Few things are worse -- like natural disasters or emails typed in Comic Sans -- than facing the reality that many feel inclined to corroborate the stereotypes bore by society. Especially in our media-inundated age and the ubiquity of social media apps utilized to amplify the monotony of daily life. Look, I'm quite open about my status as a pariah of the NYC gay community. I don't listen to country pop amalgamation sensation Taylor Swift and the only time I've uttered 'YAAASSS' was when I got my tax return because I could finally afford a dinner that wasn't a rogue M&M found at the bottom of my tote bag. I want to make it abundantly clear that there is nothing wrong with idolizing female pop icons (I totally have a slew of Beyoncé on my iPod), I'm just saying that my heroes are Joan Jett and Iggy Pop. However, it's unequivocally clear that these stereotypes have festered into unspoken axioms that govern the NYC gay scene.
I can't help but feel the gaze of disapproval or judgment because I'm not wearing a v-neck that's so deep it has its own TED Talk or an exposed jock strap. For someone who has went from an 11-inch platinum blonde mohawk a la John Sex to black slicked-back greaser hair, going to get a drink at a gay nightclub in NYC is like trying to steal a coveted artifact from a museum in the middle of the night. Dodging those meticulously placed lasers is not too different than avoiding the smug glares shot at you from other gay men. As soon as you walk in or go to the bar it's inevitable that you're going to get classified, and it makes me want to stop, drop and roll after I get my drink.
It's no secret that smartphone apps and astrological compatibility fuel dating in NYC. I'm aware that the image we cultivate on the digital landscape yields social expectations when we're faced with the possibility of human interaction, but at the end of the day I'm just looking to enjoy someone else's company who thinks I'm cool. Seriously, if the guy I like tells me I look cute I'll jump so high from joy I'll get a concussion from hitting my head on a satellite. However, the combination of social pressure born from stereotype and digital identity, along with living in a city where many romantic connections are bred from dating apps yield ambiguous boundaries and makes it difficult to foster a deep, genuine connection. And the criteria the gay scene evaluates each other on makes it that much more difficult to seek a healthy, happy relationship.
We as a community perpetually fight injustice, prejudice, and bullying everyday, yet fail to recognize the flagrant display of antipathy amongst us. There is way too much focus being placed on who you are, what you're wearing, and how much money you have; too much energy wasted throwing shade. Let's use that energy to promote compassion, strengthen our bond as a community, and pray the shade away.