Joey Holthaus has been a singer in a boy band called “All of Us” for many years. Today he works as an illustrator and fashion consultant in the Netherlands. He is sharing his experiences as an openly gay man with Organice Your Life®.
… “Hey, dirty F*GG#T!”… Damn! I just did my best to look like a cool dude today. I’m wearing my baggy trousers, old school sneakers, big hoodie, Diesel cap and it’s all in traditional masculine colors. Thought I looked like a straight guy, but guess I was wrong. When I look up I see some kids laughing at me, some are giving me the finger. Grrrrrr. Just another bunch of kids who think they have the right to call me dirty.
Strange. Strange because I’m never ever been a dirty boy (well, not in that way). I take a shower every morning, wash my hair, put on my Aussiebum’s (for the straight guys & girls: it’s the Bjørn Borg for gay people) & some new fresh socks, and as a final touch my everyday (Malin + Goetz) fragrance. Why? Because I can’t stand dirty stuff. I gag when I smell sweat, mold and unpleasant odors. I can’t quite place have to disappear as soon as possible. I’ve heard too many dirty stories, told by my best friends, even though they know I can’t stand them (so I run to the bathroom to throw up). I visualize every little thing. So funny, but not for me…
Well, I know that the kids are referring to that other ‘dirty’ something. You know, how gay people have sex. How they do it. Probably some of those kids also do it with their girlfriends, lovers, or maybe each other? But when gay people do it, they think it’s more disgusting. That’s why they call us dirty. And say f*gg#t. Right in your face.
I know that it’s in fashion for straight people to have a*** intercourse. It’s not a gay thing anymore, doing it “the Greek way”. When I’m listening to all the many sex stories of my female friends (about their relationships) I know it’s true, and they do like it (and quite surprising, some straight men too, if you know what I mean..)
Okay, back to the kids. I’m so surprised they outed me. When you look at all the straight men these days, I can’t see a difference in style with the fashionable gay men of a few years ago. Famous metro men (like über metro David Beckham) set the trend, and half of the straight young men followed. It was hot to look good and fashionable for a straight guy. Before David, gay people created the most wanted styles in fashion. Now I can’t spot the difference anymore. For me, a normal gay guy, it became very difficult to trust my “gaydar”. I thought I had one, but these days I think everybody looks gay. Think my gaydar is really out of order…
Don’t get me wrong, I like to “dress up” for the nights, but my “Yoohooo… look at me, I’m gay” look lies far behind me right now.
I remember my first year in 1996 as a fashion student, when I transformed from a little young boy to a self-assured boy with waaay too much make up on my face. One of my classmates (and still my BFF) looked like the inspiration for Lady Gaga’s looks nowadays (but in a so much better and creative way). He was the one who supported me to polish my nails. First I let them grow and then I polished them all black (how gothic). Then I used all kinds of colours and finally I was drawing all kind of little creations on my nails. How creative! My signature eyebrows before my first year Fashion Design looked like I was Bert’s cousin (Sesame Street). An ugly unibrow.
During this first year I discovered the magic of a tweezer! First I pulled out a few hairs, then a little bit more, and then… Oi. I looked like I drew two stripes above my eyes. Yikes.
I also put too much make up on my face to cover up the rings underneath my eyes and pimples, and I’ve made my eyebrows more colourful with a black eyeliner. On top of that you must know that it was very hot to be a fan of the SPICE GIRLS (well that is, if you were a four-to-twelve year old girl, or a screaming young gay like me and my BFF), so imagine what we looked like. Dressed in shirts that were too small, low bootcut jeans, high (20cm) plateau shoes and blond spikey hair (aaaargh!!!) I was clubbing in Arnhem’s gay club Entre Nous every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Like every night we waited (after whining for a long time) till the DJ played our favorite song: “SPICE UP YOUR LIFE”! Shake it, shake it, shake it… ENCORE!
Okay, maybe I looked like a drag queen, but at that time (1996!) I had never been bullied openly on the streets. No one had ever called me “dirty F*GG#T”, no matter how flamboyant my outfit was. It’s so sad that the times have changed.
May 2012: On the cover of Dutch magazine “L’Homo” you can see two straight famous Dutch male actors kissing each other, with their tongue. The magazine is telling us that you don’t have to be ashamed when you kiss another guy.
* Cover Dutch gay magazine “L’Homo” 2012 *
This cover made headlines in Holland. In 2012! Why? Just because of that kiss. Even though Holland seems very accepting of homosexuality to the outside world, in fact gays get bullied here everyday when they walk hand in hand. Some gays get beat up on the streets when they come out of a club. When you kiss your boyfriend, EVERYBODY is watching you. Like you’re an attraction at a carnaval.
That’s why “L’Homo” magazine had to make that cover. Those covers HAVE to make headlines. We HAVE to talk about it. We have to get used to it, because most of the people are sadly not.
I’m so proud of president Obama. Last week he told the whole world that same-sex couples should be able to get married. BAM! Thank u Mr. Obama. We (the gay people) just need that kind of support. So stand up with the president & sign here!
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So, how can I support myself and others gays? How can I tell the world that I’m an openly gay man for more than 18 years, and that I’m proud of it? That I love the way I’m living my life, and that I’m not ashamed for being gay? I think this self-made picture of me and my husband says enough:
I am glad you all can see I’m gay. Looks like I haven’t change a bit since 1996. Minus my nail polish, but plus spicing up (& organicing!) my happy life with my beautiful and gorgeous husband Mark.
Be proud. Be yourself.
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