camp : Gay & Black Glossary

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camp
camp has four meanings:
  1. banality so extreme it is funny.
  2. to talk in an affected nasal voice.
  3. to mimic or exaggerate female mannerisms.
  4. to use a sarcastic humour with gay references.
Whether one decides to affect camp behaviour is clearly a choice. This may be the root of the myth that homosexuality itself is a choice. You decide whether to act on your attractions, but you don’t decide your attractions.

Why bother to camp? Why humiliate yourself with this degrading self-parody? It is frustrating for closeted gays to keep up the front of being heterosexual. Camping is a way to unwind and say, Fuck you world. I can do whatever I want. Camping though is dangerous because it can end up giving away the closet gay. He may let loose an accidental campy expression or fabulous in straight company without thinking if he indulges in it in gay company.

Some out gays camp too, as a way of showing fearlessness, of thumbing their noses at gay bashers.


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