- February 12, 2018
I recently interviewed Tony Nicholson about his biography of Larry Grayson. Grayson was an extraordinary comedian and TV game show host who was, well to be honest he was camp – the epitome of the limp-wristed pouff. He was not alone, British entertainment was peppered with campery – John Inman, Charles Hawtrey to name just two, and limp-wristed, soft voiced and effeminate was their stock in trade. It wasn’t perhaps the best showing for an emerging gay community but at least it was something.
Strangely there still seems to be an aversion to anything that treads the delicate path of effeminacy. With the ever expanding number of LGBTIQ “tribes” and what I have seen as a strong emergence of hyper-masculine gay role types, are we not internally marginalising the gentler manifestations of our homosexuality? I was prompted to think about this after reading on-line a story about a “man of god” whose wife had requested that they were served in a restaurant by a waiter who was, in her words, “less flamboyant”. I ask you, was she for real?
If we demand respect and acceptance and equality in society then we need to show all of those things ourselves
I like flamboyant, I love it in fact, but when the word is used to disgracefully mean queer it makes my hackles rise. I’m flamboyant in the way I dress, I’m not the butchest boy in the band and I never have been.
I could never pull of that ‘clone’ look back in the day, I don’t do leather, or rubber either. I went to Pride with friends one year and someone suggested that I try on a rubber kilt.
I laughed and pointed out that a man of my size in a rubber kilt would look like a hovercraft!
The point I am trying to make here is that the way we walk, the way we talk and the way we dress is the expression of the real you, the person that you are – and as such deserves respect. Respect from the world at large but also from within our own community. If we demand respect and acceptance and equality in society then we need to show all of those things ourselves. It’s time to stop marginalising ourselves, time to embrace your inner sissy if that is who you are and brush your bushy bear beards if that is what you are, rub down your rubber, buff up your leather, squeeze into your denim and simply be anything you choose to be. And apologies for not naming the lesbian stereotypes, let me just say that I love them all, but perhaps not the derogatory names attached to them. As Tom Robinson says – “Sing if you’re glad to be gay, sing if your happy that way,” and he wasn’t prescribing how you do it!