So I’m sitting in a barber shop the other day and after a thorough verbal thrashing of Manchester United,(yeah we get it. WE GOT OUR BUTTS KICKED!) the topic changed to something quite unexpected. The radio had a news item about some Zimbabwe’s response to a growing homosexual population in its midst. The topic was taken up by both the patrons and the barbers and within seconds, the consensus was that they should be hung.
I wouldn’t have necessarily been surprised had it been for a conversation I’d had earlier in the week. Apparently my own sexuality has been put into question and on some level I find this a bit laughable. But then the academic in me found that there was more to investigate in this matter.
I am from a generation that grew up in the information age. Most of my friends were brought up by a television and have grown into adults with the internet at their fingertips. I would like to think we are a learned lot. At least, a bit better off than our parents’ generation where the very idea of homosexuality was deemed a disease.
So the question was posed to me. Are you gay? It doesn’t necessarily surprise me. I am not the world’s manliest guy. It’s both nature and nurture. First puberty just messes around with me. Depending on the day, I wake up with a voice close to a shreaking little girl or a man talking in a flashback. I’m told I also have a gay build which is something I can’t quite understand.
The rest though is apparently ‘textbook gay’. There are too many ‘feelings’ in the stuff I say. I remember the words to very many songs by boy bands and I also have the voice to pull off most of them. I’m told it’s gay that I sang in choir while I was in high school despite the fact that it put me in close proximity to girls during the whole of second term. Add this to the fact that I watch and play tennis and you basically have video evidence of my hidden relationship with a strapping young man somewhere. Oh and how can we forget that I love ‘Rent’ the musical and can sing along to Glee and have a firm understanding of what is going on when Grey’s Anatomy is on.
I’d like to think I’m not homophobic but the vehement manner in which I once defended myself against the accusation may point to something else. So it got me thinking. What if these people had been right? What if I had been gay? Would I have been one of the guys they’d be advocating to be killed? Would it have changed my friends’ or family’s affection for me? But I guess I will never have to find out either way because I have no regrets to make about who I am.
My generation throws that word around a lot. And I’m starting to think that in some cases, this generation might not be quite as smart as we think it is. So the question is being posed. What makes you a MAN in this context? I should start listening to hip hop and walking around like I have a rodent in my pants. I’m told it would also be cool if I farted, scratched and burped more often. So I’m packing my bags people and heading to man school. Or not. I am gay. But not in that sense. I am just happy to be me.