Gay / Lesbian Youth Suicide Problems in Australia / New Zealand?
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 Femininity Issues in Gay Communities
A hatred of Feminine Men?
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Boney, Bradley (1996). The Lavender Brick Road: Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and the Sissy Bo(d)y. Theatre Journal, 48(1), 35-57.

"In August of 1993, the following appeared in the Denver Post: "Sissy boy Johnny Roy Hobson runs with his arms up and his toes turned in. He prances, minces and pouts. In short, he's so annoyingly effeminate you just want to slap him" (Dillard-Rosen, 1993) Although the critical reception of Bonin-Rodriguez's work has been overwhelmingly positive, these three sentences from Sandra Dillard-Rosen's review of Talk of the Town represent the type of sissy-bashing that proceeds from the dangerous impulse to erase 'negative stereotypes' from queer representation without first interrogating how and why they were first constructed as 'negative.'"

"Sedgwick (1993) takes up this issue in in an essay titled, 'How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys,' which she demonstrates how the effeminate boy has been positioned as the 'haunting abject' of both gay, and the larger hegemonic culture. The latter is disturbing enough, but the discomfort with which so many gay men approach the sissy boy continues to perpetuate a discourse of self-loathing, considering those studies which have found that a large number of adult gay men at least perceive the sissy boy to be a part of their history. Sedgwick explains how this effeminaphobia is coupled with the legitimate gay project of unraveling gender and sexuality to debunk the notion that anyone "who desires a man must by definition be feminine [and vice versa]' (p. 157). In light of such studies, she concludes that 'the eclipse of the effeminate boy from adult gay discourse would represent more than a damaging theoretical gap; it would represent a mode of annihilating homophobic, gynephobic, and pedophobic hatred internalized and made central to gay-affirmative analysis. The effeminate boy would come to function as the discrediting open secret of many politicized adult gay men' (p. 158)" (pp. 54-55. Referencing changed by author.)

"Today, I have been surprisingly successful at erasing the sissy from my own body. I have employed the technology of the gym with amazing results. I drive a motorcycle and buy clunky, construction-worker-type boots in an attempt to push the limits of "masculinity." I still live in constant vacillation between championing my inner sissy child (for he so often comes shining through) and hiding him from view in order to increase my currency in the gay market. As much as I constantly check it, I am sometimes guilty of the sissy self-loathing I rail against. So I ask myself, what is so discomforting about a nellie boy? If, as Dillard-Rosen states, Bonin-Rodriguez produces an effeminate character "that some gays may find stereotypical and offensive," what is the basis of that offense?

The discomfort of both Dillard-Rosen and the gay men for whom she claims to speak is, I believe, fundamentally misogynistic. Our culture continues to view the feminine as less-than and ultimately valueless. We deal the best we can with the "natural" feminine attributes of women, but we do not wish effeminacy on our sons. I don't know how to explain to a fabulously effeminate gay man that his corporeal style is an offensive stereotype. In the end, I don't know how to explain that to myself" (pp. 55-6).

For a discussion of femininity in gay and bisexual males, the over-representation of femininity in these males, anti-femininity attitudes in and outside gay communities, and related negative consequences (such as incidences of attempting suicide for the most feminine gay/bisexual male youth compared to their most masculine counterparts: 48% vs. 11%) see the section on femininity by Tremblay (2000).

Dillard-Rosen, Sandra (1993). Redeeming moment too late to save talk. Denver Post, August 27, F30.

Boney, Bradley (1996). The Lavender Brick Road: Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and the Sissy Bo(d)y. Theatre Journal, 48(1), 35-57. Internet Availability: http://calliope.jhu.edu/demo/theatre_journal/48.1boney.html.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky (1993). How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys. In: Tendencies, pp.154-64. Durham: Duke University Press. A version of the same essay was also published as "How to bring up your kids gay." In Michael Warner, Ed. (1993). Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer politics and Social Theory, pp. 69-81. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


Index for the Web Site
Index for Section on Racism in Predominantly White Gay and Lesbian Communities

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