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Gay Guardian readers blast camp comics Alan Carr, John Inman and Larry Grayson

  • gogogog

    there is only one thing to be said off all this inverted homophobia, and that’s as you leave…… shut that door

  • James

    Hey, some gay men are camp, others aren’t. Some Lesbian women are butch, others aren’t. (Same for straight people too!)

    Let’s avoid this infighting between ourselves, we in the LGBT community are a pretty marginalized group as it is, no reason to make it worse.

    • Indeed
      If you watched Grayson or Inman giving interviews, and thus not ‘being on’, they were both naturally camp
      Are we all supposed to go around pretending we are not what we are just to salve the opinions of a vocal minority who don’t like camp?

      • Christopher Toft

        No that would be appalling. I just don’t like the media stereotype that my sexuality automatically makes me camp. I find it dehumanising. I’d like to see a world where people can be as camp as they like and not immediately have that connected to the sexuality.

    • Martin R

      Well put, I agree. And let’s not forget that the people named are comedians who are in it for laughs. My homophobic parents loved Larry Grayson, Frankie Howard and Liberace but hated me – go figure!

    • Steven Gregory

      And a lot of gay men are camp when they put away a few drinks.

      • Joeoz

        Not just gay men… a lot of straight men also!

  • It’s interesting to see the age difference mentioned here, and I think that’s an incredibly important aspect of this that is being significantly overlooked.

    It’s easy for people now to complain about internal homophobia in response to camp stereotypes, but if you are old enough to remember the 80’s you’ll likely have a different perception. If you were not there then you have absolutely no ability to comprehend what it was like confronting the belief that you would become a character of constant ridicule and attack, rather than a respected member of society.

    When I was growing up there were ONLY camp gay men, there were no men who “happened to be gay”. When you have grown up thinking that this is what being gay means, and having to hear the ridicule of people who are laughing AT them (not with them) then you might understand it a little more.

    We had no out gay Rugby players, no out gay musicians, no regular guys who just happened to be gay. Every single gay person on TV was a camp subject of ridicule, being gay meant being “weak”, being the butt of every joke, being sad and decrepit, someone to pity and laugh at simultaneously.

    You probably won’t understand this, because a lot of you were not there, how could you understand it? Things were not always like they are now, there was a time when camp and tragic was all we had, and we were made into victims because of it.

    • Serkan M

      You do realise, all you have portrayed is of being a victim in life right?

      • No, not at all.

        I am stating the truth as it was in the 80’s and early 90’s when I was growing up.

        I’m sorry if my experiences are not perfectly in line with the image people want to have, but we are all different, and this is what the world was like for me back then.

        I really don’t care if you want to refuse it because it makes you feel uncomfortable, but I am tired of being told what I “should feel” and how my life “should be” when you most likely have no idea what life was like for gay people back then.

        I would like to ask how old you are, because I have a feeling that those criticizing these opinions are probable younger, and have no clue what life was like for those of us who were constantly bombarded with this single stereotypical image of what gay was.

        That’s not blaming the men who were out and camp and on TV, it’s simply a statement of how this affected PERCEPTION of us, whether that’s the fault of society or the BBC, it makes no difference, the result was the same.

        • TomSatsuma

          I’m getting to like you…

        • colonelkira

          What a load of old rubbish……… level of self worth wasnt defined by a bombardment of these images. These people exist, so why shouldnt they be represented?

          • RickoP

            It isn’t “a load of old rubbish”, it’s his experience – an experience that sounds very similar to my own. If you read what he actually wrote instead of focusing on the wild jerking of your knees, you’ll see that he’s not saying camp men shouldn’t be represented. He’s saying that camp men were pretty much the sole representation we had in the media at that time. And he’s right. And it represented a very limited view of what it means to be gay.

          • Jeff Daniels

            And who was to blame for that? Certainly not camp men! So get off your high horses and demonising them!

          • RickoP

            I didn’t say they were. I didn’t say anything about blame. I’m certainly not saying anything against being camp. I’m saying there used to be a very limited depiction of gay men in the popular media.

          • Jeff Daniels

            Ok fine, that’s tragic. But who got to choose who came on the TV? Is it society to blame for not being comfortable enough to have the diverse range of gay men on the TV and other media or the few gay men who even managed to get on it in the first place? I see a lot of resentment aimed towards these effeminate men as caricatures etc. a lot of hate directed towards them as if they were to blame for the homophobia these gay men faced.

            It seems we will keep on running in circles. Some masculine gay men resent effeminate men because they think they steal the limelight and are portrayed as the whole gay community etc. yet many of these men didn’t bother coming out at the time to show their colleagues workmates community that there were many different types if gay people.

            Is it the fault of those who came out earlier and were wrongly depicted as representing the whole gay community or those who stayed in the closet and refused to show themselves in order to paint a more divers picture to society of how diverse the gay community is.

          • RickoP

            I think the popular media limited their representation of gay men to a particular type of gay man because they weren’t comfortable with looking beyond that or were too lazy to do so. The wonderful diversity of the gay population is (and was) there to see for anyone who chooses (or chose) to look. Back then, a lot of people chose not to. I don’t resent those performers and I certainly don’t blame them for anyone’s homophobia.

            “Some masculine gay men resent effeminate men because they think they
            steal the limelight and are portrayed as the whole gay community etc”. This is true, as is the reverse: some effeminate gay men resent masculine gay men because they think they are hiding, trying to ‘pass’, or are apologetically trying to ingratiate themselves with straight people. Neither attitude is helpful.

            The ‘fault’ of misrepresentation in the media is no more that of the ‘more visibly’ gay men than it is that of the ‘less visibly’ gay men (who lacked representation entirely). Was the lack of diversity due to the men who “refused to show themselves” or was it just that people didn’t want to know about these men because they weren’t very funny and weren’t easily pigeonholed?

            I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s helpful to anyone to paint the camp guys as the resistance and the non-camp guys as collaborators. I don’t really want to keep going round in circles with this. I think we’re basically on the same side. I think we all know some of the difficulties and joys of being different, I think we’ve all fought our own battles and had to be brave in our own ways, and I think we’re all capable of respecting each others differences.

          • Again, you are confusing statement of our realities growing up with “blame”.

            Neither myself nor several others explaining this have blamed these men for anything, we have stated what life was like FOR US, as a result of a singular representation of what gay men were.

            That IS NOT BLAME.

          • You’ve missed my point entirely, as some others here have.

            Imagine you are a black teenager in 1960’s USA where every single black character on TV is a criminal.

            Imagine being a woman in the 1950’s when all portrayals of women were as domestic servants to their families.

            Like it or not, these are the ways in which people have historically been portrayed in media, and this DOES influence public opinion and social environment, and it DID impact upon the people exposed to these stereotypes.

            People can refuse this all they like, it doesn’t change the reality that myself and several others here recognize. It doesn’t lay blame at these men, and no one is saying that they should be blamed for anything or rejected from media, we are simply trying to explain to those who obviously don’t understand how it was FOR US.

          • Andy Millan

            I can see where you are coming from but i disagree, And i do remember the 80s the 70s too. Society was different back then and i was smart enough to understand that not all gay men were like that. I read a lot back then and found different depictions of gay man right across the spectrum in the books i read. Blaming the camp comics is like (using your own examples) blaming the black actor for taking the role as the criminal or the maid. I never blamed John Inman or Larry Grayson, i admired them for their courage to be themselves.

          • Dazzer

            I remember the 70s and 80s as well, Andy – and I wasn’t overly smart. All I saw on TV was camp men who became the touchstone of what being ‘gay’ meant. And I wasn’t anything like them, I felt more isolated and alone than I can possibly explain.

            Hence the suicide attempts I made in my teens – and suspect many other gay men of my generation made, too.

            Like you, I started reading and discovered that there was a wider spectrum of ways to be gay – but that wasn’t until after I’d gone through puberty.

            When there is just one kind of role model for being gay – and you don’t fit that template – it’s a particularly damaging way to find out who you are.

            I’m not criticising camp gay men – some are magnificent, some are irritating and some are drivelling idiots, just like any other section of society – but I am most emphatically putting the boot into anyone who says that you’re especially/properly gay if you’re camp.

            It’s just not true and insulting to the rest of us.

          • Andy Millan

            Tell me where and when i said that you are only properly gay if you are camp? I am not camp, and never identified with camp men but i always identified as gay (even though i tried to hide it for years) I was ashamed for different reasons i came from a very religious catholic household and was taught that gay was a sin and gays would burn in hell. that was the reason for my suicide attempt, not some camp guy off the telly. I envied those men who were themselves my biggest hero’s were Oscar Wilde, Christopher Isherwood, Edmund White and E M Forster, when a boy’s own story came out in the early 80s i was hooked, i must have read that book a dozen times as i had with Maurice a year or so earlier. It was not those camp guys on the telly that were the cause of so many young gay boy’s misery it was the society in which we grew up, perhaps see them for what they were, two gay men just trying to survive in a world that did not accept them for who they truly were.

          • Again, I have not blamed anyone. Where are you reading the part where I supposedly blame?

            This is not about blame, this is about what life was like for me back then.

            Please try to understand what I am saying, there is no blame here. This is simply what life was like FOR ME.

            The only exposure to gay “culture” I had throughout my life up until the early/mid 90’s was Inman, Clary, and a supporting cast of camp men.

            That’s NOT BLAMING THEM, that’s statement of the truth. Please recognize the difference.

        • speedgeek

          I had the same experience! Beautifully expressed!

    • Jeff Daniels

      Camp men aren’t to blame for homophobia. Stop trying to blame them for the horrific experiences gays faced.

      • Where did I suggest that? Please do not put words into my mouth. I am well aware that there is no excuse for homophobia and I have not suggested that anyone else is to blame.

        I am simply pointing out the reality that existed back then. Like I said, most here probably won’t ever understand this because you were (presumably) not there and you have no frame of reference. Like it or not, it is far easier for you to be gay right now than it was for people back in the 80’s, and the perception of all gay men being camp did not help, that was the fault of SOCIETY, not the fault of the men appearing on TV.

        That’s not casting blame on the men that happened to be camp and in the media, I’m just STATING FACTS.

        Please do not deny or refuse reality just because it is uncomfortable.

        • Jeff Daniels

          Well if you say that then why support or justify the kind of attacks the likes of Alan Carr are getting?

      • TomSatsuma

        missed the point of the comment incredibly there

    • Paul J

      You are absolutely right. When I first came out, I would meet men who said they had thought they couldn’t be gay, because they were nothing like John Inman. Most gay people at that time thought that gay = camp, because there was just nothing else.

    • Lee Hobson

      Absolutely agree

  • Rovex

    There were plenty of other gay celebs back then, but they weren’t visibly so. Were they hiding? No more than Grayson or Inman who both denied it for years. Even Liberace did for god sake!

    I dont think they harmed the image of gay men as such, but they are an outmoded stereotype now, its just that the stereotype wont die.

    • The problem with those latter day camp comics/pianists is that, in those media starved times, they were the only representations of gays.
      Thankfully today we have a much more rounded media profile with people like Dr Christian etc

      Personally I *could* get just as offended at all these straight-acting gays projecting a bad image LOL

      • This is what I am trying to say. Younger people who enjoyed their teens in the late 90’s and early 00’s just won’t be able to understand this, and that is the problem with this debate.

        Younger people cannot possibly know what it was like growing up with only these characters to show us the way. There was no internet, few gay bars or clubs anywhere outside of London, no magazines and papers handed out in general society, no variation to what “gay” was.

        This is what people critical of this discussion cannot possibly comprehend, because they have grown up and come out in a completely different world.

        • colonelkira

          I was a teenager in the 80’s and you are so wrong its almost comical……..the fact that you are unable to see how bigoted you are speaks volumes.

          • Dazzer

            Then explain how BlokeToys is so wrong and why he is so bigoted, because his experience of growing up in the 70s and 80s chimes pretty much with .my own

          • RickoP

            Yeah I grew up in the 80s/90s and I remember it being pretty much as BlokeToys is describing too. The way gay people were represented in the media was very limited. It said nothing to me about my own experience and I felt that it represented me in no way whatsoever.

          • Thank you Dazzer.
            It’s very disappointing to me to see people attacking others for expressing a different opinion. Are we all supposed to lie about our own experiences growing up just to make these people more comfortable?

            I’m not prepared to bend the truth and rewrite my personal history just because some here refuse to accept how things used to be.

          • So now anyone who disagrees with you is a bigot? If people like you keep slinging this word around to attack people who present a different (and completely non bigoted) view it will lose all meaning when used against ACTUAL bigots.

          • james

            I would have to agree with BlokeToys here (and im only 23) – when I was at school there was very very limited depictions of gay men on tv outside of the camp stereotypes until in my experience at least the mid 2000s (in my older teen years).

        • speedgeek

          Absolutely agree with Bloke Toys. My experience to a T. colonelkira,maybe it is a geographical thing, and in your part of the world it was different?

          • Andy Millan

            I grew up on army bases and a rough housing estate in Scotland and i still knew that all gay men were not like messrs Inman and Grayson. This was also in the 70s and 80s in a strict catholic home, i envied those men for being themselves the thing i hated about myself was the fact i was lying to myself and those around me. Not everyone that grew up back then think the same as you.

          • “Not everyone that grew up back then think the same as you.”

            And that is the crux of the matter isn’t it?

            I haven’t said that everyone MUST have experienced the same as me, all I have given is MY OWN EXPERIENCE. Yet, my own experience is labelled as “wrong” or even “bigoted”. I have not once attacked any of these camp performers or blamed them for MY EXPERIENCE growing up, but it’s easier to suggest that than to actually think about the society we were living in back then.

            Again, I wish I had other role models and characters out there in the world when I was growing up, because it was MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that the only characters we had to show us what “gay” meant were the same camp stereotypes, who were often laughed at, ridiculed, or simply depicted as weak and people to feel sorry for.

            I saw nothing that I could relate to until I saw My Own Private Idaho in the mid 90’s, everything prior to that suggested to me that I “couldn’t be gay” because I wasn’t like Clary or Inman, I didn’t fawn over musicals or dedicate my time to interior design, fashion and hair styling.

            Like it or not, these were the stereotypes I grew up surrounded by, and I didn’t relate to it at all. That’s not to say they are wrong or bad, I’m just pointing out the lack of diversity in the depiction and how that affected ME, PERSONALLY.

      • Rovex

        Someone brings up muscle mary Dr Christian again. Sorry, he doesnt represent the non camp either..

  • Andrew

    It’s great that we have a variety of gay role models now and know that we can be whatever we want to be, but I think we owe a lot of that freedom to the people who couldn’t “pass” and hide as easily as others, or people who chose not to try to pass. Drag Queens were instrumental in the Stonewall Riots, for example.

    I think it’s very easy for a minority to spurn its own history and stereotypes when it starts to be accepted into the majority, but we do a real disservice to the people who came before us and who did not live easy lives.

    And so far as not having appropriate role-models in the 80s goes, I think that blaming the visibly gay camp people for this is missing the point entirely. It wasn’t their fault any more than it was the fault of the closeted non-camp celebrities – the problem lies with society’s persecution and intolerance of atypical gender and sexual expression. That’s the real enemy, and we would do well to fight it under all of its guises.

    (That being said, I have no time for people who use being camp as a get-out-of-jail-free card for being rude – normal rules of kindness and compassion still apply)

  • Ray

    On my first gay pride demo back in the 1980’s there were people giving out flyers against cross-dressing and camp gay men. I thought at the time, why not just let people be who they are
    This from coming out late at 31; and brought up in a homophobic atmosphere. I didn’t like Liberace; but he was ‘out’; albeit if in denial; in plain site, and was the way he was- It was the phobes who couldn’t ‘see for him for what was’. I watched the film biog and still tended to react against but like Owen Jones minded myself to accept him and that it’s his showmanship and talent that mattered. Similarly Quentin Crisp gave no quarter to anyone for his camp manner; he was ‘out’ well before most others..

    • louiselouise

      @Ray “On my first gay pride demo back in the 1980’s there were people giving out flyers against cross-dressing and camp gay men”: This shocked me and brought tears to my eyes! A little before my time but I never knew of this.
      It is nobody’s right to insinuate they are somehow a more “authentic” gay person. (Who writes these rules? Can I read them?!)
      Nor can anyone assume a camp gay man is somehow belittling or degrading the entire gay community by merely existing.
      As a straight woman, should I look down my nose at bimbo WAGs for denegrating the feminist cause? What about submissive women on the BDSM scene? etc, etc….
      I’ll keep my focus on myself, and take people as I find them. Seems to work for me :)

  • Steve

    People should watch Ireland’s Panti’s Noble call at the Abbey Theatre – might make us think again about flinching!!

  • Cal

    Such an interesting discussion and every comment I have read in the Guardian and here so far has been valid. The point is not whether it’s ok for Carr to be camp. That’s not why he’s on TV. He is there because he is considered by many to be funny. The thorny issue is should he allow himself to be dressed and addressed by an ad agency as a fairy? This would have been homophobic in the 1970s and it’s not much better now – even though Carr himself does not have a problem with it.
    I admire Carr for his uncompromising personality. He’s earned the right to be exactly who he is and he’s made a success of it. Good for him.

    • Karl smith

      I think that’s the point Cal – Alan is who he is so who are we to criticise him for being himself – bit sad really

  • That There Other David

    I seriously don’t get the aggressiveness of this debate. Who is anyone else to tell anyone how camp or butch they should behave, or judge them for it? We all have the right to behave according to who we are.

    Christ, wouldn’t life be dull if we were all the same?

    • dave

      Not sure the debate is entirely about being camp, though I’m sure Alan Carr and Owen Jones would like us to think it is exactly that debate. Consider whether it’s acceptable to use the term batty man or chatty man? If those terms are acceptable then maybe Stonewall’s current #NoBystanders campaign is misguided?

  • Jeff Daniels

    Once more the ‘straight acting’ brigade vilify and demonise camp men. Where were these fools when camp men had to face the brunt of homophobic bullying and harassment? Oh yeah, the closet. The cowering lot who call themselves ‘REAL men’ only decided to show their faces when the intensity and violence began to die down, only to attack camp men as the cause of the homophobia the gay community faced because they didn’t act like ‘normal’ men, they were too queer, effeminate, girly, flamboyant, ‘attention seeking’, pretending etc.

    ‘If only the gay community was only made of ‘real’ men, masculine, macho, ‘straight acting’ men, we wouldn’t face the grief we did & sometimes still do’, try say.

    Is it any wonder transphobia is so widespread among self proclaimed ‘straight acting’ gays?

    What irks me is the sheer intolerance, the lack of understanding and willingness to accommodate differences in the lgbt community from people who are gay themselves!

    I just can’t stand seeing these right wing like sentiments expressed about a component of the lgbt society that has existed as long as lgbt people have.

    • Serkan M

      ‘Where were these fools when camp men had to face the brunt of homophobic bullying and harassment? Oh yeah, the closet’

      Amazingly put Jeff.

      • Timb

        Here, here. Well put Jeff

    • TomSatsuma

      Hilarious. The irony of your statement is incredible. ” the ‘straight acting’ brigade vilify and demonise camp men” he says, literally one breath before laying into non camp men for apparently being closeted and not gay enough.

      Some of us were campaigning as hard as the next man. Some of us respect the differences in the gay community (and that means actually respecting all the differences, not just your side in your little war).

      If you can’t defend camp gay men without laying into non-camp gay men then I suggest you stop trying.

      • Jeff Daniels

        I put straight acting in quotes for a reason. That’s what they call themselves. They usually follow that with a tirade about real men, camps, dems and queers. These are the men who demonise and vilify camp men. Most of them were no where to be seen in the fight for gay rights..

        I’m not laying into non camp men but those who think that because they are more masculine they can get to bully harass demonise ad ostracise camp men.

        Maybe you should read my comments again and realise which terms were is quotes and therefore not my own definition about segments if the gay community but those made by ‘masculinr’ straights in order to cleanse the idea of camp men as part of the same community they are part of.

        Did you read my continued comments? I said it would be wrong to try to say camp men represented the whole gay community or even the majority of them, but please dot come with the same chauvinist patriarchal principles to then demonise camp men as bringing shame on the gay community, pretenders, attention seekers, abberation a etc.

        Heck I’ve seen comments by ‘straight acting men’ calling camps faggots with all the animus that goes with that word to show jut how much they loathe their existence as part of the gay community. They believe that if they could make a distinction between them and the ‘fems’ they could be spared the homophobia, suspicion, abuse and hopefully direct it towards those they feel ‘rightly’ deserve derision and hate.

    • Dazzer

      Oh put a sock in it, Jeff, and stop mythologising gay history in this country.

      It wasn’t just the camp gay men who were put in prison, castrated or variously tortured for being gay in the 40s, 50s and 60s – the whole spectrum of gay men who were out about their orientation suffered discrimination. I’ll point out the obvious victim, Alan Turing, but there were many others who suffered as well.

      If you look at the Wolfenden Report, which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in this country, there were three openly gay gay men who gave evidence to the committee – Patrick Trevor-Roper, Carl Wildeblood and Carl Winter. None of them were particularly camp – but by standing testament to their sexuality they did as much as any other section of the gay population to making our lives better.

      I’ll accept that it was the drag queens, the rent boys and the general outsiders who led the charge at Stonewall in the US, but that, again, is just a moment in the history of gay civil rights. It wasn’t the start of the fight back against discrimination in the US – that started earlier in Los Angeles when all kinds of different men fought back against police intimidation.

      And it certainly wasn’t the starting point in the UK. Between the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain in 1967 and the first gay pride march in London, 1971, the men who were open about their sexuality came from every spectrum of the gay rainbow.

      This growing meme that only the camp gays were out and doing the frontline fighting while everyone else was in the closet is not only disingenuous, it’s also obnoxious and actively discriminates against other brave pioneers in same-sex civil rights.

      In no way am I against camp. I can be a bit camp myself – especially after a port and lemon – but this idea that it was the camp gays only who bore the brunt of homophobic legislation and behaviour has to stop.

      It’s an idea that has no basis in history or reality – and it also dismisses the real contributions to our present-day freedoms by non-camp men who were prepared to fight their corner.

      Oh, and as for your nonsense about ‘REAL’ men, we are ALL real men – camp or not. There is no correct way to be gay. We just are and your attempts to suggest that some men are better at being gay than others is both insulting and derogatory.

      You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Jeff Daniels

        Nonsense! Camp men did face the brunt of homophobia bullying and abuse. They even faced it when they WEREN’T gay! I recognise that more masculine men did play a part in a fight for gay liberation . But it certainly wasn’t proportional to their numbers.

        As time goes by and more people are comfortable enough to come out, it seems more than clear that the considerable majority of at men are more masculine and would probably not be described as camp.

        When you see this proportion and compare it to the proportion , though anecdotal, of non camps that were marching on the streets living openly as gay etc. it is clear that many more of them enjoyed the benefit if being considered ‘straight acting’ to hide tier sexuality and therefore put off the kinds of abuse, the intensity and the frequency of bullying and homophobia more camp menhaden to face.

        Even to this day the gay friends of mine that face the most hatred and bigotry are the more camp ones. Now of course the self named ‘straight acting’ men would see this as deserved because they see camps as an embarrassment who need to ‘realise that they are men and start acting like it’. I course unbeknownst to them, the very same reasoning can be used to justify homophobic abuse to ‘encourage’ men to ‘act like real men’ and ‘have heterosexual relationships’ as what a ‘normal’ man should do. It is to a great degree a perverse mutation of homophobia that has been adopted and refined by some in the gay community to then use against the more effeminate members of that community. I find it sick and utterly deplorable!

        You should read my comments about ‘REAL’ men which I wrote partly in quotes to distinguish between my views and those expressed by self called ‘straight acting’ men. I KNOW real men come from all part of the straight & gay community. Maybe you need to ask those who demonise camp men as caricatures and much more derogatory terms why they can’t consider camp men as a legitimate part of the gay community and one that has as much right to be treated with respect dignity and acceptance. Ok so you don’t want to have sex with them, fine! That’s not a problem, why then demonise them! Why use the same kind if chauvinistic patriarchal language against them as some straights use against gays in order to make yourself feel more ‘normal’ legitimate etc.?

        Please don’t lecture me about being ashamed. I’m not the one trying to ostracise members of the gay community, trying to make them feel less than etc. I recognise masculine gay men as legitimate members of the community, I accept their existence, I respect them. I DO NOT however, respect self called ‘ straight acting’ gays who try to demonise insult and ostracise camp men, transgenders, drag queens etc. as not being part of the gay community they say they are part of.

        If you fail to see the extra sacrifices camp men had to make in the past as compared to more masculine men who could afford the luxury of blending in and staying in the closet, then that’s your problem. I do not deny non camps played a role but they certainly didn’t play one that was proportional to their numbers in the lgbt community. Many cowered in their closets, enjoyed the respectability of being straight while in secret fulfilling their natural needs and desires. And some now want to shove off camp men into the rubbish heap of history, ostracise them and even go to the level of BLAMING them for the homophobia they faced? They have no idea! They are the ones who should be ashamed!

        Camp men are here to stay whether you like it or not! They have always existed and they always will. When you manage to accept that and treat them with the same level of respect you demand, then well be half way to getting this ‘controversy’ laid to rest.

        • TomSatsuma

          “Camp men are here to stay whether you like it or not! They have always existed and they always will. When you manage to accept that and treat them with the same level of respect you demand, then well be half way to getting this ‘controversy’ laid to rest.”

          This is why everyone seems to think you are attacking non-camp men… because everything you write is worded like a direct attack against things we never even said.

          • Jeff Daniels

            I’m attacking non camp men that demonise and try to ostracise camp men. Not all non camp men. This article is about non camp men attacking vilifying and even blaming camp men for the woes gays have faced.

          • TomSatsuma

            But if you re-read the bit I quoted: “When YOU manage to accept that and treat them with the same level of
            respect you demand, THEN well be half way to getting this ‘controversy’
            laid to rest.”

            It’s worded as an accusation. But anyway – I get your meaning.

            But to be honest “This article is about non camp men attacking vilifying and even blaming camp men for the woes gays have faced.” Isn’t what I read. I read an article about pointing out that THE MEDIA’s choice to only show camp men was harmful to those who didn’t fit.

            Personally I think it’s fair to point this out – and still be supportive of camp men and recognise the unique struggles they too have faced.

            I’m really not interested in the camp vs non camp self destructive war that the gay community seems determined to have. That’s why I objected to the us and them language so many people here are using.

    • “Where were these fools when camp men had to face the brunt of homophobic bullying and harassment? Oh yeah, the closet.”

      And this is all very reminiscent of the invisibility of the pre Stonewall gay community until the drag queens went in with flying handbags in 1969.

      On this side of the Atlantic Quentin Crisp did much the same but in a more passive way

      Those that are/were most visible took the flak for those who cowered in the shadows.

    • colonelkira

      GENIUS! Why didnt I think of it?

    • Buffalo Gough

      Well said Jeff, as far as I’m concerned Camp has a big place in the LGBT community – and the sooner it is accepted by our own the better.

    • Andy Millan

      Well said Jeff, what these “straight acting” (god i really hate that term) forget is that camp men could not hide who they were, they were brave and unapologetic. They seem to forget that the first stones thrown at stonewall were thrown by drag queens, if it were not for gay guys like that i doubt we would be as far along in equality terms as we now are.

      • RickoP

        I hate the term ‘straight acting’ too. It suggests pretence through shame and fear.

        But sometimes people think I’m straight because I’m not camp. They don’t realise I’m gay because they think I don’t ‘seem’ it. Because they assume that gay = camp and vice versa.

        My lack of camp mannerisms doesn’t mean I’m trying to hide my sexuality; I’m not. It doesn’t mean I’m apologetic about my sexuality; I’m not. It doesn’t mean I’m a coward; I’m not. It doesn’t mean I’m forgetful of, or ungrateful to, those who have fought for equality, or that I’m disparaging of people who are camp. It just means I’m not camp.

        Stop suggesting that camp = good gay and that non-camp = ‘straight acting’, ungrateful apologist. It isn’t true and it’s unnecessarily divisive.

        • Andy Millan

          Please tell me where i even implied that. I hate the term straight acting because it was used to describe guys pretending to be straight ie in the closet, i am not camp but i don’t pretend to be straight. I am myself the same way i have always been there is no acting about it. What i hate is non camp gays looking down on the camp guys as something to be mocked in the LGBT community, who would prefer them to “act” more manly, i think that they are braver than some because they can’t easily hide who and what they are and (only in my experience mind you) embrace it regardless of the taunts and bullying.

      • Dazzer

        Andy, Stonewall was in America. Gay men and women – butch, camp, grey as wallpaper, whatever – were already fighting for our freedoms in Britain.

        We don’t have as many celebrated gay heroes in the UK, but we didn’t get our freedoms here from something that happened in the US.

        I’m not attacking or diminishing the importance of camp men and drag queens in the fight for equality, but that shouldn’t overshadow the contributions made by others. Remember, it wasn’t just the drag queens at Stonewall – there were the hyper ‘masculine’ rent boys and their clients, too.

        • Andy Millan

          I see, so because it was in another country it had nothing whatsoever to do with the gay movement here? Is that what you are saying? If it is you are incredibly naive and more than a little disingenuous.

          • Dazzer

            No, I’m not saying that and kindly don’t put words in my mouth.

            I am saying that we shouldn’t make Stonewall more important to the fight for equality in Britain than it was.

            Gay people were fighting for equality in Britain before and after Stonewall.

            And if we are going to use Stonewall as some kind of starting point, then as well as the drag queens and camp men, there were also non-camp men manning the barricades. They were all outsiders, but they were as diverse then as the gay population is now.

          • Andy Millan

            Did i imply otherwise? i simply stated the fact that it was a bunch of drag queens who started throwing stones, i neither stated nor implied that it was only them. It was very important to the gay rights movement all over the world as there was no real direction or organisation before then. Why do you think the biggest British gay rights group was called Stonewall? Before the riots the organisations were all about blending in, after the riots it was all about gay pride and being accepted for who we were and to hell with assimilation. As to your last paragraph about diversity, that is exactly the point i was making in my comments, looking down on camp guys simply for being themselves is why i first commented on this article perhaps if you read my comments properly you would see that.

    • Martin R

      Very well put!

  • Karl smith

    This is a tough paradox – whilst telling friends and family when you come out that not all gays are camp you know – some ARE and I am as guilty as the next of alienating people who happen to be camp in making the above comment – I m gay and have gay friends both camp and not camp and it has made me think about double standards
    Though I don’t like the use of the word fairy – it may be used for Alan Carr who I think is brilliant – but I don’t want to be labelled as such

  • Serkan M

    Let the games…begin!

  • Adam

    I have to admit, camp guys make me flinch, its why I seldom watch current soaps, were portrayed as preening, sexually predatory queens, which if im perfectly honest, is quite a put off, though the flinch is less about hating but rather everywhere I look, the camp stereotype is amplified. strangely enough I’ve always believed that the Camp brigade were the minority. Simply put, how many gay men or those whom portray gay men can you think of in current media who are not preening drama queens, very few I bet, and that’s my pet hate, I grew up with queens all over TV, and it did make me self loathe as I grew up “Am I going to turn into one of those?” We’re not all like that, infact most of the gay guys I know are no different than any other random person in the street, and flooding TV with stereotypical queens is not representative of the Gay denomination.

    • Serkan M

      Let me seee. hmmmm there was the gay gangster in hollyoaks, the chav in emmerdale….Justin glance lake who is rather masc…the corey guy tom and his male buddy…

      • adam

        I will admit I stopped watching these sorts of programs 3 or so years ago, back then every time I put it on there was some queen crying his eyes out or mincing around, put me right off, things may have changed since then, but the damage is done. I don’t loathe Camp guys, I loathe the way they are portrayed in that every gay guy is like that. and for the record im no butch straight acting guy, I have my moments I will admit, we all do, but I don’t run around mincingly flapping me hands about the place.

        • Jeff Daniels

          Amazing how even you who accepts you have moments of campness still demonises those who are even more camp that you. Do you not see the intolerance and lack of understanding on your part?

          • adam

            There’s a huge difference between a little moment (Which usually amounts to “ooh … Fireman) once in a blue moon to mincing around with your little effete manbag with a voice way too high in the octaves worrying about how colour-coordinated you are. Its not intolerance to dislike or disagree, couple of camp friends and I treat them with the respect any human being deserves. intolerance is “Oh its all an act” or “Man up” etc

          • Karl smith

            But Adam if we argue the fact that we can’t help being what we are – then who are we to chastise camp people for being who they are – it’s persecution just the same and at least this discussion has made me think

          • adam

            I am not chastising nor persecuting, im simply stating that I dislike effeminate men. that is not chastisement, as chastisement means to punish, Nor do I persecute. And here the intolerance starts to show its face, from those intolerant of different opinions, just because I dislike effeminate guys I’m not persecuting and/or chastising. It’s a simple difference of opinion and taste.

          • Dazzer

            Are you adam or colonelkira?

          • Adam

            My name is Adam, using work computer so cant sign in via facebook.

          • Dazzer

            OK, makes sense. Thanks – I was a bit confused.

      • james

        thats RECENT years – try going back to early 2000s, the 90s, 80s, 70s etc… you will find very few gays outside the camp stereotype.

    • Jeff Daniels

      Wtf? Most gay men on TV today are your so called straight acting kind. Maybe you loathe camp men so much, you only notice a gay is on tv when it’s a camp

    • colonelkira

      If your level of self worth is defined by how other people behave then I pity you……….The fact that you disrespect and treat other gay people the way the bigots treat us just makes you a complete sad case.

    • Andy Millan

      Wow, just wow. And i thought the straight homophobes were vicious, you sir take the prize though for that frankly disturbing diatribe.

  • Jeff Daniels


    It would be wrong to say camp men represent the whole lgbt community, in fact, in my experience they represent a minority. But certain factors particularly their mannerisms which can be picked out, mean they are more ‘visible’.

    Of course people like Carr don’t represent the majority of gay men, but just because he doesn’t does not mean he and other camp men like him aren’t a legitimate part of the gay community. It is not him and other camp men’s fault the heterosexual majority community was so ignorant and uncomfortable with depictions of other types of gay men. How many would have tolerated the idea of a gay man in their football club, pub, mine, factory floor etc? It was better to imagine they were all in the arts or beauty industries where ‘straight’ men in the whole wouldn’t have to fear them as a ‘threat’ to god knows what.

    Unfortunately, on more and more gay websites like this one, real jock etc. I see the majority sentiments expressed about camp men are negative, hostile, derogatory, sometimes down right hateful. Trans phobia among gay men is well known and widespread. I see the movement for the movement for rights and acceptance of transgenders to be the next front in the fight for equal rights & dignity.

    Hopefully in a few decades some self proclaimed ‘straight acting’ gay men will be comfortable in their own skin and tolerant & progressive enough to accept the differences within the gay community.

    • TomSatsuma

      “Hopefully in a few decades some self proclaimed ‘straight acting’ gay
      men will be comfortable in their own skin and tolerant & progressive
      enough to accept the differences within the gay community.”

      Um… some already are.

    • Andy Millan

      Again Jeff, incredibly well put.

  • louiselouise

    If camp is part of who you are, embrace it. I can understand how a young man growing up in the 1970s/80s could find Larry Grayson or John Inman unsettling; when you’re trying to find your true identity the last thing you want to be is a caricature, the focus of the world’s laughter, a superficial clown. Admittedly as a child growing up in those times and rather innocent, I just saw them as rather precious “funny men” who made off-colour euphemisms. I didn’t know what “gay” was till I was a bit older. (I told you I was a bit naive).

    An ex of mine told me a story about a guy he’d known since primary school. He and his mates did the usual “lad” things like playing football, going on nights out on the pull. One night he took the step of “coming out” (said guy was in his early twenties), and his social circle were rather alarmed that he suddenly acted all affected, camp, screeching and gesticulating. Why, who knows. Is this really who he “is” or is he behaving this way because society tells he it’s expected of some gay men? I don’t know the answer to that one.

    Alan Carr *may* be right that sometimes the worst homophobes or bigots are on the gay scene. I can only go by my own experiences, but when I first attended gay clubs with gay friends, I would now and then be met with hostility for daring to admit I was straight and out having fun with a few mates. I will stress this a very small minority, though. Sometimes it was easier to be vague and say, “I’m seeing someone” rather than having to explain which side of the fence I was on to different people.
    My best friend is TV. She has endured a few “All the *trannies* sitting over there”, “What the f*** are they doing in here?!”, comments from straight and gay alike, in a gay pub/club, which she always thought was a “safe” environment. As a “straight woman” in their company, of course I would be tarred with the same brush, and the same hostility, in a gay pub, from straight and gay alike. Again, I will stress this only happened now and then.
    My point is, don’t assume just because you share the same sexual preferences that everyone will automatically accept who you are. This applies to the maligned “camp gay male”, too.
    Gay people still cast judgement and make damaging assumptions at times, as we are all human and flawed.
    All we can say for certain is that our personality traits are all unique to us, and we try to portray ourselves in the way we feel most mirrors our personality.

  • Karl smith

    I think Alan has done a lot for the gay community and he deserves out support

    • Serkan M

      Who is this rather handsome man?

      • Karl smith

        What you talking about Willis ?

        • Serkan M

          The man in the picture?

          • louiselouise

            It’s definitely not Alan Carr, who Karl Smith refers to in his comment.

            Maybe self-advertising? Got to do what you can in these hard times. Woops, double entendres :)

          • Karl smith

            Oi – I made a mistake tried to upload a thumbnail photo in my profile nowt else

          • Karl smith

            Apologies :-)

          • louiselouise

            Don’t worry, Karl, it’s a great picture and you’re an attractive guy, why not :)

          • Karl smith

            Lol I did nt honest ! I m away on business bored and messed up my profile thingy that’s all – I wouldn’t post a photo on purpose. – no point

          • Dazzer

            Dunno about that, Karl – your photo cheered up my day :-)

          • Karl smith

            Thanks Dazz

          • Karl smith

            It’s me and got a lovely life partner – thanks for the big-up though !

        • Serkan M

          Name, number, and relationship status please.

      • Karl smith

        Sorry dude tis me was trying to upload a small thumbnail photo not sure how I got maximum exposure lol

        • Steven Gregory


  • louiselouise

    As a friend of mine has just pointed out, what about the camp straight men of the world? I’ve met a few in my time. Where do they fit into this debate?

  • Rovex

    The simply fact of the matter is that the only thing gay people have in common is that they are attracted to the same sex. Frankly that’s just not enough to make a community, or for us to be able to tolerate each others differences.

    Now the battle for rights and acceptance is so nearly over on the grand scale the divide between us will just get bigger.

  • qv

    don’t think two critical letters worth a story

  • bigbutchboy

    Butch is just another type of camp.

  • Michael Regan

    Some of my old friends are campy gay men, who were a support to me when I came out. I’m not camp mysel, but it’s a massive dishonor to them if they couldn’t be themselves.

  • kescasper

    Isn’t it about time television producers got with the programme and modern society and accepted that a higher percentage of gay men are nothing like John Inman, Alan Carr, Graham Norton, the gay barman in coronation street. I am nothing like any of those people and neither are most of the gay people I know. Yet for some weird reason we are still being cast as effete and weak more feminine than some of the females themselves. The gay character Bobby in TOWIE for instance makes me feel ashamed to be a gay man and Lime pictures go right out of there way to make sure that his character is never involved with the straight lads on any masculine level. In that respect they are completely pandering to homophobia and stereotyping. Idiots at Lime Pictures. But they do produce Hollyoaks so say no more there. All Bobby does in TOWIE is shop with the girls and do spa weekends. Now there’s nothing wrong with camp but lets have some true perspective on this. Gay lad do play football as well as straights. Its a proven fact. Open your eyes homophobes.

    • Andy Millan

      Really, i am far from camp but the worst thing i could think of is having to play football. In fact most sports leave me limp And yet one of my friends who is fabulously camp loves playing football. Now what was that you were saying about stereotypes?

      • kescasper

        show me any out gay footballer in this country. the reason there aren’t any is because of people like alan carr. Stereotypes like carr make coming out as a sportsman much more difficult. I am addressing the fact that camp men are all we see on television because its easier to laugh at them and I am sick and tired of my community being made the butt of straight society’s homophobic joke.

        • Steven Gregory

          “Stereotypes like carr make coming out as a sportsman much more difficult.”
          You have the mind of a tin can.

          • kescasper

            oh really there you go with another one of your unoriginal spurts. So footballing fans would turn up in droves would they and shout come on lads if teams were made up of alan carr looky likeys. Get a life get a brain. Justin Fashnau took his own life because of the abuse he received for coming out. Show me one camp footballer then open your peanut of a brain. You are so last season with your its vomit inducing musings. Quick get me a sick bag to spew in.

          • Steven Gregory

            Tin can.

          • kescasper

            Well that would make you as disposable as your comments and all so similar. tin can ? you love the sound your own voice. a bit like a parrot stuck in its own senseless void. say, hello mummy . hello mummy,

          • Steven Gregory

            You are a nag and waste of noise.

    • kg

      tv is supposed to entertain people. Maybe having ordinary, boring gay characters wouldn’t attract viewers. camp characters are possibly more interesting?

      • kescasper

        why are camp characters more interesting or is that you have allowed yourself to be brainwashed by tv producers and writers.

  • Stephen MOLE

    Campness is so deeply unattractive. Beurghhhhh

    • Andy Millan

      Not as unattractive as your attitude though.

    • rapture

      That hissy “beurghhhh” is quite camp.

  • David Bishop

    The worrying thing at the moment is that the woolly liberals and straight acting gays want us to integrate into society, no more gay bars etc. But won’t that make us all rather dull? I love our culture, all the camp humour etc. Straight acting I will never be. I am proud of who I am!

  • GBAD

    Surely the main point here is that the fight is for equality. Equality for all, be you gay, straight, butcher than butch, camper the Maplin’s or fall, like most, somewhere in between on the spectrum. Its important to remember that each of us has our place, and a right to be respected and valued for what makes us different as well as what unites us.

  • louiselouise

    Duncan Norvelle “chase me, chase me” anyone?

    • louiselouise

      …in case anyone doesn’t know, he was a hetero man (away from the stage) who became famous for portraying a camp comedy persona. He was everywhere on TV in the 1980s. His entire act consisted of chatting up/terrorising (as the audience probably saw it) men in the audience.
      I find THAT offensive. People being true to themselves don’t bother me at all.

      • Andy Millan

        Thank you, i was racking my brain trying to remember his name.

  • soapbubble

    Honestly folks, you’d think we might have more serious things to worry about than labels wouldn’t you? Things that might UNITE us instead of DIVIDING us and pitting us against one another? Such as the persecution of gay people in Africa, or Russia, or the Middle East? Or the rampant intolerance shown by an increasingly vocal section of the Muslim community in the UK (hate preachers). Or the nutty policies of the UKRAP brigade that want to take us all back into the closet, where there are laws where we can be refused service in pubs and B&Bs.
    There is nothing wrong with being camp at all. There is nothing wrong with being non-camp either. Each to their own. I personally am a little suspicious of men that describe themselves as ‘straight-acting’ on dating websites and apps, particularly on Grindr. I always think they are either confused, bisexual or married, they haven’t come out yet, or just don’t have a sense of humour. But that’s my preference. To thine own self be true, whatever you believe that to be.

  • James!

    Oh this is brilliant wea re attacking each other now. When I started going out you’d find all sorts in bar and clubs now it seems we are all segregating and discriminating. No camp fats blacks Asians ect. This is what happend when the right wing queens get their way

    • kescasper

      we are attacking each other because a very selfish comedian called allan carr is dictating how we should be presented and that’s arrogant. he wants us to put up and shut up and endorse his behaviour while he coins it in at the majority’s expense

  • Peter Row

    Layoff Alan Carr is what I say. I don’t care about his sexuality – I like him because he is funny. No one gay person/gay character on TV/Movies can reflect everyone at once!

    • kescasper

      so how come every gay comedian is like carr. That’s not funny that’s social programming and he does not help the situation funny or not.

      • Peter Row

        So you’re saying that if you are gay and camp you are not as worth as non-camp gay men? There are lots of different types of people gay or straight. Who cares if most gay comedians are camp? There are plenty of other gay people who are in the spotlight who are not camp. Within the last year there has been quite a rash of sports figures coming out, see:

  • Glen

    Isn’t the issue the two Guardian readers reaction to Alan Carr and ” campness”? Camp brothers and butch sisters lead the way in the 1970’s – the majority of the rest of us were in the closet – they weren’t – they couldn’t be! Camp comedians on TV paved the way for acceptance by the general public of gays, gay marriage and so on. They got them used to the idea. Mr. Humphries chatting and being on friendly terms with his heterosexual colleague in Menswear was revolutionary then! A real man not punching a queer in the face but being friendly with him – what was going on? Camp is, was, and always will be part of gay life. If you’re uncomfortable with camp men – or butch women – then YOU’RE the problem, not them!

  • Adam Joseph Crickett

    I’m just loving how average everyday guys whom are not that fond of effeminate people are the ones getting villified and called bigots for simply having an oposing taste/opinion. theres nothing wrong with holding a different view, i grew up when being gay was still a taboo … in the 80’s. you will also find im quite active in the gay rights movement, even though my mannerism is what i’d call everday avergae guy, and the suggestion that only the camp brigade are doing any work is deeply offensive, not only to me, but to the many others like me working hard. I dont feel the need to broadcast what i am, and i certainly dont feel the need to march around in skimpy underwear demanding rights, a gay rights parade to me, is a bunch of everyday gay guys walking up, showing people, we’re not so different, afterall, equal rights is as much as being givent he oppertunity to fit in with the majority of the people as much as being accepted.

    • louiselouise

      To be fair, I don’t recall anyone commenting that “camp men are doing all the work”. The main problem seems to be people implying camp men are lesser beings, less authentic gay men or belitting their cause in some way.
      I agree that the world is very “PC” nowadays and to go against the grain or say you don’t like any group of people kicks off all sorts of OTT reactions.
      If you don’t like being in the company of, or fancy, a certain personality or look a guy has, be my guest.
      But it’s not on to suggest you are superior or that others should be denied the same respect or rights as others.

      • Adam Joseph Crickett

        Well said, and i agree, no one should be treated as a lesser being, i may not particually find effeminate people attractive, but it doesn’t mean i do not treat them with the respect any decent human being deserves, nor do i think they are not authentic, they are a part of our community which i accept they are apart of and welcome them as friends/brothers/sisters etc, and which i hope the heterosexual part of our society at large also accepts them as much as they accept a less effeminate person like me. i dislike discrimination of any kind against any person, but its not discrimination to dislike something (Not accusing anything lol)

    • Andy Millan

      Instead of fighting hard to as you say “fit in” why not fight hard to be accepted whether you “fit in” or not. Fit in what the hell does that mean anyway?

      • Adam Joseph Crickett

        To fit in, as in, not have being “The Gay Guy” as my main defining feature, to simply be regarded as another ordinary person by society at large, Instead of showing people how different i am to them, too much focus on our differences by our opponents, and us not showing people how we are no different to anyone else, heavy effeminate people, in my opinion, do not help there, people fixate on how different they are to everyday people and thus tend to brand us all as the same, instead of fixating on what they should be seeing, which is that by and large, Heterosexual, Homosexual and Bi people are not that different from eachother.

        • Andy Millan

          Of course we are different from them, the world would be a hell of a boring place if we were all similar. And no one is saying that gay guy should be your main defining feature just as straight people would not see their sexuality as their main defining feature. What i object to is your use of the term fit in, fit in to what? There is a huge range of diversity with hetrosexuals which group should we try to fit in with? Why should we try to fit into that narrow bandwidth that is deemed acceptable to the morally outraged of this country. Instead of just trying to fit in with whatever you think makes you less different to heterosexuals why not just be you, trust me you will be much happier.

  • louiselouise

    “What makes a man a man?”

  • rapture

    Will this panto never stop, 2 old marys are in hysterics about alan carr being camp and then all these comments from self proclaimed “non-camp” “men” getting their panties in a twist because they see what they themselves are in alan carr, projection big time. Get over it, there are real battles for lgbt.

    • Dazzer

      I’d appreciate it you could be a little more insulting. I feel I’m missing the point you’re trying to make.

      I’ve just checked my underpants and can now confirm that I’m definitely a ‘man’. I am not straight-acting, I’m just me – and just me isn’t camp.

      I have no problems with camp people (gay or straight), in fact I believe that for a lot of men, campness is an in-built behaviour because one of my best friends at school was incredibly camp (and straight) and he wasn’t putting it on. It’s just the way he was. And he had to endure a hellish amount of bullying because of his mannerisms.

      I watch Alan Carr from time to time and I see no connection between us other than the fact we’re both gay. I don’t object to Alan Carr having a career and I celebrate his talent.

      However, I do object to this long-enduring meme on television that gay equals camp. Admittedly, it is changing and soap operas have led the charge to show the diversity of the gay population.

      All of that said, you insulting everyone here who doesn’t fit in with your idea of ‘gay’ is a touch discriminatory, wouldn’t you say?

      • rapture

        I’ve obviously hit a nerve there. You have no concept of my idea of what gay is, so don’t bother with that rubbish. If you feel distressed about my initial comment and feel it resonates with you , then maybe you should try a little introspection as to why.
        I have never met a militant “straight acting” “non camp” gay man(who has problems with other mens feminine/camp behaviours) who is not camp . I feel this need for some commenters on here to keep saying “as a non-camp man” as if the perceived subjectivity somehow supports their comment. If you do not agree with camp gay men why such a desperation to confirm you are not one, for me it shows the conformist nature of masculinity and fear of association with camp some need to portray as repressed in a heteronormative society. Why not just make a comment , rather than the drivelling “i’m not camp really I swear”

        • Dazzer

          Wow, so you’re a mind reader as well? In your first post you talk about men ‘projecting’ in their reactions to Alan Carr.

          Then you seem to project ‘distress’ onto me.and ‘desperation’, ‘fear’ and ‘repressed’ onto anyone who doesn’t share your exact worldview.

          Not only are you talking crap, you’re doing so from a thoroughly high and mighty position.

          Oh and ‘perceived subjectivity’… if you’re going to suggest introspection for me, I’m going to prescribe a little meditation on the theme of ‘perceived subjectivity’ and then go back and re-read your post.

          I hope you laugh as much as I did :)

          • rapture

            Nah , your drivel was not even worthy of a laugh. I wasn’t projecting, just making an observation. Everything I said in previous comments certainly stands and rings true for you, even with the tedious “one of my best friends at school was incredibly camp” cliche

  • Sacre bleu

    Let people just BE. I don’t care if gay guys are camp, butch or anything in between, same for lesbians. What I do care about is gays being pigeon holed – we need to be seen for the whole range that we are, just as straights can also be seen as a spectrum. Let people just BE.

  • Frank Boulton

    This debate seems to be getting things out of all proportion. Two letters, which were critical of camp comedians, have been written to the Guardian. This cannot be taken as indicating that cohorts of “straight-acting” gay men are seeking to vilify camp men. One reader’s comment to the effect, that while Carr, Inman and Grayson were raising public awareness of homosexuality, “real men” were hiding in the closet, is a blow below the belt.

    Many people since the 1960’s have helped to advance the cause of LGBTI rights. These camp comedians certainly raised our public profile and taught the English-speaking world that even the most “flamboyant” of us do no harm to society. They taught the world to lighten up a little about the subject of homosexuality. Their good humour over the subject very much helped to paint us as the nice guys. At the same time untold numbers of gay men and lesbians from all points on the camp-butch continuum campaigned in the media, in politics, in the Trade Unions and through numerous other organisations.

    The term “straight-acting” troubled me for years with its implication that the more homosexuality resembles heterosexuality, the more acceptable it becomes. Panty Bliss put the matter into perspective for me. I’m gay-acting. It’s just that the media and society haven’t quite got their heads yet around the fact that gay behaviour has the same bewildering varieties as straight behaviour.

  • Leonard Woodrow

    We must remember that these artistes did sterling work in getting the world at large to accept that gay people were sympathetic humans and not the depraved sexual predators that culture/religion portrayed them as in those days. They were an essential part of the beginning of gay recognition and equality, and should be admired as such. Of course they were stereotypes, but they were presented in such a manner as to become endearing rather than repulsive, and that was a great achievement.

  • Dean

    Camp men and drag queens were the first to come out and fight for gay rights. Remember the Stonewall Riots! People should know their own history.

    • kescasper

      not all gay men have to be seen in drag or camp. being gay is about men liking men not men and that was going on long before the understanding of camp or drag. Why should we all mince about in dresses and be fay to be accepted even by our own community. that in itself amounts to prejudice.

  • bermeir

    It takes more courage to not hide it if you are naturally camp than to be straight-ACTING ‘bloke’.

    Who picks on bearded, lumberjack shirt wearing men built like the proverbial? A lot of gay men ARE ever so slightly camp but hide it beneath a macho image.

    Let’s face it: which takes MORE bravery-to go out and be a naturally camp guy and risk a kicking from dim heterosexuals or pretend to be one of the lads to fit in?

    The REAL men in this case are the camp ones as they display bravery and a ‘I am what I am attitude’.

    • RickoP

      Who’s the bravest?! Raaar! Let’s find out! Men: PROVE your bravery! Raarr! Let’s have a pissing contest! Who are the REAL men?! Find out by seeing who can piss the LONGEST and FURTHEST and LOUDEST! Raaaarrr! Who will be the Ultimate Gay Champion Man?! Who will win?! Who are the REAL MEN?! Raaaaaaar!!

  • Steven Gregory

    I get it: if there is camp behavior, it’s difficult for some gay men to have a good time.
    As one of my favorite camp friends often said, “Bi.tch, your handbag ain’t big enough to knock me down!”

    • kescasper

      what does that even mean. I’m gay and I don’t even know what you are talking about. that statement in itself is boring.

      • Steven Gregory

        Oh, is it my day to keep you entertained?
        You are a willing, sniveling moron.

        • kescasper

          Snivelling moron because someone challenges you because for some inane reason you have assumed that your voice and your particular opinion mate is more informed than anyone else on this site and allows you to attempt to make academic or is it banal twee intellectual ? soundbites, that seem to amuse your empty parking lot brain. Morons are not able to differentiate between uneducated chatter which yours is. You need to get a better script darling or even some proper life experience away from the pages of the Sun and Jeremy Kyle. Plagiarism is easy for dunces and your trite nonsense is on repeat repeat repeat strangeways repeat. Yawn yawn stupid.

          • Steven Gregory

            You attempt insults, but they’re ineffective. “Your handbag ain’t big enough to knock me down, b!tch.”

  • Mihangel apYrs

    this is not about Carr being camp, it is about him marketing it as his sole talent, a safe eunuch.

    If you need a parallel, think of a black man doing “The Black and White Minstrel Show”

  • kescasper

    In a nutshell. This is the truth as it is.

    When homosexuals are portrayed on network television they are usually presented in a negative stereotypical way. They are rarely presented in a sympathetic manner, and even when this does occur plots tend to focus on heterosexual characters’ acceptance of homosexuality. In many cases gay characters are completely defined by their “problem”, and homosexuality is often constructed to appear morally wrong. Homosexuality on television is limited to a few plots or subjects such as AIDS and heterosexuals’ attempts to come to terms with gayness.

    As a result of such portrayals, homosexuality is widely viewed as a negative symbol of masculine identity
    say no more. but it has to stop

  • kescasper

    Camp is a form of “inbetweenism”, a popular form of gay typology. It reinforces negative views of gay sexuality by being somewhere in the middle of male and female. By being inbetween sexes, inbetweenism rejects the notion of a strict gender role differentiation. And doesn’t that just suit the homophobes out there who thrive on heir own sense of heterosexuality.

  • kescasper

    As a gay man I don’t want to be associated with Alan Carr. However because of his arrogant bravura he expects the rest of us non camp gays to still suffer at the hands of the homophobes. Doesn’t Carr know the damage he is doing by promoting gay men as all like him. I aint no fairy I aint no queer I aint no faggot I aint no shirtlifter. But that is what carr is helping promote and I for one don’t appreciate it. And why should I. Because he tells me to. Not a good enough reason

  • Will

    The point he made about having more homophobic comments from
    Outher gay men I can agree, most of the homophobic comments that I have revived has been from gay men, if the lgbt community expect people to accept us then we must first except our selfs and other sexuality. I find it a bit two faced most of the time.

    • J.

      I share your view Will that an hypocrisy exists in our ‘community’ – in inverted commas because many times it is anything but! Behind all the public displays of solidarity in campaigning for equality, in our own social outlets there’s an apparent institutionalised inequality in how we treat each other.
      We wouldn’t accept the type of cruel treatment that we dish out amongst ourselves from wider society. In my experience, the gay social “scene” part of the ‘community’ can be very unwelcoming and very judgemental if your soul has not already been hardened, especially for someone who is quiet-natured, perhaps ‘non-macho’ but not particularly ‘camp’, or perhaps very ‘camp’ (but not in the ‘showy’ way that many people view campness as being).
      It is as if there is a competitiveness going on to be the most popular and to be so must mean having to be ‘straight-acting’, ‘masculine’ in the macho sense of the word, as ‘good-looking’ as possible, as ‘trendy’ as possible, as ‘successful’ in a career as possible – or so it seems! The endless striving for perfection, but it’s a very immature version of ‘perfection’ that looks unkindly on any of us who are not able, or willing, to take part in it.
      There’s more than one colour in the rainbow. We demand equal respect from wider society so the least we can do is treat each other with equal respect, whatever each of our natural mannerisms are.

  • J.

    Campness/non-campness of a person’s mannerisms does not define their character. It’s what’s inside that counts. We need to stop being so worked-up about whether a person is ‘camp’, ‘non-camp’, ‘effeminate’ or ‘butch’ etc. etc. Such traits in human nature don’t tell us what we most need to know about each other, i.e. whether or not a person is trustworthy, caring, reliable, etc. – those types of things that most of us would like to be and see in others.

    Many men who are described as ‘camp’ are not behaving that way for show. Many won’t even realise that they are being looked upon like that. It’s just the way they are – just in the same way as some people have red hair – in other words, they can’t help it nor should they be made to feel that they can because why should they? Unfortunately, prejudice within the gay ‘community’ is just as rife as it is in wider society. Feeling angry, annoyed, disgusted or whatever ill-feeling about a non-harmful aspect of another person (in this case ‘campness’) doesn’t exactly reveal any positives in a person’s character.
    If someone ‘dislikes’ Alan Carr it should be his humour that they don’t find particularly funny, rather than just ‘disliking’ him outright. Personally, I don’t find him funny but for all I know he could be a lovely person, so I don’t have any ill-feeling towards him. Alan Carr doesn’t have ‘the problem’, but it’s obvious that there are some who do have ‘a problem’ and that problem is a reflection of their own imperfect selves.

  • Christopher Toft

    I said it on the Guardian site & I’ll repeat it here: I have no problem with campness per se, but I deplore the stereotype that all gay men are camp. It dehumanises us all and turns us into cartoon characters.

  • Camp men had nowhere to hide in the Stonewall days, and so they copped all the homophobic abuse, much of it coming from closeted gay men, but it was they who laid the way for the freedoms we enjoy today. It takes all kinds to make a world. Live and let live, and show by example that there’s room for everyone, even you.

  • Kalvin Chapman

    I am slightly horrified by what I have just read below. Camp men take the brunt while “straight acting men” hid in the shadows and/or the closet. Bull. Who were the rallying cries of gay rights in the UK? Oscar Wilde, whilst slightly effete was not considered to be “one of those” and yet despite what he knew to be the consequences he refused to get on a train to France and decided to stay and fight. What led to the Wolfenden Committee and its Report? I will tell you. Lord Montagu did (if you do not believe me, go find any good UK “gay history” book – there are many out there). He was not a great direct vocal advocate of gay rights, but he stood up for them in a way that every single person reading this article should be proud of. After going to prison he made damn sure something was done about it – and indeed it was. He wasn’t gay. He was bisexual. The idea that “straight acting” men are somehow to be loathed because they automatically stay in the closet or hide in the shadows is absolutely repulsive? Seriously, some of you need to come out of the shadows and see what happens in this country. I’m 21+VAT. I grew up in a town that had (at that time) one gay pub outside of town with blacked out windows (Vauxhall Tavern, Hull). People in Hull were homophobic, us gays hunkered down behind blacked out windows (not so today, of course). I have been out as long as people would listen to me. I was formally out to everyone at 13. I am not camp except after a lot of sherries. I do drag (“Stella Artwatt”). People mistake me (constantly, unfortunately) as straight. I have never hidden myself away, never “acted” straight. I have always been very direct about my sexuality, and people always knew very quickly when I start a new job, because I tell them. I do not believe that I have ever been the victim of homophobia. I cannot recall one single event. I do know people that do not mind camp people – most people I know in fact. But I do know that it is not camp that turns most people off – it is loud obnoxious people that assume we all want to know intimate details of their life, or wish to hear, at full screech, the latest histrionics in their lives. I do not think most of Britain or the Western World is bothered by camp per se. I know some gay people feel that camp comedians caused all their woes. But, equally, I do believe that attention seeking drama queens are the ones that are despised. As they tend to be camp queens (and there is NOTHING wrong with a good camp queen) people tend to shy away or are hostile to them. Gay men view them as the divining rod to homophobia. That has nothing to do with their sexuality. It is all to do with their drama and attention seeking. Many people mix the two up. And that is why I am horrified at the comments below that suggest that people, including gay people, hate camp. Generally, I have found, they do not. Most people hate histrionic drama queens, regardless of sexuality.

  • Adam

    Same gay men are camp, David Walliams is straight and is as camp as they come, the reason why they are camp is because the idea of playing on the homophobic tendencies in everyone is genius.

    Get over it and move on, they are funny and successful.

  • mike

    John Inman and Larry Grayson were a product of their time and well loved by the public. Looking back at Are you Being Served you see that Mr Humphries often has the last laugh and the humour is very carry on etc. Larry was loved because of his whole camp persona! As to ALan Carr I have to admit that times have changed and just as the Black And White Mistrels were of their time, I think most people prefer the camp of Dale Winton and Graham Norton- more subtle and less in ya face so to speak

  • Drew Terry

    It’s absolutely amazing that men (and it is predominantly men, gay or otherwise) seek to find something about someone that makes them less valid, not up to standard, less than human. To push that someone into a corner and let them know just how repugnant they are. Constantly looking for stereotypes to place people into little ‘gangs’. For some ‘camp’ is an affectation, an act and for some it just isn’t – camp is how they present day-to-day. How about the stereotype that gay men all use the gym? Is that an acceptable stereotype, or more to the point does it actually matter? I don’t do Ausie Bum underwear, am not always perfectly groomed nor do I have particular dress-sense, I am however gay. I couldn’t give two figs if the next gay guy is camp or not. Having spent too much time contemplating my own navel, feeling guilt and even self-hatred and coming to terms with my sexuality and part of who I am, why should I push someone into the same hole when I know how damaging it can be. Make ‘gay’ mean what you want, but for me it’s never about restriction … quite the opposite. :)

    • J.

      Brilliant post!

      • Drew Terry

        Why thank you!

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