I love straight guys. Open-minded straight guys who mingle with we queers. Who serve us drinks, who greet us at the door of gay establishments with their shirts off, who even have sex with some of us for money. I don’t want to have sex with these men (although seeing them naked wouldn’t be a bad thing) but I think they are a valuable part of the queer community.
I have always worked with straight guys as porn models, and have had a long friendship with my main bar employee Fausto, a straight guy who I have written about before. Me and Fausto recently ran an ad in Craigslist looking for bar staff — bus persons, shirtless coat-check boys, and security. The number of responses to the ad was outrageous — we interviewed at least 60 people. We did not ask the interviewees what their sexual orientation was, but they all had been required to check out the club website (which makes it clear that the club features trannies and sex orgies and queer women and gay porn) to make sure they would be comfortable in the environment.
For the most part, the interviewees said that to them, work was about doing a job, not about their personal interests. We brought a few of them into the club, always initiating them on the gay-porn themed night. We figure if they can work in an environment where sexually charged gay customers are hitting on them, amidst a backdrop of boys fucking on stage, then they are cool. In most cases, the new recruits self-identified as straight during their first shift. In all cases the straight guys were very accepting of the extreme nature of the scene they had been dropped into. I see this as an indicator of the continuing progress we are making as queers, at least as queers in the big city.
I went back to my Xtra.ca columns and read the reader comments. One reader in particular is criticizing me as an “outsider” and a “bisexual poly queer” trying to “explain gay male culture to [my] audience of woman and trans people.” He thinks I have a “hate on for homosexual men.” I wonder if he might find my affection for straight guys part of my continued “hate on.”
While this guy is entitled to his opinion, I think that we have to be honest about the reality that gay males are a small minority population. By collaborating with straights, we are creating spokespeople who will defend us to other straights in the suburbs and elsewhere. Straight guys are very realistic about business, and if they have a good body and are willing to exploit their looks and charm for tips and admiration from we faggots, why should we be anything but happy to participate in their education?
Two friends of mine were walking down College Street. One is a 40-year-old artsy guy who could “pass” for straight as long as he doesn’t talk. The other is a 19-year-old twink with bleached blond hair, thin eyebrows, and a fashion sense that blurs gender. They saw a group of rockers approaching, and instantly tensed up, sensing the inevitable. It happened.
“Fags!” one of the rockers muttered to his group. But what happened next was unanticipated: two of the girls in the group immediately lunged at their rocker friend and started smacking him: “You’re a fucking asshole, Bill! Quit being so fucking homophobic!” My friends smiled at the girls, their protectors, relaxed, and kept walking.
While I don’t deny that the world is still an unsafe place for many of us, I think we should be reassured by the rocker chicks coming to the defence of my friends. If we continue to be brave and mingle with the world, and educate people one by one, things will continue to improve.