“Being in a massive heterosexual majority where you don’t really have to think very hard or deeply about your sexual nature, and where it is easy to drift along without examining core premises of your emotional life, can deny people an opportunity to reflect more profoundly about society and social norms or know themselves more completely.”
- Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, On Gay Stuff And Honesty.
A recurring leitmotif among progressives is that our society is “custom made” for young, single, heterosexual men. But there’s a big caveat here that’s commonly overlooked: For heterosexual men, our culture is custom made for you if, and only if, you are a conventionally-minded, traditionally masculine alpha male. If you happen to by shy, or just different in some way, not only is our culture decidedly not “custom made” for you, but it can also be extraordinarily isolating.
I thought about this recently in regard to Dan Savage’s “It Get’s Better Project.” Gay adolescents, most gay adolescents, have the option of joining a gay rights group in college, and young women who grow up with sexism can become active in feminist organizations. But a shy, socially isolated straight guy who goes away to college is still Schrödinger’s Rapist, and can’t really identify with a group that speaks to his own experience.
Here is something I would like to offer as food for thought: The difficulties facing gays and women are, in many respects, identifiable in ways that problems facing heterosexual men are not, because the difficulties of straight men are often manifested as absences.
I’ve sometimes thought about what my life would have been like had I been gay. Since I was in high school in the eighties, I’m sure I would have been in the closet. (Not that I ever dated as a straight high school student, of course.) But after high school, I imagine I could have found a campus pride group, and probably a boyfriend. And it probably would have been much easier to form friendships with women.