Stereotypes are always best punctured

For instance, did you know that all gay men are slender metrosexuals with effeminate mannerisms and an obsession with show tunes, like these two men getting married in Washington state?

Jeez. Give me a few more years and that’s what I’ll look like…some of you may be rising to object and say I look like that now. Actually, I might just have a Harley-Davidson t-shirt somewhere in the pile, and I might even have a cap like that.

Maybe we should try to put away that world where manliness and femininity are stultifying, narrowing boxes we put people in.


  1. margareth says

    LMAO! When I saw that picture, I thought I recognized the guy on the right. I haven’t seen him in over thirty years, when he left Houston, Texas by bus and the man I knew was also gay. I suppose it could be the same guy. One thing is certain though, the guy I knew would never have been labeled “gay” by anybody who he didn’t choose to reveal that to.

  2. chigau (無) says

    *wiping a tear*
    I wonder how long they’ve been together.
    [The Preview button is a mess.]

  3. narciblog says

    Silly, those aren’t just gay men, those are gay bears. Totally different sub-stereotype.

  4. vaiyt says

    First thought upon seeing the image: “How long have they waited for this?”

    Second thought: “For all we know, they could be obsessed with show tunes. How about that, huh? Huh?”

  5. Koshka says

    Maybe we should try to put away that world where manliness and femininity are stultifying, narrowing boxes we put people in.

    This cant be said enough.

  6. says


    I wonder how long they’ve been together.

    Back in the ’80s, I knew a couple who hung out at the same gay bar my friends and I did. They had been living together for 30 years. It boggles my mind that people are such fucking assholes over marriage and who has the right to marry.

  7. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Well, there’s the final Santa myth shattered. There never was, nor ever will be a Mrs. Claus!

    But seriously, what a beautiful picture. Kind of reminds me of my uncle and his late partner; both ‘Teddy Boys’ who met in the 1960’s, and still wore leathers and rode their motorbikes (English ‘bikes, of course) well into their old age. My uncle, now in his early eighties, still looks every inch the tough-as-nails ex-boxer that he is; his late partner of over 40 years was a beardie who looked very much like Santa on the left of the picture. Just like the guy that ‘margareth mentions in #3 above, nobody would have guessed the true nature of their relationship.

  8. thebookofdave says

    Hey, I was married in that same church! Only my picture looked a little more limp-wristed.

  9. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    Aww, such a cute couple.
    I agree that doing away with these stereotypes would be great.

  10. Becca Stareyes says

    Shakesville has a link and caption with the names of the happy couple (Larry Duncan, 56, and Randy Shepherd, 48) who apparently moved to Washington from Dallas, Texas seven years ago and have been together for over a decade.

  11. AlanMac says

    Oh, come on. Neatly trimmed beards and eyebrows, Matching “Kenora Dinner Jackets” . GAY!

    Seriously though, Congrats and good luck!

  12. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’ve always thought the sub-species “ursine” was a particularly good group of Homo homo.

  13. nohellbelowus says

    Maybe we should try to put away that world where manliness and femininity are stultifying, narrowing boxes we put people in.

    As long as push-up bras aren’t outlawed, I’m down with that.

  14. says

    There’s nothing wrong with push-up bras, if that’s what makes you feel good or pretty or whatever pleasant feeling. The problem is in saying push up bras are for ciswomen of a certain breast size and not for whoever wants to wear them or not wear them. People should express themselves and their gender identity however they want in the way that makes them feel comfortable.

  15. F [disappearing] says

    I thought all gay men were iron-pumping shirtless dance club inhabitants who are into biker/bondage leather. Or was it coke-snorting business men who hook up in bathrooms? Pastel preppy-clothes wearing dudes who can’t figure out that a sweater goes over the head and not around the neck? I can’t remember anymore – didn’t pay attention in that class.

  16. nohellbelowus says

    People should express themselves and their gender identity however they want in the way that makes them feel comfortable.

    You said it better than I could.

    Additionally, this freedom of self-expression should have little if anything to do with the ability to obtain employment for which one is otherwise qualified (a question far easier to answer if employers used measurable, egalitarian standards, which for the most part are conspicuously absent in corporate America), or with perceived intelligence, or political stances, or with preconceived anything.

    I’m guessing this is at least part of what PZ meant by his original statement.

  17. F [disappearing] says


    Yeah, people should be able to be and/or express themselves however they like without having to check against a “gender identity” at all . Of course, gender identity may be very important to some, and that’s cool too. (Not for the gender authoritarians, they aren’t cool at all.)

  18. says

    @Janine: What was unclear about my response to nohellbelowus? His comment about pushup bras was dumb and I was trying to show him why.

  19. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I am sorry Noadi, the mistake was mine. I tend to skip over nohellbelowus’ posts.

  20. WhiteHatLurker says

    They say when you’ve been together long enough, you start looking alike. How long have they been together?

  21. ladyatheist says

    You’ve obviously never seen the original Monty Python or heard the original “Lumberjack Song”

  22. nohellbelowus says


    Ignoring things you don’t like is often the best policy. It’s amazing how a few people don’t get that, and instead resort to some kind of meaningless non-sequitur that only increases the level of snark in the blogosphere.

    Noadi, hopefully your last comment wasn’t the result of intimidation. I must protest what you said, however, because I’m completely serious about what I said about push-up bras. I like them, on any woman who wishes to wear one, in fact. You’ll of course notice that I made zero such stipulations.

  23. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ignoring things you don’t like is often the best policy.

    Your ego doesn’t like your posts being ignored? That is how I read this statement.

  24. chigau (無) says

    Naked Bunny with a Whip #36

    Put either of those fellows in a polo shirt, and that’s me in a decade. ^_^

    You still hafta put on the plaid flannel.
    It’s required.
    [not just for Bears]
    [for everyone over the age of 45]
    [except PZ, who wears those weird blue things]

  25. Koshka says

    Noadi, hopefully your last comment wasn’t the result of intimidation. I must protest what you said, however, because I’m completely serious about what I said about push-up bras. I like them, on any woman who wishes to wear one, in fact.

    You have now made 2 comments about how you like women to dress in a post about gay marriage.

    Stay classy!

  26. Charlie Foxtrot says

    My geekdom immediately thought of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld where the Dwarves have a real tough time courting. (*)

    Anyway, I’m both very happy for them that they have finally the opportunity to do this, and a little sad that their magnificent beards got so much grey in them before they got to this day.

    Now, if only Australia could finally catch up in this.

    (* Yes, I realise that is still heterosexual)

  27. Koshka says

    Charlie Foxtrot,
    I despair for Australia. We have a majority that is in favour of same sex marriage. We have a woman atheist PM. We generally have a relaxed secular country. Yet we are probably now further from same sex marriage than 10 years ago. And I fear it will get worse (i.e. Abbott).

  28. Sili says

    You don’t really puncture many stereotypes by posting a picture of stereotypical Washingtonians …

    Seriously, though. More power to them.

  29. says

    All the best for the happy couple!

    Of course, gender identity may be very important to some, and that’s cool too.

    My gender-identity did not get confused by the fact that I’m wearing men’s briefs. And when my husband borrowed my wool tights because he couldn’t find his long johns, neither did his.

    Nobody cares about your dick.
    Get over yourself. Women who wear push-ups aren’t doing so for you, most of them aren’t doing so for any man. We are not here to please you.

  30. Suido says

    Love this picture.

    Related – I recently heard about David Pocock and his fiancee’s pledge to remain unwed until marriage equality is achieved in Australia.
    I do have to wonder if there’s anything potentially insensitive about the pledge that I’m missing due to privilege?

  31. optimalcynic says

    I once met a blowhard at a party who was going on about all gay men being sissy limp wristed nancy boys. Apparently the only reason he didn’t beat up the little faggots was that he didn’t see the challenge in it. I offered to take him to a local leather bar where was welcome to repeat that for as long as he could still form words. For some reason, he declined.

  32. nms says

    Noadi, hopefully your last comment wasn’t the result of intimidation.

    geeze Janine, stop #FTBullying everyone with your interrogative pronouns.

  33. godlesspanther says

    Wonderful! Not only is marriage now available to two men — but to two men who are both gnomes!

  34. says

    My two best gay friends are both obese, and one of them grew up a rural farmboy doing the milking, plowing, baling. He’s incredibly crude, with a large and inventive potty mouth. I like him very much.

  35. AshPlant says

    Eh, apparently my subconscious still has work to do. I looked at the photo and read the article and my first thought was ‘huh, they don’t look gay’. Way to miss the point, brain. :S I think there might have been a little ageism in there too, like ‘they don’t look like people who are young enough to get married’.

    Anyone know how to delete this malware? I tried dragging them to the Recycle Bin, but it doesn’t appear to have worked properly.

  36. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    @AshPlant: We’re all prejudiced. All we can do is try to spot the results of the prejudice in ourselves and try to eradicate them, one dumb thought at a time. Looks to me like you’re doing just fine in that department.

  37. iiandyiiii says

    That’s weird- I thought all gay men were self-loathing, closeted Republican congressmen or preachers who arranged trysts in airport bathrooms.

    My mind is broadened! Congratulations to the happy couple!

  38. says

    I hold all of my prejudices very dear. For example, I taught myself from a very early age to hate intentionally ignorant people. I also despise people who parrot ignorance because it sounds like something reasonable to them. I recently realized that someone very close to me is a fucknut moron who actually believes that if gay marriage is recognized, young people will decide to go gay so they won’t have kids and then the era of white rule will be over. The muslims, mexicans, and blacks all outbreed the whites so we’re in trouble, he expounded with a voice of authority. He knows everything, just ask him, he’ll tell ya. This is a person that I unfortunately need to have a working relationship with for the moment but striving for a day when that will not be true has jumped to numero uno on my to-do list. He actually saw this picture and wondered what it was about, I read the caption supplied by yahoo and said they were getting their marriage license. He turned a literal ghost white and closed his laptop, like that’d make it all go away or something. Yeah I got a few prejudices, but with morons like him around I cultivate them.

  39. Beatrice says

    This picture is of the Seattle Mens’ and Women’s Chorus (they’re gay-identifying choruses). During their weekend concert, one gay and one lesbian couple both with the longest relationships got married onstage, coinciding with the day when marriages became legal in Washington. From what I heard, the lesbian couple pictured here have been together for over 30 years. Their wedding ceremony ended the first half of the concert, and a local cake company had donated “wedding” cupcakes for the entire audience in the lobby during intermission.

    On the link to Shakesville someone gave above, it says that these two women have been together for 35 years. Finally, they could marry.

  40. davidhart says

    I don’t know about wizards, but the guy on the left is definitely reminding me of Moses from the Jesus and Mo comics. Long beard + wooden crook will do that.

  41. AshPlant says

    Thanks. I guess as long as I’m aware of it and boot up the filters in time. The odd thing is that it doesn’t kick in with gay women. Can’t parse that one yet.
    In related news, the first time I ever came across a gay male couple in meatspace was this year. It was really weird. Weird that it took that long, I mean. It’s not like I live somewhere where these things officially Don’t Happen, or haven’t met/amn’t friends with plenty of gay and bisexual people, or didn’t belong to the geek-and-weirdo-and-proud-of-it student union at university. But I never, ever met a steady couple (although ‘student union’ goes a long way toward explaining that…)
    I’d like to emphasise that I don’t think it’s weird to see gay couples; I think it’s weird that I hadn’t previously. And I’m too close to thirty for comfort.

  42. hillaryrettig says

    Those guys are adorable.

    The right has more than demographic/political reasons to fear the idea of non-traditional unions and liberation of all kinds. A big reason they’re haters is that they have a weak sense of self, and define themselves largely in opposition to self-serving stereotypes. When the stereotypes are subverted or start to erode it threatens them on a primal level.

  43. says

    I have been amused at seeing this image circulate so widely. I know these men: they were members of the Seattle bear club for a while, until they decided that the distance they had to drive to events was just too much for them. The Seattle Times published their names — they were happy to chat about themselves and their relationship — so I suppose I can give them, too: Randy Shepherd and Larry Duncan.

    This picture, though, is the one that warms my heart. Jane Lighty and Pete-e Petersen have been the guiding force for LGBT rights in Washington State for decades and they co-founded the Seattle Women’s Chorus almost a decade ago. That picture was taken at their wedding, done as part of a special joint concert by the Seattle Mens Chorus and the Seattle Women’s Chorus last night. They have been together for 35 years.

  44. says

    Noadi, hopefully your last comment wasn’t the result of intimidation.

    Why the fuck would it be? My boyfriend jokes that I’m secretly a teenage boy because of the way I act and dress, conforming to expectations of femininity is something I’ve never been good at. I think everyone should express themselves in a way that is authentic to themselves. I do that with tshirts. jeans, and purple hair despite being 30 and thus “too old” to dress like I do. Who cares? It’s what feels right to me and that is a whole lot better than I’d feel in a pushup bra or high heels (which I don’t own).

  45. Ogvorbis:300-year-old Wood Elf says

    This photo brings a tear to my eye. Like others, I wonder how long they have waited.

    A couple I know have been living together for 55 years now. The two men are still in love with each other. Here in Pennsyltucky, though, the chance of gay marriage being passed is close to zero for at least the next 25 years.
    Bravo progressive states!

  46. Abdul Alhazred says

    Every gay man fits a stereotype, because there are enough stereotypes to go around.


  47. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    I had a midlife career change and just started law school 15 weeks ago. I am currently procrastinating studying for finals (albeit while my food is cooking, so i would be interrupted every minute or two if I tried).

    What is relevant to you is that I’m procrastinating while being a decade older than you, in a professional school, with purple hair and wearing a lesbian avengers t-shirt from the 1998 dyke march under my robe. I’d be wearing jeans if it was late enough on the west coast to be wearing pants.

    You are never too old to shave your head or dye your hair purple – or wear Tshirts like, “feminism is for everyone” or “be the bomb you throw” or “Transsexual menace: The Beaver State”.

  48. sultmhoor says

    This is pretty much what my hubby and I look like now. We just celebrated our 24th anniversary. Since we can’t get married, we decided to use the anniversary of our first date. Unfortunately, we live in the second-most backward state with regards to same-sex marriage.

    While we generally eschew the straight-world concepts with regards to our relationship, it would be really nice to solidify that my worthless shitheel coat-tail relatives can’t challenge the fact that I’m leaving everything to him if I die. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that offers domestic partnership benefits otherwise, or he would have no health care.

  49. optimalcynic says

    sultmhoor: Thank you and your husband for having the courage to be yourself, and for paving the way for all the little baby gays that get to grow up in these (relatively) enlightened times.

  50. says


    Re. a first reaction of ‘they don’t look like people who are young enough to get married’:

    I had that one too. But my second thought was “of course”. We have a group of people who had been prevented from being legally married, but many of the couples concerned have been together for decades. When they are finally allowed to fill out the forms, there will be an initial flood of older-than-average people doing so because they have been forced to wait for a long time. Over time, the age distribution should even out.

    So yeah. Taking the time to think about things is quite important.

  51. says

    @sultmhoor #70 – Come to Washington for a visit. Or Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont or the District of Columbia. Whether or not your state will honor the marriage, it will give the surviving spouse a very solid basis of legal support in the event anything happens.

  52. sundiver says

    I still don’t know if I like my stereotypes punctured or shattered. While the image of a stereotype being shattered like glass has a certain esthetic( if violent ) appeal, the idea of one farting around the room like a balloon has a comically pleasing aspect as well. Anyway, FUCK YEAH. Way fucking cool.

  53. noastronomer says

    This is just too awesome for words. Best wishes to Larry and Randy. And to Jane and Pete-e.


  54. nohellbelowus says

    @Noadi in #64

    Thanks for the reply! All the SnArK gas (a noxious compound often released in voluminous quantities on Pharyngula) must have knocked me out before I could read it last night.

    You sound like an intelligent woman – an original. Obviously artistic, as well (I clicked onto your website briefly… maybe I’ll buy something for my nieces for Xmas later this week).

  55. Friendly says

    As I mentioned in the open thread yesterday, Mary Matalin recently had this stunning insight to share on the subject (I should learn how to do the Comic Sans thing):

    “There are important constitutional, biological, theological, ontological questions relative to homosexual marriage…”

    Really, Mary? Ontological questions? Other than those about the anti-reality of the anti-marriage position, you mean? Do tell.

  56. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Constitutional: How do I ignore equal protection and the nature of suspect class analysis that started before Royster Guano Co, was first elaborated in Footnote 4, and received its current form in Korematsu, thus enabling me to claim that a denial of rights to a suspect class is justifiable since we’ve long denied rights to this suspect class, therefore the class can’t be suspect – it must be perfectly fine to deny their rights!

    Biological: How can I ignore the biological reality that infertile straight folk marry in order to pretend it’s okay to deny queer folk the right to get married because marriage is only for breeders?

    Theological: How can I cause the most damage to lesbians with this God-stick I have in my back pocket that specifies that it is designed for smiting gay men, men who shave, and shellfish eaters without having to spend any time picketing Gillette or Red Lobster?

    Ontological: How can I define marriage so that same-gender marriage doesn’t exist and has never existed when, in fact, it does exist and at (an albeit limited number of) various times & places has existed at least as far back as 2000+ years – a tradition a bit older than getting married after seeking the blessing of Jesus?

    Wow. I guess she’s right!!!

  57. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Well, who knew. Wedding/marriage pix making this cynical, anti-marriage heart tear up…..

  58. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    You sound like an intelligent woman – an original.

    Holy fuck, you are creepy. *shudder*

  59. Rodney Nelson says

    Here’s to Larry and Randy and to Jane and Pete-e. May they have many happy years together.

  60. qwerty says

    I often get offended when glbt themed movies or TV shows have gay stereotypes. The one that gets me most worked up is the uncoordinated gay male. Yes, there are lots of them, but there are quite a few coordinated glbt atheletes.

    Now, that these two bears are married, they should worry about Goldilocks showing up at their doorstep.Congrats to them and all other Washingtonians who’ve gotten hitches in the last few days or who intend to get hitched soon.

  61. peterbradshaw says

    ashPlant #61 – How do you know that? I’d bet that you have run across gay couples before, you just didn’t know it because they didn’t _look like_ gay couples. How perfect is that for this thread?

  62. jkusters says

    As someone who is gay, but is not attracted (much) to the typical gym bunny stereotype, it is so refreshing to see diversity in the wedding photos from Washington. Seeing older, bearded, laid-back men being featured as romantic partners is really, really rare. It’s like being attracted to brunettes but only seeing blondes and redheads in movies and TV and print media. Thanks, PZ, for working to knock down stereotypes in so many areas. :-)

  63. Tony ∞The Queer Shoop∞ says

    If we’re going to skewer stereotypes: I’m a gay man who doesn’t like show tunes. I’m not slender (moderately muscular). I like to shop. I’ve never watched an episode of Will & Grace. I like Sex and the City. Brokeback Mountain made me cry. I’m excited at the possibility that the Supreme Court will rule against Proposition 8 and strike down DOMA.

  64. chigau (無) says

    #87 Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Holy fuck, you are creepy. *shudder*

    Yeah. That’s the vibe I got.

  65. cuervodecuero says

    I can see why older couples would be zoomph at the forefront of getting married. They’re in the demographic of needing the legal protections of marriage rights for health reasons right-fricking-now.

    There are too many horror stories of healthy or surviving partners being shunned maliciously by blood relatives granted defacto executor power over a downed gay relative. Not to mention stupid hospital policies. With all the talk of religiously run hospitals being the only/nearest game in town for some folks, giving some would-be denier the death of a thousand paper cuts with a marriage certificate might be very satisfying.

    I suppose there are also tax breaks our elders would like to have sooner than later?