Fun fact: the LGBTQ Community has subcultures within its letters.
Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender. Queer.
Plenty of us, including myself, represent a subgenre known as the Feminine – or Fem–Gay. Over the last few years of television, I’ve witnessed the rise of the fem-gay and I want to talk to you about it.
In my case, I came out in the womb. Seriously, I was likely flirting with the baby boy next to me in the maternity ward. In other words, the fem-gay has always been out. We are put in something that most would describe as a “glass closet”.
We never really have to tell anyone our sexuality, since it’s obviously branded across our faces and embedded into our personalities before we learn to read or box-dye our hair for the first time.
For the last 17 years, I’ve witnessed the televised ‘Fem-Gay Revolution.’ Primetime’s gay character is no longer a closeted athlete dating the even bulkier surgeon. He’s evolved into a three-dimensional, passionate, likable fem-gay.
The fem-gay tends to be “outed” in Elementary School. Some share a similar story of seclusion and bullying out of the other children’s fear of flamboyancy. In dating discrimination, we hear “I’m only into men,” on a regular basis. However, this is where the fem-gay lucks out.
We’ve never had to live in fear of hiding. At a young age, we are literally forced to be ourselves: an explosion of expression. Essentially, there is nothing else we can be!
What doesn’t surprise me is that each and every fem-gay I’ve encountered later in life is typically the strongest, boldest, and often, the sassiest. We’ve lived in our own skins for as long as we’ve been alive.
We had no choice but to sissy it up, yearn for Spice Girl Barbies, and embrace both sides of the gender spectrum.
However, the fem-gay has been severely misrepresented in mainstream media. Historically, television advertises a masculine, athletic man as the face of the gay community. The fem-gay is represented, but typically secluded to the rarely humanized, sidekick, or a one-off character.
Generally, we’re stereotyped as fashionistas and drama queens who are usually very loud, while also being perceived as harmless and approachable. Through this perception, we’re given the short end of the stick.
We’re the stereotype that society is most comfortable with accepting — or demeaning.
I’ve never denied my true identity. I’ve always loved being a boy who happens to be feminine. I have been thrilled at the acceptance the LGBTQ Community has been received, and continues to receive, throughout my short time on Earth.
My eyes are constantly glued to the television and mobile screens as that acceptance continues to progress. I’ve idolized out-beefy athletes, out-suave leading men, and the like because generally they’re what has been presented to the world and led me to believe they are what gay should be.
It thrills me to finally see the fem-gays in pop culture garnering more attention and breaking away from the sidekick. We’ve stepped away from the opening act and we’re now the headliners! The stars! The debonair! America’s Sweethearts, damn it!
Together, we must continue to reassure the media that moving forward, representing all of the LGBTQ subcultures, is the right thing to do.
While everyone loves Sean Hayes‘, Jack McFarland, I truly haven’t seen a fem-gay milestone break until the appearance of Emmett Honeycutt (Peter Paige) on Queer as Folk. He never struggled with his identity. In fact, his embraced it, giving his character a segment on a News Channel due to his unforced flamboyancy.
From Emmett’s leading role to Tituss Andromedon outshining his co-stars on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to Kenny O’Neal the titular character on ABC‘s dearly departed, The Real O’Neals, the media has finally begun to understand that more LGBTQ subcultures need to be represented in television.
The ten-year-old fem-gay within me lights up knowing that I finally have a bunch of pretty, girly, and fabulous on-screen characters I can relate with and it gives me hope that there will be many, many more to meet in the future.