As a person raised female, who lived a good amount of years as a queer woman of color, I internalized the oppressive beliefs that our society promotes about beauty and sexuality, about what types of bodies are deemed sexy and attractive - bodies that are most always young, thin, tall, white, and without visible disability. I feel and know this in my body even now that I am not a woman and have not been for sometime now.
As a woman I had worked hard to unlearn and let go of society’s messages about beauty, of course it never really fully goes away, but I had come to see the beauty and hotness in women of color’s bodies amongst all the immense variety and difference.
For gay men, there is a similar dynamic about what’s hot and sexy. Click on any of the hook up sites, open up any gay mag, the pages are filled with young guys, muscular, toned and smooth. I don’t know how many times I’ve been lounging in bed after a hook up with a perfectly attractive sexy guy only to have him put down his body – I need to go to the gym more… I didn’t use to have this gut… My response is always the same, “I like your body, your hot, don’t be silly babe..” And for gay men of color there are all the complicated ways that racism intertwines from the ways we are deemed attractive because we are exotic or unattractive because we are not white, but that’s a discussion for another piece….
Jumping full force into the hook up scene I of course knew about the stereotypical gay boy vision of beauty, but I was unprepared for how it would play out in my mind, body and crotch. All of a sudden I was back in a place that I had not been for a very long time, I found myself hyper aware of my weight and my body shape. I rationalized it to myself that being naked in front of people on a pretty frequent basis is going to lead to some awareness of what I look like naked, but really that’s BS. I found myself wanting that stereotypical gay male hotness – I was going to the gym a lot more, watching what I eat a lot more, what I wear. As a trans guy i felt it even more so, from this place of thinking that I’m already trans, thus unattractive to many guys, so I need to look as stereotypically attractive as I possibly can.
On the flipside, while I am attracted to a wide variety of guys, its enough to say that it’s a wide range of shapes, sizes, races, age… I found myself, too often placing that problematic judgement of hotness on who I chose to pursue. Clearly, this is hooking up, this is not dating, this is not a relationship, its about sex and fucking and getting off, its about physical attraction from the get, but I hate the ways that this can play into all the messed up beliefs society has about bodies and beauty.
I believe, as does my co-blogger, that there is hotness and beauty in the full diversity of gay men of color (trans or non trans) and trans and gender queer people of color. And because attraction and sexuality are so diverse, there will always be people who find us sexy regardless of what society promotes.
However, while I would like to say I’m over it all both in how I see myself and how I see others, I am still learning how to live this belief in the gay boy world of quick fucks, anonymous hook ups, and online play.