Recently at church I met a Christian guy in his twenties who experiences gay temptations and attractions. He very much believes like I do, that gay sex is sin, so he has decided to give up all sex with men.
As Jesus said, that means to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him. Using modern lingo, this guy, like me, is “Side B” (holding to a traditional belief on sexuality).
One thing immediately obvious about this guy is that, unlike me, he rejects many traditional American masculine patterns of behavior. He uses cosmetics and has stereotypical gay mannerisms and speech. He is something of an Instagram star and has gained thousands of followers.
Many conservative Christians believe that gay men should not only give up gay sex but also deliberately choose to dress, speak, and act more masculinely.
A well-known Christian ministry posted an article last year that expressed the view that men with feminine mannerisms and dress are literally going to hell if they don’t stop. The article made fun of things like “floral shirts” and “salad bars.”
Many fellow “Side B” Christian men I know who have given up gay sex objected to the article and sarcastically started wearing flowery shirts and using exaggerated gestures and speech.
My response is that we should all show respect to fellow Christian believers rather than sarcastically put them down; still, we should evaluate anyone’s teachings by whether or not they agree with Scripture.
There are scriptural reasons for the conservative side of the argument, but I can also see some leeway with the specifics. Much of the argument rests on the following verse, especially the meaning of the original Greek word, malakoi.
From 1 Corinthians 6:9 (NIV):
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men [malakoi].
To understand this we must consider the whole of Scripture. Entire books have been written on this subject, so I won’t go into great detail here.
To summarize, the Old Testament law specifically forbids men to dress as women and the New Testament specifically forbids men to be “soft” (the literal meaning of malakoi). These commands are placed in the context of sexual immorality.
Peter, Paul, and the other early Christians agreed that all Christians need to obey the Old Testament commands against sexual immorality, unlike the dietary laws.
My understanding of these scriptures is that we as Christian men should not dress to such a feminine extreme that we would be confused for women, also not adopting effeminate mannerisms, dress, or speech that help us be noticed as “gay” if it is for the purpose of hooking up with other guys.
As long as someone does not go to these extremes, I believe we all have Christian freedom to dress and act in ways that may not quite conform to the traditional American masculine stereotypes.
What do you make of stereotypical gay dress, mannerisms, and speech compared with that of stereotypical American masculinity? What sorts of appearance should Christians avoid or embrace?