Cis Gay Men and the LGBTQ+ Movement

This is long but thoughtful piece by Ben Appel that hits home on several points about gay people and what’s happening now. On the Facebook site I highlighted this excerpt:

For years, I feared homophobic right-wing evangelicals. But these days, I’m equally wary of the progressive activists who push a distinctly homophobic agenda that denies the biological reality of sex—and who claim that what we are attracted to isn’t male or female bodies per se, but rather male or female gender identities. This outlook effectively imagines away the existence of homosexuality, which, in the real world, is of course rooted in physical attraction based on biological attributes.

These ideas also serve to instruct gender-nonconforming children (as I once was) that their uniqueness indicates they may have been born inside the “wrong body,” and so will likely have to commit to a lifetime of medicalization if they want to be happy. … By means of this “progressive” ideology, we regress to a time in which the categories of “boy” and “girl” were defined in a narrow and reactionary manner.

But there are many other insights in Appel’s essay. Here’s another:

The summer after my first semester, I landed an internship with the LGBT-rights organization GLAAD. … It was also at GLAAD that I first heard the terms “nonbinary” and “cisgender,” and, before I knew it, “cis-supremacy.” And it was the first time that I was pejoratively referred to as “cis.” It’s a nominally neutral term used to describe a person whose gender identity aligns with their biological sex. But it’s also an implicit slur, often directed at gay men with traditionally masculine—thus, “assimilationist,” toxic, and regressive—traits. … Since that time, I’ve noticed that enmity toward “cis” gay men (which often seems a lot like straight up homophobia) has begun to permeate LGBT publications and social media, without any sort of consequences. …

This attitude … offers one explanation for the sharp uptick in the number of gay men and women who now identify under the umbrella of “trans/nonbinary.” As I’ve told friends over the last few years, were I to dye my hair purple, start painting my nails and wearing eyeliner, and change my pronouns, I would experience less anti-gay hostility in the “queer” community, since I would have visibly rejected “cis-heteronormativity.” In fact, my change would also be taken as a signal that I’d adopted a whole set of acceptable politics and beliefs, including the belief that people are attracted to others on the basis of their internally felt gender, as opposed to their biological sex.

You hear this a lot these days from “cis gay men.”

In the Quillette comments, “Beowulf_Obsidian” shared:

Less than a year after homosexual marriage was legalized, gay friends of mine openly lamented how they fell from their super hero status to becoming part of the condemned ‘normative’ crowd. They weren’t celebrated for being gay, they were blasted for not wanting to have sex or date heterobodied trans. … Congratulations, they have marriage equality and equality in condemnation. Welcome to the world of privilege.

I think that provides some insight into the current cultural moment.

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