Ever since I was a kid, I have loved pop divas. The day after Britney Spears debuted “I’m a Slave 4 U” on the 2001 MTV VMAs, I was in my basement for like 10 hours with my best friend learning all the choreography. Being free to enjoy that facet of my personality is one of the most fun parts about being a gay guy. Having to deal with fellow gays who feel the need to make fun of my passion is one of the least.
Ever since Lady Gaga declared a pop emergency and saved my life with, “Applause” (now available on iTunes), I, along with a mass of other gay boys had been breathlessly awaiting the release of Artpop (now available on iTunes). While it turned out that the album is 75 percent garbage, what I hated more was all the Facebook statuses, tweets and Tumblr posts by my fellow gays bemoaning the rise of the “gay zombie.”
Apparently, if you enjoy something that a lot of people like you also enjoy then you’re a mindless zombie. By that logic, when I picked up Yeezus I was being a black zombie. I guess I shouldn’t go to work tomorrow; I wouldn’t want to be a corporate zombie. Guess what, people who are similar and have similar experiences like the same shit. This shocking, I know. If I blew your mind, I apologize.
In every culture, there are those who get off on making sure people know how alternative they are. In the gay (male) community, guys will take every opportunity to point out their non-swishing hips, lisp-less lips and diva-less music collection. No matter what they say, it’s all a desperate attempt to let people know they aren’t that kind of gay. It’s all an outward reflection of internal hatred.
While I’m not the most feminine dude around, I definitely have swishier hips than what is socially acceptable. Having to live in our anti-gay and anti-feminine society, I’ve had to deal with my fair share of internalized hatred. While I’ve always been defiantly weird, there were plenty of times where my skin wasn’t so thick and I would curb certain behaviors so I wouldn’t stand out.
When I felt insecure, I did whatever was needed to make myself feel more comfortable. If that meant swapping my pink aura for a more acceptable grey one, I did it. If that meant making sure people knew I wasn’t that kind of gay, I did it. I would lash out at the “queenie” gays for being too flamboyant. I would say stupid shit like, “I’m just a guy who happens to like guys,” and “I’m bi.”
The truth of the matter: I’m a guy who likes guys, smize, Liza, Deborah, Aretha, Anita, Mariah, Britney, Whitney, Chaka, En Vouge, Diana, Gaga, P!nk, Christina, Maya and Celine. I like drag. I love turning every hallway into a catwalk in Milan. My aura is a psychedelic shade of neon pink and that’s never going to fucking change.
Like all people, I am not a stereotype. I love the gay shit, with all my heart, but I also love things that are traditionally masculine. That used to cause me a lot of conflict because I thought I could only be accepted if I behaved one way. Now, I recognize that I can be whatever the hell I want.
Learning to accept my weirdness has allowed me to love myself. It’s allowed me to love people like me. It’s allowed me to do the things I love without shame. These days, I’m excited to see people live authentically. I don’t have to attack anyone anymore because I’m not scared and confused. My spirit isn’t trapped in a corner.
I know it’s “just” generic pop, but every time I warble out, “always saying, ‘little girl don’t step into the glow.’ Well, I’m just trying to find out why cause dancing’s what I love,” I feel that little gay boy smiling and I know I better work, bitch. Although I’ve had moments of insecurity, looking back on that little gay boy in his basement dancing his heart out, I’m so proud of how brave he was. And it makes me so happy that he grew up to be a big gay man who still lives to leave his head and his heart on the dance floor.