Straight Armour for Gay Men
Alexander the Great, is reputed to have had a gay relationship with his friend and comrade Hephaistion. Whether such a relationship can be judged against modern definitions of gayness is debatable, but its worth thinking of the way in which Alexander led his life, in many ways as an aggressive, conquering, armour-clad fighting, ostensibly straight, man, with a wife and concubine and children by both of them.
It is worth exploring how men with gay feelings still choose to live their lives in the twentieth century. I would posit that even the most OUT gay men have a coat of armour, a chain mail of straightness and bluff, worn to protect against the approbation of mainstream straight hetero-centrist culture. An openly gay and politicised colleague of mine speaking at a local government forum described how he put on this armour every time he stepped out of his London flat.
There was much surprise from the straight government officers as they assumed from their dealings with him that he was well adjusted and an out and proud gay man. He described how much this straight armour wearing impacted on his emotional and mental well-being and in turn his physical health.
Even after we have come out to family, colleagues, friends and other associates we still feel stigma expressed in a million and one different ways in which we are judged and treated.