Meet the Gaybros

8.7.2013

By Mike Albo

The guys who gab about gear, grub, and guns.

“It seemed to me I was just not like other gay guys, plain and simple,” explains Jack Whelan, 24, a moderator on Gaybros who lives in Dublin. “The prevailing cultural opinion of what a gay man should be often abides by a very narrow set of stereotypes, and that can be really daunting to someone who just does not fit them, or who feels like they don’t fit them.”

“There really aren’t that many places/groups that put a focus on the traditional ‘guy stuff,’ from my own personal experience,” writes Marc LaPlante, who lives outside Boston and, at 33 years old, is the oldest moderator of the group. “Gaybros gives an avenue, in my opinion, to talk about things that wouldn’t normally come up in a bar or a Grindr conversation or other, more traditional groups.”

It’s difficult to glean from the gaybros what exactly this “gay culture” is that they feel doesn’t speak to them. Is it Glee? Lady Gaga? Guys dancing shirtless to Rihanna? I wrote to Deluca, asking him if the people who gravitate to the forum feel there’s a stereotype or image promulgated by media (including gay organizations) about what being gay is. “I think that’s a fair analysis,” he replied. “But it’s important to note that there is nothing wrong for people who do identify with that image they see in the media… It’s just sometimes very specific and can be foreign to those who grew up in conservative religious families in Southern U.S. communities, for example. We’re not defining ourselves by saying we’re not that, we’re just coming together around different interests and presenting an additional group for people to identify with. We’re simply trying to broaden the spectrum.”

Created in a university setting, Gaybros acts like a fraternity, and, like many fraternities now, its creators are careful to make sure to be inclusive. It even has a charitable side; last winter they raised $5,000 for the Trevor Project in their first fundraising effort. “We’re looking to reach out to organizations that affect our members, such as You Can Play, OutServe, and others,” says Deluca. “We’re always looking to get involved and give back to the community.”

And much like the modern fraternity, the gaybro community knows how to speak the language of diversity. Deluca, Allen, and the other moderators are all quick to point out they aren’t criticizing anyone. “We don’t approve of shaming anyone for being who they are,” says Deluca. They encourage acceptance. Allen points out that recently, when a trans male posted photos of his newly transitioned self on Gaybros, people on the site showed “nothing but support. Seeing those reactions makes me proud to be a part of what this is.”

But as of yet, there hasn’t been a drag queen gaybro. As a rule, effeminacy is not part of the gaybro DNA, and that strikes a chord. “THIS IS ME!!” posted a reader in response to a gaybro article on Buzzfeed. “I spend most of my time at straight bars and hang out with my straight friends, who all tell me that I don’t seem gay at all. It is a huge disappointment to me that there are few guys like me who like camping, fishing, hiking, hockey, basketball, videogames, comics... And if I say that a fem guy is not for me, somehow that makes me self-hating. I wish I could find more guys like me.”

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