What is wrong with being feminine?
Even from just a glance at gay culture, you can see how fractured the community is based on ideas of who we are versus who we think we should be. On one hand, we honor drag queens as “mothers,” hail boys who can rock heels, and fully embrace the idea of wacking and runway as an art form. Yet there is this opposing, pervasive idea that femininity is wrong, that in being feminine we are reinforcing harmful stereotypes of how gay men carry themselves. That despite being a counterculture, we undermine ourselves by embodying a caricature.
But in an equally damaging way, disowning femininity–particularly as a gay or queer-spectrumed man–alienates the core point of coming out: that you should be proud of who you are. Not only that, it alienates a portion of the community that is unaware of or unabashed by their femininity. More feminine men are deemed less desirable in the gay dating scene that prizes hypermasculinity. Preferring to bottom is an invitation for ridicule. Being “downe” or “straight-acting” becomes a badge of honor. And in this quest to personify the alpha male, to (ironically) appear straight despite being openly gay, we self-scrutinize every detail about ourselves: our appearance, our mannerisms, our interests, and–as this documentary highlights–our own voices. We’re allowed to protest for LGBT equality, but only with the deepest, huskiest growls that our lungs can bellow out.
In a world where so many are already against the minority, this over-valuation of masculinity divides the small (L)GBT communities that require unity to progress. The misogyny of homophobia is the kind of social cannibalism that outsiders promote to weaken gay culture from the inside out. It is the kind of self-conscious wound that stings, reminding you to sit on your hands when you talk or to drop your voice down a register when answering the phone. It is the kind of self-harm that drives grown men into the closet and young kids to suicide.
There is nothing wrong with being feminine. And the sooner we learn that, the sooner we as a community can move forward.
Superb analysis by @gregasaurus, dissecting the hypocrisy surrounding the desire to impose heteronormative ideals in the gay community. For those who haven’t watched the documentary, the protagonist (who is also the filmmaker) reaches a similar conclusion: that having a “gay voice” is not an artifact of embarrassment but rather an emblem of pride, to own one’s body and practice self-acceptance.