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12 comments | Thursday, March 12, 2009

Note from Darian: This post was originally published in September of 2008. Since then this video has been one of the most watched and discussed videos on my YouTube channel as well as on the blog. Last night I had the pleasure of participating in a discussion about sexual roles among gay men at The Deeper Love Project here in Atlanta and I thought it would be nice to revisit this conversation. Do we tend to devalue effeminate brothers or those we perceive to be "bottoms" in our community while placing more masculine brothers or those we perceive to be "tops" on a pedastal? I know how I would answer that question.

"You don't have to twist and turn and do all of this and that. Be who you are-that's your business. But when you put your business out there don't get upset when they holler at you, hey punk, hey fag"!-Bobby Blake

This post is for all of my fem brothers who have written and asked me to speak about the harassment and ridicule they face for being who they are.

As I sat and listened to adult film star Bobby Blake over Pride weekend discuss one of the aspects of gay culture that he absolutely deplored as he promoted his new book 'My Life In Porn', I couldn't help but look at him sideways and roll my eyes and I'll tell you why.

It's not easy being black and gay in America, but the load does seem a little lighter when you're hovering over six feet with a presence that would intimidate the average person. Unlike many effeminate black gay men who are easily 'clockable,' if one was not aware of Blake's past involvement in the gay porn industry they would probably assume he were straight. After all he has become famous for his sexual prowess and his ability to dominate the very men he looks down upon.

But the problem I have with his views on effeminate gay men reaches beyond Bobby Blake the "actor" and into the broader community where I believe we all suffer from the same twisted self-hate.

Our community is comprised of all different shades of gay and somewhere along the way the social constructs of masculinity along with the influence of hip-hop in gay culture has ostracized the 'fem queen'.

You remember him don't you? The one who couldn't hide his sexuality behind a do-rag, wife beater, and a pair of Timbs. The one who bore the brunt of anti-gay harassment because there was just a little too much sugar in his kool-aid. The one that realized that "straight acting" was just that-acting and at the end of the day he was still gay.

Let's face it there are some brothers who couldn't butch it up if they tried. So why have these men become an embarrassment to our community? Sure, I believe there is a time and a place for everything, but there is never in my book a time to conform to heterosexual ideals as a gay man when you risk losing your authenticity.

Our differences should be celebrated and not denigrated, especially not by those within our own community.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

It was Miss Bobby's rant that drove me into further accepting all aspects of myself, specifically the femininity. Now I bathe and luxuriate in it. HOW DARE HE come out of his lisping mouth with that ignorance. LOL. I still get a kick out of his anti-fem rant. He just KNEW he was right with that Pastor Brown, Baptist minister-esque delivery.

In the gay community, feminine men are second only to transgender MTF in terms of hardship and criticism, especially from those within the gay community who consider themselves "men," "real," etc. I always tell the "girls" to stand up, switch, beat your face, and WORK. Love the cuntiness that makes you who you are. Feminine men are very strong. They must be for tt takes strength to face the negativity that society likes to throw at those they do not understand or do not feel FIT that OLD, TIRED, LATE, machismo construct designed by the Black community.

In conclusion, I'd take a cunt in her skinny jean over some pant sagging, fitted wearing, slang talking, pseudo gay thug ANY DAY. Work girls!

March 12, 2009 12:32 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

In this world, you pay for what you get.
If you want to act in public in any and all ways that feel natural and comfortable to you, go for it.
But expecting everyone to like and respect you - let's get real, here. You can't dictate what people will like and approve of - think about it.
So the payment for wearing pink hot pants with a matching bag and swishing down the street will be some sort of disapproving reaction from SOMEBODY.
And that's just life.

March 12, 2009 12:52 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Chaz, I LOVE your comment! Classic!

I would simply add that it is bad enough when folks outside of the gay community berate effeminate gays, but it's even worse when those of us in the community do it. We need to stop trying to find ways to "appear" superior to the next person and start embracing the similarities and appreciate the differences.

March 12, 2009 12:58 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

In terms of effeminate men in the gay community these men can often be compared to the relationship of black men and women. The black man is supposed to be the strong masculine figure who commands respect. However we all know it is the black woman who is the backbone of the household. Yes I too have some feminine ways and I accept them because its a part of who I am. I play football in the park and go to the gym 3 times a week. But make no mistake I have no problem putting on my big shades and carrying my big Gucci bag through the mall because I am comfortable with who I am. I can bring home the bacon and fry it too!

March 12, 2009 9:17 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I used to have negative feelings towards the fem guys myself. Largely because I hated the possibility that I could be manifesting some of those "weak" and "sissy-ish" ways myself.

The first person I recognized as gay in my life was Holywood, from the movie Mannequin. I had finally realized that the word for what I was feeling was called gay and when I saw him onscreen and they said he was "gay", I thought for sure that was how I would grow up and turn out. I didn't know any better, but it scared me to death! I didn't want to be some super-feminized, pink shirted, jerry curl wearing, snapping, lisping weak girly man! But I knew I couldn't stop being gay, so I assumed that's what gay boys grew up to be.

After I grew up and came out, I still idealized this straight, white male idea of beauty and attractiveness. No fem acting man would ever get MY number!! But then I started volunteering in the gay community. I started attending discussion groups and meetings with all areas of the gay community. The Fem-Gay men and Transgendered community impressed me the most because they were the strongest among us!! They were themselves without apology and embraced all the parts of themselves I was scared to. They couldn't fake the walk or the talk, all they had to do was stand still on a street corner and everyone knew they were gay. They never had the protection of a closet door. I came to have the utmost respect and admiration of these pillars of our community. We owe a lot of who we are to the folks who never had the opportunity to hide from anyone! But took on a cruel public and society none the less!!

The fem community has taught me to love and embrace all aspects of myself and I herald them as not being weak but some of the most powerful and strong among us! We should be ashamed for the way we treat them sometimes as a community. They should never have any fear of shame or rejection from the gay community, without them we wouldn't have the freedoms we have now! We stand on their backs!

March 12, 2009 9:56 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow, I never thought about it in that way.

March 13, 2009 5:01 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

The answer is why?

Some might say it's a sexist thin--where the effeminate is equated with "female"and is thus second-class by default.

I say it's much more "logical" than that.

The reason is simply because by default, masculinity is more desirable than femininity--and I don't believe this is just a social construction.

Straight women look up to masculine men (prefer them over less masculine ones).

Straight men also have a hierarchy where masculinity comes out on top.

This comprises the majority of society.

Thus I cannot understand why people wouldn't see it logical that where men themselves are effeminate (a sizable chunk of gay men--maybe even a majority) they would also desire masculinity in a partner.
They have the same sexuality as the majority of women (i.e. a desire for men). Why then would they not have the same preferences?

(Then we have not even gotten into the possibility that most gay men are bottoms and thus in search--theoretically--of a top; which would be more masculine by default.)

I think far from being a social construct, gender is in our very genes/make-up even more so than sexuality.

Masculinity rules.
It rules all other animal species save a few--that's for sure.

March 13, 2009 5:43 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Also, femininity in men is almost always seen as a parody/caricature of women (i.e. "the real thing").

I don't believe that issues of masculinity or femininity are fabricated by society though. Over and over in very different places they seem to exist. That does not imply some sort of "infiltration by Christianity".

I also take issue with the "this is who I am" shtick.

I think in large part we can determine how we choose to act. I don't subscribe generally to the idea that however I find myself is how I will and must always continue to be. You are allowed to change "what you are". It's okay to do so.
You are allowed to be whatever you want to be.

And then, by proxy that means that if you want to be effeminate you can be as well. Just don't behave as if it's immutable.

March 13, 2009 5:52 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I am NOT a drag queen. I have NEVER worn women's clothes, underwear, shoes, or accessories of ANY kind. Nor have I ever WANTED to wear these things. But I'm still "clockable". Unfortunately, your statement is true but that does not make it RIGHT.

Thankfully, there are activists working to change this: one day we will ALL be free and everyone will be able to walk down the street looking how ever they want (or have) to look and no one will care as long as they are not breaking the law. I believe it will happen. Hopefully, in my lifetime.

March 13, 2009 9:02 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I am 99.99% bottom and very proud of it. While I don't think I'm overty effeminate, I'm by no stretch of the imagination even close to the epitome of masculinity. That said, my favorite "pairing" is with a guy who's just like me. Call me lesbian incognito if you will but I LOVE a guy who is ridiculously comfortable with his feminine side and still loves to tap me. I love the challenge of it as I'm very much the "mental" man. Let's hear it, guys, for the SOFTer TOPS out there!...I love them...(and the more chocoalte he is, the more I melt). Yummm, to you, Quasi-Fem Tops!! : )
Manhattan Jim

March 13, 2009 4:03 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I have a hard time listening to him speak in the first place. Second he should not open his mouth and ridicule members of the community he supposedly is a part of. Efeminate or masculine, top or bottom we all need to support our right to be. Bobby Blake should in no way be placed in a position of spokesperson for the LGBT community.

March 13, 2009 10:31 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Funny how that illiterate prostitute places himself as a role model for the gay community and puts down the very same effeminate gays that gave him the rights he is enjoying today. It wasn't "masculine" top "normal" heteroscared men that fought the fight in Stonewall. it was all the queers, transgenders, effeminate sissies that dared liberate us. So mister heteroslave STFU!!!!!!

March 14, 2009 8:47 PM


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