This Just In: Gay Stereotype Possibly Misleading

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While there’s much to love in the Sarah Silverman program (like this and this), I think my favorite characters are Steve and Brian, Sarah’s “gigantic, orange and gay” neighbors. Played by writer Steve Agee and comedian Brian Posehn, the couple are a bit hefty, with scraggly facial hair and rumpled plaid shirts, and seem to love video games and, uh, farting, more than Cher and Madonna. This kind of portrayal of gays on television is indeed unusual, and one could argue the show is aiming for the simplest kind of comedy by using the least “gay” guys to play the gay guys; but oddly enough they end up being a pretty accurate portrayal of most of the queer dudes I know. Maybe this is just my bizarro world, but all my straight guy friends are hair-gelling, disco-dancing superfreaks, and my gay guy friends are shlubby geeks. (And I mean all that in the best possible way, guys). Are all the gay dudes just trying to act straight, and vice versa, until everything’s backwards, or could the stereotypes be (shudder) wrong?

Just this weekend San Francisco welcomed the International Bear Rendezvous, an “annual gathering of bears and bear lovers.” A bear, for the uninitiated, is, according to Wikipedia, a “male individual who possesses physical attributes much like a bear, such as a heavy build, abundant body hair, and commonly facial hair.” My apartment happens to be situated on a street between two of the main host bars, and all weekend, buses pulled up and disgorged crowds (herds?) of large, hirsute men. And I’m not sure if this is related, but the distinct odor of garlic fries seemed to waft over the neighborhood as well. Do bears eat garlic fries? Anyway, as I walked up to the subway station Saturday night, I found myself assuming every bearded, baseball-cap-wearing, chubby guy I saw was heading for the bear festivities, until I realized: no, these are probably just, you know, Americans. Are Sarah Silverman and my neighborhood portents of a near future in which gay stereotypes are so mixed up nobody gives a damn any more, or are we just so deep in the subculture we can’t see straight any more? Either way, I could really go for some garlic fries.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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