Thursday, January 14, 2010
A couple of days ago, a reader sent me the following email:
I'm seventeen and I'm coming from Serbia. I have a problem.
I'm gay, and as you may know, it is very hard to meet people such as ourselves here, in Serbia, because anyone who COMES OUT gets thrown out of the house, or actually killed. I know some people who were actually killed because they were gay :(.
I have doubts about three people, but I'm not really sure if they are gay. I've been reading your posts lately and I really need a more precise way of recognizing gay men. What should I do? I know I can't talk about that in front of them, and my girl friends couldn't help me too. I don't know if you can guess someone is gay or not just by looking in a picture. I heard that some experienced gay men can do that. If you can help me, please answer. I will send you pictures if you decide to help me.
Thank you in advance,
I had no idea that life in Serbia was so hard for gay people. It's terrible to hear about people being killed for being gay :-(. Serbia recently applied for EU membership, but if it's culturally so backward that homophobia can regularly involve murdering gay guys, then I doubt that the application will succeed.
In terms of working out whether a guy is gay or not by looking at him, I did a post on that subject back in 2008 called How do gay guys recognise each other? As soon as I received the email from this reader, I sent him a link to that post.
I think it is true that some guys look more gay than other guys, but that's a very unreliable way of working out whether someone is gay or not. Also, straight guys who live in big cosmopolitan cities like London and perhaps Belgrade can often acquire metrosexual habits, and that makes it even harder to tell.
On this subject, after myself and boyfriend T went to visit my gorgeous Japanese masseur B and his business partner N for massage, the next time I saw B he told me that he thought that it was possible to guess that boyfriend T was gay. A few days later I told Boyfriend T what B had said, and boyfriend T was horrified because he's still very closeted, and doesn't like the idea that people can work out his sexuality. He insisted that I find out from B what his reasons were for making that statement. The answer that B gave was basically that boyfriend T was very fashionable, with a neat and smart appearance, and way past the age when his family would expect to see him married!
Returning to the problem of this Serbian reader, he obviously wondering whether a few guys that he knows are gay, because he's offering to send me some photographs to look at. However, as I said above, I think that's a very unreliable way of identifying a gay person. A person's cultural background also affects their appearance, so it would be much harder for a non-Serbian person to have a view on a Serb's sexuality. On top of that, even if someone is gay and looks gay, if they're as young as this Serbian reader is then they may not have acknowledged it to themselves yet. And even if they have realised that they're gay, they may not want to do anything about it at the moment.
However, perhaps the most important piece of advice for this young reader is "Don't fall in love with any of your straight friends". There's a danger that these guys that he's wondering about could be in this category. Somewhere in Serbia I'm sure that they'll be lots of nice gay guys that he can fall in love with, so it would be a mistake to ruin any of his friendships, hoping that the friend is gay.
Even though gay life is hard in Serbia, I'm sure that there are still places where gay people meet, especially in Belgrade. I have no idea if it's accurate or not, but a quick google search found a web site called Belgarde and Serbia gay guide. So my suggestion would be that instead of trying to work out whether people that he knows are gay, instead he should try going to such places where perhaps he can make new gay friends :-).
Do anyone else have any thoughts for this young Serbian reader?