06/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Is Effeminacy a Choice?

There's an undeniable pansy vortex in gay life. You fall into it with baggy jeans and climb out of it with spandex up the crack of your ass.

How else can you explain my ex-boyfriend "Larry"? Closeted when I met him, he was popular, gorgeous, smart and athletic. He was the "be" to everyone's bop. Then he came out. Everybody he hung out with liked to do drag and camp it up. Suddenly, Larry started shaving his legs, wearing tight shorts and calling everyone "girl." He ripened into a fruit before my very eyes.

One day he made me close my eyes and sit at the foot of his bed for a surprise. He pulled out a long black wig and a slinky Bob Mackie knockoff. And that was the end of that. Now, was Larry born with the desire to dress like Cher or did he just adapt to a culture that demanded it?

I'm not the only one who has lost boyfriends to the culture's pansy vortex. My friend Gary dated this really cool guy who spoke four languages. He got sucked into the vortex and never came out. Now he lisps in four languages.

So, what fuels the gay flame? On the one hand, there really are guys who come out of the womb complaining about the backlighting. But my feeling is that just as many learn to complain. I've always maintained that effeminacy is like obesity. Sometimes it's glandular, but mostly it's cultural.

Whether you run in more masculine circles (the leather community, for example) or simply play team sports, there's no denying that effeminacy is a big part of the gay sensibility. You can't swing a cat in a bar without hitting a wig-wompin' drag queen, or hearing guys call each other girls. In gay life, camp is considered an art form and bitchy humor its paint. How much of this sensibility is driven by the naturally nelly versus the nurtured nelly is anyone's guess. If effeminacy were completely a function of nature, wouldn't all gay men need a wrist-bone implant? And if it were completely a matter of cultural re-education (falling into the pansy vortex) then why are there so many masculine gay guys?

The question is especially important if you're an effeminate guy who wants to be more masculine. Click here to see how effeminate guys can make themselves more masculine.

Why would nelly gay guys write asking my advice on butching it up? Because the culture that celebrates effeminacy as a social ideal ridicules it as a sexual ideal. Even screaming queens don't want to torch their beds with the flames of other queens. Most effeminate guys are attracted to masculine guys (click here for proof). And that sets up an enormous dilemma because most masculine gay guys are NOT sexually attracted to them.

Is it possible to become more masculine without compromising who you are? It depends on your view of effeminacy. Is it a choice?

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