I’ve seen it and heard it all my life. Straight people, without meaning harm, referring to a gay couple as The Boys. I know a successful attorney who has been openly gay all his life and straight people refer to him as one of the boys. It doesn’t matter that he can buy and sell them ten times over. It doesn’t matter that he has more education and more life experience. In their eyes, he’s a boy, not a man.
In my lifetime, I’ve been called a boy many times. At parties, the wife will shout, “The Boys are here.” It’s always been used as a term of endearment, and no one meant any harm. But it always made me cringe. When I was younger it wasn’t so bad. But as I get older and gain more life experience, I find it more insulting than anything else. I’m not a boy. I’m a man.
And I can’t help wondering how other gay guys feel about this. It’s so unconscious it’s never actually discussed. There’s a popular TV show called The Fabulous Beekman Boys. These guys don’t seem to mind. They make their goat cheese; one has a bestselling book out. The could have called the show The Beekman Guys or The Beekman Men. They could have omitted the word fabulous altogether. But they chose the word Boys. Did it even occur to them they didn’t have to be called boys? I’m not even going near the word fabulous. I don’t use it often enough to care.
Maybe I’m reading too much into all this. I never corrected anyone for calling me a boy. But lately I’ve been thinking about doing it just to see what kind of reaction I get. You tend to get that way as you get older. But try calling Donald Trump a boy and see how he reacts.