I have tried to stay away from ranting on the blog, but I need for you to entertain me today. In the last six months, I have had two magazines and one talk show contact me about the different projects I have done for the blog. I receive a nice email from an editor or producer who gushes over my work and says we should talk. Of course, I stumble over myself replying to their questions and inevitably am faced with the reality that they think I am female.
On one occasion, a publication asked for my “dress size”, normally a clear sign that they don’t realize I also have an “X” to my “Y” chromosome. Informed that while I am not against wearing a dress, it wouldn’t be my first choice, she informed me that she thought I was a female due to my name and wouldn’t be able to use me for the story. In another instance, when the email sender used the wrong pronoun, I corrected her in a light and breezy way. Shortly thereafter, I received an email stating that the interview would need to be canceled because the publication focus exclusively on” women’s needs” in their content. Really? Up until an hour before, you loved my work but the fact that I can’t carry a baby nullifies everything?
Most recently, a very nice woman contacted me about writing an article. As we talked about the article and focus, she kept mentioning that “women would find my viewpoint helpful in understanding this problem.” Finally, I had to ask her “exactly why would your readers specifically want the views of a 29 year old’s (not my real age FYI) gay man’s perspective?” At which point she admitted that thought I was a woman with a deep voice.
So let’s recap:
1) I have a girl’s name.
2) To get into a female-centric publication, I need to pull a Tootsie.
3) I have a deep voice………………..for a woman.
Needless to say I am torn. I am angry that opportunities that I would love to pursue are being pulled out from under me because I am male. I feel that if the roles were reversed and I was a woman talking with male publications, it wouldn’t matter. On the flip side, I get a bit of confidence boost knowing that my work is good enough to be recognized by two high-profile lifestyle publications and one television talk show. It just proves that I have talent and with practice I can really excel at design. I am emboldened by this and hope more is to come!
But I will say this…….I am a gay male. I have been a gay male for pretty much my whole life. My name is Courtney. It’s French. It’s a unisex name….no really, it was a dude’s name before it was a girl’s name. I also want to say that I was the guy who helped you picked out your prom dress. I was the guy who took you to get highlights, told you about low lights and introduced you to non-crunchy gel. I was the guy who selected your first date outfit for your now husband. I was the guy who gave up my weekends and went to flea markets to create your first apartment. I was the guy who you called in tears when your special dinner went wrong and talked you through how to save it. I was the first guy you called after your husband about your new job. I talked you through your first house purchase. I talked you out of flare jeans and into skinny jeans. I am not saying you owe me or anything, but think about how much better is your life is now since I introduced you to MAC lip gloss and Spanx so a little article in your fave mag or two wouldn’t hurt.