Finding my Oshun, Feeling my Fish
That sounds so good, right? Except there is one, big, unavoidable problem. You're feminine. You know, Nelly, Flaming, a Queen. We've all heard those terms. We've all seen it in various profiles: no fats, no fems. How do you, the feminine queen, solve this problem?
First, let's start with your way of dress. Basketball shorts and snapback hat, check! Now let's move on to your walk and mannerisms: try if you can to remove the sway in your hips that cause you to runway walk. Bring your shoulders back and walk as if you've broken your knee in two places. Drag and dip, drag and dip. Got it? Good. Okay, now that you've gotten the walk down.Let's work on the voice.
Yes miss thing, that lisp has to go. Let's get to work. Say the word “Yes.” (Says the word but like a ballroom queen) Yass! No, “Yes”. Say it again. Yass! No, no girlfriend, “Yes” but try to deepen your voice a bit. (Finally, says the word and gets it right.) Yes. Okay, good job. Alright whew, we've got the voice down.
You've got thirty minutes. So prep yourself and get ready. Alright, stop! You see how stupid not to mention how painful this is? You actually want to completely alter who you are for a momentary hookup? No bitch, just no.
I am a feminine man. I know it's hard to see because in the words of Madtv's Ms. Swan "I looka like a man." For years I hated everything to do with the feminine queen that was within me and femininity in general. Because I was taught that being feminine was weak, submissive, and boys like me ended up lonely, bitter messes.
In both the black and gay communities, there is a lot of shaming. However, the one shame that glares out the most and at times the loudest is NO FEMS! Across the board. Go on any app and you'll find it. Shaming within our communities happen. Why? Because of the mixed messages received in our community.
Growing up, I felt as if I had to choose between the two polarities that lived within me. I always related to the experiences of a woman or saw myself in the women around me. This was often times met with dirty looks or I was beaten over the head with that thing called a Bible. I was taught that if you weren't a hyper-masculine, shit talkin' dude who liked fuckin' hoes, smoking weed or playing sports, you didn't fit. You weren't a man.
I didn't want to do the things that I saw the men in my life do. I wanted to play with dolls, Impersonate Diana Ross and have long, flowing hair (which I did in high school). Sports and trash talking just didn't fit me. Even now, whenever I walk into a barber shop, I always get a little uncomfortable. I think to myself "Bitch, don't runway walk too fast in here!" Or "Why did you wear that? Ain't no gay men in here!"
Because I knew that at any given minute, my fem side was either come falling out of my mouth with a "Hello." or through my hands as if the hours of me perfecting my Shirley Bassey mannerisms were going to somehow blow my cover. Which why for many years. I wouldn't dare step foot into a barbershop. I chose to hide. Because I was ashamed. Ashamed of what “they” would think. Ashamed to be me.
When it came to dating it was even worse. I thought “Oh, I'll meet a nice guy who will like, lust me and maybe even love me”. This should be easy right? Nope! What I found was men who “liked” me only did in “secret” in the cloak of darkness and after 2 am. The only way that I was going to find a mate was by being totally and utterly submissive to the “man” in question. I had to be either a walking blow up doll or a barbie doll because to them I wasn't a person, I was a thing. This I found to be both disgusting and humiliating.
I thought. “Is this it? Is this going to be my life?” I was not happy. So how did I learn to embrace my Oshun and feel my fish you ask? Spirituality. That's right, spirituality.
Though it wasn't easy. Even as I came into nature-based spirituality, it was hard to embrace that not only being feminine was okay but apart of me. I'm not gonna lie. There was a part of me that wanted to blend in. I wanted a deep-bass voice, rippling muscles, to be rough and rugged.
That is, until I met Oshun. Who is she? Oshun is the known as the goddess of the river. Lady of the sweet waters. She is also the goddess of sensuality, love and the sweet nectar that is known as honey is scared to her. Through working with Oshun and many other forms of deity. I learned to honor femininity. That it is special and beautiful. Most of all, there are levels of femininity. Just like masculinity. Clothes, makeup, hair and heels don't make you a woman. No more than a beard makes you a man. Femininity is a feeling not a sex organ.
Now am I hairy? Somewhat. Do I have muscles? Hmm, a little bit. Bass Voice? Forget it. Rough and Rugged? Chile no. The only thing I like rough is sex...sometimes. Rugged? Does a blanket count?
Through my meetings with Oshun, she has taught me that it's okay to just be. If I wore makeup, heels lashes and hair. So what? I'm being who I am and though it was slow, it has been an amazing journey. I didn't have to deny anything. The things that I wear are just that. Things. I am still a man.
I am not less of a man. If anything, I am more of a man because I choose to walk in my complete truth. My complete truth as a complete person. Accepting all that comes with me and inside me. I am more than heteronormative parameters. I am much bigger than any disgust people find within because I choose not to live in a box. I am greater than the standards they set to be as societal norms. I have found Oshun and embraced my fish.
Collectively, we must realize that the very act of being a feminine presenting or acting gay male is protesting. Collectively, we must understand that the very acceptance of one’s self as a “cunty” guy is liberation. Collectively, we must realize the power it takes to walk down the street and not have the guise of masculine privilege. People like Marsha P. Johnson and Willie Ninja started our road to freedom by being unapologetic of themselves when our environment wasn’t as liberal. We mustn’t leave our “gurls” out if we want to achieve collective success.