What gay men’s attitudes to masculinity have taught me about womanhood

Matt Cain is editor-in-chief of Attitude and Winq Magazine.

Masculinity is in crisis. That message resonates loud and clear from the mainstream media. Hardly a day goes by without straight men debating what it means to be a man now that women are becoming more powerful and male privilege is being eroded.

Over the past fortnight, some have even whined about the widespread outrageignited by women who have been sexually exploited finally taking a stand against their oppressors.

Well, first of all, they need to get over themselves. But what about gay men and our relationship with our masculinity? Why are we usually left out of the discussion about what it means to be a man? Because it strikes me that our relationship with our masculinity is much more complicated, intense and potentially troubling.

Yes, as a gay man I enjoy the privilege of being male in a patriarchal society that for some reason values my genitals above a woman’s. But I’ve spent much of my life being made to feel like I’m less of a man for being gay. Which is why I commissioned a survey for Attitude magazine about masculinity. Some 5,000 readers responded, and some of the feelings they expressed are surprising.

A staggering 69% of them said that, like me, they’ve been made to feel less of a man for being gay, bisexual or queer. Perhaps even more worrying is that 41% of them said that at some point they’ve thought they are less of a man because of their sexuality.

If we look at the reasons why this feeling might exist, a shocking 92% of those surveyed said they think effeminate gay men are still made fun of in the mainstream media. And 68% of them said they’ve been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse that has specifically ridiculed their femininity. Read more via the Guardian