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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Gay men often deny they have a gay voice due to gender stereotypes

VIDEO: A trailer for the documentary "Do I Sound Gay?" by Director: David Thorpe (2:23) (from -- covers a sensitive topic to some gay men whose voices sound stereotypically gay (e.g. more effeminate, swishy, etc.) possibly because they were bullied for it when they were young and later as adults they have often been assumed to be gay because of their voice and then discriminated against. (I first heard about this documentary on the radio show by Bob Mondello, "Be Your Own Self: The Lessons Of 'Do I Sound Gay??'" NPR listened to on PBS KOAC radio Corvallis, Oregon, Jul. 10, 2015 )

As a child over a half-century ago, the first gay male voice I heard was of the famous Truman Capote, who had a stereotypically effeminate and swishy fag voice. Gay liberationists of the 1960's tried to deny the possibility of this type of queen-y voice as correlated with being gay because they were trying to break down the stereotype that all gay men are effeminate and therefore powerless as girls, which in the days before women's liberation was a serious insult to a person's sense of manhood and masculinity.

To counter the gay male stereotypes of being effeminate with a swishy voice, a famous TV program, "All in the Family," cast a macho football player character to come out as being gay to the homophobic and bigoted star of the show, Archie Bunker, which of course comically rattled Archie's perception of gay men.

In my experience, there are roughly half of gay men who have a more effeminate gay voice and the other half have a more masculine voice that is not detectable by most people as being gay. I have always been amused by how many gay men with effeminate voices will almost always deny it in a very emotional and angry manner, which I guess is because they were bullied for it growing up and they have internalized society's homophobia and misogyny that casts women as being inferior.

Another related stereotype I've seen is the idea that gay men who are more effeminate are always going to be the bottoms in a relationship. For example, one gay cartoon character in the 1970's was named "Helium Heels" because he was so "light in the loafers" (i.e. effeminate and gay) that when he would meet a masculine top, Helium Heels would instantly be on his back with his heels up in the air ready for intercourse.

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