Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli I get. But when The New York Times pronounced antigay Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois a gay icon, I was, well, Schocked.
Sure, he had just posed—washboard abs exposed—for Men’s Health magazine. But the idea that gay people would lust over this 29-year-old “straight” Congressman is symptomatic of a problem I see so often in our community. Many grown gay men simply find straight guys to be their ultimate turn on. When they turn straight athletes, and in this case, straight politicians, into gay icons, it’s no surprise that it makes straight people feel uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable.
With all the gorgeous gay men in this world, why do we need to bestow icon status on (to name just a few) straight celebs like actor Paul Walker, soccer star David Beckham, and model Chad White?
Our community’s political enemies seize upon our straight-men obsessions to support the notion that gays should be feared. It’s at the heart of the shower propaganda, which posits that gay soldiers would “disrupt unit cohesion” by trying to service the members of their straight fellow service members.
It’s not cool for gay men to sexualize straight men—or, conversely, allow straight men to tease us. It makes us look pathetic.
I go to David Barton Gym in Chelsea—one of the gayest gyms on earth—and every day I see straight trainers pushing back the legs of their gay clients, pressing their bodies against them, as they give them a “stretch.” Surely there are enough gay trainers out there who are more than qualified for this, um, position. We should be supporting trainers who come from our own communities.
And why do so many wealthy gay men insist on hiring straight caterers for their parties? Often, they fork over extra money for these guys to work shirtless. Can’t you imagine the conversations these guys have afterwards—about those annoying, lecherous homos? Why do gay bars hire straight bartenders? There are plenty of hot gay men who could use the work, and wouldn’t mock the people who so generously tip them.
I know I’m painting with broad brush strokes. It’s not all gay men who are like this. I don’t even think it’s the majority. But it’s time for a large number of gay men to grow up, and stop publicly fantasizing about hot times with men who just aren’t into sex with dudes.
I’m sure many a Chelsea psychologist makes a living analyzing the root causes of their patients’ desires for chasing after uninterested straight guys. Does it all go back to the playground? Is it because they secretly wanted to bone the boy who would steal their lunch money or call them a faggot? Whatever the source of this straight lust, it’s time for gay men to stop celebrating it, and for us to create more sex symbols from among our own kind.
In the case of Congressman Schock, many in our community have speculated that this youngest member of Congress is a closet case. The most damning evidence: a fruity-looking belt that he was photographed wearing to a White House picnic. Schock tweeted this response to the belt-gate episode: “Never thought a pic of me w/ my shirt on would go viral. Learned my lesson and burned the belt.”
While I enjoy the irony of his setting fire to an already flaming belt, I appreciate much less his response to The New York Times regarding all those gay who want to stuff his ballot box. “If they’re in my district, I’ll take votes wherever I can get them,” Schock said. In other words, if you fags want to dream about caressing my hairless man-boy chest, go for it. Just so long as you vote for me, so I can keep you in your place as second-class citizens.
Instead of boosting this clown’s inflated ego, it’s time to find more respectable icons. It’s time to create more gay gay icons.