Gayxploitation And the Need For More Spaces For Gay Youth of All Ages

For a few months now, I have managed to continually pester my friend, Andrea, about the possibilities, or lack thereof, of me going clubbing – specifically a gay club, “gay clubbing,” per say. I find myself grunting and moaning about this specific topic for days on end with her – although I assume it isn’t a particularly terrible thing considering that she’s across the world, 8 hours ahead of my west coast time so we reply within hours, sending each other our thoughts, opinions, advice – sending mounds of paragraphs about why it just simply isn’t fair for me to not be allowed inside a gay club. I never fail to include that the gay liberation movement was birthed at a bar, – similarly to a club – that if I can be trialled as an adult that I should be allowed to do adult things, or that there are simply worst things in the world than wanting to go dancing. Of course, to the average person, simply saying that sounds absolutely superficial and rather sad, actually, until a very peculiar conversation with someone very close me to helped me really shape my ideology and truly desperate need to even go to a club.

(I’m assuming that when everyone understands that when I mean club, I very specifically mean gay spaces, exclusively.)

This person – who I’ll be referring to as SB – and I had a conversation today, after watching the forgettable Baby Driver, about being the stereotypical standout gay kid of school. We discussed previous “stereotypical standout gay kids” at my school and the fact that many of these teens are simply being exploited for their effeminacy, that they aren’t being viewed by others as anything other than a form of entertainment for cheap laughs, if we’re speaking realistically. I don’t know the true story behind any of them, and it’s not the best to generalize, but maybe it’s just this wild façade they use to avoid their own issues, to be liked, appreciated by others, or maybe they just genuinely don’t mind the attention surrounding them and their wild persona. Regardless, I see through the fabricated attitude of others and the fact that they don’t care for these feminine gay men, but rather what the can offer, who they can go shopping with, who can be their “gay best-friend,” who’ll be their medium of entertainment.

The conversation originally began with me and how I’m not the “stereotypical standout gay kid” of my school and never was. I explained that it’s simply because I’m not overtly feminine and straight people don’t like that. Visually, I do look like a rather boring person. I dress like shit, I don’t fall for the shit of others and I won’t allow myself to be made a clown for them, although I have been in situations as such before, when I was much younger and ignorant. However, I don’t look down on gay men who do; you have to do what you have to do in order to survive in this heterosexual world. I’d also further like to state that none of this is in fact the fault of feminine gay men, but rather the fault of the straight audiences and their ignorant behaviors.

Moreover, the conversation continued and that’s when I messaged my friend Andrea that maybe the reason that I want to go to clubs is because it’s the only space along others gay where I feel the most comfortable, where I can remain true to myself, where I know that a conversation, if anybody still has those, extends beyond that of my sexuality and mannerism and into fun, superficial things such as interests. Or maybe because everyone is far more fabulous and I just fit in, it’s what I want. There’s nothing wrong with that, to want to fit in. I also realized that this extends beyond being in the club and leans more towards being around other gay people. I connected this theory with my experience at Pride for the second year in a row, where my confidence meteorically increased. And anyways, I’ve always loved a good party as much as the next person. It’s killing two birds with one stone, if you ask me.

See, around other gay people, for myself at least, I realized that life extends beyond what straight people find gruesome but still stick around for a quick laugh. That’s the greatest feeling in the world. And through this all, I also realized that far more spaces need to be far more widely available, regardless of their sexual nature, something of which seems to be of high concern to everyone, for all ages. People, at the end of the day, won’t visit these places if they aren’t even remotely sure of themselves.

A great example of the congregation that I speak of is voguing balls of the 80’s and just simply how important they were not only for the culture but for building a family of those deprived of a blood one. They were these magnificent spaces for people to feel safe, confident and to be in a space where a mutual understanding of life was reached. At balls, you didn’t stand out anymore because you were gay, you stood out because you were fabulous and talented. And being fabulous and talented is always more important than being gay!

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