In Praise of Queens

Last night on Andy Cohen's Trivial Pursuit with Trivial People self-proclaimed millionare matchmaker Patti Stanger had some lousy dating advice for gay men. One of the things she said is, "no one wants a queen." You're wrong, Patti. Plenty of people want a queen.

It would initially seem that Patti was right. One of the greatest compliments that you can pay a gay man is that he doesn't seem gay. Sadly in our heterosexist culture, being able to seamlessly integrate into the mainstream is still prized above all else. And we see it on Manhunt and Grindr and all the other ways we cruise all the time: "no fats or fems" and "looking for men who are men." Yes, it seems that no one wants a queen.

Part of this has to do with trying to avoid perpetuating stereotypes. Gay men are always telegraphed in media as limp-wristed, fey Carson Kressleys. It's a gay man made easily recognizable by his feminine affect. After years of being dealt these distasteful archetypes, gay men are rebelling against them by butching it up as much as possible, at least in public.

But it also has something to do with sexism and misogyny in a larger sense. A gay man wants to be a man because being like a woman is still somehow thought of as less than. We're taught our whole lives that boys who don't want to play football and blow things up are "sissies." Those are the boys to shun on the playground because either they're gay and want to do something dirty to you, or they want to be girls. And what kind of person would want to act like a girl when they were born with the privilege of a penis between their legs? All those gay men out there who don't want any "fems" are still reliving those days on the playground, shunning anything that has any trappings of being like a woman.

Well, know what, Patti Stanger? There are plenty of people out there who just love a queen. If you need any proof of that, just look at my continuing ability to get laid. And not just me, but the legions of fashion-loving, finger-popping, hip-wiggling, football-hating, hair-dying, flamboyant-dressing homosexuals out there who have a continuous string of admirers. Yes, Stanger's boring and rigid idea of society may hate a queen, but there are plenty of people who love them and want them. Thank god!

Why shouldn't they? I think you'll find that those gay men who hew toward the feminine are some of the most genuine people you'll ever meet. People see the clothes and the attitude as an affectation, but it's usually the opposite. Why would one choose to behave in a manner that many find so unappealing? Why would someone choose to be singled out on the street by those cowards who race by screaming "faggot" out the windows of their battered Honda Civics? Why would someone choose to be ridiculed and bullied throughout school for being outside of the norm and therefore detestable? They wouldn't!

And it's having to endure all those things that make a queen genuine, and strong. He may not look like he would be able to defend himself in a fight, but if he is one thing, he is strong. He is strong for leaving his house every day and announcing to the world that he is gay. He is strong for having suffered all those insults and still managing to hold his head high. He is strong because there is nothing he can't face and he will get all up in your face with a snap and a neck roll to tell you to shut the fuck up if you have a problem with him. "Passing" as straight may the ideal for some, but oftentimes those masculine gay men are suffering too. They had their own tortures in the closet while on the football team, but, like a chameleon, their natural defense when attacked is to blend in, to not call attention to themselves and to shun anyone who might.

This is not to say that those Brawny paper towel gays should coat themselves in glitter and run out in a sarong. No, we should all be true to ourselves and express what is inside of us, if that means wearing a beaded headdress or a Bears' jersey, it's all the same. However, those on the masculine side of the spectrum need to can it with the "no fems" bullshit. When it comes down to it, no matter how many sports they play, how much beer they drink, or how much Madonna they hate, they still suck dick just like the rest of us, and there are certain parts of the mainstream that will despise you for that, no matter how well you hide.

So instead of trying to ward the queens off, we should all be thanking them. Thank them for being the front lines of the gay pride parade. Thank them have for having the strength to endure. Thank them for having the courage to change people's minds and not let them forget that there are gay people out there and we come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, all of them great. Thank them for teaching children the most valuable lesson: that you can't go wrong being true to yourself. Yes, thank them for living.

Long live the Queens!