We have all done it, know someone who does it, or have varying understandings of what the term means. "Straight Acting" is when a Queer person is not exhibiting any mannerisms that appear to fit an LGBTQ stereotype. For example a gay man who tries to fit in by avoiding seeming effeminate, or a lesbian who tries to avoid seeming overtly masculine.
"Straight Acting" is a controversial and deeply divisive topic, especially among gay/bisexual men where femininity is seen as weakness. Society divides us into gender roles and any variation from it is seen as taboo. This goes back to our earlier discussion on Gay Assimilationists versus Queer Liberationists. Some may see trying to fit in as a good thing, while others may see this as a false attempt to deny ones true identity. Others may feel it is essential for safety and security purposes to cover up their identity.
In his newly released book "Straight Acting" by Angelo Pezzote he says:
"In the struggle to come out, we can experience two conflicting drives - the important need to belong, and the equally important need to be our true selves. We may get caught up in the catch-22 of conforming to belong, while being our authentic selves. We may be out, but we may also elect to conform, at times diminishing the signals that we're gay - to play it more mainstream".
People use the term "Straight Acting" in an effort to differentiate themselves from the broader gay community and culture, they identify themselves as same-sex attracted but otherwise just regular ordinary citizens.
Others are deeply offended by this terminology because it conveys that a so called gay stereotype exists and that perhaps flamboyancy, gender-variation, or gay culture are somehow inherently wrong.
Mr. Pezzote discusses how he believes that this term is representative of Gay Shame.
"In such an inhospitable climate, many gays themselves ingest that being gay is not a good thing. If I feed a plant poisoned water, it can't help but absorb some of the poison. We, too, take in toxic ideas about being gay from our polluted cultural environment. The way we see ourselves is part a reflection of how we think others see us".
Further, not all heterosexuals are the same which begs to question what "Straight Acting" really is.
What do you think about "Straight Acting" is this good or bad for the community, are you indifferent? Or, perhaps are you a "Straight" actor yourself?