Friday, April 25, 2014

Of campnes and that Alan Carr advert.

In the last few weeks, there have been debate on social media and many blogs on the advert Alan Carr did for PETA  calling for more support for domestic animals in the UK. I completely support this initiative and I think everyone will jump on the wagon as well.

However, the debate around the fairy picture and what that means in the politics of identity is very important and we can not wish it away. The advert sends out one strong message, that the best way to be gay and accepted is to be "camp". 

Alan Carr in the PeTA advert
The case with Alan Carr is a very interesting one. Just like we have been having conversation around sexual racism in the UK, the conversation around camp and dating in the gay community in Europe is a very serious case. Now, I am very prochoice and in that regards I have the believe that people have the right to date who they want to date. So if you dont like dating a black guy, I have no right to call you "racist" for your choice. After all life is always about choices when you can CHOSE. However, like many that have argued against and for, the question is always do you have to make it obvious that "black and asian" need not apply? Well maybe it saves the black the grace of rejection and the white the time he will waste replying.

However, the conversation is deeper than that when it comes to being "camp" for the sake of wanting to be famous and what that means for representation and even identity politics. I will give you an instant. The likes of Carr and his cohort feeds from the fact that they can be camp and what that means is the unintended consequences of stereotyping that comes with labeling all gay people like Carr or those that spend all their time at GAY. If you are not like them then something is not right. 

I will give two examples. Stephen K Amos will never get a show on prime time tv in the UK. It is not because he is not famous, one fact is that he is black and as a black man, he will really have to be extremely good to get a show. Mostly importantly is the fact that, Stephen K Amos is not as camp and so he does not fit the television lazy stereotype of what a gay man should be.

The second unintended consequences is the fact that people that are not as camp will struggle to establish their sexuality. This is very clear in the case of asylum seekers in the UK who do not exhibit any "art" of campness. I remember a judge in the UK challenging the Home Office argument that an appellant is not "gay enough". The judge asked if listening to Kyle and drink pink champagne while wearing a pink tutu is the only way one can be gay.

While I agree in our sense of community, we should not become the victim of what we are trying to fight against... Being camp is cool but we are not all camp and it should not be the basis we should be seen.