Column: Ditching gender roles

The Gay Agenda: Life and times of a modern gay man.

J.R. Hensley

J.R. Hensley

My husband is amazing. Truly. He is the voice of calm reason against my neurotic, crazy mentality that seems to tear through things like a tornado.

When I told him I didn’t know what to write about this week his response was, “you can do it” followed up with “talk about how you don’t know what to write about.”

And I don’t.

The gay issues that plague myself and others are vast and varied, but a lot of them are just plain not fun or remotely humorous. It’s the nature of the beast.

The topic I had been mulling around was about masculinity, how it is prized more so in gay culture than it is in regular life.

It’s because most gay guys want to fulfill some weird fantasy. If you are not totally in shape and hyper masculine they don’t want anything to do with you.

“No fats, no fems, no Asians,” as the line goes.

That thought led me to think about stereotypes and cookie cutter personalities, expectations.

I have been asked by friends, and have overheard in various forms, that age old question, “who is the girl in the relationship?”

If labels are required I would have to say that I am the wife in my relationship.

I am not in the sense that I clean, cook, or do laundry. I’m more like the nosey Mrs. Roper from the second floor, swishing around in a robe with feathers, drinking cocktails and making catty remarks to my husband; but then again, none of that. Who I am is more complex than a two-dimensional caricature.

The funny thing about that question is that even straight relationships don’t fit into any kind of single mold. As all people are unique unto themselves, relationships are equally as diverse and varied.

I understand the question. I do. As most of the time it’s asked with good intentions, they’re just trying to wrap their mind around something that to them is foreign.

But why as a society must we delegate these single roles to men and women? I think it takes away most of the potential for doing what could make one happy.

For instance, a woman is expected to be subservient, taking care of the children and the house, but what if that woman wants to be a lawyer and not have a family?

A man is supposed to be the strong, silent type who shows no emotions, and carries on like a good soldier. What if he wants to raise children, laughing and crying with them?

With each example, an automatic response comes to mind. The woman is seen as a cold, selfish person and the man is viewed as somehow being weak. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the examples I gave.

We can’t help it, we have been conditioned to believe these roles.

Anything that comes along and threatens to uproot the status quo is seen as dangerous.

We should scrap them all together. Thinking someone must be one way is projecting onto someone else and not allowing them to be their authentic self.

Then we can focus on what life could be, instead of what it should.