Flamboyance

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    Apr 17, 2013 3:10 AM GMT
    Hey guys, I was just reading another topic, "I hate the term "straight-acting", and it reminded me of this post I wrote.

    I meant to share this before, but forgot. I'm sure I will get many calm, thoughtful, logical and well-articulated responses. icon_wink.gif

    * * *

    First, some are a little shaky on definitions, so let's toss another definition up for those mal-informed bros.

    Screen+Shot+200-w02-17+at+11.41.31.png

    Note that flamboyance is not a synonym for effeminacy, and has nothing to do with orientation. When I speak about flamboyance, I'm referring to the loud and showy nature of some people.

    I already made this analogy about a class room full of bright kids, but I think it's apt so I'll elaborate on it a little.

    You are a teacher in a classroom and you have a class composed of different types of students. Each student has their own personality, habits, and mannerisms. Should every kid be allowed to behave exactly as they like? No. Should the teacher try to suppress their individuality or prevent them from engaging in activities that are eccentric, but harmless? Of course not. But this is a classroom so certain behaviors which are not conducive to creating a healthy learning environment are disallowed.

    Say that you have one student, Peter, that is super rambunctious and energetic, but a great, nice kid. Peter is loud, interrupts your classes and other students, and occasionally takes off his shirt because he thinks the classroom is "too warm". This is just his natural way; he's a "free spirit" and really enjoyable outside of the classroom. You love him, but inside the classroom he's a nightmare and the other kid's learning is suffering because of his behavior.

    You are conflicted about what to do because you don't want to crush this interesting kid's spirit, but you can't in good conscience put him above an entire class of kids who also have the right to a good education. So you teach Peter the rules of the classroom and how to behave in that environment, making sure that he knows that you think he's a special kid and that you aren't telling him to change who is as a person, simply how to behave in the classroom.

    Kids like Peter can grow up to be great, important people—the type person who isn't afraid to stand up for their own or other's rights, be loud and dramatic in the right ways, and get attention where it's due. The Peters of this world were behind many revolutions and rights movements across history.

    That being said, Peter is not perfect. He needs to learn to control himself, not follow his every whim, and consider how his actions affect others. There's nothing wrong with telling Peter to keep his clothes on at school, raise his hand before speaking, or not to discourage other students from participating.

    Do you understand the analogy?

    Flamboyant homosexuals got shit done, there is no arguing with that. People are aware that non heteros exist and that we want equal rights. Society is now trying to understand non heteros, but they are currently working with very limited information, and the eye naturally is drawn to shiny objects.

    I do not want Peter or flamboyant homosexuals to change or hide who they are, but I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask them to share a little of the spotlight, allow others to participate, and consider that their actions today—and I seriously do not know how I can be any more clear that I am speaking about here and now—may be having a negative affect on the group at large.

    People know we exist—score one for the pink hot pants—mission accomplished. People know you're here, that you're queer, and they are getting used to it. Now people need to know that we are a diverse group of people coming from all walks of life. People already know that there are gays in fashion and hair dressing; let them discover that there are also non heteros that are professional athletes, mathematicians, CEOs, colonels, and can be found any where else where they might be "unexpected" because we're just people like everyone else.

    Some might try to argue that it's on each individual to come out and prove everyone wrong. And it is, to some extent. But just like in the classroom where students shouldn't have to get in a shouting match with Peter to be involved, quieter nonheteros deserve the right to be visible and heard without having to yell and wear zany clothes.

    Homosexuality is not a choice, but I will take the apparently controversial stance that flamboyance is. There's nothing inherently wrong with seeking attention, but it is a choice. We all dress ourselves and can control the volume of our voice, Tourette's and other disorders aside.

    To me, Peter's sexual orientation in the story above is irrelevant. To others, if Peter is a homosexual it would completely change the tone and implications. If he's hetero, then he's just a loud kid that needs to learn the rules, and maybe be put on Adderall. If he's a nonhetero then the teacher is unfairly repressing his true form—as if homosexuals are by nature are loud and flamboyant.

    Homosexuals are not anything "by nature" except attracted to members of the same sex. One reason that many people, including some gay people, hold this false belief is because they have seen little evidence to the contrary: they only hear about and see a small cross section of our population. Again, I am not speaking about effeminacy—god help me if someone misconstrues this after two mentions. Man or woman, hetero or nonhetero, flamboyant or not, we are all capable of controlling the volume of our personality.

    We can work together to adjust the rules of society to be less prude and more open, but things will move much faster if we can shatter a few stereotypes.

    Think about the present and the future, and think about the other kids in the class and how your actions may be affecting them and their ability to live an open and happy life.
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    Apr 17, 2013 11:58 PM GMT
    Too long? C'mon. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Apr 18, 2013 12:02 AM GMT
    Ritalin?
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    Apr 18, 2013 12:12 AM GMT
    TL;DR.
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    Apr 18, 2013 12:25 AM GMT
    too long and a boring topic which I'm sure has already been discussed on here.. many times, so not going to bother reading.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Apr 18, 2013 12:33 AM GMT
    Some RJers are reading challenged. Anything over a tweet or sound bite looses their attention. Worse, perhaps, you write very well and clearly.

    You most likely already know this but the discussion you raise isn't new. I've been hearing it since the 1980s and it probably goes back further than that. It is a bit of a sticky wicket because on one hand, you're right, its time for the society at large to be shown that gay men and women are everywhere and in many instances don't 'look' or 'act' all that differently than their heterosexual counterparts.

    The problem, of course, is homophobia both internalized and actual. Despite decades of progress in terms of civil rights and legal protections, especially in the work place, there still can be and often are social and economic consequences to 'coming out'. There are too many variables for my mind to even attempt to distill it all but suffice it to say despite the millions who are out, there are likely millions who are not, and very likely for reasons they believe are 'good'.

    Another problem is corporate owned media, their role in perpetuating stereotypes, not to mention the marketing of spectacle. Our society uses the media, especially entertainment media but also news media, as a mirror. We think we know who we are based on what it shows us of ourselves. The reality however is quite different. I base this observation, for example, on an Indian family I know who were seriously afraid to come to the US because of the amount of violence to be found here. They actually didn't believe me when I told them I've never been robbed once! Of course, again, there is a lot of violence in our society but the point I'm making is, if one based one's knowledge of the society completely on news and entertainment media, one would get a completely distorted perception of it.

    I believe the same is true in many far more subtle ways as well.

    This is not meant to be a rebuttal to your point, only to say that even IF you could get more flamboyant members of our community to 'turn down the volume' it isn't only a matter of them doing so (which they won't). As someone said in another thread (paraphrasing), god forbid we should do anything that upset white people. Or anyone, for that matter.

    It is up to those who can come out to do so and be so on a daily basis, with or without pink spandex.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    Apr 18, 2013 12:39 AM GMT
    PS: Welcome to RJ! icon_razz.gif
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    Apr 18, 2013 1:01 AM GMT
    Interesting viewpoint. And yes, I read your entire post icon_lol.gif
  • LoveAndPeace

    Posts: 460

    Apr 18, 2013 1:13 AM GMT
    So long...I have an attention span of a rodent
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    Apr 18, 2013 1:14 AM GMT
    Holy shit, that's a long post!
  • TheBizMan

    Posts: 4091

    Apr 18, 2013 1:17 AM GMT
    You made a specious, nugatory analogy for this argument.

    Furthermore your assessment of the situation at large is lousy.

    Are you suggesting that the way flamboyant men dress and act are hindering the "learning" of society and what it means to be gay?

    You don't want flamboyant gay men to change, but you want them to put a lid on it in public, dress normally, be less loud, share the "spotlight", and move out of the way to let other types of gay men, for lack of a better term, be examined by society....

    So, in essence, you DO want them to change who they are or how they choose to live their life in some fashion.

    Now I'm confused.

    It seems the basis of your argument is that flamboyant gay men are choosing to be flashy and loud for the sole purpose of attracting attention and it is harming the image of gay people.

    I'll say to you that you are off base with that assumption.




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    Apr 18, 2013 1:29 AM GMT
    I completely agree. I think it's all about entitlement. Its worse in LA. I mean I am all for people being who they are....but sometimes it's really like "COME ON!!!" Personally I think it's an act and a horrible representation of the Homosexual Community.
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    Apr 18, 2013 1:41 AM GMT
    TheBizMan saidYou made a specious, nugatory analogy for this argument.

    Furthermore your assessment of the situation at large is lousy.

    Are you suggesting that the way flamboyant men dress and act are hindering the "learning" of society and what it means to be gay?

    You don't want flamboyant gay men to change, but you want them to put a lid on it in public, dress normally, be less loud, share the "spotlight", and move out of the way to let other types of gay men, for lack of a better term, be examined by society....

    So, in essence, you DO want them to change who they are or how they choose to live their life in some fashion.

    Now I'm confused.

    It seems the basis of your argument is that flamboyant gay men are choosing to be flashy and loud for the sole purpose of attracting attention and it is harming the image of gay people.

    I'll say to you that you are off base with that assumption.








    The simple truth is--I am a homosexual man. I don't care if someone dresses a certain way and talks a certain way, but if I am in class and I see the stereotypical flamboyant gay guy; rolling the eyes,loud,flashy clothes,doing a sashay while going to the bathroom....its obviously going to attract attention and he isn't stupid he knows this. Does it affect the learning community? Prob. not...but it doesn't help. I know that I had a class with this one guy and everything everyone else said he had to one up. Then I remember someone calling him out on it and he immediately threw up the gay card.
    It's just being realistic....and it can be annoying, bc that's the very reason we get put into this box. Especially with Heterosexual guys.
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    Apr 18, 2013 1:48 AM GMT
    tumblr_mdf4gjB0J91rwcc6bo1_500.gif
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    Apr 18, 2013 1:58 AM GMT
    What makes your thesis different from all the other discussions on this topic is that you don't equate "flamboyant" with "feminine" in order to denigrate feminity. You are speaking to one specific behavior that you consider disruptive to the advancement of all gays in society.

    So, are there certain behaviors that make society cringe when they see certain gay people? Most definitely. Is flamboyance one of them? Perhaps. Is there something wrong with a man being feminine? Certainly not. But flamboyance is not a feminine quality. (In fact, throughout the animal kingdom, it is the males who are most often the flamboyant ones.)

    I wonder if flamboyance is really the behavior to which you object. You acknowledge that "[F]lamboyant homosexuals got shit done," a reference to those who launched the gay rights movement. But was it their flamboyance that got the job done? Or was that just another aspect of their natures?

    In another thread, Dr. King, a father of the civil rights movement, was given as an example of someone who wouldn't remain quiet and accomplished a great deal. Was he flamboyant? I don't think so. There were aspects of his personality that were less praiseworthy -- his philandering, for example -- but those were incidental to his effectiveness.

    I suggest that flamboyance is something you personally dislike, but it is the loud and obnoxious behavior that some gay men exhibit that makes us all look like idiots in the eyes of those who can't see past them. That's not quite the same thing as flamboyance, as defined above.
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    Apr 18, 2013 1:58 AM GMT
    jdukay24 said
    TheBizMan saidYou made a specious, nugatory analogy for this argument.

    Furthermore your assessment of the situation at large is lousy.

    Are you suggesting that the way flamboyant men dress and act are hindering the "learning" of society and what it means to be gay?

    You don't want flamboyant gay men to change, but you want them to put a lid on it in public, dress normally, be less loud, share the "spotlight", and move out of the way to let other types of gay men, for lack of a better term, be examined by society....

    So, in essence, you DO want them to change who they are or how they choose to live their life in some fashion.

    Now I'm confused.

    It seems the basis of your argument is that flamboyant gay men are choosing to be flashy and loud for the sole purpose of attracting attention and it is harming the image of gay people.

    I'll say to you that you are off base with that assumption.








    The simple truth is--I am a homosexual man. I don't care if someone dresses a certain way and talks a certain way, but if I am in class and I see the stereotypical flamboyant gay guy; rolling the eyes,loud,flashy clothes,doing a sashay while going to the bathroom....its obviously going to attract attention and he isn't stupid he knows this. Does it affect the learning community? Prob. not...but it doesn't help. I know that I had a class with this one guy and everything everyone else said he had to one up. Then I remember someone calling him out on it and he immediately threw up the gay card.
    It's just being realistic....and it can be annoying, bc that's the very reason we get put into this box. Especially with Heterosexual guys.


    But on the flip side of that some men act super masculine as a cover for whatever insecurities they may hold about themselves and they might not always be sexuality related. The difference is when someone seems to be overtly fem sometimes they still may be finding a way to express what they feel inside. However overtly masculine may be covering up something.

  • TheBizMan

    Posts: 4091

    Apr 18, 2013 2:14 AM GMT
    jdukay24 said
    TheBizMan saidYou made a specious, nugatory analogy for this argument.

    Furthermore your assessment of the situation at large is lousy.

    Are you suggesting that the way flamboyant men dress and act are hindering the "learning" of society and what it means to be gay?

    You don't want flamboyant gay men to change, but you want them to put a lid on it in public, dress normally, be less loud, share the "spotlight", and move out of the way to let other types of gay men, for lack of a better term, be examined by society....

    So, in essence, you DO want them to change who they are or how they choose to live their life in some fashion.

    Now I'm confused.

    It seems the basis of your argument is that flamboyant gay men are choosing to be flashy and loud for the sole purpose of attracting attention and it is harming the image of gay people.

    I'll say to you that you are off base with that assumption.








    The simple truth is--I am a homosexual man. I don't care if someone dresses a certain way and talks a certain way, but if I am in class and I see the stereotypical flamboyant gay guy; rolling the eyes,loud,flashy clothes,doing a sashay while going to the bathroom....its obviously going to attract attention and he isn't stupid he knows this. Does it affect the learning community? Prob. not...but it doesn't help. I know that I had a class with this one guy and everything everyone else said he had to one up. Then I remember someone calling him out on it and he immediately threw up the gay card.
    It's just being realistic....and it can be annoying, bc that's the very reason we get put into this box. Especially with Heterosexual guys.


    Did you take his analogy literally? That classroom analogy was substandard at best.

    I'd argue that flamboyancy- and men that exude it- is not the "very reason" we get put into a box. There a multitude of reasons and while this MAY be one of them, you can't speak for every heterosexual individual and what they perceive.

    Your personal annoyance by flamboyancy misses the heart of the argument.
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    Apr 18, 2013 2:16 AM GMT
    I just love when TheBizMan debates
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    Apr 18, 2013 2:47 AM GMT
    First, many thanks for your response; I think it helped me better understand my own opinion.

    TheBizMan said
    Are you suggesting that the way flamboyant men dress and act are [sic] hindering the "learning" of society and what it means to be gay?

    That's very close to what I am saying. I am saying that loud people attract attention. And because other people in general are not good at splitting their attention, the result is a lack of learning about less flamboyant types of people. Are you saying this isn't true, or that there's no issue?

    TheBizMan said
    You don't want flamboyant gay men to change, but you want them to put a lid on it in public, dress normally, be less loud, share the "spotlight", and move out of the way to let other types of gay men, for lack of a better term, be examined by society....

    So, in essence, you DO want them to change who they are or how they choose to live their life [sic] in some fashion.

    This is a fairly typical twisting of the position I have. Try not to force this into binary terms though. A person isn't either 0) entirely and fully expressive of their snowflake-selves at all moments or 1) poisonously repressing their true selves and dying inside.

    It's possible to be true to yourself but also slightly alter your behavior because you're cognizant of how your actions affect other people. I said that they might consider turning down the volume a little (see: not mute) as a form of support for less confident non heteros. So this isn't about "caving to the cisgendered, white corporate fatcats", or whatever.

    You also seem to be arguing that your clothes and public attention are "who [they] are". If this is the case, then you have strange metrics for defining who a person is fundamentally. The color and shape of cloth a person has on their body is by definition at best a superficial representation of their identity.

    TheBizMan said
    Now I'm confused.

    Maybe a little. icon_wink.gif

    TheBizMan said
    It seems the basis of your argument is that flamboyant gay men are choosing to be flashy and loud for the sole purpose of attracting attention and it is harming the image of gay people.

    I'll say to you that you are off base with that assumption.

    Again, you seem to be trying to bend the issues into extreme terms. I definitely didn't say or imply that flamboyant people are necessarily doing anything on purpose or with a purpose, let alone a sole purpose.

    Here's da crux:

    We as a society decided, largely arbitrarily, that certain groups of people are inherently one way or another. After that we decide whether or not this is the "acceptable" kind of inherent characteristic, or one that ought to be altered for individual or public good. If it's deemed an acceptable inherent trait, then it's politically incorrect to make light of it. If it's unacceptable, then everyone just shits on you constantly.

    Why is it that it's OK to ask almost everyone to be polite and mindful of how their actions affect other people except for flamboyant people? It's like people have this notion that flamboyant people live and breath attention, and that if you put them on a diet they'll shrivel up and die.

    Maybe read the classroom story again. Little Peter's rights aren't being infringed upon when the teacher asks him to try modify his behavior for the sake of his classmates. And his orientation is, or should be, irrelevant.
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    Apr 18, 2013 2:59 AM GMT
    TheBizMan said
    jdukay24 said
    TheBizMan saidYou made a specious, nugatory analogy for this argument.

    Furthermore your assessment of the situation at large is lousy.

    Are you suggesting that the way flamboyant men dress and act are hindering the "learning" of society and what it means to be gay?

    You don't want flamboyant gay men to change, but you want them to put a lid on it in public, dress normally, be less loud, share the "spotlight", and move out of the way to let other types of gay men, for lack of a better term, be examined by society....

    So, in essence, you DO want them to change who they are or how they choose to live their life in some fashion.

    Now I'm confused.

    It seems the basis of your argument is that flamboyant gay men are choosing to be flashy and loud for the sole purpose of attracting attention and it is harming the image of gay people.

    I'll say to you that you are off base with that assumption.








    The simple truth is--I am a homosexual man. I don't care if someone dresses a certain way and talks a certain way, but if I am in class and I see the stereotypical flamboyant gay guy; rolling the eyes,loud,flashy clothes,doing a sashay while going to the bathroom....its obviously going to attract attention and he isn't stupid he knows this. Does it affect the learning community? Prob. not...but it doesn't help. I know that I had a class with this one guy and everything everyone else said he had to one up. Then I remember someone calling him out on it and he immediately threw up the gay card.
    It's just being realistic....and it can be annoying, bc that's the very reason we get put into this box. Especially with Heterosexual guys.


    Did you take his analogy literally? That classroom analogy was substandard at best.

    I'd argue that flamboyancy- and men that exude it- is not the "very reason" we get put into a box. There a multitude of reasons and while this MAY be one of them, you can't speak for every heterosexual individual and what they perceive.

    Your personal annoyance by flamboyancy misses the heart of the argument.




    Did you take myself saying "especially with heterosexual men" literally? I agree there are multitude of reasons...by your assumption that I am missing the heart of the argument is unfair.... Let me try again. Flamboyancy annoys Heterosexual men......as well as Homosexual men. It's pretentious, self-indulgent and just plain out foolish. That's my "opinion". To just not start a war ,I am not speaking for ALL Homosexual and Heterosexual men.
    I think that nohetero is absolutely right in that people need to understand that we are not all these clones walking around with a Margarita in one hand. We are all different and come from different walks of life. Its frustrating that the ....I am going to say "quieter gays" don't get their voice heard as much because Kurt Hummel from Glee is on stage performing a number from Wicked. Then I look at it another way and think ....what do we have to prove? Most of the time its usually in our teens to early twenties that we feel the need to express our homosexuality anyways. Either way I feel we all should have a voice and we should all be heard. Rather than seeing the Homosexual Community as Unicorns with rainbows on our head, we should be seen as a diverse group of individuals--Some flamboyant others not so much.
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    Apr 18, 2013 3:14 AM GMT
    Making someone accept you, huh? Interesting concept. Is that like making someone like you?
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    Apr 18, 2013 7:02 AM GMT
    nohetero saidToo long? C'mon. icon_rolleyes.gif


    No disrespect at all! But that was rather long just to make your point!