One could very easily argue that pro wrestling is a man's thing, a form of entertainment/sport/etc that caters to or specifically targets mostly the young male demographic. For example, look at some of the major stars: Triple H, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, John Cena , The Rock, etc. These characters are basically the pinnacle of what a 'man's man' is thought to be: strong, courageous, leaders; if they are considered a good guy, then they are courteous to women, chivalrous even. But most of
all, all of these top wrestlers are, by default, straight as ruler. It's not even a question of whether a wrestler may be gay or straight or bi or transgender or whatever, if they are even moderately successful, the accepted status is Full Blooded Heterosexual, the standard, conservative male gender role.
Into this posturing mix of testosterone and machismo enters Goldust, a glittering specimen with more strut than Flair, and even more feathers. A golden smile and a twinkling wink greets each of his opponents as he steps in the ring, and he is definitely eyeing them up with a little more than competitive interest. Goldust is perhaps the most fearsome wrestler in the WWE, because he impresses more than a threat of violence, rather he brings the threat of lust to the ring, which makes his opponents uncomfortable, fearful, and thus vulnerable. In this way Goldust has a strong advantage in the ring, by taking away the confidence of his opponent at the first glance, or rather first flirt.
Fans and other characters may call Goldust 'unnatural', a 'freak', a 'perversion'.
Well, in a way they are right: Goldust has taken the traditional conservative role of the 'man's man' wrestler and turned it on its head: he takes the presumed heterosexuality of all the other characters and uses it against them, by being decidedly, flamboyantly gay. This 'perversion' of the traditional male wrestling role makes him a heel outright, even if in every other way he may act the same as the normal face. In fact, as mentioned in Grubisic's paper, one of the few times that Goldust approaches a face status is when he avenges the assault of his female valet, fulfilling the traditional male gender role as the strong, male protector to the weak, defenseless female. This exhibition of chivalry goes over with the fans, as they recognize it as a positive male characteristic, seen many times before with other faces.
(Secretly, I'm waiting for the day where some male character 'rescues' a female character, and she then gets pissed off about it. I think it pseudo-happened in a the Lita-Dean Malenko-Matt Hardy storyline, but not to my satisfaction.)
Beyond Goldust's thwarting of traditional male gender roles in wrestling, I find it interesting that in the WWE especially, an organization infamous for pushing the boundaries in almost every sector, the gender roles that thrived in the 50's are still celebrated and rewarded. Yes, with Goldust and improvements in the Women's division, this is changing, but traditionally, the (successful) men are stronger, protective of females, chivalrous, and heterosexual. The women are weaker, support their men, don't step too far out of their 'place', and are also heterosexual. The times are changing, yes, as exhibited by the moderately successful team of Billy
and Chuck, and the highly popular single female wrestlers, but again, note who the top stars are, and whether you as a fan ever wondered if they were gay or straight.