Y’all remember the firestorm openly gay actor Russell Tovey created — at least in The Gay Community — when he said this:
“I feel like I could have been really effeminate, if I hadn’t gone to the school I went to. Where I felt like I had to toughen up. If I’d have been able to relax, prance around, sing in the street, I might be a different person now. I thank my dad for that, for not allowing me to go down that path,”
Lotsa folks, myself included, saw this as a kind of self-loathing, and a putdown of gay men who may be effeminate, as though that makes them less, well, manly. But the best response ever to Tovey’s remarks came from actor-comedian Alec Mapa, a flamboyantly gay, out loud and proud actor you’ve no doubt seen on Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Roseanne, Seinfeld and Friends.
Mapa isn’t one to shy away from his flamboyant persona, but detractors … and we’re kinda lookin’ at you, Russell … better not confuse that for any sort of weakness. He spoke up on behalf of effeminate gay men in response to Tovey’s comments and here’s his entire Facebook post:’
“He’s glad he’s not effeminate?
Well the feeling is mutual lady, I’m glad I’m not you.
I kind of feel like this is why I do what I do. Why I’m not just a homo, but A BIG ONE. Being an effeminate gay man still remains an unforgivable sin in our masculinity obsessed culture. I think about all the young sissy boys who return from school after being bullied and shamed day after day, perhaps returning home to the same treatment. I know because I was one of those kids. Was? I still am! I still get it in the neck for being who I am.
I’ve spoken to so many non gender conforming youth who have the same recognizable look of despair on their faces. All they need to hear is that they’re fine exactly the way they are. That there’s nothing wrong. That they haven’t killed anyone. That they’re worthy of love and acceptance, AS IS.
Perhaps if they heard that they’d stand up for themselves. Perhaps if they heard that they wouldn’t be four times as likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. Perhaps if we were all encouraged to love ourselves from the beginning we wouldn’t grow up to be gay men who treat other gay men like shit.
I’m in no way outraged by this. I’ve been hearing this since the day I could mince. It’s just disappointing. We experience so much discrimination from the outside world, wouldn’t it be great if we were kinder to each other in our own community? There are a billion reasons to feel actual shame and remorse. Being your authentic, fabulous, faggy self shouldn’t be one of them.
Professional Effeminate Homosexual for nearly 50 years.”
Brava, Alec, brava!
We’re all kinds of different people, and we should be made to feel any kind of shame from one of our own.