.

    Happy 4th and NWSO anniversary

  • Mr. Gorgeous

    The conventional “straight” black guy is so annoying to me. He is the one who believes that every woman, man, and thing in between worships him and everything about him and is hard-pressed to bow at the fabricated alter he imagines surrounding his penis that he feels is the secret desire of humanity. As far as gay guys go, there are some who will chase a straight man shamelessly and pointlessly; however, most “straight” men have nothing to worry about because being straight does not automatically equal desirable. Just as some women would not give you the time of day, some gay men would not give you the time of day unless you volunteer yourself to be an anonymous disposal for semen or an available penis. It’s not that deep, so you don’t need to be afraid. If you’re really secure in your sexuality, then you have nothing at all to worry about should you come face to face with a homosexual man – and you will. Some gay guys will come on to straight men, but if you’re truly straight then you should just tactfully let him know that that’s not it. However, it seems to me that this fear of homos is often the cause of one sexually insecure individual.

    – Mr. Gorgeous