We’ve discussed “The Gay Voice” many times here at Cypher Avenue. It perplexes us to no limits that gay men all over the world of many different ages, races and cultures can somehow have the same gay twang and accent. And men who have the Voice are usually full of the same short temper, anger and foul attitude.
Cypher Avenue editor Octavius Williams first broached the subject here on the site back in 2014 with his article, “Why Do Gay Men Sound…Gay?” While Ocky had discussed the issue with me in private many times, it was gay filmmaker David Thorpe’s fundraiser for his documentary, “Do I Sound Gay?” that prompted an official discussion on the site. The post received 0ver 90 comments and became one of our most interesting discussions of that year.
A year later, after the documentary had finally been released on Netflix and DVD, we discussed “The Gay Voice” again on The Boards, our forums site.
Spoiler Alert: While I think some aspects of how we speak are uncontrollable (ie: the tone, the bass level, the speed), for the most part though, I’m starting to believe that The Gay Voice is all an act.
Take this (hilarious) Saturday Night Live sketch, for example. The joke here is that Louis C.K.’s character gets caught imitating his sassy black female boss so he pretends that he wasn’t ridiculing her, it was actually the way he normally spoke. So for the next 5 years he has to pretend to talk that when whenever she was around.
Once I stopped laughing at the sketch, I had to wonder if MANY gay men are consciously preforming The Gay Voice to fit in with their gay peers…
Notice that Louis C.K. not only imitated being a sassy black woman, he added a level of meanness to his speech. Every sentence ended with an insult. This reminded me of driver Daniel Josey’s confrontation with a news cameraman when he was stopped by police for driving in the HOV (carpool) lane as a solo passenger.
The same twang and attitude…
Then there’s Bisexual Drag Queen YouTuber Tre Melvin who took a break from wearing wigs and pretending to be women to show us the “Shit Gay Black Guys Say.”
Tre Melvin, a LGBT personality with over 3 millions subscribers, chose not to imitate prominent Gay Black Men in the media like Don Lemon, Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Lee Daniels, Jussie Smollet, Frank Ocean (?), Milan Christopher or Miles Brock…
Nope, instead he decided to exploit the stereotypes of black gay men by perpetuating the misconception that people like Derek J and Miss Lawrence are representative of the male black gay community.
But that’s beside the point, I wouldn’t expect anything of substance for the community from this young man who has become YouTube famous by exploiting stereotypes of the black community. What I do want to point out with this video is we’re slowly seeing Tre Melvin’s own originally masculine voice slowly fading away, just as I predicted 2 years ago.
Listen to a recent video, even without the wigs, The Gay Voice is awakening and is becoming strong in him (Star Wars reference, get it?).
So The Gay Voice is learned behavior right? I mean, people born in New York City don’t have British accents unless they learn that accent from their British parents or surroundings. Accents are learned. How we pronounce words are learned. Using your limp wrists to emphasize certain words is learned.
That’s not to say that its a bad thing, just so that we can all finally be on the same page in 2016.
What are your thoughts? All just an act or are voices “born that way?”