I spend a lot of my time trying to articulate why I feel the way I do about certain things. At some point in my college life after I became a proud openly gay man, I made the decision to no longer attend “straight clubs.”

Now, in my mind I knew that there was an element about straight clubs that I didn’t enjoy or fancy, but up until today I never really tried to fully articulate that dislike.

When I think of all the wonderful things that I enjoy about gay clubs–the drag shows, the fluidity of gender expression, the various styles of dance, the atmosphere of openness–those are all things that I find particularly enjoyable and are almost always things that I cannot experience at a straight club.

Straight clubs are cool (although I haven’t been to one in years), but I just don’t like having my gender policed. Thus I attend gay clubs. Not because gay clubs are better than straight clubs, but because most straight clubs are based on a culture of gender rigidity that is stifling to me and not worth my valuable money.

I just don’t like feeling like my gender is being policed. It’s something that turns me off a great deal. And it’s not even so much a sexual-orientation thing as it is a fundamental issue I have with gender policing–this notion that men can only do certain things and women can only do certain things.

Now other gay men and women that I know have given the “straight club” thing a chance. Two of my friends (gay males) attended a straight club and waited until the last song of the night to dance together. A patron at the club threw a beer bottle at them. It’s this kind of gender rigidity and policing that I find unsavory at most straight clubs.

Now it may be a regional thing, as I am sure there are many straight clubs around the country that don’t police gender, and it may be a racial thing–people of color may be less open to the idea of gender fluidity than other groups.

I wouldn’t mind partying at the straight club from time to time and being able to have a good time in a club atmosphere with my non-gay friends, but I don’t ever feel like my gender is being policed at a gay club, and I only wish I could say the same about straight clubs.

Derrick McMahon is a senior history education student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU).

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