It’s a question that came into my mind the other day after an awkward incident in the gym locker room in which a pretty hot guy and I made prolonged eye contact. Where do we draw the line between subtly catching someone’s attention, and sexual harassment with the eyes? With the many recent stories of gay athletes coming out in recent months, locker room debate has spawned all over, and some heterosexuals (mainly males) are really pushing the line of respect when it comes to not just their fellow gay athletes, but the LGBT community in general. I’d like to take a look at two main ideas in this post. First, I’d like to explore the question, Do Gays have an Advantage in the Locker Room? Second, I’d like to explore why it is that some heterosexual males are uncomfortable with “having to share” locker room space with homosexuals.
Do Gays have an Advantage in the Locker Room?
The gym that I attend is right down the street from my apartment, in the neighborhood of Bedstuy, Brooklyn. This area, as far as I know, is not known as a “Gayborhood.” As a matter of fact, I have blogged, before, about the couple of incidences I have had at that gym regarding homophobic speech and behavior. And while there may be many gyms in the NYC area that are smack-dab in the middle
of a common gay area, these gyms do not hold the entire population of gym going homosexuals. That being said, I think it is safe to say that being a homosexual and meeting someone at the gym can prove to be tricky and challenging.
For one, many of us go to the gym to work out. Either small talk is not welcomed by others, or we, ourselves have inhibitions when it comes to approaching someone else to speak about anything, let alone trying to “find out” if the other guy is gay. At the gym, prolonged eye contact can have multiple meanings. Someone may be eyeing you down because they are genuinely interested in getting to know you, but can’t find the words, or they may be trying to get your attention to see if you’re almost finished with the leg press; Again tricky and challenging. These are examples of how gays are at a disadvantage. Because of hetero-normal behavior, a female might very well be able to pick up on the fact that a guy is flirting with her if he approaches her in a certain manner, whereas, gay men have to walk on eggshells so as to not offended someone if they’re not absolutely sure.
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