Thursday, February 15, 2007

Some Straight Clarification

As we are all painfully aware, John Amaechi came out recently.  Anyone with a negative thought about this is considered a barbaric homophobe.  In fact, if you say anything to the effect of possible locker room situations, the gay community will crucify you and claim that you have some homo-erotic fantasies about locker room freak sessions.

As a straight guy (something I don't feel the need to shout to the world every chance I get....but that's another story), I want to try to clarify the locker room hesitations some straight athletes may have with a gay teammate.  Despite Amaechi's and other gay folks' claims that straight men are so vain in regards to thinking every gay man will hit on them, I think there's a misunderstanding.  A straight man will notice a female, regardless of attraction, or intent to solicit further communications.  I look at, with at least a cursory glance, most women that cross my path, with no regard to their sexuality.  I don't lust after them.  I don't want to date them.  Hell, most of them I don't even want to talk to but I look because my preference is women. 

Now, without ever having been gay, I would imagine that the same goes for a gay man.  He will look at a man simply because that is his preference.  No intention of hitting on, or trying to establish a relationship.  Just looking because that's what we as humans do when encountering our sexually preferred gender.

Locker rooms are genderistically (<-I like that word) segregated.  So, before homosexuality was 'out', the locker room was a place where despite possibly being homophobic, you could still dress and undress under the assumption that you weren't being looked at sexually (again, I'm not saying a gay man will see any naked man and pine for them....but as a straight man, I have looked at all kinds of naked woman --regardless of attraction levels -- and rarely turned down the opportunity to see them...).  Woman, whom were assumed to prefer men, were not sharing lockers next to a man and vice versa. 

In the situation of a gay athlete, things change.  If I have an openly gay teammate, will I feel as comfortable taking a shower with him after the game?  I would not.  Not because I feel that he wants me, or that I'm so damn sexy (although I am), rather it's just a simple situation of I don't want to be looked at by a dude while I'm butt arse naked.

Better yet, let's say a woman decides to fight the common battle of joining some all-male institution...say a gym.  Would she feel comfortable showering in the men's locker room?  And vice versa, after all, not all straight men are comfortable showering in front of women.  Does that make them chauvinistic?

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