If you're a gay guy in the 21st century, you'll have heard it all before; 'masc4masc', 'straight acting only', 'no fems'. Hook-up apps are littered with self-professed masculine men who don't want anything sexually from more feminine gay guys.
With these declarations has come the on-trend opinion piece in gay media. It is now well-known in LGBT+ circles that the standard rebuttal to any of these attitudes is to dispose of them as "internal homophobia".
Of course, terms like "straight-acting" are regressive nonsense - there is nothing straight about wanting to have sex with other men, regardless of their persona. It's pejorative and moronic. But, what is the problem with being a masculine gay man who is attracted to other masculine gay men and not feminine ones?
To be blunt about the situation, the answer is nothing. Let's actually assess what this common counter-claim is suggesting - not being attracted to feminine gay men is homophobic.
Nonsense. To take this view is counter-productive to the perceptions the LGBT+ community has fought to change. We have fought for decades to change the preconception that the flamboyant gay men that dominate our media representation are not the be all and end all of the community - so why are we happy to regress to this pre-modern view to make a point?
Quite simply, to term being 'masc4masc' as internal homophobia is to suggest that being gay and being feminine are intrinsically linked. It means to say that if you don't find yourself attracted to camp gay men then you hate yourself and your sexuality.
Clearly, that is not true. Gay men are as diverse a group as their straight, bisexual and asexual counterparts. Fundamentally, there are certain qualities that people do not find attractive. For some, femininity in men is a turn-off, for others it's a turn-on, that is just the way it is.
However, this reactionary attitude is indicative of a wider problem within the wider LGBT+ community wherein experiences and agendas are being increasingly set from the eyes of a very specific group. The claim of internal homophobia is actually code for a disbelief and anger that the scene cis-gendered feminine white gay man may not be desired by everyone in the LGBT+ community.
If you look at the media that purports to promote an alternative LGBT+ perspective on issues, you are met with the same familiar clandestine attitudes rife in the heteronormative mainstream - advantaged white gay men hijacking debates with the promise of a one-size fits all attitude that often does not.
There is scant coverage of the divergent experiences of intersectional LGBT+ identities in gay media.
Quite often, in fact, the gay-triarchy is more concerned with dismissing any attraction to Black or Asian men as 'festishisation' as it threatens their perceived position as the community's most wanted. Homosexual media is failing to offer representation of the realities faced by BAME LGBT+ communities and identities in lieu of praising the dominant blocs of the gay world.
If your interests run on the traditionally 'masculine' side then don't expect any sort of LGBT-slant on its coverage, you'll only be disappointed. You would think that since the LGBT+ community is supposedly far more progressive and liberal than mainstream society that it's media would seek to represent and accommodate the interests of everyone.
Or, of at least, you would only expect the LGBT+ media to commentate and cover LGBT+ issues only, but this doesn't happen either. Instead, 'our' media marries an unfriendly blend of stereotypically camp interests with gay related politics. We are given pages and pages of reviews of Britney's latest album but little else for other musical interests. It cannot be just because she's an ally of the community when more ardent allies like Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Fun are never afforded the same exposure.
Instead, it is assumed that this specific form of pop music that Britney, for example, makes is an innate fascination of queer people. Of course, that is true for some, maybe even most of us, but not for all. There is never any coverage of football, motor sports, DIY or anything you might archetypally consider 'masculine'. Clearly, our media is content to pillage anyone who doesn't adhere to their niche interests as 'internally homophobic'. They have decided to police the community and hound us in to one very rigid way of being queer.
Gay media was founded to be different from the mainstream, to represent everyone's views and interests from the view of the LGBT+ community, but instead, it has fallen at the same hurdles it sought to avoid. The LGBT+ community is revered as one that is open, diverse and accepting but those of us who don't adhere to convention are left feeling ostractised as this dominant bubble is seemingly impenetrable. Scene feminine white gay men are not the be all and end all of the LGBT+ community and 'our' media cannot stand it.