You’ve heard that accent, that accent existing nowhere in nature, that accent picked up through osmosis by new citizens of a nation you might call Gay-Land.
The Big Gay Accent; it’s the lingua franca of gay men from Santa Monica to Chelsea and everywhere in between. For all we know gay men in downtown Timbuktu speak their native Koyra Chiini with the same lilt of stretched out vowels, odd emphases and that same rise at the of sentences spoken by their gay brothers on the Sunset Strip.
Gay-Land is a place without borders but it seems almost all the citizens speak the same way.
Who started all this? You can be sure it started somewhere. There was a time in America when gay men were as reticent as post-Obergefell Christians to reveal their identity. They certainly wouldn’t have alerted friends, family and employers by using what has become the telltale sign.
Did it start with every Grandma’s favorite gay, Liberace? Check out black and white clips of Liberace and boy even wearing a regular tux way back then he sounded so gay. Maybe it was Truman Capote? Who knows? And then, how did it spread?
Kevin Fallon writes about his Big Gay Accent at the Daily Beast. Apparently like many gays with that accent, he says it gives him self-loathing
A new documentary called “Do I Sound Gay?” takes a look at the phenomenon of gay men trying to sound less gay. It seems they are taking voice lessons like actors from Texas trying to sound British.
David Thorpe, the director and star of “Do I Sound Gay” says, like Fallon, he has felt self-loathing over his accent and that he has been repelled by it in himself and in other gays.
Along the way, the documentary features gays including Tim Gunn of the reality show Project Runway who has, perhaps, the Biggest Gayest Accent in Gay-Land. The loathsome Dan Savage says the desire to lose the gay accent comes from a self-consciousness born from persecution when younger and that gays ought to revel in the accent.
Thorpe says he “doesn’t remember what he sounded like growing up” though his brother says, “In September 1993 you sounded like a straight boy, by May you were sounding pretty gay.”
Both Fallon and those on screen are oddly convinced the accent came from listening to women more than men when they were growing up, but does anyone think that any woman you know sounds like a gay man?
And if Thorpe could sound straight as a boy in September 1993 but then sound gay a few months later, doesn’t it occur to anyone that the accent is an affectation picked up somewhere and then internalized?
One may also wonder why in this gay-obsessed age anyone would feel “self-loathing” over his gay accent. Two gay guys can barely buy the same pair of pants without a chin scratching trend piece appearing in the New York Times. These days, the gayer the better; toss in a sex change and instant hero. So, what’s the big deal?
I have not seen it, but I would bet any amount of money that by movie’s end, we find there is no big deal and that Thorpe loves his Big Gay Accent more than ever.
And by the way, if you have to ask if you sound gay, you probably do.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse