This post was inspired by a wonderful video rant by B. Scott.
No fems, no queens. If you log onto just about any personals site you’re bound to see the aforementioned characteristics listed as undesirable traits in a man or a prospective mate. They’ve been replaced by thug, down-low, masculine top, and other popular adjectives in this hip-hop driven world that we live in that has somehow permeated itself into black gay culture.
The idea of a man whether he’s straight or gay embracing his feminine side publicly has long brought about harassment and condemnation from a society that clearly defines gender roles.
Gay people have been the punch line for stand up comedians, late night talk show hosts, big budget Hollywood films, and countless sketch comedy shows. Who could forget the infamous Blaine and Antoine from In Living Color’s “Men On Film"? If you didn’t personally know any gay people you probably would’ve believed that we all wore Chanel # 5, dressed in drag, had a limp wrist, and gave everything we considered fierce two snaps up. Let’s blame sheer ignorance for the massive amount of heterosexual people who believed the stereotype and thought they had us all figured out. But surely our own would recognize and respect the fact that our community is extremely diverse and reject the notion to oppress a part of our identity in order to elevate another, right? Wrong.
I’ve been told it comes down to personal preference when someone deliberately chooses not to befriend or become romantically involved with a man that is effeminate or considered by the untrained eye; “clockable”. That may be the case but could it also be possible that the effeminate man being who he is, unable to hide his sexuality, is a threat to those who are closeted and undoubtedly struggling with their identity? After all it takes a strong man to STRUT in his truth 24/7 with the threat of physical harm constantly hanging over his head.
This is particularly troubling in the black community where an effeminate man is often considered a disgrace to his race and ultimately a waste. Who created the rule that a man should be measured on his hyper-masculine appearance, swagger, or his ability to effectively put a ball in a hole?
It’s a sad but obvious truth that LGBT people not only face discrimination from those outside of the community, but our own brothers and sisters are guilty of the same offenses based on our differences, the same differences that makes us all so unique. Our transgender brothers and sisters are all too familiar with this cruel reality.
I must admit I’m not the most masculine man you’ll meet (yes, I can queen out with the best), yet I’m not the most effeminate either, I’m somewhere in the middle and I’ve always been fine with that. Why? Because I’ve always had a strong sense of self-worth and I developed a thick skin early after being on the receiving end of numerous anti-gay slurs.
Many people argue that effeminate men send the wrong message about who we are as gay men (usually the masculine tops). I agree their definitely needs to be more diversity in the media and I think some progress has been made. For every Jack (Will & Grace) character there’s also a Wade (Noah’s Arc) to provide balance and show the world just how diverse our community really is.
There will always be fem boys, stud girls, and gay men and lesbians who fall into the more traditional gender roles. But I believe we owe it to ourselves as a community to shed our own personal prejudices, and reject the idea that a man is inferior if he is flamboyant or openly identifies as gay. While we are busy putting people into boxes the opposition is quickly devising a plan to keep the LGBT community separate and unequal. I don't know about you but the latter is the battle I'm choosing.