Out magazine profiles a sub-set of gay men, Gaybros, in an August 2013 article. Gaybros are guys who are gay or bisexual, but whose interests lie more with what some people would associate with the heterosexual world:
“Gear, Grub, Guns, and Guys” is the tagline of Gaybros, a Reddit subgroup that has grown from 200 subscribers at the beginning of 2012 to nearly 28,000 today, with more than 3 million pageviews a month. For Allen, who joined the forum as a moderator just a few months after it was created, the site offers a community he can’t find elsewhere — a place where he and others like him can talk about anything, from sports to microbrewing to the military.
The article quotes from some gaybros as they struggled to find their own place within the community. The overall theme of these quotes is the perception that as a gay man you needed to love pop-culture; worship musical divas; and be able to quote Steel Magnolias verbatum.
Despite accepting parents and a supportive school environment, Allen felt confined. “When I came out, I think I naively jumped out of one closet and into a different one. I started behaving really differently — how I thought an out, proud gay person should behave — and I think I used stereotypes as a guideline of what was expected of me. It was really after I started playing rugby midway through college that I came to the conclusion that there was no expected behavior other than one expected of me from the less-than-educated sect of the heterosexual population.”
The article takes the perspective that gaybros seem to be a new phenomenon, and that the average age of the gaybros falls somewhere in between 18-25. The truth is, gaybros, that is gay men who are more interested in sports, camping, cars and the like, have been around forever. It’s just a new generation is discovering a new way to connect with these kind of men.
About a decade ago, I was part of a number of groups that popped up on the Internet that catered to guys who liked man’s-man activities. These groups (I have long forgotten the moniker we used for ourselves) organized things like camping adventures, rafting trips, and travels to gay rodeos. Their purpose was to provide a place for men with these kinds of interests to connect. The only real change is that younger men; men who were far more comfortable being out at a young age, are now starting to form these same groups.
Allen, the gaybro quoted above, came out at 12. That is something none of the gay or bisexual men of my age would have ever dreamed of doing. It would have meant, at best, being ridiculed and ostracized and, at worst, having the ever-living crap kicked out of you on a fairly regular basis. So we were quieter; more in the closet; passing as straight. We like the typical guy activities as well as liking guys themselves, but we didn’t tell anyone outright. Instead, we quietly sought out the companionship of like-minded men who also liked guys. It may have been by happenstance, chance, meet-ups by word of mouth or print ads, but we managed to find each other all before the ease of the Internet. The younger generation has more support and less stigma about this. They are coming out first and coming out with less apprehension then men of my generation, but they still find the same problem; connecting with guys who like the typical guy-minded things.
Gaybros is an outlet for this. It provides a virtual space for these men to connect with each other while we wait for more physical spaces to be created. The brick-and-mortar bars that cater to this kind of man are still few and far between: Nellie’s in Washington, DC; Fritz in Boston; Boxers in New York; maybe a few others in other cities, but still, it more the straight bar where a gaybro is more likely to go.
Gaybros have always existed with one name or another, but now they are starting to come into their own with more public visibility. As the gay community as a whole becomes more accepted, so does the various segments of our community. Gaybros are just another stripe on the flag. One that I think we will see represented and aware of more and more.