Last night a friend said to me…
“When I first met you I didn't think I was going to like you because you had such a pooncey voice.”
Pooncey is a strange bit of Australian slang. In my experience ‘poonce’ is white, heterosexual, Australian, male slang for ‘gay’.
Sometimes I wish I was more pooncey. I feel like I have had the poonce trained out of me. I am gay. That’s the truth. I wish my personality hadn’t been so shaped by bullying.
I was surprised to hear my friend thought I sounded pooncey because I seem to be able to float under the official radar quite a bit. In a workshop I ran once about diversity I floored a guy, who was wondering why all gay men talk like women, by asking him if he knew I was gay?
My friend’s declaration, which I was grateful to hear (whoever tells you the truth like that?), showed me that there is still a subtle policing going on, that people can read ‘gay’ on me, and that I am shape shifting myself to fit into different situations all the time.
I wonder what I would have looked /sounded/acted like if this policing wasn’t going on? If my particular qualities were celebrated and nurtured the way sporting prowess or academic intelligence or being ‘manly’ is?
What shape would I be today?
Ps: On discussing the point with my friend he swears black and blue that he had no idea I was gay for months after meeting me. Does that change things…I don’t really know. I think it just means he was seeing me as “weak like a gay man” even if he didn’t think I was “actually gay”.