I must admit I enjoy watching HBO’s “Looking.” I don’t particularly like anyone or anything in the show (except, obviously, the guy with the moustache), but there is such a dearth of decently-made television for our people, and the production value of the show is higher than anything LOGO presents to us outside the Monday window of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Because of “Looking” I discovered that a man named Russell Tovey is a thing, and that he had opinions. And that they were shit.
“I wanted to go [to theater school] but my dad flat-out refused,” mouth-diarrhead Tovey across the pages of The Guardian, “He thought I’d become some tap dancing freak without qualifications. And he was right in a way. I’m glad I didn’t go. That might have changed… 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 don’t actually care what point he was trying to make because I am SO BORED of hearing how everyone who says something disgusting is not a racist or a sexist or a homophobe, or fem-phobic.
The human capacity to justify anyone saying anything, especially someone with a butt like Tovey’s, saw many defenders for this self-hatred, but the obvious sissyphobia even among our own community couldn’t stop a very justifiable backlash against Tovey’s words.
There is, in fact, a larger point at play here: the right we have to act untypically of how we are expected. Hang around Midtown and you will see many dress and behave how they like. Out here in the hinterland, Tovey’s attitude is far more relatable, not so much for “I might be a different person now,” but for day-to-day survival.
I have written before about the noticeable absence of outwardly LGBTQ+ people out here where I live in absolute bumfuck rural Newton County. Naturally, I don’t believe there have to be noticeable people to prove that our community is in existence around here, but in a county of over 100,000 people, mathematics dictates that surely there is a population of people who have sex outside the rules of Mike Huckabee’s “The Bible.” And the lack of the outwardly feminine men is an indication that the freedom to behave however the hell we like is as realistically existent as a decent Georgia vineyard.
I would imagine many are forced to drive into Atlanta on the weekends to cast off the chains of how to act in front of daddy and mommy, so they can act how they like in front of Master Sir and Lady Bunny. But fleeing to be ourselves is a terrible solution to a nationwide problem: are we forever going to congregate in small parts of large cities, along with the Boulders and Athenses of this fine nation, for the simple right to scratch your balls while doing your grocery shopping in heels? If that’s any solution, it’s a crap and short term one. The longer-term one, however, is going to be more difficult.
Severe and often incredibly violent hatred toward effeminate men is a plague amongst almost every common demographic you can think of, including, significantly, many of our own. Religious freedom bills are the shiny new filter through which to disguise common bigotry. Let’s not kid ourselves: there is a ton of bullshit to spade away, and a few heads to crack, between now and a successful sexual revolution. And as a group we should keep fighting for day we can be as effeminate in Social Circle as we are in Burkhart’s. Or not, and be totally happy about it.
Until then, we can stop making it harder for ourselves, thank you very much Mr. Tovey.