By Vish | @vishdelishuk

Recently on a train home with a bunch of my gay friends, I noticed a pattern in our conversations. Intertwined beneath our witch coven-esque cackles there was a considerable amount of bitching and shade throwing; be it from bitching about our work colleagues to harsh judgement thrown about a celebrity.

In my mind something clicked and I suddenly found all this bitchiness unbearable. I’m certainly not above being a bitch; I’m more than capable of saying and thinking unpleasant things. My unpleasantness is usually in name of comedy, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that sometimes it’s lined with a touch of nastiness. I suspect that’s the case with many others too.

So what exactly is a bitch? Well, I’d say traditionally it is (and still remains) a misogynistic and dehumanising term used to put women down for a variety of reasons. Call someone a bitch in the straight world and you face getting a hostile punch in the teeth. In the gay community, funnily enough, being a bitch is something people aspire to be. We’re continually surrounded by media influences encouraging us all to throw ‘shade’ at one another as a form of character building and finessing oneself. I know it’s all meant to be in jest, but I can’t help but feel all this throwing shade shit is being taken way too seriously by some.

You know who I’m talking about. The wannabe diva queens or the ‘masc 4 masc’ bro dudes who cling on to their cliché friends like their lives depended on it. Heaven forbid they associate themselves with anyone who doesn’t look, talk or breathe like them. But hey I get it. That’s people for you. We’re all drawn to what we know and I’ve certainly been guilty of this myself.

The truth is we all have a ‘bitch’ lurking within us. It tries to tear others down in order to make us feel better. It’s fundamentally a defence mechanism. When someone makes scathing comments or sports an icy look, these behaviours are simply deflection tactics. They are unconsciously used by someone to pass on their painful insecurities to others. I mean remember the last time someone gave you a dirty look and wasted your life worrying if it was you with the problem. It’s a bit shitty isn’t it? Well let me reassure you, it’s always them, so why take on their crap?

However, I do feel empathy for the gay men who let their inner bitch rule. I can’t help but feel this way of being is like living within restrictive barriers. It’s as if our bitchiness locks us up like some campy wicked stepparent, keeping us from exploring our own identity and being open to choices. Choices that could help bring the gay community together by allowing ourselves to enter new spaces and understand the diverse LGBT sphere a bit better. I know I have much to learn.

I’m not saying the gay community is in dire straits, but at times it feels as though we’re a bit segregated. It’s like we’re all on this magnificent cruise ship (not the Titanic!), but a lot of us are too hung up on being in a cabin that makes us comfortable, when ideally we need to all meet more often on the communal deck and get the real party started! Now if that’s not an awesome metaphor, then I don’t know what is.

I get where these barriers come from. We are all conditioned to have these issues to some extent. As I’ve said many times before in my articles, growing up gay in a hetero-normative society kind of fucks you up. I certainly know it did for me! After all, experiencing conflict with what you feel on the inside and what everyone says on the outside can be traumatic. I can’t help feel these conflicts can manifest into major resentment. Thus many of us create the ‘bitch’ persona  later on in life, where unnecessary shade is spilled or exclusivity is practiced to feel good or safe.

It’s alarming how much we idolise the nasty ‘bitch’ in the gay world. What seems like harmless fun on the surface, can quickly snowball into something more mean spirited. So maybe it’s time to ditch the ‘bitch’ within once and for all. I think this will help to heal the place of refuge the gay community is for many people who seek judgement and freedom from friends. Also on a more superficial level, we’ll undoubtably be more gorgeous. After all, is resting bitch face really that attractive?