Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Is BJ Gruber the gay Rachel Dolezal?

A reader-cum-friend writes of actor, model and Instahunk BJ Gruber:
Don’t mean to be het-shaming. But I’ve been following this guy’s career for three years since his sexy and winning “Fresh Step” commercial. And have followed his sweaty gym-focused IG feed for a year. And do you know this gay community darling is straight? He occasionally -- but very rarely -- posts photos of his girlfriend (fiancée?) amidst all the homo thirst trap photos. I just feel we are being conned by a genial but calculating gay-for-pay guy. Yeah, he’s found his niche in gay web series, but... something doesn’t sit well with me. End of rant. 
To which I replied:
Wow, tough crowd. You queers don't let much slide!
To which he replied:
So he isn’t the gay Rachel Dolezal? He totally plays to his queer fan base. 
Me: Best line ever!!!!

When shown a 2016 interview in which Gruber says: "I grew up thinking I was completely straight, and then met boys I was interested in as more than friends. I felt weird about it. I didn’t understand and my parents had always told me if I had a choice, choose to be straight but they’d love me either way. They met boyfriends. They were kind. It was OK."

My friend replied:
That is the only time I’ve seen him come clean about the issue. Because you’d never know from his beefcake-heavy IG feed! He parrots the usual evasive stuff that people say when they’re trying to entice both sexes and don’t want to be pinned down -- especially when their income relies on maintaining the “fluid” charade. But I’m guessing he’s still with the same lady he mentions here. I guess I’m still a tough crowd when it comes to gay-for-pay guys -- even those not in the porn realm. Thanks. I learned something new today! You know that before I saw the mention of his lady IG, I got an inkling he was straight. How? I commented on a sweaty photo of him and a workout buddy and suggested that their combined odor must be pretty heady. BJ’s response: Ew. Gay guys would have had fun with that comment! 
When I asked for my friend to point me to the fiancee on Instagram, he replied:
The photo of his fiancee is so far down (so far back) in the IG feed -- subsumed by all the acres of beefcake images -- that I am not sure I could even find it. It would take some deep digging!
Let's review the evidence ...

Straight Americans wear Speedos, right? 

Straight guys flex ...

A post shared by BJ Gruber (@bjgruber) on

Straight guys celebrate Pride ...

A post shared by BJ Gruber (@bjgruber) on

Straight guys get gay haircuts ...

Straight guys post shirtless photos with their buds at the gym ...

Including notoriously gay ones ...

Boys, boys, boys ...

A work of art ...

And straight guys dream of being cowboys -- maybe even in the Village People.

Posted without comment ...

VERDICT: Although even the name is incriminating, I give BJ the KIT212 seal of approval as a beloved straight ally, or "straight" ally. A little pandering never hurt anyone -- especially when you look like that!


I reached out to BJ. He was a good (enough) sport ... 

I for one find "pansexuality" to be exhausting. But who am I to judge?

Here's what my friend has to say:
I first fell for him because he was able to convey a sweet vulnerability in his performances. The Fresh Step one, where he’s straight. I just thought: he’s cute. Not: Hmmm… maybe he’s gay. And then I fell deeper for him in "Daddy Hunt" (three series) and "The Queens Project" (two series?) where he was gay gay gay. 
As for playing hide-and-seek with his sexual orientation… do straight people play games like this in interviews? And then blame the interrogator? 
You could draw parallels here with Lee Pace, who bristled at the question first -- and then claimed later he was never in the closet. Or Sean Hayes, who also fumbled the question back in the 90s -- and now acts as if there was never a problem. In this case, I suspect BJ is definitely playing a careful game, no matter what his sexual orientation. But I reaffirm the notion that he is trying to protect his gay-for-pay career above all. I mean, I am glad he is comfortable enough among gays to accept their admiration -- and to collect payment for gay series. But I see he also takes money for TV spots and print ads where he plays straight. So, the question about his actual orientation is valid. BTW… I swear sometimes that “fluid” isn’t evidence of bravery but just the millennial version of the old-fashioned closet. And don’t even get me started on guys who claim the label “queer” and they’ve never even shaken hands -- or lips -- with a penis. 
“And I don’t care what people’s body parts consist of.” Uh -- given that this is a hardcore body builder whose identity is tied indelibly to what his body is -- and what it looks like -- I call BS on BJ's dismissive statement. Sheesh! I guess it all goes back to Depeche Mode: “People are people.”
TC (tough crowd)
P.S. In his heated exchange, He makes the straight man’s mistake of conflating “sexual orientation” with “sex life” -- so yeah, I am feeling that we have a straight dude on our hands.