Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Feminine Males: A Social Construction of Suicide Problems


"One would have anticipated that gay liberation and the commercialisation of the lives of gay men in inner-city neighbourhoods like the Castro and Christopher Street would have significantly changed the way that our culture views effeminacy, providing a new protective environment in which to experiment with unconventionally masculine forms of behaviour. A central paradox of the birth of the subculture, however, is that in resisting the effeminate stereotypes and gestural paradigms that have tyrannised gay men of the past, we have created a new Frankenstein - the "good gay," masculine, assimilated, forceful, deliberate, his body no longer a boneless frenzy of threshing arms and legs but a militarised automation patrolling his beat at a brisk goose-step" (Harris, 1991: 76).

"In liberating themselves from effeminacy, homosexuals have taken on yet another albatross, accepted more, not less rigid notions of how they should express their homosexuality, and essentially invented - to borrow a stereotype ridicules in the black community - the gay oreo, effeminate on the inside, masculine without. In the final analysis, liberation has liberated homosexuals into a new totalitarian attitude towards their mannerisms, a new contempt for effeminacy, and above all a new body language, the masculine majority's depersonalising Esperanto of frigid gestures and flinty smiles" (Harris, 1991: 76).

"...rather than endorsing effeminacy, gay liberation has led to the institutionalisation of its ridicule" (Harris, 1991: 78).

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.

Author / Source: Pierre J. Tremblay in Collaboration with Richard Ramsay - The Social Construction of Male Homosexuality and Related Suicide Problems