I think gay males not being as accepted comes more from the male sexual drive that any stereotype about gay males. It is my impression that men are far more interested in having two females in bed than women are interested in having two men. Therefore lesbians are viewed as interesting by straight men. (And a few men probably think that all a lesbian needs is the right "stud" to show them how great having a man is.) Women are more accepting of gay males than are men, but they tend not to be as vocal about this.

The other part of this is the idea that masculinity means not having any stereotypical feminine qualities. Therefore anyone who would submit to doing something as unmanly as fellatio or being the bottom is unmanly. They are doing it because they can't get women. So unless you want to be seen as un-masculine you cannot be gay, stereotypically. (Though even in the gay community guys that act feminine are looked down upon.)

I suspect that the real reason is far more complicated than anyone is willing to deal with.

I suspect that nearly all guys, straight ones included, have had at least one fantasy involving another guy. Face it: guys love their own dicks with a passion that's both endearing (it makes them simple creatures) and frightening (Steven Tyler comes to mind). It's a natural impulse to share something you love with a friend or loved one. If that other person happens to be of the same sex, though, you're taught that it's wrong. Thus you begin to hate yourself for having something that gives you so much pleasure. It gets messy after that.

I'd also like to know why most sports involve sticks and/or balls, and why most sports are still gender segregated (not to mention locker rooms). I think that node is linked to this one.

Yo, blowdart, you'll still have 4 breasts with two gay men ... just not as big and pillowy as you want. Don't force your big-tits philosophy on me!! :)

I have to disagree a bit with the premise.

I live in the West Village in NYC, and along with the Castro in San Francisco this is ground zero for the Gay Community. When you walk around here, and people are holding hands or smooching or whatever, it's a crap shoot whether they have the same gender.

Now, New York City is a tolerant place relative to the rest of America, and the West Village is a tolerant place w/r to the rest of New York, so the views of people around here (including me) are not at all representative of the nation as a whole. Nevertheless, living here makes you conclude that gay men are much better accepted than gay women. This is not the same thing as tallying the levels of violence against gay men vs. lesbians, since statistically men perpetrate most violence, and (let's face it) men don't like to beat up women, so that's not a particularly good way of measuring acceptance.

So how should we go about measuring acceptance? Part and parcel of acceptance is public visibility--this ought to have a reflexive, additive relationship to acceptance. One of the things you notice around here is that it's much more common to see two men involved in a public display of affection than women. Part of that observation is of course a selection bias, because there are nominally more gay male couples here than female. (I don't actually have statistics here, but it's commonly understood.) Either way, the amount and level of public display of affection is heavily slanted toward men, which is a good indication that they feel more comfortable doing it--i.e., more accepted.

Another measure of acceptance (and here we are back on a national level) is prevalence in the media. There have been gay male characters in the mainstream media (TV, movies) in much larger numbers than females. Granted, they started out appearing as crude stereotypes like every other marginalized group, but we are starting to get characters for whom being gay it is just another trait, like being from Norway or left-handed or something. Yet it was a really big deal when Ellen DeGeneres came out on TV, and when they staged a lesbian marriage ceremony on Friends; they got huge media attention not because they were already accepted, but because people hadn't really seen it before.

Finally, the AIDS crisis has made gay men much more visible than lesbians. While this has perhaps attached a stigma of disease (good source on this is Susan Sontag, AIDS and its Metaphors) to gay men, it has also mobilized them as a community into high-profile, politically powerful organizations like GMHC and ACT UP.

All this visibility helps, a lot. Most of the intolerance and hatred that people have comes from unfamiliarity, which leads to fear, which...I am beginning to sound like Yoda...leads to anger. It's human nature. So I would argue that in the long run visibility becomes acceptance. Straight people who move here from places without gay communities tend to freak out a bit at first, because it's something they've simply never seen before. But most of them don't bat an eye after six months. That kind of visibility is the only way prejudice gets eliminated.

So back to the subject of the node, I think that many lesbians would be surprised to hear that they are better accepted, just because they aren't getting teased or beaten up in the same numbers as men. Maybe they don't feel accepted enough to even come out of the closet in the first place...

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