The writing blog of James Christopher Sheppard. I am a 26 year old gay male from London, UK. Here I present my experiences, poems, thoughts and opinions...

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Saturday, 9 April 2011


As a gay man, there are several frustrations to deal with.

1. When people say excitedly 'I've always wanted a gay best friend!' when first meeting you, without having said more than two words to you.

2. The misconception that all gay men are just fabulous! Wonderful to shop with and tell all your girly secrets too. Some men do seem to love their fag hags, but there's nothing quite like feeling like a stuffed fury animal that some needy girl has just won from a fair ground game.

3. The reality that in a lot of environments, gay men actually aren't very nice at all- particularly to each other.

4. All gay men want other gay men to label themselves- twink, bear, chub, skins, prep, geek, biker, leather man... the list goes on. If you don't easily fit into a category, finding a club where you feel comfortable can be difficult. In a twink place I feel old and unattractive, in a bear place I feel slim and too young, in a leather place I feel simply uncomfortable.

5. Having the same conversation with straight people that are 'just asking 'cause I'm interested' over and over again. 'So when did you know you were gay?' 'How long have you known though?' 'When did you come out?' 'What did your parents say?!' 'What's it like taking it up the arse?' -Really people? I am attracted to men. Get a fucking grip and get over it! I encounter these mind-numbing conversations at least once a week and I've been out for ten years. Yawn.

6. Your friends watching out for you in certain surroundings incase you 'go too far' and piss some straight boys off. It's always nice to be told after a party 'I think you were really getting to so-and-so and making him feel really uncomfortable, and he's the kind of guy that I could see was about to react.' WHAT? To me being myself at a party?!

7. The assumption that as a gay man, I will only listen to Kylie Minogue and go to gay clubs. Yes, I adore Kylie Minogue and do occasionally go to gay clubs, but I also love heavy metal and heavy rock music and would rather go to a simple pub and play pool any day.

8. Some people seem to have completely forgotten claus 28 and can't understand why I would never vote conservative. Um... because they made homosexuality a forbidden subject at school and made it ILLEGAL for two men to be affectionate in public... The obscure law only ended in 2003.

But saying all this, the past few days have been a joy to be a gay man in London. I went to see Kylie Minogue live in concert at the o2 Arena on Thursday and Friday and on both occasions met some wonderful gay men who were the friendliest I have met in a long time. The atmosphere was electric and was dominated by gay men, mixed with straight couples and some mature women. No-one gave a shit what anyone was, everyone was there for the same reason; to enjoy a night of unashamedly camp escapism. On the first night I was stood close to the stage and ended up in a little group, chatting to everyone around me. On the second night I was waiting for my friends outside the o2, when a guy approached me as asked me take a photo of him and his friends. When they learnt I was alone, they insisted that I joined them for a drink and wait inside. Experiencing such warm friendliness has restored my faith in the gays somewhat. I know I am pessimistic, but I think some of that comes from the stigma that was attached to homosexuality throughout my childhood and teens. It's time to let it go and move on and make the most of having the freedom of being a gay man.


  1. It has always bemused me, that’s bemused not amused, that being Gay is a subject that’s up for debate. Personally before I start my ‘critique’ for want of a better word, I have to state that anybody’s sexuality is not really that important to me, its not the first thing I see and in many cases its simply none of my business with whom or what somebody gets up to behind closed doors. I am never homophobic and detest that anybody ever is and from a statement point of view this is where my text should really finish but I will elaborate on a few issues of interest.
    Frustrations come in many packages and are not simply reserved for the ‘Gay’ community, heterosexual people equally get frustrations. I can see that many misconceptions are due to the fact that being gay is labelled and as much as that is done by society in general, it is also done by some gay people. This is from my personal experience and not a generalisation. If I meet somebody and they actually tell me they are gay then it has the same effect on me as if they told me they supported West Ham United or they did their laundry on a Tuesday. I have never met anybody and said “well actually I’m heterosexual”, do you see my point? I think my main point really is being gay that much of a issue? To me it’s not.
    I can understand with some degree of sympathy the passage containing “Having the same conversation with straight people” as this must be tiresome however back to my original train of thought, its shouldn’t be of anybody’s interest what sexuality you have chosen and definitely not as a opening line, that’s just crass!!!
    As for ‘going too far’ and ‘piss some straight boys off’, I am doing my best to imagine a scenario and the best I can come up with is possibly “campness” (which is probably not a word but do excuse) as this can be like a flashing light to many others. I do not analyse anybody’s sexuality so I won’t start now and try and do it to the gay party goer. What I will say is I find it odd that a person would use a fake voice or pitch to publicly exclaim their sexuality, as for public shows of affection I often find this embarrassing with anybody, the thoughts of “Get a room” will often go through my mind. I suppose that is just they way I am and if you pardon the expression, I don’t need it rammed down my throat.
    I digress so I will finish my critique which I thank you for taking the time to read and digest, its not meant to be provocative but merely as a reply to a intellectual discussion.

  2. I felt the need to respond to your comment, as it looks to me that you have completely missed the point of it. To clarify what I meant in response to your comments:

    1. It is unfortunate, but a reality for gay people that not everyone responds to the knowledge of our sexuality with such indifference. Of course, on the grand scale of things, you experience less intolerance than tolerance, but it is still very much a part of our lives and we are faced with homophobia on a regular basis. I don't go around introducing myself as 'Hi, I'm James and I'm gay', but it is obvious that I am, and some people react negatively to that. I'm sure people never ever respond negatively to the fact that you are a heterosexual man, unless perhaps you are being inappropriate to them.

    2. Yes, being gay is an issue because unfortunately a lot of people ARE homophobic. Even those that aren't and are simply naive, like yourself, impact our lives. It is from shared experience that I write about having the same 'so when did you realise you were you were gay?' conversations with people that have no clue. This really does happen. They instigate the mind numbing conversations, not us. It is incredibly boring for us- that is my point!

    3. Of course there are frustrations of being straight, and frustrations come in all shapes and sizes for everyone- but I am writing here about the frustrations that come with being me- a 26 year old gay man in London. I'm not saying that gay people have it worse than anyone else, I am merely writing about my experiences, and it appears that all of my gay friends have had similar experiences, meaning this is a shared experience for those that are homosexual.

    4. Your statement: "I find it odd that a person would use a fake voice or pitch to publicly exclaim their sexuality, as for public shows of affection I often find this embarrassing with anybody". Firstly, I agree, people faking any part of themselves is annoying. However, most 'camp' people I know, are naturally camp. That IS their personality. I am often called camp, which I am, and I am at ease with this label. My voice is quite clearly gay and I am quite flamboyant. I can assure you that I am not FAKING this and the fact that you would even consider that all camp people are faking it further illustrates your naivety. As for your comment about public shows of affection, I find they are all about context, not the sex of the people 'displaying' it. That is completely different argument and has nothing to do with this one.

    5. Your statement: "I don’t need it rammed down my throat." ...wow.