In the male homosexual community, we love to label and categorize and organize each other as if we are in a never-ending high school biology class. Top, bottom, vers, masc, fem, jock, twink, dom, sub, bear, daddy and so on and so forth. But there is one category that seems to override any other categorization for those who belong to it: the Pocket Gay. You see, a pocket gay can affiliate himself with any of the previously mentioned categories but in his case, they are merely sub-categories. Hi, my name is Blake and I am a Pocket Gay. (If you just responded "Hi Blake" to your computer screen then we're going to get along just fine.)
I think it's safe to assume that this terminology was born from a drunken straight girl at a gay bar. Indulge me if you will: she's loud, obnoxious, sports a hair color that god did not design, she's intoxicated, and wobbling on her heels as if she's crossing the quad during rush week. You know her. You LOVED her about three jello shots ago. Now she attacks you with, "Omigod, you are soooo small and sooo cute I just wanna put you in my pocket!" (a pause) WHAT!? How on earth can any man; gay, straight, bi, or in between enjoy hearing that? And further more, how did we as gay men adopt this term into our lexicon from the slurs of a drunken "issa"? Oh, that's what I call those girls... the "issas" (as in Marissa, Clarissa, Allyssa, etc.) However it happened, it's happened. But let me tell you, being a pocket gay is not for the faint of heart; and no, "issa," I do not want to go home in your pocket. I want to go home with that devilishly handsome six-foot cowboy across the bar that I can barely see through the crowd.
Also, I truly do not understand that just because of something as simple and inconsequential as height, I'm suddenly described in an entirely different set of terms than men all of two inches above me. I hear cute, adorable, precious, and sweet. Why can't I be handsome, attractive, rugged or heck, even pretty? No, due to my limited stature there is a subset of adjectives reserved for certain furry forest creatures and me.
I prefer the term "vertically challenged" because it is in fact a challenge. It's not particularly fun to have to factor in step-stools to almost all areas of your home. As a gay man it sometimes just ruins the motif and décor to arrange shelving only halfway up a wall. But in the privacy of the home, these challenges are not quite humiliating. When you are out at a bar, club, concert, movie, party, etc. they can be.
Take for instance the typical gay bar or club. A person of average height walks in, surveys the territory, checks out the crowd and elbows his way to the bar to get a drink. BAM! I am now splayed out on the floor because that elbow lined up with my face and now I must pick myself up off the sticky bar floor. The only silver lining here is that I didn't have far to fall. The elbow to face is not the only danger for pocket gays in the wild. Have you ever noticed that in many gay bars, no matter where you stand you are in someone's way? So say you have been slightly shoved or pushed out of the way. Irritating? Yes! Potentially injury inducing? For most people, no, but if you're a pocket gay... a resounding absolutely! And then there is the worst offense of all. The one thing you should never, ever, under any circumstance do: Do not pick us up. We are not toys, we are not dolls, and we certainly aren't your yappy underfed Chihuahuas.
You say, "That's ridiculous, Blake. That doesn't actually happen. People don't pick someone up and move them just because they can." Oh yeah? Well it just so happens that on a seemingly uneventful night at Here Lounge in West Hollywood during the summer of 2012, I was the victim of a "Pocket Gay Pickup." Oh yes, I was standing near the bar with a friend, enjoying a cocktail and having a gay ol' time when suddenly I was hoisted in the air, moved six feet away from the bar, then dropped and discarded like a rotting banana peel. I'm telling you people, it happens. "Sir, just because I am small does not mean you have the right to pick me up and move me. Have you ever heard the phrase 'Excuse me?'" Apparently he had not. Clearly my 5'2" mother had raised me better.
And really the point here is respect. I know that I am short and I know that I am gay. I know that I am short and gay at the same time. I know that I cannot change either of these things about myself so therefore why should I have to defer to my more statuesque peers or be de-sexualized to the point of "lovable Disney sidekick" in social situations? I say I should not. I say that homo-height does not equal homo-power. We pocket gays might be small but we are mighty. And I'd venture to say we can bench press more than some of your lanky limbs but that just sounds elitist of me and against my point. Which is respect. Drunk straight girls and drunk, tall homos, respect your pocket gays. We are people too. And in the event of an emergency we can dodge our way through a crowd to get to the exit before you even knew the building was on fire. Trust me, you're going to want us on your side.