By Nikkia Bell
“That’s for girls” and “man up” are just two of the phrases that young men hear from society. These phrases manipulate young boys into thinking that they have to act or dress a certain way to be boys, which is one of the reasons why gay men aren’t as accepted as gay women.
A prime example is the sports industry. In the WNBA, at least three players have come out: Brittney Griner, Glory Johnson and Diana Taurasi. But in the NBA, no players are openly gay.
From experience I know of people who will accept a gay woman but not a gay man. I have friends who love me for who I am. They have no problem with my sexuality but when they see a gay man they talk about how they don’t understand why or how he could be gay. From an early age, men are told to “be a man” and are forced by society to act according to stereotypes of men. Women have also been forced to act according to stereotypes, but they’ve been successful at transcending many of those stereotypes and boundaries.
Men put expectations on other men as much as women do. If a man doesn’t dress or “act like a man,” people assume that they’re gay. This is toxic and can lead to men being insecure about themselves.
Nathan Walker, who is attending UGA’s Media And Leadership camp, is openly gay and dealt with opression from his parents after he was outed at the age of 12.
Not a lot of LGBT people live in Walker’s hometown, Fitzgerald, Georgia. “Living in the south and coming out as gay, especially as a gay man is kinda frowned upon and hush hushed. I wasn’t allowed to expressed myself at school. I wasn’t allowed to be myself. I had to hide it and be oppressed.”
Walker believes that gay men aren’t as accepted as gay women because gay women are seen as fantasies for heterosexuls and some straight men get uncomfortable around gay men.
If people realized that you don’t have to be super masuline to be a man, then some men would feel more comfortable in their own skin. Gay men aren’t attracted to every man they lay their eyes on and they aren’t out to get straight men.
According to the UCLA School Of Law Williams Institute There are more gay women than men in every state in the U.S besides South and North Dakota. These assumptions are the reason why people of the LGBTQ community, especially men, have trouble coming out. They worry most about what others would think and say about them.
The Trevor Project states that LGBTQ youth are almost five times as likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
Next time you have the urge to tell a boy to “man up,” consider the consequences. It could be a matter of life and death.