Blake, in his own words: “I’ve lived in New York City for two and a half years and been gay for just a little longer. Living in the city hasn’t changed how I view or deal with my sexuality; if anything, there’s just a greater fear of missing out when I choose to stay home and watch Netflix (a frequent occurrence). What has changed is my perception of other queer men. About a year ago, I directed a short documentary called 20MALEGAYNYCthat featured young gay men living in New York talking about their relationships with other gay men, their own sexuality, and attempting to define the gay community (or lack thereof). The impetus for the project was one simple question: Why have all of my gay male friends said, “I hate gay guys?”
It’s easy to generalize anyone, not just gay men, but this internalized homophobia is a way of thinking that I had noticed in my friends and myself. It felt cool to be accepted by straight guys, to not seem as “gay” or “flamboyant” as someone else, to be able to say, “Well at least I’m not that obvious.” For many, it’s a good feeling when someone is surprised to learn you’re gay (that’s never really happened in my experience, but I can understand the feeling).
Through talking to other queer men my age for this documentary, and my current web series Male Gays , I became more aware of my own homophobic thoughts and behaviors and learned to be more accepting of other gay men. All the criticisms I had internalized about myself were expressed in my jokes or dismissive comments about someone liking Glee or dressing a certain way, when those have absolutely nothing to do with sexuality. It’s easy to attach a lot of baggage to one’s gay identity, but it’s healthier to accept that behavior and interests have nothing to do with who a person sleeps with, and even if they did, the person has every right to express these behaviors and interests. I still may not agree with fans of Glee, but detaching that from a gay stereotype has been important and healthy for me.”