Today in “Inspiring and Unconditional Queer Solidarity,” Scissor Sisters Jake Shears has essentially insulted every body-positive gay man on Instagram.
In a revealing interview in the recent “Masculinity Issue” of Attitude UK, Shears has come after queer men who flaunt their fit bodies on Instagram, saying, “If all you’re giving to the world is a body on Instagram, check yourself, fuck off. If you’re also a brilliant person, and adding to the conversation, fair enough. If you’ve got nothing else to say, it’s time for some self-examination.”
There’s some value to what Shears is saying, but he’s definitely missing the mark. While queer men — or any human, for that matter — shouldn’t place all of their self-worth in their appearance, there’s no shame in flaunting what you got. If you’ve got body-ody-ody, then serve it up. It’s OK if you’re not a rocket scientist. Not everyone is. Also, there’s no one right way to be gay — as Shears has proven over and over again with his unlikely mix of jock and fop. Didn’t women used to say the same things about each other before society grew more accepting of female sexuality? Why shouldn’t we treat queer male sexuality the same way?
Later in the interview, Shears even admits to loving the attention he’s received as a sex icon — and before that, as a go-go dancer. “It’s a rush to have people look and think you’re cute when you’ve spent your life thinking you’re the ugliest fucking thing on the planet,” he says.
Thankfully, the rest of the interview is more insightful. At one point, Shears reflects upon his complex self-image, which took quite a few hits when he was a closeted kid growing up in northwestern Washington.
“It’s when you realise that you don’t really belong with the other boys that you don’t feel like a real boy,” he says. You’re secluded, or at least I felt I was, and there’s a lot of anger and resentment that comes from that.”
Shears notes, regretfully, the amount of energy he has put into trying to “pass” as straight as a way to earn that acceptance he so often craved.
“We all want to be the boy who kicked our asses,” he explains. Later in the interview, he adds, “You think you’ve got rid of stuff and worked through things but it turns out you haven’t, not totally. I think you never fully will. You carry this stuff until you die.”
In another redeeming moment, Shears recognizes his own privilege as a cis white male, i.e. one who can safely pass as straight in parts of the country where queer people of color and trans people cannot.
“I [once] ran out of gas on a country road in Mississippi, a state where it’s now legal to discriminate against LGBT+ people, and had to deal with a police officer,” he explains. “I really looked like a redneck and for a moment that queer side of me was erased and it felt horrible. What if that cop had pulled over a transgender person or a lesbian of colour, with no one else around?”
If you’re interested in reading the rest of the fascinating interview, which also touches on Shears’ surprising relationship with Dan Savage as a teenager, you can find it here. In the meantime, you’ll just have to sit back and stare at hot semi-naked gay guys on Instagram until Shears comes out with his first solo album, which is set for 2018.