I'm sad that John Inman died. I have happy memories of watching Are You Being Served when I was growing up. Despite the "camp" persona, and the fact he denied that Mr Humphries was gay (!), I guess we can make allowances because it was the 1970s and Gay Liberation was just starting to get under way. For anyone to be gay or gay-coded in the media in those days, it was remarkably brave and forward-thinking.
Camp gay stereotypes like that don't annoy me as much as they used to about 5-10 years ago when I would bristle at any representation that seemed to confirm prejudices. Some gay men are camp, some aren't. And I think there are places for both sorts of representations in the world. What I dislike more is people complaining that they don't like camp gay men, or "straight-acting" men for that matter - though "straight-acting" is ultimately an inaccurate term - "approximating traditional masculinity" is what they actually mean. I still get a bit dismayed when people continually make the error of conflating sexuality (gay/straight) and gender (masculine/feminine) together.
I think I am a bit camp. If hear my voice on an answerphone it sounds camp to me, not like how I think I sound like. I saw Dreamgirls 3 times. I like the Golden Girls, Ab Fab, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and kitsch stuff. It's a part of me. But that's not all there is. I also like and do stuff that people probably wouldn't think as camp - Clint Eastwood movies, putting up flatpak furniture, steakhouses (!) I wear boring brown old men's slip-on shoes, my hair is always a mess (and not in a carefully constructed way), I like to be the driver, I can't/won't cook and I'm not very good at housework. At least I find it very easy to adapt to the people I'm around, because I can draw on lots of different interests and parts of myself.
Something that does continue to bother me though, is commerical gay culture. I don't go on "the scene" very often, have never been on a Pride March (now called Mardi Gras) and would never buy a product just because it was gay (though when I was 20 I did used to always try and stay in gay guesthouses and eat at gay restaurants. I stopped because on the whole, I wasn't that impressed with the service.)
This website for Pink Mortgage Services is something that I find a bit sad. Look at the pictures it has:
I guess they're trying to show that there are different types of gay people, which is good. But it's a bit over-kill and relies on stereotyped categorises that I don't think are that common really (the site claims to have 95% gay and lesbian clients - though I couldn't find any pictures of women there). And for the men, if you are not a muscled clubber on GHB, a drag queen, S/M leather daddy or bear, then how are you supposed to feel represented by this company? (I guess at least the "bear" is pushing a child along, which acknowledges that gay people can be fathers or uncles or whatever, but he's still in the background of the picture).
I don't know any of those sorts of people. OK, I live in Bristol which is not as big as London, but it's still fairly cosmopolitan. Most gay people I know look just like everyone else. They'd walk past you on the street and you'd never know they were gay. Maybe if you chatted with them for a bit, or if they told you, then you'd realise they were gay. But maybe not. I sometimes feel that the "invisible gay majority" is the last under-represented group left. And it's also the most important one - because if the invisible gay majority starts being recognised by the mainstream media and the gay media, then everyone will realise we are not stereotypes - we're just people.