Let’s begin with a premise – it is nigh impossible to work in musical theater and be a homophobe.
Now, with premise in place, let me recount an exchange I was part of the other night. I was at a party, speaking with an actor who is a woman. (Beginning this story would be slightly less convoluted if the word “actress” hadn’t been banished from the vocab of enlightened theater workers.) A young man named Cedric joined us mid-conversation. The actor’s day job is working in “social media marketing”. Her boss is a woman who designs websites in addition to serving the online interests of corporations. Cedric said, “You should start a website called benefactor.com. It could link young women in the arts with older men who want to underwrite their careers.”
The actor made a reference to the “sugar daddy” site. Cedric insisted this would be only for women in the arts. I said, “What about men?”
Cedric replied, “Gay men have no problem identifying their benefactors. Not in this part of town anyway.” (Meaning, I guess, the theater district.) The actor said, “Straight creative men are under-represented in that idea.”
Cedric laughed and said, “There are no straight creative men.”
“Oh, I’ve seen some,” replied the actor.
Cedric laughed. “You’ve seen some. That’s funny. Really, you do know there are none.” He was dead serious. I handed him a card announcing the reading of “Café Lysistrata” and said, “You’re talking to one, darling.” He took the card and we all said good night.
So, here’s my question. Have we come full circle? Is it completely acceptable for gay men to make disparaging remarks about straight men? How far does this prejudice go, especially in the theater? Is this why I've supported civil rights for everyone all my life? Is prejudice okay now, as long as it’s a minority being prejudiced against a perceived majority?