Written by Mitchell
My last post was very much a downer, and rest assured in future posts I will write about how my mum and dad grew through the experience of having a gay son, and how difficult it was for them (their words not mine, because I stand by the fact that it was a hell of a lot more difficult for me).
I think a big part of my parents’ initial shock came from the stereotypes that they had been exposed to, and didn’t think that I fitted into.
Sure, the signs were there (I grew up idolising Tina Turner and singing Spice Girls..hello?), but in high school I had a wide variety of straight male friends, I didn’t speak “camp” or have the overly feminine mannerisms that they thought all gay people had.
I certainly didn’t dress “gay” (or remotely fashionable back then) and I wasn’t into hairdressing or dancing or make-up.
I need to stress now that there is nothing wrong with matching the description above AT ALL. All I am saying is that, like everyone else in this world, there are different types of people and gay people do not all match stereotypes produced by media, literature and the many that stem from homophobia.
My parents couldn’t understand this. My mum and dad painted us all with the same brush, and since I wasn’t camp acting, that apparently means that I wasn’t gay.
“Gay people are so affected though! You’re not affected?!”
Yes, that was one of my Mum’s signature catchphrases…and the inspiration for the title of this blog.
I don’t have a clue what it means or where she got it from. So if anyone has heard this before then please let me know!
According to her, it is just a semi-derogatory way of saying that we are usually “so camp/feminine acting.” I just burst into laughter at how ridiculous it is. And I think it shows the extent of narrow-mindedness and attitudes that are still alive in the world today, mostly from older generations such as my mothers (who was born in the 60’s).
Affected sounds all too similar to infected to me. To the point where I think it may have even derived from this word and through Chinese whispers it had just become affected to my mum. It is like being yourself or being camp is some kind of disease, something to be ashamed of.
Despite its derogatory nature, we chose So Affected as our title as a big “up-yours” and a big middle finger to anyone that thinks this way. I say, take these negative attitudes, twist them on their sides and do not take offense to them. Embrace them even. And all the while, continue to prove that we are so NOT affected by any weak attempt to bring us down. We are stronger than that, we are stronger than them.