Some comments my flatmate made about the TV coverage of Saturday’s Gay & Lesbian parade, as well as re-discovering some heated debate on an old post on this blog, have really made me wonder about the “Gay Community” and whether we will ever really show a community spirit.
The debate on an old post stemmed from me making an assumption that a female acquaintance was a lesbian because she went camping in a group of women and I didn’t know of any straight women that did that. Someone called my comments “typical vacuous Sydney queer”. The debate raged on about the term “Straight Acting” and maybe it was to distance themselves from the effeminate, camp stereotypes of gay men.
My flatmate took issue with the coverage of the parade because it played into all those negative stereotypes that the wider community have. The stereotypes that we are over-sexed degenerates, camp, effeminate men or butch men hating women, that all gay men like wearing women’s clothing and so on and on and on and on. To an extent I agree, the coverage by the straight media does usually tend towards that but there is an argument that these are the kind of things in the parade.
My issue with the term “Straight acting” isn’t with gay men who appear to be straight at all. I know many gay men that are very masculine and blokey, but guess what? They aren’t acting. I also know lots of men that are naturally and comfortably camp. I put myself somewhere in the middle and I’m comfortable with that. My issue is when you feel like you need to put on a completely different persona to be accepted. Where would the defiantly and in your face “straight acting” guys be without the loud and proud, openly gay men and women who have so famously fought for our rights and acceptance for so long? Still in the closet I imagine.
On the other hand (and I’m allowed to be a fence sitter, I’m Libran) I can understand the discomfort with the overtly in-your-face campness and the idea that it might make some people uncomfortable. I just hope that one day we get it through our heads that while we fight for acceptance in the wider community, it might be best to show some within our own “community”.