This morning’s Steam Room Stories (videos set in a fictional men’s steamroom, frequented by really fit men of various sexualities talking about sex) looked at Gay Stereotyping, with three instances, together doing a pretty good job of covering the politics of gay sexuality in a few minutes while getting off three entertaining Xmosexual portmanteaus: in order, bromosexual, promosexual, normosexual. You can watch the episode here.

Bromosexuals are guys who are noisily masculine in manner (like straight bros) while clearly expressing their sexual attractions to one another. So: a hypermasculine (but overtly gay) presentation of self.

The portmanteau is just bro ‘buddy’ + homosexual, with bro replacing the hom– of homosexual, with only the o as overlap.

Promosexuals are recently out guys advertising (or promoting) their new status through an extravagantly stereotypical gay presentation of self; they’re flaming faggots.

The portmanteau is promote + homosexual, with omo as overlap.

Normosexuals (the portmanteau is normal + homosexual, with o … m as overlap) are gay guys who present themselves as “normal guys” or “regular guys” (as they say), not easily distinguishable from normatively straight men. In one variant, these guys are passing as straight, though quite often they are out to many people, but see themselves as differing from their straight counterparts only “in what we do in bed” (as they say) and don’t participate in any of the subcultures that together make up “gay culture”. Some have politicized this identity, campaigning in one way or another for respect for lgbt people and for gay rights on the the basis that straight people and gay people “are all alike” (a largely assimilationist stance), and they deeply resent what they see as “freaks”, the guys in drag, flaming faggots, guys in totally revealing leather , and guys having pubic sex (not to mention the bulldykes) who, in their view, “ruin things” (you might say, queer things) for the great bulk of gayfolk by standing out and alienating the straights.

By all rights, the normosexual category ought to include the great many men (like me) whose presentation of self is not easily distinguishable from a normatively straight presentation (and who are generally out), but who very much value the diversity in gay men — I have many friends who do drag, behave flamboyantly, wear totally revealing leather, and have (or have had) sex in public places (and more) — and who identify with gay subcultures and participate in a number of ways in them.

Beyond this, there’s a big group of men missed out completely so far, men I talk about again and again (most recently in my posting about Trent Atkins): guys who are recognizably gay through their presentation of self (in voice, gesture, and much more) but are not particularly obtrusive: pleasantly gaydar-pinging men, who I would have thought of as normosexuals until I saw the way the word was used in SRS (I’m perfectly happy to see men like me as something of outliers). We might call these guys recogmosexuals (in which case, my lot are unrecogmosexuals, and nobody gets labeled normal, which would strike me as a good outcome).

There’s plenty more here, but this should do for now.

Finally, SRS earlier on this blog:

7/14/13: Another gay back-formed verb: brief intro to Steam Room Stories (SRS)

7/23/13: SRS: the music video: with details about the series and some of the actors in it

1/3/16: Testigraphmanteau: nutscape (testicular photograph) in SRS

1/16/16: Penis size in the steam room

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