“Mostly straight” men are are very rare, but I wonder how rare. In the American culture I grew up in, male homsexuality was ruthlessly suppressed. It still is. Oh, gay men usually get treated OK now, and we did even when I was a young man in the 80s, really.

Which just meant (and means) that progressive people (men) are nice about it most of the time and don’t fling overtly crude insults.

But BEING gay so subverts gender coding, that assuming either the gay or bi label is FRAUGHT. There are consequences. As much as we’d like to pretend otherwise, coming out for men is socially very expensive. Hell, I’ve been an loud activist since 1990, and sometimes I STILL hesitate to tell people I’m gay.

BUT, I’ve known a lot of “mostly straight” men. Tons of them. I’ve known many straight men perfectly willing to have sex with gay men and have that not infect their own masculinity or extract any social price.

They just haven’t been Americans!

I’m talking about Mexican men and other Latino men whose gender coding and socialization is just as rigid, but is just a little bit different from what we find in the US, UK, and parts of Europe.

Gay American men often tell an old joke about Mexican men. “What does it take to turn a Mexican gay? A 6-pack of beer.”

Of course, that’s not true and it’s not a very nice thing to say, but there is a kernel of truth.

Many Latino men are raised with a script that values sexual dominance. What matters more than anything is who’s doing the penetrating. Many Latino men who identify as straight don’t think of themselves as gay or even bi if they penetrate gay men during sex.

Nor do their macho peers think of them as gay or bi. The one on the BOTTOM is the gay one.

This is very different from the American script where any male/male sexual contact in seen as something like contaminating.

Hence, the anecdotal evidence (6-pack jokes and other stories) that Latino men are more apt to do “gay” things.

So this reinforces one of your points, I think. Scripting prevents a lot of male/male sexuality that might otherwise take place. American men (and their European counterparts) avoid male/male sexuality because the script is wrong and because the cost is high.

I suspect, based on Latino counterexamples, that many more American/European men would be more fluid if they could be more fluid. But data is incredibly hard to collect, based necessarily on self reporting. And that just doesn’t cut it.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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