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The Unapologetic Pansy

Man the fuck up!

How many times have you heard those words said out loud to you? Grow a pair of balls! Be a man, for crying out loud!  Must you be such a Pansy?

I remember a video on YouTube, showing the amazing Irish drag queen Panti Bliss talking at the end of a show in the Abbey Theatre, about oppression and she said the following,

Have you ever been standing at a pedestrian crossing when a car drives by and in it are a bunch of lads, and they lean out the window and they shout “Fag!” and throw a milk carton at you?

Now it doesn’t really hurt. It’s just a wet carton and anyway they’re right – I am a fag. But it feels oppressive.

When it really does hurt, is afterwards. Afterwards I wonder and worry and obsess over what  is it about me, what was it they saw in me? What was it that gave me away? And I hate myself for wondering that. It feels oppressive and the next time I’m at a pedestrian crossing I check myself to see what is it about me that “gives the gay away” and I check myself to make sure I’m not doing it this time.”

That video has stuck by me and I recommend everybody see it. And I have a question for you in the spirit of Panti’s speech. Have you ever logged onto Grindr and seen someone who really takes your fancy and when you read their profile it says something like “Please be masculine”? If I wanted to date a woman, I wouldn’t be gay”, and you think to yourself, “Well he’s kinda cute, I can butch it up a bit?”

Or, have you ever walked into a family gathering where uncles and aunts and cousins are all standing around and you mince over to say hello and catch yourself butching-up your walk and suddenly growing two watermelons under your arms, so that you fit-in a bit more and when you open your throat to say hello, a deep baritone voice comes out saying “Sup Bro”?

I’ve been in those situations. And sometimes I’ve even pulled it off. My personal strategy is to become the strong silent type. If I don’t move too much or don’t say too much, there is nothing for anyone to pick up on and I can get away without a confrontation or snide looks and whispered comments.

I’m here to tell you that if you are like me in this regard…stop it! 

We live in a society with a constitution that protects us. Where people have fought for your limp wrist and sashayed prancing.

Did you know that it’s ok if that guy on Grindr doesn’t like you? That he’s just not the one for you?

Did you know that it’s ok if your family don’t approve? Or even like you? Did you know that you can choose a new family? A family that loves and supports you, unconditionally. Did you know that?

It’s time we started living more authentically. If someone has certain perceptions of how you should act when equipped with a penis, that is their cross to bear and not yours, because when you start changing who you are to please other people, then you are living their life, and not yours and the amazing song that lives inside you will never be born.

I have found a way to remind myself that it’s ok to “Gayle” and be “Milly” sometimes. Thank you to Checkers for unwittingly inspiring my metamorphosis, because one of their little pansy plants now stands next to my bed, waiting to sprout and to remind me every time I open my eyes that it’s ok to love each sparkle and each bangle – time to see things from a different angle. Join me? I dare you.

Yours, Truly

The Unapologetic Pansy.

Craig Stadler is a contributing writer for the Anova Health Institute and these are his views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and its affiliates.

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