The LGBTQI community is well known for its open mindedness and inclusivity, however there is a minority of homosexual men in this community who foster a strong disdain towards women.
There are many reasons that misogyny in LGBTQI circles may occur. Firstly, some gay men do not want women (both queer and straight) in gay night clubs or gay spaces, even though both homosexual men and women are undermined by the patriarchy and should therefore be natural allies. Due to LGBTQI pride events usually being catered towards, and run by, gay men with not a lot of input from queer women, women can feel excluded from these events. The disappearance of many lesbian bars also alienates queer women from LGBTQI spaces as they feel their sexuality isn’t given the same respect as that of a queer man. Queer women may also feel that men in LGBTQI spaces think that being a female and gay is not as stigmatising as being a homosexual man; this leaves them feeling unsafe and unaccepted in gay bars.
Another form of misogyny in this community are derogatory labels. For example, “gold star gay” refers to someone who has never slept with anyone who has a vagina, and the term “platinum star gay”; the same meaning as ‘gold star’ except they were also born via caesarian.
I believe this terminology is meant to be a joke and come across as harmless, but it’s actually highly degrading language towards anyone with a vagina. It is in fact undermining those with a vagina and portrays them as less worthy than those with a penis. It also alienates those men in LGBTQI spaces who identify as gay, and who have slept with someone with a vagina before. These slurs are detrimental to the LGBTQI community’s queer cis women and those who identify as female, as well as those who are undertaking their transition from female to male; trans men in the community can feel alienated, particularly if they have not had gender reconstructive surgery.
Other men in the LGBTQI community may be misogynistic due to their own internalised homophobia, which is caused by society’s toxic masculinity. A symptom of internalised homophobia is the projection of prejudice onto another target group, in this instance women. Men suffering from internalised homophobia may start projecting their own insecurities about being perceived as effeminate due to being gay onto women. They may find themselves hating everything about femininity as it reminds them of their own failure to comply to societal norms of traditionally masculine behaviours. An example of this misogyny is judging a woman solely based on what she looks like, critiquing the way her body looks and berating her for not being ‘perfect’. This is very similar to how straight men sometimes display their misogyny. Women are held to such a high standard for beauty, and it is always their beauty men first place value on. Of course, growing up in a society that has always seen women as ‘the weaker sex’ and sees women oversexualized in general, this behaviour teaches men that a woman should be first valued by her beauty before anything else.
Another example of a misogynic tendency in this community occurs in the popularised TV show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. The term “fishy” is used to describe men in drag who look like a biological woman. The term is used in a derogatory manner, in association with the ‘fishy’ smell of a vagina. This is harmful language because it demeans and shames women into being embarrassed of their natural odour. This has the potential to impact women’s self-esteem levels, which can lead to practices that seriously damage the natural pH balance of the vagina, such as douching.
I am not suggesting that misogyny is only prevalent among LGBTQI communities. Unfortunately, misogyny is prevalent through all of society and we all must do our fair share to try and minimise it. I am also not suggesting that only men act in a misogynistic manner. Regrettably, many women suffer from internalised misogyny, which is a side effect from living in a world that sees women as ‘less than’. We must strive to do our best to treat people well; we are all battling our own demons and a bit of kindness can make a positive impact on not just one life, but the lives of many. The LGBTQI community needs to be kinder to the women in their spaces, and the world needs to be kinder to all of the women in it. Please let kindness win.