Yes, yes, yes. I read a book titled Beyond The Closet by Steven Seidman and was raging most the way about this "we've succeeded" position. In summary he believes we have made great progress and the closets are gone. Little pockets exist where bigots exist in the shadows. No bigots have just found more ways to get away with bigotry. Granted the book came out before Trump, but my goodness, tucked away in a New York University, the bias of his position shows. At any rate, it didn't align with my own experiences.
1. People relate to gay men through media narratives, the fag hag/fruit fly, the fashionista, or the comedian. Points for naming a popular show to match each character. "Tell a joke, be funny," and "can I do your makeup" or the persistent stories of straight people confessing their queer doings or feminine moments/secrets among other strange relations, straight guys seeking experimentation with gay men to see if they are truly, themselves. Though this last one led to some satisfactory results in some cases.
2. What you say about grindr profiles is so true. I met a few kindergarten teachers in a rather progressive leaning city who had blank profiles for fear of being accused of . . . .
3. I myself have gone back to being a blank profile on Grindr because of persistent online harassment. I've had a group of dark web vigilantes use some type of technology, perhaps the pineapple wifi, to view my browsing habits which are yes, at times shameful. They proceeded to create media content based on the knowledge they've obtained about me illegally to intimidate and harass me. Furthermore, they used masqueraded Grindr profiles to give me creative death threats, which in their subtlety, would not be taken seriously by authorities. PSA - people are really determined to fuck with people.
So, yes, Queerness is still very much underground. The only way it can be visible is if it is heteronormative to a point of unobtainable perfection. A stable career, a partner, and not a drop of imperfection, which is why, I will always remember Amy Klobachar statement to Buttigieg during the miserable 2020 campaign debates, "You're so perfect aren't you." While I personally never would have voted for him, noticing he took a comedy stick before taken up in the cabin, I did note some homophobic comments toward him. Ah yes, if you fail a campaign goal, what else but to be the "clown" - my co-workers remark echoes, "Don't be so serious, tell a joke, be funny."
So being gay means what? I can be a clown, a giver of fashion, your sounding board, gossip queen, or the perfect heterosexual mirror of horror. Ugh.
Thanks for writing. In the meantime I will stay inside my room.