Gay men also need to consider their treatment of women
Yup, toxic masculinity in the gay community is a thing. And it's a phenomenon that most overlook.
These days, discussions surrounding toxic masculinity in cis straight men are everywhere (see: the reboot of “Queer Eye”). However, we sometimes fail to realize that toxic masculinity can rear its head in many forms, some of which we overlook. I'll use myself as an example.
As a black gay man, I walk an interesting line in this world. I grew up in the trenches of the 1980s crack epidemic and witnessed the war on drugs that followed. I'm also a card-carrying member of the hip-hop generation, which imbued me with all the hyper-masculinity that the genre entails. The effects presented themselves in some of my worst character flaws. My understanding of rape culture was completely off. I called women I just met “bitches.” Street harassment was normal. These, along with a litany of other things, would identify me as very high on the toxic scale. It alarmed me that I, a gay man, had so many traits associated with toxic masculine culture, and I'm certainly not the only one.
As we continue to define what it means to be a man, gay men also have to adjust the ways in which we treat the women in our lives. Some of us are attracted to and admire the attributes of women, but also fail to validate women as a whole. How many of our perceptions of women actually carry over from the straight, cis-male culture we may have internalized growing up? As gay men, do we have an idea of the ideal woman? Do we seek this archetype out when entering new social settings? Is this healthy? Do we also see and treat women as objects?
These are the questions gay men now need to ask ourselves. Women have historically shown up as our allies, and if we are to stand beside them and fight the good fight, we need to examine some of the toxic ideas of womanhood within our own culture. So, the next time you see that beautiful woman at the bar looking like she could use some conversation, don't walk up and greet her by saying, "Hey bitch!"
She has a name, and being gay doesn't exempt you from male privilege, or from being a complete douche bag.