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Monday, February 18, 2013

Flamboyance


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


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 effect 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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6 comments:

  1. The section I like best is this:

    "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."

    This is why I support things like Out Sports (which I think is "COMPETE" now). The biggest component of gay rights in the last 20 years or so has been showing society that the LGBTQ population are all around them, in everyday situations and doing perfectly commonplace things. I hate to use the word because of the implications, but it's the "normalization" of non-cis orientations that has really helped with fights like same-sex marriage.

    We're siblings and cousins and parents and children and friends; we're programmers and sales reps and mechanics and stylists and hockey players. Diversity is the key. It's kind of funny: the first stage of social activism is to take control of how you're seen as different; the second stage is to show how similar you are, in spite of the differences.

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  2. Can I ask how old you are??

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  3. This post is basically the equivalent of white people bitching and moaning about black people getting special privileges. I also think that you've entirely missed the point that all behaviour--including your so-called straight-acting behaviour--is socially constructed. You're non-flamboyance is as much a 'choice' as anyone's flamboyance. You might consider how your choice to be non-flamboyant is conveniently non-oppositional to a culture that you admit does not want to grant rights to queers. You can't have it both ways. I'd find something else to concern myself about, honestly.

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    1. "This post is basically the equivalent of white people bitching and moaning about black people getting special privileges. "

      > That makes sense because black people can control being black? The clothes that you wear and how loudly you speak are perfectly controllable. If you're comfortable with who you are, you don't need to constantly be making "statements" to everyone. You know who you are on the inside, so the superficial shit is completely secondary.


      "I also think that you've entirely missed the point that all behaviour--including your so-called straight-acting behaviour--is socially constructed. "

      >No, I haven't "missed" that point. I've considered it, and understand, unlike you, that while largely socially constructed, behavior is NOT 100% the result of environment. I've also mentioned this in other posts. Read some harder science if you don't understand genes and phenotypes.

      "You're [sic] non-flamboyance is as much a 'choice' as anyone's flamboyance. You might consider how your choice to be non-flamboyant is conveniently non-oppositional [sic] to a culture that you admit does not want to grant rights to queers. "

      > So now you're admitting flamboyancy is a choice? It was all "socially constructed" before. You people are too lazy to even re-read your own banal comments, so why would I expect you to be able to maintain the three minutes of focus that it takes to read a blogpost? I said that everyone is able to control the volume of their personality, so yes, "everyone" does not exclude myself. And I disagree again: I think our culture does want to grant rights to nonheteros, but that we can more effectively obtain these rights by focusing on our similarities, not our differences.

      Some are apparently content with the idea that we will never be accepted. Armed with this pessimistic and fallacious argument, they live a completely self-centered life doing whatever they please--not considering whether or not it is helpful to the cause of acceptance. Because there are relatively few of us, anyone living openly is essentially an ambassador to society at large; diplomats have the public eye on them and are supposed to put the greater good above their personal gratification.

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    2. So, I think Anon is missing your point big time. S/he is confusing flamboyancy with effeminacy, which you clearly distinguishes the two. Otherwise, his/her comment makes no sense.

      I also can't believe how much I agree with all your posts which I've read so far, which is really nice to read. Most if not all my local gay friends do not seem to think this way, and it's discouraging and isolating for me. So, keep writing your blog, it's great and insightful and helps to know I'm not the only who thinks this way. Cheers

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