Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I like girls, but only straight guys can see me naked

by Germar Derron

Michael Sam is gay.  For the first time in the history of the NFL, a player that is out--and about--will be drafted.  Jason Collins now plays for the Brooklyn Nets, one year after becoming the first active male player in a major U.S. sport to "come out" to the public.  A dichotomy drives the inevitable debate: 1) God said no, and 2) gay is A-OK.  Here, let’s pretend that we live in a world without religion. For many, religion is an excuse to hate and harm – to feel justified in their fear.  Fear is ambiguous, provocative, and almost intoxicating.  That fear drives punches behind gay bars.  Fear keeps people in fake lives, and intricate lies. But even in a world without religion, this matters.  

In my world, pre-religion (I know, just humor me), I realized the importance of our naughty bits.  As a child, I would sometimes go in my mom’s room without knocking.  Inevitably, she would be in some stage of undress.  “Knock!” “Get out!” “Eeeek!” As a four-year old, I learned that the swimsuit region was different, sacred, scream-worthy.  I also noticed that only my father was allowed behind that closed door.  Naughty bits were for parents, grown-ups, one man and one woman – apparently.  Imagine my shock when we went to the beach - a story for another day.

Around that same time, at my daycare center, grown-ups began separating the boys from the girls.  Boys’ restroom; girls’ restroom.  Boys’ playground; girls’ playground.  We walked past the girls’ room to get to the boys’ room.  I peeked every time. Often, I caught the perfect angle of whatever that thing was that looked nothing like my thing.  Plus, they all sat down to pee.  WEIRD.  The boys would go two or three at a time and cross streams, and shoot from long distance.  That curiosity, and that desire, to sneak a peek increased with age.  By 12, I was a pervert – a butt-slapping, breast-grabbing, typical middle-school cool guy creep. I was the reason girls and guys needed separate restrooms, locker rooms, and playgrounds.  If I had at least one-half second in a teacher’s blind spot, I squeezed and grabbed.  

Gay didn’t feel real.  It was mostly a punch-line.  We all joked about it, and if anyone seemed a little “sweet” or “fruity” they were teased and bullied.  I thought we disliked the idea of gay because it meant you were different, not like the others.  That’s a death sentence at any school.  Beyond that, girls liked guys.  No one wanted to be like a girl.  We never ran like girls.  We never threw like girls.  We couldn’t hit, fight, play, scream, or cry like girls.  But supposedly, we LOVED girls.

I saw porn with my friends twice: freshman year of high school and freshman year of college.  In both scenarios, I saw what one might call a gay amount of sausage swinging.  My friends seemed obsessed with man dangles, like Jonah Hill in Superbad.  I didn’t understand it at all.  Isn’t this gay.  Not only were they comfortable excited while watching this, but they provided commentary: “mushroom,” “superman,” “watch this one,” “loonnngg dooonnng!”  It was so gay.  I was so confused.  They memorized moles, and veins, and curls.  GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

When guys started having sex, it was not always one man and one woman. They talked about tag teams, trains, and gangs.  They complemented each other’s performances, joked about bumping into each other, and measured each other.  They often asked me to join. I always passed, though not completely out. And all of this happened before I was a varsity athlete, before I joined a fraternity, and before I wandered into a college football locker-room.  Those locker-rooms featured so much naked high-fiving. 

What is it that we fear?  “He might look.” Well, you asked me to look, then showed me a video. “What if he tries something?”  Does gayness compel rape?  Let’s Google that.  According to Google, “mostly straight bros rape.”  HOLY PENIS PROJECTION (disguised as protection) BATMAN! 

I see the real issue.  We fear that gay men could do to us, what we do to women.  We hate the idea of being overpowered, intimidated, or forced. Where did that idea come from? That’s right, the butt-slapping, breast-grabbing, train-running, tag-teaming, roofie-dropping, eye-undressing – man.  It’s every man’s dirty little secret.  It’s the real reason we overprotect our daughters, wives, sisters, and girlfriends.  We don’t want them to suffer through the torment that we put every other woman through.

Gay men represent the first sexual threat to men.  Apparently, we don’t like that. Gay ain’t going away, so what do we do?  We could start by respecting everyone – their bodies, their wishes, their limits, their no.  When we live in a world where the average guy never butt-grabs or date rapes, we live in a world where the average guy never butt-grabs or date rapes.  I figured it out in 10th grade.  I forced myself to picture other guys grabbing my mother, sister, aunt, and grandmother.  Then, I stopped. Only then did I love women.

Yes, gay men will see your penis.  I stopped caring when I realized gay men have seen more penises than adult women ever will.  When they see me, I imagine they think, “Been there, done that. Lucky girl.”  I leave unscathed. And honestly, accepting gay culture has made my life better, and easier.  Why some of my best friends are gay!  They actually are, and I don’t fear them.  I love them.


Photos courtesy Getty Images -  Michael Sam by Joe Robbins; Jason Collins by Justin Edmonds
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