Brendon Ayanbadejo is correct: “Gay” does not equal “feminine.” More to the point, as the Super Bowl-winning linebacker recently told Meet the Press, “gay” does not automatically equal anything at all.
As Huffington Post puts it: “People think that gayness has something to do with femininity, when really we just need to erase that stereotype from our minds, because LGBT people come in all different types and shapes and forms,” Ayanbadejo said shortly after Jason Collins became the NBA’s first out gay player.
“Way to go, Ayanbadejo. Double high-five, in fact. We already know he is awesome, but such continued challenging of these norms and stereotypes will not only promote LGBT rights and acceptance but stands to help prevent violence against women.
“Without diminishing current victories for LGBT rights, we also need to connect them with women’s rights and the increasing number of men stepping forward as leaders and partners in ending all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence.
“For far too long, popular culture and stereotypes have associated “gayness” with femininity. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the traits traditionally associated with “femininity.” The problem is this: Boys and men are taught to be “men,” and certainly to be good athletes, by not being “feminine.”Don’t cry like a girl. Don’t throw like a girl. Don’t be a bitch. In this way, boys and men learn that femininity is inferior. Femininity is a threat. Femininity is the enemy.
“It’s only a short step from there to this: Women are inferior. Women are a threat. These assumptions and connections, part of what many are calling “toxic masculinity,” enable violence against gay (or “effeminate” men) and violence against women alike.”