Are there queers who work at Vice? We mean, other than Khalid El Khatib, an out gay man who skillfully wrote a worthy article that was poorly headlined, “Gay People Tell Us the Questions They Absolutely Hate Being Asked.”
“Us?” “They?” That kind of phrasing puts Vice in the role of a modern-day National Geographic, dedicated to serving straight readers who are curious about “those LGBTQ folk we keep hearing about.”
It’s like that well-meaning but insulting straight friend we all have, who insists on introducing us as their “gay friend,” their “lesbian roomate,” their “buddy who’s bi,” or “that transgender person I was telling y’all about.” In other words, “someone different from all the rest of us.”
Once you get past the bordering-on-homophobic headline, there is, ironically, valuable reading to be had.
El Khatib, who tells LGBTQ Nation the headline “wasn’t exactly my choice” and confirms that he is “the gay son of a Muslim immigrant,” revealed in his article that he is “often asked offensive questions by strangers.”
Join the club, Khalid. Oh, right, I keep forgetting he’s already in the club. Here’s one awkward question he wrangled:
“Do gay guys get turned on when they look at themselves naked?”
Here are more from folks in the community, consulted by Vice:
“I was in the Houston airport after a trip to Puerto Rico,” said Jason Collins, the retired NBA star who was the first in the league to come out. “I was in line to buy water and a cashier said, ‘Where are you traveling?’ I told her, and she said, ‘Puerto Rico, lots of beautiful ladies down there. Did you have fun?’
I shot back, ‘There are a lot of beautiful men down there, too.’ She gave me a look and told me I didn’t look gay—something I get a lot. I said, ‘Yep, I am,’ paid for the water and walked away.”
“My therapist once asked how women have sex with one another,” said artist Sarah Meyer. “Like: What? Where is your imagination? Why should I help you use it? Did you realize before this moment that your sexual experience apparently only included putting whatever penis into whichever vagina and that this means you are bland and that bland is not great?”
“The ones that bother me scrape at the psychology of my homosexuality,” reveals dancer, photographer and porn star Tayte Hanson. “Like, ‘If you had a choice, would you be straight?’ It implies that being gay is wrong, and it’s asked with a level of complete ignorance. They assume, prior to asking, that I’m uncomfortable or upset with my life. I think so much of my life is perfect, and I’m extremely fucking happy.”
Read more from El Khatib’s article on Vice here.