Before I dive deep into this post, let me just mention a few disclaimers. First and foremost, this is not a personal attack on anyone. If anything, I hope to make this a teaching moment, and not a “reading” lesson. Secondly, I’m not professing to be Team Nene, Team Twirl, or any other team affiliated with the show. I have no metaphorical horse in this race. While I admittedly don’t like the consistent actions of a few, my personal feelings for the ladies, or the images they portray, has nothing to do with what I’m about to go into here. And lastly, my words can be applied beyond The Real Housewives of Atlanta franchise, and Bravo TV. So let’s get to it.
Using what I call “gay shaming” to insult a man or a man and his wife, is extremely tired and very late. It’s like people say to themselves, “I’m being read for filth by this woman, so I’m going to pull the trump card out, and insinuate her man is gay.” Honestly, if I were ranking shade and reads, this ignorant clap back ranks with the “Yo Momma” jokes of the world. Both casting questions on someone’s sexuality and talking about someone’s mother, is juvenile. Those things are what children on the playground say who don’t know any better yet. Grown adults shouldn’t be using this type of shade as go-to jokes in 2018, because in theory they should know better.
Not only is the gay shaming tired, more importantly, IT IS OFFENSIVE! Every time I hear it my soul cringes. The premise of all shade and reading, is calling attention to a person’s flaws. A person finds a perceived flaw and pounces on the opportunity to call it out. The problem with that, is people calling a man out for being gay, makes it appear that homosexuality is a flaw. That having same-sex attraction is something to be ashamed of, which we should all know it’s not.
Gay shaming is also offensive, in that it continues to perpetuate what a “man’s man” is and isn’t. While I don’t want to go too far into hetero norms, and ideas of masculinity, I will say that there are straight men in these streets who have nose piercings, love manicures and pedicures, and have a true interest in the arts and fashion. And again, they’re straight. Conversely, there are gay and bisexual guys who are experts on all things sports, hate going to get their nails done, and don’t know Gucci from Versace. So making an assumption about someone’s sexuality based solely on what traditional America tells you is a man’s man, is a HUGE mistake in 2018.
If you’re reading this and you still aren’t convinced that gay shaming is offensive, let me put it to you this way. Two white women are on TV getting into an argument, and one of the women, in an attempt to be shady, insinuates that the other woman’s husband is black. Oh and the husband in question is not black at all, but is white as well. Members of the black community would feel insulted. They would be outraged and question why calling someone black was used as slight to someone. The heavy eye rolls black people would give an incident such as this, are the same ones many folks in the LGBT community give on what seems like on a weekly basis.
In short, let’s recap. Calling out a man for being gay when he’s not gay and you have no proof he is, is wrong. If you as a person can’t elevate beyond “he likes men” when you are throwing shade, then you probably shouldn’t be throwing shade in the first place. Unless you see a man engage with another man sexually, or he tells you outright about his sexual preference, then don’t make any accusations. It’s offensive and it really isn’t funny.
In fact, by continuing to gay shame, people are subtly sending a message that homosexuals are flawed simply because of their sexuality. And being gay is no more a flaw than being African-American, or Latino, or a woman. This shaming also prevents heterosexual men from living life how they want to out of fear of being labelled queer. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s knock it off with this bad behavior.