Dating Experience

He Spoke 7 Words and Suddenly, I Wasn’t Attracted to My Date Anymore by Lisa

Jason holding a ‍drink
Embracing my identity as a ⁢femme gay man has been ​a journey⁣ of self-discovery ⁣(Picture: Jason‌ Reid)

Strolling through the chilly streets of Soho ⁣with my date a few years ago, ⁤I was enveloped in ​a sense of peace and satisfaction.

We had been dating for a while after meeting at a gay bar, ​and everything seemed to be going smoothly. However, one particular night turned the tide. ⁤

Unexpectedly, ‌he halted in front of a gay bar and made ⁢a remark that left me stunned.

‘This is where the real ​ men hang out,’ ‍he ‌said,‌ sarcastically referring to the predominantly masculine‍ crowd inside. I was taken ⁣aback.

As a femme gay man – someone who expresses ⁣himself‌ in a typically⁢ feminine manner through animated gestures, maintaining ⁣a clean-shaven look ⁣(mainly‍ because I dislike ​the feel and appearance of a beard ‌on me), ​naturally crossing my ​legs when I sit, and so on —⁢ I’ve been on the receiving end ⁢of⁤ countless ‘jokes’, snide remarks, and insults.

When such comments ‍come from someone within my‍ own‍ community, who should understand their harmful impact, it stings ‍even more.

Jason​ Reid with four friends
For ​a significant part of my life, I tried to suppress my femininity (Picture: Jason Reid)

In ⁢fact, I’ve spent a considerable part of my life trying to suppress my femininity because it was, and to some extent still is, deemed socially unacceptable.

However, it’s ‌something I’ve never ⁢been able to ⁤control. It’s simply‍ who I am.

Hearing such a⁣ damaging stereotype about masculinity from a young gay‌ man, especially one I was​ romantically involved with, left​ me feeling‌ belittled, ‍disrespected,⁢ and‍ infuriated.

‘If you prefer “real gay men”, then go to them,’ I retorted, withdrawing my ⁣hand from ‌his. ‘I’m proud of who I am, and​ it’s taken me a long time to‍ reach this point.’

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Having ‌grown up under the influence ⁣of Section 28 and attending a‍ strict Catholic school that emphasized family values and⁣ heteronormativity, I spent a lot of time mentally chastising myself and concealing my true identity.

I‌ despised my inherent gay feelings and believed that my‌ unique femme traits ‍and mannerisms were incorrect ‌and‌ undesirable.

In essence,‌ I was consumed with shame.

Consequently, I spent many⁤ of my formative years masking my femininity. In public, ‍I made a conscious effort to downplay ⁤my ⁢flamboyance: I ⁤gestured less when I spoke,‌ used a deeper voice, uncrossed my ⁢legs⁢ when seated, and so on.

Jason⁤ Reid ‌taking a⁢ selfie with a friend
My femininity⁣ is ​not something to be ashamed of (Picture: Jason Reid)

Moreover, I ‌made sure ⁣never to glance at gay magazines⁤ or pictures ⁣of shirtless men when others were present.⁣ Even my clothing choices were ​dictated⁢ by the desire to ‌blend in; ⁣I never wore anything that could be considered ‘unconventional’, such ​as extremely bright or tight clothes,⁤ or anything that hinted at my sexuality.

My ⁢primary goal was to blend in. ‍It​ was the​ only way I could safeguard myself. But sometimes, even that wasn’t sufficient.

During my teenage years, ⁣I was attacked⁢ several times ‍for being gay. Once, I was ‍severely beaten while my assailants hurled homophobic slurs⁢ at me.

So, when I hear remarks like the one made by my date, it transports me ⁤back to‌ those traumatic days⁤ of being⁤ assaulted; for a‍ moment, I’m once again ⁢overwhelmed with shame and humiliation.

Today, I make⁣ no‌ apologies ‍for being true to myself (Picture: Jason Reid)

As a consequence of being ridiculed and marginalized, my self-esteem was shattered⁢ for years.​ This ⁤led ⁤to severe anxiety, depression, and, later in life, alcohol abuse.

It’s ‌taken ​nearly two decades, but I’ve ⁤mostly managed to‍ control ⁣my ‌excessive drinking, and‌ I’ve finally reached a ⁢point where I’m comfortable with my identity ‍as a femme gay man. I make no apologies for being myself.

Connecting with like-minded individuals who I trust and finding comfort in our ⁣shared experiences played a significant role in my journey towards self-acceptance. ‍Drag artists and fellow femme gay‌ men, in particular, have been‍ a⁤ great source of support. We’ve had extensive discussions about how our ⁤upbringing was strikingly similar, which often carried⁤ over into adulthood —⁤ suppressing ⁣our ⁤true⁣ selves out of fear of judgment, or worse, ‌physical⁤ assault.

Connecting with ​like-minded individuals who I trust played ⁤a significant⁣ role in⁤ my journey towards self-acceptance (Picture: Jason Reid)

Connecting and engaging in​ open conversations greatly‌ helped me shed ​some of my shame. My perspective changed.⁣ It’s incredibly freeing to know that there are ⁢people from all walks of life who’ve⁤ experienced what⁢ you have⁢ and ‍can completely understand and empathize.

Their support,‍ along with therapy, helped me ⁤realize that masculinity is⁢ not as rigid as ⁢I was led to believe,⁣ and there’s nothing shameful about my⁣ femininity.

Unfortunately,⁣ there are still some​ gay⁤ men who openly‌ belittle those of us who are femme and use our‌ uniqueness as fodder for ⁣their jokes.

In ‌the past⁢ year,‌ I’ve had⁢ a few instances⁢ where one of the first questions I’ve been asked before meeting a⁤ guy is whether I’m straight-acting.