Break out the bronzer and the bright-hued tees—being feminine isn’t only okay, it means you’re strong. (x)
There seems to be a lot of debate in the gay community about how gay guys are supposed to act. You can’t be too feminine, but act too masculine and you’ll be accused of not being true to yourself. How can we put an end to the in-fighting? The answer lies in embracing the feminine gay man. Not only is this the key to ending fighting within the gay community, but it could be the key to ending the oppression of all gay men—even the most masculine “bromos.” Because feminine gay men are, in a sense, the reason gay men are oppressed, but they’re also the reason the movement has come so far.
Because it’s harder for feminine gay men to stay in the closet, they’re at a greater risk of being bullied. But, as Huffington Post blogger Tyler Curry argues, it’s that visibility that makes feminine gay men so admirable.
He wrote on Huffington Post Gay Voices:
Unlike his masculine counterpart, the effeminate gay man doesn’t have the luxury of hiding behind a butch façade until he is comfortable with coming out of the closet. You know the type. He can learn the choreography to the latest pop song more quickly than you can learn the lyrics. In high school he had to make a beeline for his car the minute the bell rang so that he could avoid the worn-out name calling, bullying or even violence. The Bedazzler was, is, and always will be his best childhood friend. Yes, these queeny gays may have been born with a serious masculinity deficiency, but that is exactly what makes them the epitome of strength.
And it’s true—feminine gay guys are friggin’ strong. They have to put up with a lot, after all. In addition to bullying (and sometimes even violence—yikes!), they’re measured against a masculine ideal that they can never measure up to, that exists purely to put mainstream America’s minds at ease.
As Curry put it:
We continue to cast our most handsome, athletic and masculine men in the leading roles of the gay movement. As our rainbow fades to pastel, society now understands that gay men can be just like the rest of mainstream society … the world now knows that we can be strong and manly and fit right in with the rest of the boys.
This can lead to many gay men to feeling insecure about their femininity and trying to make up for it as Curry did—by going to the gym, changing their hair and wardrobe, and trying to fit into the image society has of a man. But as Curry found out, “The nasal voice and extra bounce in my step were inescapable. No matter what I tried, I always received degrading comments and snickers about my disposition.”
In addition to this, putting such a focus on how gay men are “normal,” “real men” reinforces the idea that being feminine is bad. But that’s the ironic thing—so many gay men try so hard to hide any qualities that may be considered “gay” or “feminine” when the reality is, being gay is considered a feminine thing in society. So no matter how “masc” a guy is, he will always be seen as lesser by society’s standards. Which is why we shouldn’t try to uphold this “masculine” ideal—it’s oppressive.
If masculinity is paramount, something that all men must strive for to be considered “real” men, then gay men, by definition, will always be considered lesser than their straight counterparts. We gay men know that there isn’t one definition of what a “real” man is. Hell, we are living proof. So discounting or stifling any feminine characteristics that we may have is a slap in the face of our own culture and an admission to others that there is something to suppress.
The moral of the story? Stop trying to fit into society’s ideals. “As proud gay men, we should demand within our own community that masculinity not be an indicator of worth, and that we respect each other regardless of our differences,” Curry wrote.
And if you happen to be a feminine gay guy? Be proud—it’s people like you who made the movement happen. “The gay men who couldn’t help but shoot glitter out of every orifice were the ones who propelled gay rights into the mainstream,” wrote Curry. “To the queens who have been beaten up, marginalized and mangled for refusing to cave in to the norm, you are the true heroes of the gay movement.”
The full article is worth a read. Find it on Huffington Post Gay Voices, and follow Curry on Twitter for more tea-spilling.
Where do you fall on the masculine-feminine spectrum? How has that influenced your experience? Let us know in the comments below or in your own post. #ShareYourStory