It’s probably happened to you or someone very close to you. The bar is crowded and as you make your way around, checking out the scene, your ass is grabbed and your crotch is felt up. It could also happen in a more quite setting like the men’s room or even by coat check. A guy, who seems to be friendly, somehow finds a way to feel you up and grope your most intimate boy parts. Women in gay bars are known to sexually assault guys because they don’t believe we can be victims of female attention. “Only men can be aggressors and women victims”.
As gay males, we are told this is normal. That we should brush it off and let it go. It’s part of our culture and community. Or, it is the best part of being a gay man; “you get to touch and feel as you please”. In reality, this is sexual harassment/assault and no one has the right to touch you without your permission. The problem is that not enough of those in our community see it that way. And way too many guys suffer in silence. The worst part is that any one of these “small” attacks can quickly escalate into a fight or even rape with the right combination of rejection, anger and/or drugs and drink.
Camila Martinez-Granata recently published an insightful piece on this touchy subject over at VICE.
Here is an excerpt:
“These kinds of safe spaces are the lifeblood of the LGBTQ community, especially during pride season. But while they are in many ways sacred, sexual harassment in gay bars can be pervasive—and, worse, under acknowledged.
Experts say it likely goes under-reported because of gendered expectations placed on male sexuality. Gay dudes too often fail to distinguish the line between friendly advances and unfriendly, aggressive behavior. Bouncers, patrons, and staff are all recipients. And it receives a fraction of the attention paid to its equivalent in straight bars.
That’s not to mention that, more often than not, women are the poster children of sexual harassment. We often fail to recognize the fact that males also experience it—and that includes gay males.
Sadly, data and resources for queer people who experience sexual harassment are lacking. A majority of statistics available are outdated, inconsistent, and largely focused on sexual violence and partner abuse.
Within the gay male community, sexual harassment appears to be largely downplayed, normalized, and excused. “I find that if you tell others about it, they tend to tell you to brush it off and to not make a big deal out of it,” said Timothy Yeh, a gay New York City–based educational consultant. Unwarranted advances, Yeh said, are often viewed as an indicator of one’s attractiveness, rather than as a violation of personal autonomy. “I’ve even been told that it’s actually a compliment when men do these sort of things,” Yeh said.”
Check out her entire article, it’s an informative read. Also, don’t be afraid to speak out against this causal level of sexual assault and receive professional care and assistance if you feel victimized. But, if you are one of the guys doing this shit…STOP.IT.