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Adventures in Gay.
March 24, 2013 5:12 PM   Subscribe

25 YEAR OLD RECENTLY OUT ARTIST CHRONICLING HIS ADVENTURES INTO THE WORLD OF GAY. Just a regular guy who happens to like other guys. Currently living in NYC. Work in animation, write and draw for a living. Hopeless romantic. Things I like: cartoons, writing, drawing, uke, piano, basketball, pokemon.
He's dorky, awkward, and struggling with a bit of the ol' internalized homophobia, but I think he's going to be OK.
posted by Nomyte (17 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
The phrase "straight acting" needs to die in a fire.

And, if he thinks that "straight-acting" gay guys are anywhere even close to being in the minority, he needs to look harder. I don't want to be too harsh on this guy, because he's making a great effort, and being recently-out and in your 20s is is just a bewildering experience — been there, done that. However, that phrase is just the worst.
posted by schmod at 5:16 PM on March 24, 2013 [13 favorites]


Metafilter has a somewhat complicated relationship with gay tonight.
posted by Weebot at 6:14 PM on March 24, 2013


What do you mean, tonight?
posted by AdamCSnider at 6:17 PM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


[One comment deleted. Make an effort please.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:18 PM on March 24, 2013


This is obnoxious.
posted by andoatnp at 6:20 PM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


These strips, when strung together, encompass the last year and a half of my life, coming out, and everything this seemingly simple incident entails. As I embarked on this journey I found very quickly that ‘coming out’ is not one specific event, but a process, one of which I felt had never quite properly been explored or portrayed by mass media. I figured others must be going through similar things and decided I would document the process in it’s entirety; the highs the lows, the good and the bad.

Yes. Consider it your second trip through puberty. Write it in your diary (a paper one) and take that back out in ten years so you can laugh at yourself.

Good god am I glad I did adolescence and coming out at the same time, and both before I had Facebook or Twitter. My angsty LiveJournal posts are safely locked away where nobody can ever see them again.
posted by spitefulcrow at 6:52 PM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I posted this link exactly because a bunch of the strips are gauche, insensitive, and pretty cringe-inducing. I think this is valuable and illustrative. The artist gets upbraided pretty thoroughly in the comments on his strip's Facebook page (here), and that dialog is also pretty interesting. For example:
Ugh. Dude, I really enjoy your comics, but you're really starting to border on offensive here. It's like you came out of the closet and was expecting a parade of straight acting guys to fall on the ground in front of you, thanking you for joining the ranks.
LGBT people like the artist exist, and there are lots of them. They are alienated and disconnected. They may not have accepting families or good role models. These are their flailing efforts at coping. Yes, these efforts are somewhat dysfunctional and at times pretty homophobic, but their own internalized homophobia hurts them too. They need help. They can be understood, sympathized with, and helped.

The artist has already written about coming out as a process. It's not a switch you flip, and it's easy to forget that it isn't. It's the slow, risky, and laborious process of building a new life that fits you. And it's especially laborious if you come out later in life, as the artist apparently did.

Life's not all Ash Beckham pep talks, and you don't suddenly find yourself in a life you dreamed about once you muster up the courage to tell someone you're gay. Sometimes pop culture makes it sound like there's a prize waiting for you once you come out, instead of more work. Coming out changes how you think about your life plans, it makes you relearn dating, it makes you think about a hundred things straight people don't think about much.

And, let's face it, coming out, even today and probably for a while into the future, is a process by which you trade in social privileges. You trade in a standard, universally acceptable, privileged social identity for the identity of a member of a sexual minority that in the past has been widely violently persecuted and continues to be in many places. That's got to feel like an exceedingly high cost to many people, and an agonizing process to undertake for the promise of future happiness.

And so people like the artist try to cope, clumsily, awkwardly. They're not as "gay" as some of those "other gay people." Their mannerisms aren't as "flamboyant," theirs hobbies and interests less suspect. But the more they protest, the harder it becomes to get adjusted and learn to like who you are.

This is what the artist is discovering and documenting. The comic is new, and I hope to see the artist not only grow as a person while the strip runs, but also find a measure of personal happiness.
posted by Nomyte at 7:25 PM on March 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Consider it your second trip through puberty.

And I've never seen a webcomic by a young person about their going through puberty that I'd want to look at twice. But this is entertaining. Which may be a problem... too funny to be authentic. But when this one nailed a truism about WAY too many straight men I know (they CAN'T be 'just friends' with women), I decided to give it a chance.

Not that there aren't a lot of interesting gay characters in popular webcomics. But many - almost too many - are in storylines about a specific relationship. So good luck to the guy, but whatever happens in his real life, I hope the strip doesn't end up being all about his new husband.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:36 PM on March 24, 2013


The phrase "straight acting" needs to die in a fire.

Why? It means something, everyone knows what it means, and it does define what some people like (or dislike). Even if the word were changed, the underlying concept would remain, and so the new word would eventually offend just as many people, just like the word "retarded" was created to be a less offensive term for what they used to call cretins or idiots; then retarded became offensive to many. Why? Because people sometimes don't like to face unpleasant realities, so the words associated with those realities become tainted.
posted by shivohum at 7:46 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm a pretty casual webcomic reader, so I prefer gag strips, and I've never been able to understand long, story-based sitcom-style webcomics. From my perspective, there are very few gay characters in webcomics, and even fewer of them are written by actual gay people. So what I feel ends up happening is that gay characters sometimes end up being sparkly, unproblematic dullards.
posted by Nomyte at 7:48 PM on March 24, 2013


shivohum: "Why? It means something, everyone knows what it means, and it does define what some people like (or dislike)."

It's a bad phrase for the same reason that "You throw like a girl" is a bad phrase. We know what it means, but it projects way too many underlying assumptions, and tries to correlate two (kind of) unrelated phenomena -- sexuality and masculinity (or gender and athletic skill in my other example).

Again, I really don't want to shun this webcomic. The guy's being emotionally honest, and I'm not about to shun him for failing to be some fucking paragon of political correctness. I could have seen (a more artistic and clever version of) myself making a similar joke few years ago, and the author is still very much exploring what it means to "be gay" to an audience that's probably a lot bigger than he ever intended it to be. I have no quarrel with him.

I just really, really, really want to strike the whole idea of "straight-acting" out of our collective knowledge. It projects a stereotype, and implies a dichotomy that doesn't really exist in reality. People rarely ever fit into neat little categories.

And, really, I know plenty of bona-fide hetero guys who wouldn't fit any remote definition of "straight-acting." Also, to badly paraphrase Dan Savage, nobody's ever been able to explain to me what's inherently feminine about two men fucking.
posted by schmod at 8:46 PM on March 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm afraid that I don't have anything particular thoughtful to say, being neither gay nor male, but I thought that this strip on avoiding bear attacks was very funny.
posted by tickingclock at 9:43 PM on March 24, 2013


what I feel ends up happening is that gay characters sometimes end up being sparkly, unproblematic dullards.

That sounds surprisingly just like real life!
posted by hippybear at 11:01 PM on March 24, 2013


> It's a bad phrase for the same reason that "You throw like a girl" is a bad phrase. We know what it means, but it projects way too many underlying assumptions, and tries to correlate two (kind of) unrelated phenomena -- sexuality and masculinity (or gender and athletic skill in my other example).

How would you react to a gay man being described as "femme" or "femmy"? Certain details of gender expression have been part of expressing a sexual orientation going back decades. They're separate, but not unrelated. I hear your call for appreciating diversity, but it's not necessarily true that there are as many ways of being gay as there are gay people. Sometimes, one really does want to fit a preconceived image.
posted by Nomyte at 11:28 PM on March 24, 2013


It's just like when I came out! Except that I had fewer conversations with my coworkers about my sexual preferences. If those are real people, and not convenient artistic licence, this guy is already ahead of me.

This guy might have more luck if he considered more types of people. And he might be able to consider more types of people if he cared less about strangers on the street being able to tell that he & his boyfriend are gay. In NYC, most will not care. But then I'm sure people on Facebook are telling him the same thing.
posted by subdee at 11:49 PM on March 24, 2013


This is obnoxious.

Yeah, but it's also how a lot of people, gay or straight act and think in real life and it's good to see this guy being honest enough to make it into a strip.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:50 AM on March 25, 2013


Yeah, but it's also how a lot of people, gay or straight act and think in real life and it's good to see this guy being honest enough to make it into a strip.

Then they would be obnoxious in real-life too. If it was a self-critical reflection of how this guy's culture acts I might appreciate it, but the tone is more slice-of-life/take the funny parts of my own life and put them across four panels, not really self-examining.
posted by john-a-dreams at 8:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


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