Ryan O’Connell Thinks Being Gay Is Gay: The New Gay Interview
Submission by Scott Cohen, TNG reader and first-time contributor
Will & Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy are the reasons behind my Xanax prescription and gym membership. #beingayisgay
About a year ago I saw an update in my Twitter feed that read, “Gay friend for sale on ebay! Tells funny blowjob jokes and will say if your ass looks fat in your H&M dress. Comes groomed!” It was then followed with the eponymous hashtag, #beingayisgay. Now, with nearly 7,000 followers, the satirical Twitter account has become quite a hit. The tweets, which are usually nothing short of hilarious, poke fun at aged stereotypes of gay men. Promiscuity, alcoholism, and concern with fashion all color what can best be described as a caricature of the young and bitchy urban homosexual male.
Creator Ryan O’Connell, a 24-year-old California native, sat down with The New Gay at what he deemed a very “broish” bar in the East Village.
The New Gay Scott: How did the account develop? Where did this idea come from?
Ryan O’Connell: BeingGayIsGay came from my frustration with the media’s depiction of homosexuality. What it means to be a gay man today, I think, is really complicated. I grew up with images of Jack McFarland on Will and Grace being this promiscuous slut that we never saw kiss anyone. So not only do gay men get called whores, but we don’t get to see them make out. Isn’t that the rudest?
TNG: How do you think this stereotypical representation has affected not only the gay community, but also society as a whole?
RO: When society presents something that people aren’t really comfortable with they kind of have to take it to its simplest form in order to make it digestible. I think that growing up gay in that that kind of environment and culture fucked with everyone’s head a little bit. What does it mean to be gay if I don’t have a gym body or don’t connect with Lady Gaga. What does that mean for me as a gay male? Do I not have value just because I don’t have a six-pack? Do I have this obligation to promiscuous or say that bitchy joke?
Ok, I just went on this whole spiel and you’re like “Oh, that’s what it’s about? I just thought it was about dick jokes.”
TNG: But the tweets do pander to a certain stereotype of gay men. For example, one tweet reads “We broke up because he didn’t want to talk about Lady Gaga anymore. I get it but like, I DON’T get it. #beingayisgay”
There are stereotypes for a reason. I like, connect to Britney Spears’ Blackout album. But I think that as gay men …there’s always been this interesting combination of “I’m here and I’m queer” and “I’m proud to be gay and it’s a really great time to be gay.” But there’s also this hint of self-loathing that I think every gay man has. I think there’s a duality there. It’s confusing. And teasing it apart is interesting. Hopefully for someone reading between the lines on Being Gay is Gay they’ll see that.
If it walks like a straight and talks like a straight, it might still be having sex with men off Craigslist. #beingayisgay
Ryan’s Being Gay Is Gay not only satirizes popular gay stereotypes, but it also calls out the darker, muted parts of homosexuality. References to Grindr and Craigslist appear often, as do references to the “straight” guys who use them. While it’s certainly no secret in the gay community that many self-described straight guys use this term loosely, it’s an image that is hushed and hard to come by in popular media. Ryan once detailed his admittedly “porny” experience with a straight guy who looked like James Franco.
TNG: A lot of Being Gay Is Gay also captures the stuff that’s not really talked about…like having sex with straight guys.
RO: Yeah, or getting fucked over by them. But it’s like a rite of passage to get involved with a straight guy who just fucks you over and fucks you up in the head.
Straight guys are fucking weird. Even the ones that are really straight. I’ve hooked up with a guy who was legitimately straight, but just got off on gay men wanting him. He had no interest in my genitalia. So that was really weird. I’ve kind of experienced the gamut of straight guys.
TNG: So would you say that your material comes from real experiences?
RO: Some of the things are totally ripped from my life. But some of the things are me poking fun at gay stereotypes and exactly what I despise about gay culture.
TNG: My favorite tweet was “Why do they call it ‘cumming’ when everyone just leaves afterwards?”
RO: Yea, like I said, some of it is straight up from my life and some of it is poking fun at gay stereotypes.
I’ll tweet something that I think is so disgusting that will get like a million retweets. People will be like “Oh my god, that’s so me!” and I think, “Ew, how unfortunate.” Love my fans, obsessed, but Jesus Christ. You’re not supposed to relate to that.
I moved to New York City to have brunch with my friends and talk about dicks. #beingayisgay
Besides Being Gay Is Gay, Ryan writes and edits for a new blog called Thought Catalog. The blog’s articles span the gamut of literature and take submissions from just about anyone, so long as it’s well written. Ryan’s writing in particular focuses on sex and relationships, as well as pop culture. Some of his funnier article’s are titled, “What it feels like to get f*cked in the ass,” and “The 10 Commandments for Friends with Benefits.” But some of his most Facebook-shareable articles are the sentimental ones that speak to what Ryan calls the “personal, but universal.” “Here’s to Getting Older,” is one particular gem.
TNG: What are your goals with for your articles?
RO: For me, I write about a lot of personal stuff. But I won’t write about things that people don’t care about. I always have the audience in mind. I think that what I go through as a twenty-year-old is so universal. I’m not narcissistic enough to think that my experience is so special. I’m just another boy navigating his way through New York.
TNG: And what are your goals for Thought Catalog, in general?
RO: When I came on full time I thought, “Ok, I want to make this more about feminism and sexuality and pop culture and I want it to be personal, but universal.” I wanted it to have a more cohesive editorial, so hopefully that’s what I’ve done.
TNG: Who submits?
RO: We really do have all kinds of people submitting. We have, like, housewives in Ohio, which is great. I feel like Thought Catalog is…liberating. We don’t have strict guidelines for publishing. If you can’t get it published anywhere else you can probably get it published here. As long as it’s well written.
And I’m really proud of that because I think there’s a lot of people who aren’t getting published because they don’t have a name or they don’t have experience and that’s bullshit. So I think what Thought Catalog tries to do is give those kinds of people a forum to showcase their writing. I’m really happy to be a part of that.
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