Monday, December 19, 2022

Exclusionary, cisgendered male only, elitist functions are so hypocritical and need to go away from our community.

Last night, I had the misfortune of attending the latest Gentlemen's Club event at the Carlu in downtown Toronto. It will be the last one I ever attend. 

Post-pandemic, I wanted to push myself to go to more social events to try to break free of my pandemic malaise, the state of mind that's taken hold in me and so many others when it comes to social occasions.  I've been rusty as hell in some of my efforts to get back to pre-pandemic outings. 

Sadly, last night was a setback for me and a reconfirmation why I stopped going to Gentlemen's Club events years before the pandemic even struck. 

The event is generally held once every year, usually a Sunday night in mid December (because better nights are for heterosexual events, I guess) and dubbed "Gentlemen's Night."  Many of the gay men who flock to these events tend to treat it as an excuse to put on their pretentious fashion best and strut around feeling self-important, like they've made it at the centre of elite gay Toronto.  For others present, they may be quite decent human beings who simply like to dabble in a bit of fun like this, probably well aware of the exclusionary nature of the event, but trying to enjoy it nonetheless.  

The crowd isn't representative of queer Toronto because this crowd is 100% cisgendered and as white-centric as you can imagine.  Sure there was some racial diversity, but true inclusion isn't on the menu at this place as men of colour tend to fade into the background a bit.  And women are completely absent. 

I was reminded why I stopped going to these men-only events the moment I looked around the place last night.  Pretentiousness, hypocrisy and classism are hard to stomach.  

I was probably not dressed well enough either.  You know the drill, a 50-year-old man no longer as cute as he used to be.  To fit in, he's got to really level up his fashion to compensate for the aging body.  But I'm not a fashionista.  I'm sure I didn't measure up to the high-powered suits on display last night and I bet at least one pretentious fag probably whispered when looking at me, "How tragic!"  Or at least, that's how it felt as my social anxiety really kicked in. 

The whole thing epitomized everything I dislike about Toronto's gay male community.  The whole thing reminded me why these exclusionary, male only, elitist functions are so hypocritical and need to go away from our community. 

We don't allow straight-male-only clubs that exclude women anymore.  Why do we allow gay men to get away with the same damned thing?      

I was only there an hour before I decided I had had enough and left immediately.  My apologies to my friends I ghosted.  I just couldn't stay another minute longer due to the panic attack.  

Going forward, big gross gay male-only pointless fashion parades for the self-appointed gay male elite will be events I avoid. 


Anonymous said...

I am trying to understand what makes this event exclusionary when the invitation is literally open to all queer identifying men on a first come first served basis. There isn’t an exclusive list. Can you please qualify your thesis?

Anonymous said...

Lol! What YOU describe is EVERY “Gay Men’s Space/Event in Toronto.” Lol!

Matt Guerin said...

Replying to the first comment. It would seem you're using literalist definition of 'exclusionary', ie unless there is a rule explicitly excluding an entire group or type of people, they're not being excluded. But in practice, we know that is too narrow an approach to issues around real inclusiveness. Yeah, sure, I wasn't banned from attending the World Cup in Qatar as a gay man as long as I kept it straight and didn't kiss my husband or act queer anywhere within the country. So if I didn't feel welcomed, it was just in my head? As for this event, I’m talking about cultural exclusion which is more subtle. I’m not sure women are excluded but they certainly aren’t invited. And they're definitely not present except for a handful of staff. And the effect of that is definitely exclusionary. Not to mention the upper class nature of the dressy event, which many who don't buy into that culture or can't afford to dress that well find quite exclusionary. Gay men might've needed exclusive spaces like this in the past, but in this day and age in Toronto, that is hardly necessary for a holiday good time.