So today, while on my beloved Twiitta (read: Twitter) I started to have a conversation about the relationship between womyn and queer men. Often times, womyn get harassed by gay men; not all gay men of course. However, womyn get a constant barrage of touches, feels, lingering looks, luring eyes, foul gestures, and snide comments from gay men. It’s as if gay men feel that they can touch and grope any part of a woman’s body with a openness and confidence that I just don’t see from heterosexual men; touching of the breasts, touching of the hair, giving naughty comments, etc. It’s as if they feel they have a type of access that heterosexual men don’t have to womyn’s bodies, as if, because they are not sexually attracted to womyn, then grabbing her breasts and commenting on how sexy they are is harmless.
Of course, heterosexual men also feel that they have an entitlement to womyn’s bodies which is evidenced in sexual violence, telling womyn what they should wear, trying to limit the sexual sovereignty of womyn, etc. However, I find it interesting that there is a different type of false ownership taking place between gay and heterosexual men and womyn’s bodies. Most often, gay men are more open and friendly with their touching and inappropriate comments, while heterosexual men might save the same actions for a sexual scene or mean it in the disrespectful way. Gay men usually do not have the intentions of harming or disrespecting the woman in any way when they touch, unwelcomingly. It’s usually a way that they show they like the woman, in a unsexual way, albeit.
The black gay male culture is one that I have a supreme respect and interest in. In black males, we see a culture that is totally different from a lot of cultures that we see in American society. However, womyn get a constant barrage of yelling, passes, unwanted touches, etc. from random men. From years of being subjected to the ‘male gaze’, womyn see their bodies as a man sees them, on display, as sexual objects. A quick trip outside turns into a fashion show because womyn are aware that they are being watched by the supreme spectators, men. Sadly, it seems, gay men also fall into this category. When a gay man feels that they can touch or make sexual-esque comments towards a woman, it makes womyn even more aware of how her body appears to men, even someone who may not be attracted to her sexually.
Many womyn feel safe with gay men because they are seen as the one type of man who is not interested in her sexually, but when gay men cross the limit and invite themselves into the personal space of a woman that safety is abandoned. Womyn constantly have to deal with being sexual objects for men, anyone from friends to family members probably have shown a sexual interest or gesture towards any given woman… its tiring to always been seen as a sexual object. It doesn’t matter whether a gay man is sexually interested in the opposite gender or not, crossing the line is crossing the line.