YOBcast Episode 016: Gay Perceptions, Part 1

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What does it mean to “sound gay” or “look gay”? Is there anything “wrong” with our gay perceptions, should we learn to be comfortable with our gay perceptions, or should we seek to evolve beyond our gay perceptions?

We’re back on track with our bimonthly podcast schedule! In the first of this two-part episode, Tom and Elliott dive into the topic of gay perceptions: our voices, our mannerisms, and how engrained these aspects can be.

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We hope you enjoy the episode below! And don’t forget to comment: do you think you sound or look “gay”? Has anyone ever told you that he/she “knew” after you shared your struggle? Does sounding or looking “gay” bother you, do you seek to change it, or do you simply accept it?

Show notes:

Tom’s posts: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/tom/

Elliott’s posts: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/elliott/

Do I Sound Gay? documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Duv3lYhOy-A

  • Jeff Brady

    Good podcast. I was born back in 1957. My parents got a Kodak movie camera that used 8 mm film in 1959 and so most of my early life is preserved on celluloid. When I watch these old films that my Dad’s brother converted to DVD, I can see all the signs. I was such a gay kid in a day when such things were verboten. The walk, the mannerisms, the desire to be dressed just right are quite obvious. It’s a wonder that I ever became the man that I am today. Both my Dad and my Grandpa tried to help me out. Dad would correct my wardrobe choices. I used to like to button the top button on my button down shirts. Dad told me that was a sissy thing to do. Grandpa used to tell me to man up my walk and quit talking like a girl or I would get the crap beat out of me by the other boys. He also reliably imformed me that I should not wear my grandmother’s bathrobes or clothes. And so I manned up. By the time I was 13, there is no way you would ever think I was SSA. I, to this day, still enjoy the manly arts of fishing and hunting. Chainsaws are my friends. (I’m a lumberjack and I’m Ok. I work all night and I sleep all day…but I digress) I like mowing the lawn and drinking beer (Dad and Grandpa never did that last bit).
    Strangely and despite all that training, I still find that I am gay. When I finally told everyone about it at church and at work, some did not believe me. Others said I had them fooled. Some wanted to know when I decided to do that. So yes, it’s all in the training except that it did not make me straight. And it won’t – really, it won’t. Being a man is not an act or a mannerism. It has nothing to do with one’s attractions. It has to do with how we do life and if we still manage to love despite our self denial.
    I love you guys and not in that restraining order kind of way :0))). Keep up the good work. It was good to hear Ellioitt’s voice again. I miss your YouTube channel dude, but I understand. Thanks for sharing what you did with everyone. Later guys.

    • Haha, you are the first one on this site who is old enough to get the lumberjack joke. I actually work on the night shift so I made a comment about a year ago “Unlike the lumberjack, I work all night and I sleep all day”. Everyone was too old to get the joke.

      Here is the Monty Python skit you referred to:

      • Jeff Brady

        Marshall, I guess I thought it was cross generational. Thanks for posting the video.
        I will be 60 in September. Yes, I’m ancient. One of my favorite flicks is Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

        • mistaken identity

          Great film! “Alright, we’ll call it a draw.”

          • Jeff Brady

            “Answer me these questions 3 if ere the other side you’d see”

          • mistaken identity

            My favorite scene! Absolutely hilarious. I was literally on the floor of the theater laughing, snorting, and heaven knows what else.

        • Charlie

          It is cross-generational, but only to the extent that younger people can appreciate art. I watched every episode of the flying circus in my early 20’s, which came about 30 years after yours.

          • Jeff Brady

            I don’t know if it’s art, but I think it’s funny

      • No idea what any of y’all are talking about.

    • mike

      Ah yeah, my home province British Columbia called the land of the fruits and nuts! Yes very accurate. Many lumberjacks so macho but queer to fool all the proper people who think that’s what real men are. Not!

  • Tom, thanks for the compliment on my voice! Hmm…”deep and soothing”…maybe my naturally low pitched voice is part of the reason I am not usually perceived as gay. People too often just look on the surface.

    I do not believe it should be a high priority for us to change our speech and mannerisms to appear less gay. I admit that straight-acting does help avoid a lot of bullying and rejection, but it is not sinful to unknowingly act or speak in a stereotypical gay way.

    • Best voice in the biz! Why aren’t you hosting this show again??

    • Brian

      I agree, people too often do look on the surface. This gay perception of voice and mannerisms aren’t as black and white as it appears to be. The guy who is athletic, masculine, macho, and speaks with a deep voice can be just as gay as a guy who is effeminate and has a high-pitch voice. No matter what the mannerisms and voices are, what matters is what is the “desire” within the heart? Is that heart attracted to the opposite sex or the same-sex? This is the kind of stereotype that has been played out in the films and TV for many, many years and it’s not as black and white as it is thought to be. You can have a guy who appears effeminate, loves the theatre, and has a not-so low pitched voice and is straight and has no desire for the same-sex and you can have a guy who loves sports, has a low voice, and has masculine mannerisms and he loves guys and has absolutely NO desire for the opposite sex and like what Mike said in a response, you’d never know they had SSA.

  • mike

    Great topic and podcast. What is interesting to me is the reason behind the mannerisms and voice? If it’s flight from masculinity caused by some internalized trauma of childhood then it makes sense to me to want to discard those and move on.
    Such was the case with me. It was an emotional dependency on my mother and hatred for my father that played a large part in the development of effeminate traits. As I became more comfortable in my male gender and masculinity those traits were easy to shed. With renewed confidence I could speak more boldly, sit more secure as a man, and walk with pride comfortable in my masculinity.

    • I find it fascinating that these traits manifest for a wide variety of reasons. For some the voice, for others the mannerisms, for others none of these.

      • mike

        Agree: “a wide variety of reasons”. Hopefully, you’ll explore further…
        I think it’s because there exist homosexualities instead of a single gender gay. Maybe that’s why the nature/nurture spectrum. If you go to a gay bar you will see this diversity. Some macho athletic like-gays (quite ungay), some very effeminate (quite gay), and some so disgendered that they while not trans they like becoming the other gender — the drag queens who feel most comfortable being completely feminine to deal with the pain of their traits. Why the variety?
        I like talking to people a lot and speaking to many of them there do exist two distinct populations with of course overlap. Those, who see themselves born that way, from normal homes, no trauma, but always feeling attracted to guys. Then there those who are macho in every respect, you’d never guess they had SSAs because their voice/mannerisms are so masculine, and yet there they are in the gay bar! Talking to many of the latter I have found most had some sort of sexual trauma around the time of puberty: either early porn, but mostly sexual abuse from an older sibling/relative/older friend, and often in the setting of a passive father thus having an empty love tank. These often are labelled “bi” by the gay community, but their sexual pursuits/fantasies are mostly exclusively homosexual.
        So, different homosexualities or “bent heterosexuals” (to use Charlie’s good descriptor) depending on so many genetic/nurture variables. Broken genes, broken childhoods, and bad choices — the effects of sin on humankind :(.

  • Ashley Lavergne

    So, admittedly I haven’t listened to the last couple of podcasts, but this one was great. I’ve been meaning to watch “Do I Sound Gay?” but hadn’t gotten around to it yet, so now I really want to watch it.
    And it’s such an interesting topic too. And I think about how I don’t think that ssa women are spotted the same way. Like I don’t think there is a particular voice connected to it or hand gestures or anything like that. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s been more of our fashion choices and/or hobbies/interests. Like, I related to what you guys were talking about and being self conscious about certain things, but with different things altogether. Like, growing up I knew what gay was, but I never knew that there were things perceived as gay things except maybe drag. Being that I grew up quite isolated I never knew that people would see things that way. I was very surprised a few years ago to hear ssa guys say that people called them out for seeming gay at a very young age before their attractions even manifested. Anyway, also part of being isolated the only queer representation you saw much on TV in 90s to 2000s was mostly men. I thought the only thing people would ever attribute my love for ties and button down shirts would be to my love of rock music. (yes, I had a lot of emo/punk friends). It wasn’t til I moved out that I began to realize that certain things I did or ways I was or things I wore were things that some people perceive as gay. Being a tomboy down south isn’t very out of place so it’s not something people call you out on at a young age, just when it persists I guess; and even then I was just the not girly one. And I was always self conscious about it. And it’s something I’m recently in the past couple years just letting it be. I dress the way I dress, not because of my attractions, but because they are the clothes I like. I guess you could say the things I wore because of my attractions were the things that I thought wouldn’t be perceived that way.

  • Fred

    I haven’t gotten a chance to listen quite yet, but I find this topic really interesting admittedly because this is one area I don’t particularly find to be present in me. Every single SSA guy I know in real life and that I listen too online somewhat take on the “gay” stereotype, whether through the voice or body language. For myself, on the other hand, some people kind of joke about me being gay because I’m more emotionally in touch slightly, but never do they actually think I struggle with it! When I told the people I did, every single one was shocked! Some even didn’t believe me, thinking it was a prank, saying, “But you don’t act gay”. While I definitely think this is a blessing, it can sometimes be hard when some people don’t take my struggle seriously. Since I act like a stereotypical “straight” guy for the most part and since I have mostly straight male friends they don’t think that I have it that bad, when the complete truth is, I struggle with it really bad.

    This is why most importantly I say this: the level to which someone “acts” like a “gay” person in NO WAY matches how they actually feel. Some straight guys are just more effeminate. Some SSA guys are more masculine.

    Most importantly, we should never judge others by their personality. That being said, we are called to live apart from the world, so I highly encourage SSA guys to disassociate from the LGBTQ lifestyle as much as possible. No SSA guy should ever go out of his way to act or talk in a way that makes that obvious.

  • Most people are shocked when I tell them I am gay. Here in West Texas it is frowned upon to be gay. I adapted so that I don’t present myself as gay. I did a lot of overcompensating, to present myself as being ‘manly’. Many of the things that I can do, do not come naturally as I had to learn from YouTube videos.

  • Brian

    There are times I do get self-conscious with my mannerisms and voice but other times I just don’t care because if someone wants to believe that I’m gay, then so be it. I know that I struggle with same-sex attraction and often give into gay porn (which I want to stop looking at–it’s been about 16 years that I’ve been looking at this stuff) BUT I don’t identify myself as gay–I can’t! But I don’t see myself as this straight, masculine guy either. My interests are far away from being the typical masculine guys for sports are not really my thing. I hate watching sports but I’ll play basketball, tennis, or volleyball but other then that I’m mostly into the arts such as reading and writing stories and poetry, the theatre, films, I love watching period drama and one of my favorite things is looking at the fashion men and women wore in those days. Would I give up any of this just to give into what the world perceives as “masculine hobbies”? No, because this is who I am, these are my hobbies/interests and to give up any of this is giving up the essence of who I am. I can’t make myself love sports or hunting. It’s not me.

    • Growing up is taking the Serenity Prayer to heart: accepting the things you cannot change and taking courage to change the things you can. While gaining the wisdom to know the difference. I’m still discerning the difference myself when it comes to my passions and pursuits.

  • usnstang

    You both sound “gay” and that is perfectly okay. Love just who you are. It has no bearing on what you do, the choices you make and how you decide to live your life based on your spiritual beliefs. Don’t try to be something you are not, because that lack of authenticity is “worse” than just living with integrity in the body you live in. Your fear, learned or innate, of the “other” is something that I find incredibly confusing. I think it must hearken back to the people and groups you were raised in and grew up with. You are at your best when you are relaxed, at peace and having a truly good time and it comes through in your words and voices. Keep doing that. 🙂

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    Out of topics covered in this part of gay perceptions, my voice gave me the most trouble growing up. I hit that period in middle/high school where I just didn’t like the sound of my voice, and then moved and people mad fun of the way I spoke. So, I became a “stoic stump” in many areas of life, except for with my closer friends… who were almost all girls. I had started to get more comfortable with my voice, and then a guy commented on it in college. Plus the dreaded speech class that you have to take. But I as I got involved in campus ministry and a few other groups on campus, it was necessary for me to speak / share thoughts more.. so I had to adjust to my voice. And post college as this topic has come up with friends, I’ve had most of them say… “Really? I would have never thought anything based on your voice.” Still learning how to hear my voice well.
    Loved this podcast. Looking forward to part 2!!

  • Alan Gingery

    This was an interesting podcast. It hurt a bit. Some painful memories.

    Ha ha! I was one who held his books the way girls do, until someone told me that I was doing it. I switched.

    I can’t remember anyone saying anything about my voice mannerisms. I did walk funny, but not particularly in a girlish manner…one of my feet turns out a lot (probably an injury accounts for that) so my gait is sort of duck-footed when I walk. I have worked on correcting that as an adult. It did affect my ability to run and I was never fast. That was a source of shame for me. Always the last one in any race.

    Now, I can’t exactly say what was my dead give away for not being “masculine enough”, but I was bullied starting in junior high school and called a fag and a fairy or a queer. (Yeah I am too old…gay wasn’t really the popular term back then.) I know I was a non-athlete with zero athletic ability and so in gym class, the athletic guys who were not-so-nice used to laugh at me and call me those names mentioned above. Nice guys didn’t bully me, but many guys did. It was a shaming thing.

    The hardest thing of all was when my own dad called me a pimp. It was his way of saying that I was too feminine. Some pimps used to dress in outlandish clothes (not dissimilar to effeminate gays). So his meaning was clear to me. I didn’t dress weird…he was just commenting that something in my mannerism or lack of masculinity (non-athleticism maybe) embarrassed him about me. That cut me to the core. It is a core memory that I will never lose.

    I tried to put on this macho front for a while…probably the voice things and trying to stand or sit differently and walk with a swagger, but in the end, it wasn’t genuine. It was not me. It didn’t work. I was not being true to me. I gave up trying to act differently (more typically male) in order not to be bullied by the jerks. I just tried to avoid them and stick with the people who cared for me and accepted me as I was.

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