Wednesday, 20 July 2011

a gay accent?

The current issue of the online Economist has a piece entitled “Gay pitch, vowels… and lisp?”. (Thanks, Jo-Anne Ferreira, for the alert.) It seems to be based wholly on this piece in Dialectblog, which in turn reports on a recent journal article (Podesva, Robert J (2011). The California Vowel Shift and Gay Identity. American Speech, 86.1, 32-49.).

The question is, is there such a thing as a “gay accent”? Quite rightly, the author begins with a disclaimer.
…before going further, let me state that I believe gay men speak with as wide an array of voices as heterosexual men. I don’t give credence to the idea of a universal “gay voice.”

I would add from my own experience that not only do most gay men not speak in a way that indicates their sexual orientation, but that some men who do “sound gay” are — as far as one can tell — heterosexual. (We could perhaps agree that a good example of this would be the BBC television performer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.)

Neither article mentions women’s voices. There is the equal question, whether there exists a recognizable “lesbian accent”. If there is, then similar reservations would apply.

It appears that Podesva’s article is based on the speech of a single gay man living in San Francisco. It turns out that the whole Spring 2011 issue of American Speech is devoted to “Sociophonetics and Sexuality”. So one would hope that it contains further relevant research based on the speech of more than one single individual. Unfortunately the UCL Library has discontinued its subscription to the journal, so I have not yet read this issue.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. As Podesva’s informant’s speech shifts from the formal to the informal end of the formality scale, it is claimed that his accent becomes more “Californian”. This is supposed to involve a number of related vowel changes. Chatting with friends, the subject
exhibits three markers of California English in this latter situation: the word “bad” is pronounced with a vowel closer to the vowel in “bod,” and the vowels in “boot” and “boat” are both pronounced fronter.

An opener TRAP vowel? Fronted GOOSE and GOAT? Does that remind you of anything? Yes, these are characteristic features of British English as compared to American.

Thirty years ago, in Accents of English (CUP 1982, p. 21-22), I wrote
…it is of interest to ask what speech characteristics are perceived as effeminate or mannish, respectively. I suspect that many of them are prosodic matters — intonation, pitch range, rhythm, tempo. […] Many gay men can certainly switch ‘camp’ voice quality and vocal mannerisms on and off at will.

— to which I would now add “and so can many people who are not gay”.

After further discussion, I continued
…it may frequently happen that a pronunciation which would be entirely usual in one locality may sound effeminate in another. This appears to be the case, for example, with the use of a voiceless intervocalic [t] in words such as better, party — normal in England, but in America widely perceived as unmasculine. The same applies, I suspect, to the use of [ɑː] in BATH words.

To which we evidently may be able to add the qualities of TRAP, GOOSE, and GOAT.

If Americans perceive a British accent as sounding gay, do we Brits perceive an American accent as sounding butch?

On the other hand, what about a northern Ireland accent? Voiced intervocalic /t/, back GOAT, harsh voice quality (all = butch), but even opener (and backer) TRAP and even fronter GOOSE (= camp). How confusing.

I think there’s a lot more to it than this.

46 comments:

  1. The composer of the joke I heard recently seemed to think there were such things as gay phonetic stereotypes:

    An impersonation of a gay snake - θθθθθθθθ

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've heard plenty of times a distinctive lisping in some gay men who are native English or Spanish speakers. What about that? I've never heard that lisping in heterosexual men.

    ReplyDelete
  3. They're born with it, just as the sons of peers, without exception, are born with the aristocratic lisp.

    But more seriously, I wonder how much camp accents are in imitation of smart or genteel accents and uses of language, and howe that is connected to the idea that in case of doubt, women tend to speak one class up, compared to their males.

    (Great illustration, by the way.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds like a perfect topic for language attitudes research. It shouldn't be too difficult to have people listen to samples of different types of speech and then rate them on scales designed to measure 'manliness' or 'effeminacy'. After the first rough outline of the perception of whole accents, further studies could manipulate recordings to home in on those phonetic features which make up such stereotypes.

    Or to come at it from another direction, you could investigate what people do when they imitate a gay voice, not just how gay people speak. That way you get straight into the matter of stereotypes and perceptions and not get bogged down in how gay men actually speak, which is often no different from the rest of the population, so it seems.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hang on - surely what we're talking about here is a camp accent, rather than a gay accent.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Paul Carley - Erez Levon's research does exactly this kind of thing (QMUL). Really good stuff.

    I can't say that I'm surprised, though, that the same feature might index different kinds of social meanings dependent on the locale. Why those particular features acquire that social meaning is perhaps more difficult to pin down.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Are TH-fronters more inclined to perceive non TH-fronters as effeminate? As TH-fronting spreads, could the perception of voiceless dental fricatives merge with the perception of dental /s/?

    Voiceless intervocalic /t/ may be perceived as effeminate in the states, but isn't it also perceived as more 'correct'? It certainly agrees with the orthography.

    I mention this because I once worked with some American EFL teachers and they attempted to avoid tapping their /t/ for the sake of 'correct' pronunciation. I remember (how could I ever forget?) observing one teacher (from Montana, if that could be relevant) doing a bit of direct method teaching and asking 'what part of my botty is this?' before laughing and correcting himself. Another American teacher (from New York state, I think) confused me by saying 'letter' with such aspiration and awkwardness as make me understand 'lecher'.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am the same Ed that comments on Dialect Blog, for the record.

    It seems that female speech habits in men might suggest homosexuality. Some people on Dialect Blog said that gay men are more likely to speak conservative variants of RP. I think this idea might come from Noel Coward.

    I recall that the BBC Voices survey of a few years ago found that women are more likely to adopt American words and phrases (don't think American pronunciations came up). It seems unlikely that British women would adopt "butch" speech.

    My final point: I have noticed that the gay journalist Johann Hari (recently in trouble) uses [a] in BATH sometimes, even though his London-->private-school-->Cambridge-Uni background would suggest that he would always use [ɑː] (which he does half the time). This is probably more to do with Hari's left-wing politics than his sexuality or his upbringing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I once bought that mouthspray because I saw it in a joke shop and thought it would be funny. Needless to say, it hasn't a hope of working.

    Now, as a gay man on the "lookout", as it were, I've noticed that many gay men can be spotted instantly, and it's a combination of the voice and the mannerisms that do it, as you say – but as you also say, not all gay men are like this and not all men like this are gay. Furthermore, I hesitate to say that I'm unattracted to this sort of man because I'm aware that in some gay communities there is a lot of hatred and bile directed at the other side in the masc/fem "debate", but then it's true that I'm usually on the lookout for the ones that aren't easily spottable in this way.

    But as I say this, I would point out that I don't know how to quantify what I'd be spotting if I heard one of these "gay accents". I think the most obvious example I heard recently was a guy (originally from Edinburgh like myself but who'd lived all over) with a Floridian accent, and a less obvious example was a guy with a fairly ordinary Edinburgh accent but with a little hint of Americanisation, so it may be fair to say that it might be the hint of Americanisation that does it. In the first case, it was accompanied by obvious camp mannerisms too. At the same time, I've heard plenty of "gay accents" in Yorkshire – but they were still definitely Yorkshire accents, not really any closer to RP or an American accent. Again, not sure how to quantify the difference between a camp Yorkshire accent and a gruff manly Yorkshire accent without invoking the accompanying mannerisms or something, and I'm not sure if it would be the same difference as that between a camp Edinburgh accent and a manly Edinburgh accent, for example...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dude, there is a gay accent (as defined within the subset of en-CA/en-US accents), and if we’re talking about coverage of research into gay speech in the Economist, I wrote about it there 16 years ago (“Boy George, I think he’s got it,” July 15, 1995).

    ReplyDelete
  11. @ clr: I have heard that lisping only in parodies. Can you confirm that the guys you mention were really gay?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Surely whether the people in question are actually gay is irrelevant: what matters is whether they'd generally be perceived as camp.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ben here, from Dialect Blog. So much to discuss, so little space!

    I might urge a bit of caution in seeking indices of "gayness" in individual features outside of the accents where they are found: We Americans can be notoriously inconsistent in how we treat British vs. American shibboleths (e.g. American vs. British non-rhoticity).

    However, I regretfully failed to mention a qualm I have with Podesva's study in my original post. Namely, he seems to ignore the question of whether STRAIGHT men from California might also exhibit more advanced Californian features in similar contexts. To put that into more specific terms, the situations he uses (a conversation with a boss, a private dinner with a friend, and a night out drinking) suggest degrees of informality, not gayness. Therefore, the only (partial) conclusion I can REALLY draw from the article is that a Californian might expect to be more Californian in informal settings.

    As I mentioned in my post, however, my personal impressions suggest that a small subset of the gay male population (in NYC at least) indeed do exhibit some features of the California vowel shift despite not being native Californians. Curiously, Podesva's article seeks an explanation in pop culture, where I might look at the possibility of more garden-variety dialect diffusion (California has, by a large margin, the largest gay population of any state).

    Although as you suggest quite rightly, John, you would need a more wide-ranging study to make a strong correlation between these features and the speech of gay men specifically.

    BTW, regarding the study of lesbians, there is a very interesting article by Erez Levon in the same issue of American speech about use of elevated pitch levels by both "mainstream" and "radical" lesbians. Alas, I've found no studies that offer a similar analysis of vowels among gay women. I'd love to read more!

    ReplyDelete
  14. When English people speak Italian they do tend to sound slightly effeminate and I put it down to the frequent use of the fall-rise tone which they transfer from their language.
    I would say in Italian we would use a “rise flattening at the end” tone, in the same situations when in English a fall-rise would be used.
    I think that Americans sound less effeminate than the British because typically they would use a high head before a fall-rise, which makes the phrase sound less dramatized.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Antonio, interesting observation. (As are perceptions of intonations in general, where they happen to resemble non-neutral attitudes in another language or accent.)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I did notice than Dan Savage, inventor of the "It gets better" campaign has more of an a [a] for /æ/ even though he's from Chicago (which usually has [eə] or [ɛə] for /æ/).

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have noticed that Americans doing parodies of camp accents use the lisp, while British people doing the same thing with the same sound emphasize an exaggerated sibilant ( never a lisp ) .

    Tony Blair and Rowan Williams , both heterosexual, have the exaggerated 's' that would signify a "gay" accent in the UK.

    I wonder if the lisp in the US and the 's' in the UK are each based on old stereotypes influenced by particular celebrities ( say Liberace in America or Larry Grayson in Britain )

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Ed:

    I've ended up using something like [a] in BATH words (when not followed by a voiced sound) as some sort of compromise between my native RP [ɑː] and the higher vowels I am surrounded by in the US.

    For the record, I'm not gay, and I'm not aware that this is perceived as gay.

    ReplyDelete
  19. And while Ben and my colleague from the Economist are piling in, I just thought I (the Economist blogger) would mention, lest you skip my article, that mine wasn't mainly about Ben's California Vowels or the American Speech article, which I cited briefly. I focused on misperception of fronted-s as [θ] by the many observers who don't have things like "fronted" in their vocabulary, and so hear the next-closest thing. I know what a lisp is (my son has one), and fronted, sibilant, or "camp" [s] ain't it. I call it the "fabulous s", for what it's worth...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Johann Hari was born in Glasgow to a Scottish mother, although he was raised in London. It seems conceivable that his BATH set might be in variation due to factors other than his politics.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @ vp: No, I wasn't implying that it's seen as it's gay. It's definitely not. I was just using it as an example of how [ɑː] in BATH is not always used by a prominent gay journalist, as a link with the paragraph introduced "After further discussion, I continued".

    @ Marina Tyndall: You're probably right actually. I've listened to some videos just now, and he uses [ɑː] most of the time so it can't be a conscious decision. It's probably just an odd slip into his mother's speech. He definitely doesn't sound Glaswegian though!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh... my... god, no yo'll di'int! Momma needs to give you gals a good talkin' to.

    Obviously a "gay" accent isn't concrete but only constitutes a randomly arrived-at cultural perception. Obviously too, not all gays have lisps so we should try to tone down on the bigotry, okay?

    However, being gay myself, I know that sexuality's so much more than just straight versus gay. A "sexuality" is to me an entire package of traits that we may find sexy in our objects of interest.

    Some of the traits we desire might be part of a genetic-based instinct while others are a by-product of our life experiences. So I believe sexuality in its proper definition can only be both nature and nurture.

    However, a "sexual identity" is a package of traits that we are most comfortable giving ourselves. A gender self-image.

    Since there are some open gender differences in speech in the population as a whole between biological men and women, it stands to reason that after taking into account the full range of human sexual identity, some males will prefer to speak in a more "feminine" way (whatever culture dictates that behaviour entails) and some females will prefer to speak in a more "masculine" way (again whatever culture calls "masculine"). All according to their **sexual identity**, not sexuality.

    So calling it a "gay accent" is a teensy bit naive. Maybe we should speak of a "female-self-identified accent" but then maybe that's too many syllables for the sexually ignorant and frustrated.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Very interesting. I think this topic has the potential to cause upset in non-linguists in the same way that alleging an "African American accent" can trouble some people. It's a thorny subject and I'm glad for all the disclaimers.

    While abjuring the concept of a gay accent, as a gay man myself I have to admit that sometimes you can reasonably suppose another man is gay from their voice, but to my mind it isn't routinely phonetic qualities but prosodic features. As purely anecdotal observations, wider intonation patterns (pitch-wise) and perhaps a more emphatic word stress coupled with vowel lengthening come to mind. Here in Australia the typical butch male Caucasian accent is quite flat in pitch - even if the characteristic Aussie high rising tune is involved - but the "camp" male speakers I know invariably use a much wider pitch range on the same intonation patterns than the butch blokes.

    Personally, I don't think of myself as having an identifiably "gay voice" but some people respond to the fact that I have the voice of a trained actor and voice coach, as well as a certain North Shore Sydney quality, hence "well-spoken", as a potential indicator. I'm intrigued that some people have mentioned features thought of as effeminate or less masculine in American speakers as being RP features. In light of the fact that sadly for the masses an assumption of sexuality based on vocal qualities would carry an inevitable value judgement, perhaps it is a case of perceived difference in attitude/education/class/affectation?

    Incidentally, I seem to recall being informed by a Malaysian man that qualities we in the West associate with effeminacy and weakness in men such as lightness of movement, animated gesticulation, and I believe a sibilant /s/ and being softly spoken were considered strong masculine characteristics in his culture. Again anecdotal.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I hasten to add re. my first paragraph that I take no offense and love tackling the taboos. I was part of an enormously and needlessly heated (as per usual) discussion on a wiki page about whether or not AAVE really existed. Needless to say none of the people posting were linguists.

    And Glen you make an excellent point about sexuality vs gender identity, however I'm not sure any of the gay men I know who exhibit some of the features being talked about would agree that they are "female-self-identified" whatsoever.

    As a side note I have a speech sample of a Californian transgender female where she explicitly states that she has a male Californian accent. This discussion has spurred me to go back and listen again!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Uh, Glen I think you're actually managing to mix up sexuality and gender here. Being gay is quite resolutely not the same as self-identifying as female, and similarly, being camp or effeminate perhaps implies that you don't buy into the stereotypes of masculinity but not that you self-identify as female – that is to say, consider yourself a woman. Huge chasm of a difference.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Gay people in California round their COT /CAUGHT vowel:
    ''dollar'' , '''collar/caller'', 'tall doll'', ''long song in Hong Kong'', ''mom''
    with a rounded O. They pronounce the gOAt diphthong in a British way and make the cOOl vowel very front and diphthongized.
    Straight men are not supposed to sound like Valley girls.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Nick Curnow and Reuoq,

    I figured some trolls would prey on commenters like this to get their lonely rocks off. Predictable.

    My above points were pretty clear though:
    A) I'm a proud gay male.
    B) I urge everyone to separate sexuality from sexual identity.
    C) "Gay speech" is a sexually ignorant term just as "black speech" is a fundamentally racist term.

    So ignoring you two trolls (bubbye), I'll further elaborate that "sexual identity" is NOT synonymous with transsexuality. There are also gay transsexuals and straight transsexuals in case people are still having a hard time with separating concepts here. Hell, there are even "butch-acting" m2f transsexuals and "feminine" m2f transsexuals, for example.

    There's a huge rainbow here, people. Stop being daft.

    There are SOME gay men, for example, that self-identify WITH women (not AS women) simply because we homosexuals recognize similar struggles toward acceptance and equal rights by women before us. This leads to a common view in the GLBT community that behaving in a feminine manner as a man or being openly butch as a woman is a badge of HONOUR and signals pride in self and one's sexuality. Outside the stuffy heteronormal world, this is a desired trait for obvious reasons.

    Andaman: "Straight men are not supposed to sound like Valley girls."

    Ah but this is precisely what I'm saying. Many gay men may interpret a man sounding like a woman and owning their feminine side as a symbol of pride. It can be disarming to meet another comrade who's openly gay.

    To an ignorant heterosexual male however, I imagine that it looks "hateful" and "gross" because they haven't been properly educated about life yet. Worse yet, they may label it "gay speech". Ick.

    Immaturity and ignorance abound where sex, sexuality and sexual identity are concerned. But poor Alan Turing knew the most about that. Apparently it was illegal to be gay once in certain countries...

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is all just about words. "Gay accent" is used by as an unfortunate term for what might be called camp or poncey (which isn't entirely neutral). I don't see a single commenter above claim all gay men speak like that, or only gay men, for that matter.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks, Glen, for immediately dismissing me as a "troll", "ignorant" and/or "heterosexual". Next time can you actually try reading what I've written? You used the wrong word, plain and simple. You're absolutely right that we maybe shouldn't be calling it a "gay accent", we should be calling it a "camp accent" or "effeminate accent" – but being feminine is just not the same as *self-identifying as female*, a phrase more usually associated with transexuals by virtue of them being the ones who cross from one gender to the other and for whom this might have to be made explicit. The odd thing is that you seem to understand this because you have a fairly well-informed world view as concerns the various different kinds of people that fall under the broad umbrella of LGBT. And yeah, I do get what you mean by self-identifying *with* women rather than *as* women.

    Actually, I'm not even sure, because your post seems to be directed at someone else, and I'm not even sure that anyone in the thread has espoused any of the theories that you're railing against here...

    ReplyDelete
  30. Reuoq, your attacks and misreadings are desperate. Obvious anonymous troll obvious. Your name leads to a videogame site so perhaps you should play those and not me, child.

    Lipman, yes but, if "gay speech" is not in itself a prejudiced term, it's still an uneducated misnomer that a scholar shouldn't be using cavalierly and glibly if they care about what they say and publish. Do you not agree?

    If you do, we should search out more accurate terms so that we can be clear on its fundamental nature. "Gay speech" has little at all to do with "gay", period. What do you recommend? I'll admit that my suggestions are insufficient.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Here's another suggestion I offer. Could it be that really what people are trying to say when they say something stupid like "gay speech" is merely "feminized speech"? Will that do?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hey Glen, can you please look up the word "troll" and stop flinging insults? So bloody what if I play videogames?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Reuoq, right... not convincing at all, troll. It's probably the combination of strawman attack, obsessive videogame interest yet lack of overt linguistic interest, and your constant goading me that makes you an obvious troll.

    Why continue on? Find another commenter to harass. Not bored yet, child? Tsk tsk.

    ReplyDelete
  34. To John Wells: Can you not please be more sensitive to this hot-button topic and recognize that there are idiots like reuoq who delight in perverse online gay-bashing by ironically pretending to be gay to incite disagreements through ludicrous strawman attacks like these? Surely not everyone here is that ignorant of how the internet sadly works.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Glen,

    Lipman, yes but, if "gay speech" is not in itself a prejudiced term, it's still an uneducated misnomer that a scholar shouldn't be using cavalierly and glibly if they care about what they say and publish. Do you not agree?

    Yes, I don't think I said anything to the contrary. For reasons of scholarly clarity alone, this makes sense. I haven't a good term at hand other than what I mentioned above, but "feminized" certainly doesn't look too lucky to me.

    I don't understand your reaction to Reuoq.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Lipman,

    It's difficult to have a meaningful debate here because, in hindsight, I see we've got too many unrelated things slapped up on the table:

    - lisping (unrelated to gays)
    - "gay speech" (including lisping? some hicks may think so)
    - gender (what about hermaphrodites? XO? XXY?)
    - sexuality ("gay" includes lesbians... but details, details)
    - sexual identity (not just about tranny operations)
    - traditional roles (religion sucks)
    - ignorant perceptions of gays (ie. gay male = woman trapped in man's body)
    - gays' perceptions of themselves (ie. gay males may identify WITH women and be inspired by them)
    - gender-bending (to embrace sexual "otherness")
    - Californian and British accents (wtf???)
    - American anti-intellectualism/racism/homophobia (ie. education, evolution, global warming, British, California = all über gay to extremists)

    A sloppy mess.

    So I can't tell whether people are confusing "lisping" with "gay speech", what "gay speech" means to them, whether "gay speech" is just in reference to one's bigotted friends who put on "gay airs" to deride real gays, whether people are misusing "gay" to mean "gay male", whether "gay speech" is "speech styles among gays (including or maybe not including lesbians??)", etc.

    Lipman: "I don't understand your reaction to Reuoq."

    Already stated: patronizing strawman attacks. He's determined to bicker with me that "being feminine is just not the same as *self-identifying as female*" and I have no time for this nonsense. He can look up the definition of sexual identity in his own time. Even so, where's reuoq going with this pedantic quibble exactly?

    Meanwhile, Reuoq's involvement has been superficial here and as far as I'm concerned, one has to earn a few linguistic brownie points showing one's genuine interest in this blog before engaging in a fight with other commenters about their own sexuality and life experience on the matter. I've been blogging since 2007 myself so I've experienced all the typical troll games that sad nuts like to play. It's always the same: exploit some logical fallacy and run it into the ground.

    ReplyDelete
  37. OK. (With the rather technical reserves that I can't decide if Reuoq was trolling, having the sole intention to initiate a flame war, and that many of the issues you list are somehow connected.)

    ReplyDelete
  38. "[...] and that many of the issues you list are somehow connected."

    It would be more constructive if, rather than voicing your indecisiveness for nothing, to be more clear on how you disagree and what exactly you disagree on.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I think that Nickolas Grace mastered the 'accent' to perfection: this is a good example. At one point in the series he says ˈpɪktjʊə several times for picture. He also teaches text interpretation or something to that effect at Central, I believe.

    Edit: Here it is — Liberating the Text.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Glen,

    yes, I might do that if I had the energy. I think your aggression is uncalled for.

    Concerning the troll question, I don't see that I have enough informaiton to decide whether he is one, and in dubio pro reo. I take it being called a troll and an idiot qualifies for him being in the position of the accused.

    ReplyDelete
  41. You yourself chose to apply a subjective "aggressive" label to me instead of talking about the topic at hand so your strategy failed, especially when one has the right to seriously wonder what involvement in linguistics your profile indicates (quite a disjointed, meaningless mess) and why you have such an exaggerated concern for reuoq's "honour".

    So I'm proudly aggressive to trolls and anyone who questions why that is is also exposing themselves as a troll. Nobody can seriously be that daft about what goes on on apparently completely unmoderated comment boxes like this and using someone's sexuality against them as above is so overplayed on the net. Grow up.

    So I'm ending this discussion, Lipman. Don't you or anyone else drag me back into this nonsense if you wish to keep claiming any respect for me or other commenters at all. Thank you. Peace out.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I noticed a very specific lisp in gay men when I was in Winnipeg, only young men though. I thought it was curious.

    I also thought this could not be studied with only phonetics but by social-linguistics (as obvious as it seems nobody has mentioned that).

    Actually, in this case I would think of phonetics as a tool for social sciences.

    Linguists by themselves would not be objective enough, well... may be a few of them but they are not supposed to have that degree of objectivity in other fields.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "I noticed a very specific lisp in gay men when I was in Winnipeg, only young men though. I thought it was curious."

    Troll.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Sorry, I don't want to prolong a topic which has moved severely away from the friendly discussion I originally commented on and had a keen interest in, but I do also have to voice my displeasure at being a labelled a troll when I posted out of genuine interest in furthering the discussion.
    This is a controversial topic, and I think most people on here have gone out of their way to be sensitive to others' points of view. Speaking for myself I took most of the afternoon constructing my original post to make sure I avoided any over-generalisation or misunderstanding.
    I will sign off with three words: Pot. Kettle. Black.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Nick Curnow, any friends of yours who use lisping as a lame, "campy" attack on other people's sexuality as a form of dishonest humour aren't anyone's concern but yours. If insensitive attitudes towards sexuality and your blog of conceit are somehow an attempt at self-promotion, your failure is guaranteed.

    I honestly thought that the association of lisping with gay males died a generation or two ago (like in the Benny Hill era) so I wasn't even talking about any of that in the above.

    I *was* however alluding to the broader topic concerning the sociology, psychology and biology of so-called "gender differences" in general human behaviour, both conscious and subconscious, both genetic and environmental, both driven by the self and society. From this higher perspective, "gay accent", "gay speech", "camp" and all these other sophomoric terms have no realistic meaning and are merely societally invented constructs. And it even depends on whether you're speaking of the perceptions on sexuality of British society, Canadian society or even global society.

    I still await an educated discussion on this but if nuts continue with deliberately dense strawman attacks and cheap high-school jabs at me, well then, that only shames yourselves and John Wells for condoning it.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Assuming honest discussion from here on in (crossing fingers), let's talk:

    Nick Curnow: "And Glen you make an excellent point about sexuality vs gender identity, however I'm not sure any of the gay men I know who exhibit some of the features being talked about would agree that they are "female-self-identified" whatsoever."

    Evidently, you tell us nothing informative about your social circle, nor can it be relevant what your second-hand experiences of the gay male are anyway. If you don't live it, clam it and listen.

    Afterall, if we take your word that you *do* know gay men, then: Are they using "camp" to attack other members of the GLBT community (ie. internalized homophobia)? Are they in denial about people's general perceptions of their behaviours? Are you familiar enough with these alleged people that they would be upfront about their very personal sexual identity? Etc, etc, etc.

    So forgive me if I interpreted your quite uninformative statement as a deliberate form of distraction from the topic as reuoq simultaneously humped my leg.

    ReplyDelete