The Struggles of an Un-Gay Gay

Stav Elazar-Mittelman, Jewish Day '18

The journey of Stav Elazar-Mittelman in defining what "gay" means to him, addressing prevalent stereotypes, and realizing that being gay does not have to be an integral part of his identity. (Published: 2018)

When I was a middle schooler, I thought about one thing a lot: whether or not I was gay. I struggled with the problem so much not because I had a problem with being gay, but because I did not like the ways, I thought it would affect my life. An obvious effect is that two guys cannot make children. In that stage of my life, I was not really aware of adoption and other means for same-sex couples to have a family– there is not a “How to Be Gay” unit in health class. From my perspective, being gay would destroy my life plan of marrying, having kids, and raising a family like my parents.

Luckily, I realized that I was not like any gay person I had seen before, so I concluded I could not be gay. Granted, I did not actually know (or was not aware of) any out gay person at the time. All my comparisons were based on celebrities, gay pride parades, and all other assortments of rainbow-every-thing fun. From the media, I learned that gays were sparkly, flamboyant, obnoxious, colorful,


sassy, and most importantly of all, that their “gayness” was the most important part about them. I matched little to none of these descriptions, so I reassured myself that I was not gay, and the issue went to the back of my mind.

However, that comfort lasted only for the five minutes it took me to realize that the only people I thought were attractive were ‘smexy’ guys. I felt I was in a paradox — that I was not gay because my identity and personality simply were not “gay,” but at the same time I was gay because I only batted for my team. The only solution, I supposed, to this problematic dilemma was to become more “gay.” I could not stomach the thought of being defective, so I did research on all the “gay” I could find online. This meant binge watching YouTube videos of the “gayest” of gays, studying my new vocab from Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and creating new jokes that highlighted just how “gay” I was. Basically, I became an annoying rainbow who fought for the plight of all the gays of the world.

I was not happy, though. I was forcing myself to embody a culture that I felt very little connection to. I did not want to be “gay” — I just wanted to be me. So I started from the beginning again — finding out what I liked and not what gays should like, what my personal philosophy was rather than the political opinion I should have had. I defined myself as an individual instead of as a piece in the rainbow puzzle.

What I have learned so far in my short life span is that being gay has little to nothing to do with my personality and identity. The media misrepresents being gay as a whole lifestyle, with predetermined ways of existing. In reality, being gay just means that I like members of the same sex. While it once seemed attractive to me to be more flamboyant to fit into the stereotypical gay image, I am glad that I now stay true to myself.

My name is Stav. My favorite color is gray, and I love to wear groutfits (all-grey outfits). I am not inherently fashionable, but I am trying my best to look stylish. I hate really sugary Starbucks drinks and prefer a strong cappuccino or relaxing green tea. I am not a “queen,” I do not “slay,” and I am definitely no one’s GBF (gay best friend). My name is Stav, and I just so happen to be gay.

I have learned that being gay is one of the least significant things about me, and I cannot wait for others to learn the same thing.