Gay men parting ways with the cliques of High School 2.0

Navigating what some have come to know is a gay teen’s guide to a gay man’s life

By Matthew Holley

We all remember those glory days or days from hell depending on your periphery. High school was all about the cliques and trying to figure out where exactly we fell in the hierarchy of the Hunger Games.

More and more of us are breaking the molds, but the substrata of today’s gay culture can be eerily similar to the emotional and sometimes physical battles of high school. We all had the Jocks, the Popular Girls, the Nerds, the Stoners/Slackers, the Drama Geeks, etc.

So here you are all grown up asking the same question: Where is a gay guy supposed to fit in?

Just as in high school, today more people than desirable will still stereotype gays as hip switchers, wrist flippers and falsetto speakers – all with great taste hell bent on giving anything that moves a makeover or a blowjob. Ironically, gay men can fall into the same rut of categorizing themselves and others just as they were in high school. And just like gay stereotypes, the labels are simply false.

Still, too many of us try to plug every guy we see into one taxonomy or another. While some of our own stereotypes for each other are accurate, others are just petty, and all need to be taken with a grain of salt.

To claim that each gay man fits into one of these prototypes is illusory. It’s like saying that every man is either a Britney, Christina, Beyonce, GaGa, or Katy Perry. Why choose? In reality, some fan girls are hard for all those divas, and others only worship one or two.

That is tot say, each of us is really a combination of types: You are a beautiful rainbow, each color formed of the many of traits from one of the pre-assigned identities.

If you’re stuck in one category – where you and your boys tend to hang around only with members of your related group, where you have your own exclusive bars, lingo, music, fashion, parties and sexual escapades – take a look below at some of the classic high school archetypes, see if it matches up to your too-basic gay category, and think about how to mix, match and ultimately break free.

The Jocks
We all had a crush on one and some of us were even lucky enough to be him. In high school, this gay rarely revealed he was gay. Now, however, he feels a little more lenient in discussing his sexuality, though he might still cling to outdated ideas of masculinity and femininity. He loves sports and physical fitness, so look for him at Woofs, on the playing fields of gay Atlanta, or at the gym.

Drama Geeks
These boys were comfortable and open enough with their orientation that it might ostracize them from others in school. They sought refuge in the choir room. Like a real-life Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel, they devoted their lives to performing, choreographing a routine to every favorite song, and memorizing every word to the Wicked original cast recording. Today, they might still be the Theater Gays, in the audience with groups like Atlanta’s Gays for Plays, or still performing on stages across Atlanta.

The Nerds
These smarties back then were studious, all academic all the time, achieving types. Your golden boys, your goody goodies. Today, you call them boss. These overachievers are voted most likely to have few coins in the bank.

They worked their asses off to get here, so look for the best of them to be spreading their knowledge via Rainbros mentoring or holding court at social and political gatherings.

The Stoners and Hipsters
These guys were hella cool, so why change now? In high school, you found him under the bleachers lighting up with his friends and talking music or philosophy. He was fluid with his fashion as well as his sexuality, and not afraid to take risks.

He may have tempered his snobbishness against the less-cool-than-him as he got older, and the best are even able to harness that slacker mentality and translate it into a productive and interesting career. Look for these artist types—photographer, fashion designer, writer, and designer coaching design school students by day and mixing with the cool kids at the best parties by night.

The Mean Girls
They were cute and skinny and looked down on everyone. They thought that would get them through life. Then Heather woke up one day in an age-inappropriate crop top and a chip on her shoulder. Now all this jaded gay man has are his memories, a permanent seat at the bar, and his harsh judgment of others – and himself.

Image: Still from ‘Another Gay Movie.’

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