Feminism: Are Gay Men our Best Allies? (Part I)

Feminism is a cause that fights for equality between men and women. But does our own sexual orientation influence our position on feminism? For example, are gay men more likely to join the feminist cause than straight men?

By Sarah Langot

According to a study carried out by Mary E. Kite and Bernard E. Whitley of Ball State University in 1996, heterosexual men are crueller to gay men than they are to women. Both parties could find a point of agreement in the fight against the discrimination they both suffer at the hands of heterosexual men.

We asked heterosexual and homosexual men in their early 20s, to explain to us their views on the feminist cause. These accounts show a difference of the awareness and the point of view of men as a function of their sexual orientation.

These cases don’t characterize everyone’s opinion.

Titouan is a heterosexual male. He considers himself favorable to a “feminism that tends towards the acquisition of the same rights for men and women.” Nonetheless, he contests the importance of certain demands being made by feminists, including the imposition of quotas, reverse discrimination and the recognition of sex workers. He considers these to be useless struggles made out to be progressive.

When he hears talk about sexism, it’s remarks in regards to women that catch his interest. He thinks it’s a shame that women are shut out of some trades, even if that doesn’t happen much, according to him. On the other hand, Titouan is very attached to sexist jokes and says he’ll never stop telling them.

Romain is also a heterosexual. He considers himself an ally to the feminist cause, or at least, he tries to be. He’s ready to participate in the great deconstruction of our society. What shocks him the most in terms of everyday sexism is the “mental load” of the couple. By that he means that the woman is generally more preoccupied with household tasks than is the man. He sees inequality in how tasks are divided up by his parents, for example.

Roman feels uneasy when a man makes a sexist remark to one of his female friends. He likes to pay attention to his words, and he picks up on a lot of sexist talk that many have a tendency to trivialize.

Raphael is a gay man who considers himself naturally attached to the feminist cause. What grabs him the most is the notion of the patriarchy, “the fact that we can educate you, then close the door to you because of your gender.”

The thing that shocks him the most is the recurrence of feminicides. In terms of any link between feminism and the homosexual male community, he thinks that gay men are discriminated against by being compared to women. It’s heard again and again in the insults thrown at gay men.

First seen in: Reflet de Société, Vol. 28 no. 3, été (summer) 2020, pages 22-23

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