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Permission granted by author for anyone to distribute this
writing free of charge (including translation into any
language)...under condition that no profit is made therefrom,
and that it remain intact and complete, including title and 
credit to the original author.

Ezekiel J. Krahlin

WHO IS GAY? -- Zeke's reflections on the issue of feminine

© 1998 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin
(Jehovah's Queer Witness)

Note: I belong to a private group called "The K6 Alliance",
dedicated to radical concepts of gay liberation ...including
the idea of seceding to form our own nation, free of
heterocentric dogma and violence. One of the topics we have
discussed, is how we should define who is this will
be crucial to establishing the world's first gay society.
Herein are some of my comments in a thread on exactly that 
topic.  All statements below are my own, except those lines 
preceded with the right-pointing caret symbol, ">".

My comments in this document span the time period of
March 28 to May 3, 1998...and each message is separated by a
dashed line. Let us begin:


Who is "gay"? How do we define this? This question has
recently been taken out of the realms of conjecture (as it was
when considering it in terms of a gay nation)...into reality,
with the recent influx of hetero men from the Balkan states
seeking asylum in Holland. These men are claiming they're gay,
just to seek refuge from a violent regime. However, it is
likely they will nevertheless spread the homophobia of their
native country, once settled into liberal Holland.

So observing how Holland deals with this issue, may help us
come up with a clear definition of who is gay, and who is not.
I don't however, see men dressing as women--or as caricatures
thereof--or men portraying any so-called effeminate traits as
having any proof towards one's "gayness". It is a great
heterosexual tradition for testosterone-engendered groups such
as the U.S. military, to entertain the troops with butch
officers prancing on stage in drag. Furthermore, I have met
extraordinarily effeminate men whom I assumed were gay, but
were definitely not, as things turned out.

I don't know if a man acting like a woman, is indeed
provocative (if it ever was). For society seems to never get
over its feigned shock of when a man does so. This female
impersonation among men has been going on for how long?
Decades? Centuries? Eons? Anyone who acts shocked or
titillated over this, is merely feigning. Dennis Rodman gets
away with it, because being so macho, he can easily get away
with it.

Because homosexuality confronts society's narrow perception of
acceptable gender roles, it can be thrown in the same bag of
social no-nos such as transgenderism and drag. But these other
aspects are not at all akin to the issue of being gay, which
is: someone loving another of the same sex.

I also believe that defining ourselves as effeminate, or as
drag queens, as an essential part of being homosexual, only
feeds into society's stereotypes. Some of us then act out the
expected behaviorisms: acting silly, goosey, effeminate, dizzy
and flighty...and dressing in women's clothing. My own
experience from meeting drag queens and the like, is that they
have absolutely no interest in sex in general, not just that most of the ones I've met are either
asexual or heterosexual, with only a few actively homosexual.
The reason they are identified so much with the gay world, is
that that's the only group that tolerates them. Thus, they
created their own sub-subculture within a subculture.

So if we were in the conjectured situation of running a gay
nation, and needing to screen new immigrants for their
"gayness"...well, those men who dress like women will not
automatically win my approval. They wouldn't even gain a
Brownie fact, I'd be more aroused to suspicion than
I would over those who dress plainly, as males. (Remember
Corporal Klinger, in MASH?) They would still have to pass
through a battery of examinations to prove that they are
actually homosexual. One test can be to place electrodes by
their wrists, temples, and chest...then showing them pictures
of various men and discern which sex arouses any
interest. Of course, this would be but one test among many.

Will Holland find itself resorting to such tests, in order to
stop the influx of straights disguised as gay? I, for one, am
very interested in how their situation develops.

Another stereotype our society has, is that gay icons are
often Hollywood actors, usually female...such as Judy Garland,
Bette Davis, and so on. Gay icon? None of these people are any
I could relate to...I am not a Hollywood fetishist. Who on
earth determines what our gay icons are, and what our gay
traits are? Heteros, it seems, are the ones to define us gays.
If I, and others, have no desire to act or dress like women,
and do not hold any particular interest or admiration for
certainly Hollywood actresses...then how can these be innate
markers for gayness? And if I feel this way, then how can I be
the only gay person who does? (Sort of a strange twist on that
classic landmark book about gays called "You are not alone."
As a gay person, should I feel alone, still, because I don't
desire to portray feminine stereotypes?)

"If you are really gay, then you must hold a secret desire to
be a woman", is a stereotype attitude that heterocentric
societies hold for homosexuals. No wonder, then, that a
segment of gays plays out those the tittilation of
the hetero majority. Which majority is more ready to accept us
in such two-dimensional, Hollywood-inspired roles. I believe,
therefore, that what gay men truly desire to be a woman are
only a minority within all those that behave and dress like
one (or at least a caricature of one). The rest feel obligated
to play out the stereotype.

If I were to help administer a gay nation, I wouldn't care
less whether or not a man dressed in female attire, or even
acted effeminate. What would matter, however, is whether or
not he passed our tests to prove one's homosexuality. What I
would wonder about, is why this behavior is so important for
that person...after all, there are no more heteros around to

These days, almost anyone who has had even a fleeting
attraction to another of the same sex, is proclaiming himself
"gay". This goes for a lot of bisexuals, who claim to know all
about the gay struggle, and are even so arrogant as to believe
they are educating not just heteros, but gays as well, about
human sexuality. They have come up with terms like "biphobia"
and "heterophobia", in order to paint gay people as equally
bad as homophobes, should they show any disgust towards the
hypocrisy and superiority-posing of bisexuals. Yet, unless one
is truly homosexual, and actively so, one could never know the
real horrors of discrimination and hatred in a homophobic
world. Bisexuals can easily slip back into their traditional
hetero roles at the drop of a hat...abandoning and even
betraying their gay comrades in the process. To many of the
bisexuals, being gay is just a lark, a kinky sex adventure not
worthy of any serious consideration in the light of human
civil rights. They may even regard gay people as inferior, by
virtue of not fucking both sexes.

We also have arrogant straight society defining gays on their
own terms, not ours...and many gays falling for it. So for all
these reasons mentioned herein, I find the question "who is
gay?" far more relevant and important today, than it has ever
been in the past. This recent invasion of Holland by straights
posing as gays, has put this question into the limelight. And
I don't think any sign of effeminacy or desire to dress or be
(or act) like a woman, should be part of this definition of
what defines a person as homosexual. For it is just as likely
to be the traits of some heterosexuals, too. I think, as
Racoon does, that the only relevant definition is the desire
to be intimate (sexually and otherwise) with another of the
same such a fashion as to exclude any similar desires
with one of the opposite sex. The definition, IMO, is easy to
come up with...but it is the proving of anyone's homosexuality
which is the real challenge. And Holland has been put to this

We may agree to disagree, Billy, and in this spirit, I invite
your further opinions in this matter.


>The status of gay is,in these hard and backward times of hetro
>domination and oppression,a title of honour which should be
>acquired by deeds.The minimal deed should be cultural adhesion
>to homosexuality at the exclusion or at the expense of
>heterosexuality.Political allegiance to our state should be
>required only for those applying for office in the government
>of that state.

Considering how unevolved regarding their own gay
consciosness, are the majority of gay people--at least in
Amerika--I'm afraid that judging by deeds would likely
eliminate many deserving of asylum into Athenia (my name for
this gay-nation-to-be). My own experience here in "Da Mecca",
has shown me only a handful of gay men or women with a real
sense of pride regarding their homosexual spirit.

Also, the majority of gays who do not live in gay-friendly
urban centers, mostly still exist under a reign of
terrorism...and any cultural adhesion to homosexuality, if
displayed, would quickly have them bashed by the redneck
forces that rule. Nevertheless, I wouldn't deny these folks
entry to fact, providing refuge for these kinds,
would be providing refuge for the majority of gay women and
men most in need of asylum.

It would be a lot easier for the administrators of Athenia, to
only allow those with a proven record of fidelity to the gay
cause...but I'm afraid we'd then have only a handful of
citizens, with the majority of deserving entrants left out in
the heterocentric cold. I do not believe these types would
betray gay people, but would welcome the chance to breathe
freely and be themselves, for once, and for all time.

I think conclusively proving "who is gay" is the crux that
would prove a real challenge for any society providing asylum
to gay people. Look what has happened, the moment a
country--for the first time in history--includes asylum
provision for homosexuals. They (Holland) gets overrun by
straights pretending they are gay! This is why we should be
very interested to learn how The Netherlands deals with this
issue...for they are forced to deal with it.


>Would a gay man who cross dresses be automatically barred from
>participating in a Thracian Nation?

No. Since cross dressing is neither a qualifier nor
disqualifier of becoming a citizen of Athenia.

>Would he deserve closer scrutinizing because he cross dresses?

Yes. Because this is one stereotype straights have of gays,
the person would be more suspect than a gay person not playing
out any stereotypes. There will be those straights pretending
to be gay, in order to escape their own nation's tyranny. They
would be likely to act out how they think a gay person

>What is the threat of cross dressing?

Cross-dressing is as much a hetero phenomenon, as it is among
gays...and I don't think this behavior will, in future, be
regarded by the public as distinctive to a gay lifestyle. I
think anyone who earmarks cross-dressing as a gay thing, is
just confusing the issue. Furthermore:

Women's clothes, as you know, are far more expensive than
men' well as being victims to the whims of fashion. This
would place a terrible crimp on the budget of our new nation,
when it comes to our military's uniforms.

>Regarding the hetero Balkan men Ezekiel mentioned, I believe
>such individuals could easily be screened out in the earliest
>stages of immigration. Their lack of homophile spirit would be

I'm afraid this may be more wishful thinking than not.
Straights can be very clever, when it comes to their own
survival. The homophile spirit of many gay refugees may not be
evident, until these loved ones are safely settled into
Athenia. Then, and only then, you might finally see the
devotion to Lesbian and Thracian ideals come shining
through...and the lack thereof from those fakes who passed for
gay, and who must be deported.

It is, really, a difficult problem to work through...and one
which is already forced upon little Holland. I don't think
there is an easy answer to this...and for this reason, it's a
good thing some of us are mulling this over right now. For the
question of "who is gay" is not just pertinent to fantasizing
a gay nation, but highly relevant in this time, when so many
vested interests are watering down the definition of
"gayness"...for their own ulterior, usually-homophobic,


>I love and am attracted to other men. It doesn't matter to me
>how they dress. My feelings for others comes from my heart,
>not some preconceived notion of what is, or is not,
>politically correct.

I love the gay spirit...but rarely do I love an individual,
gay or otherwise. Perhaps this is my own personal shortcoming. does matter how someone dresses, to me...up to a
point. I am not attracted to any person--let alone any
man--who constantly acts silly and frivolous, to the point
where nothing in life is serious to him, and he is not someone
on whom you could form a close and trusting rapport. This
behavior seems to be a main aspect of many drag queens...and
it is this kind I believe is playing out a hetero/hollywood
stereotype. (Likewise, if I ever met a woman who acts so
consistently goosey, I'd lose interest in befriending her,

I have met--though rarely--a man who dresses in female
clothing, and/or who is very effeminate--who does not play the
goosey game...and in consequence, I am more likely to maintain
an acquaintance, if not a friendship, with him. But this kind
seems to be atypical, when you are talking about men in female

As for preconceived notions: I have plenty of them...and
perhaps, again, this is a personal shortcoming on my part. But
I do not condemn any man just because he does not attract me
sexually, romatically, platonically, or filially. I would
still defend his right to be gay, in whatever way suits him. I
don't, however, find too many gays who are capable of not
judging their gay brethren so objectively...and I have met
many who would *hate* you for not going along with whatever
gay game they thought appropriate.

So I'd say my lack of interest, or even disgust with, gay men
who dress in drag...comes from the prevalent goosiness,
cheapness, gossip, and back-stabbing that seems to accompany
many who act out these roles. I have lived among them for many
years, and without fail, most have been extremely vicious and
vengeful at the drop of a purse. So what I guess I don't like
is the weirdness of this subculture...which is a very
urbanized phenomenon. Take away their dresses, jewelry, and
makeup...I'd still hate them for their behavior, and not their


>If an effeminate man made a pass at a "hetrosexual" man, it
>was expected and flattered the het so he could accept the
>advance or reject it. But if a noneffeminate man made a pass
>at a het many times there was "hell to pay"

This still holds true for the most part...and if it didn't, we
wouldn't have this continued violence against gays in our
country, let alone in this, our so-called "gay mecca" of San
Francisco. (With our supposed "leaders" telling us to wear
whistles...just another perpetration of stereotyping gays as
effeminate and wimpy.)

When I worked in offices in S.F., I was not the only gay
person...but I was not effeminate-acting, while the several
others were. They were more readily accepted, whereas I kept
running aground in office relations. I guess I didn't know my

I see this role of femininity totally contrived...both by
women and by men, who choose this role. It is an aspect of a
totalitarian from of patriarchy, that places women as sex
objects, as property, and as very inferior to the male. So I
see male cross-dressing as an aspect of this dying cultural
standard. We are re-defining ourselves as people, and this
includes the roles of males and females.

I conclude then, that the first gay nation of Athenia should
just outlaw any feminine style of dressing or
women, as well as by men. I'm sure many Lesbians would breathe
a sigh of relief over this, too. This gender role-playing
seems to be a fundamental part of the oppressive heterocentric
society, in which many of us were born, and in which most of
us still live.


>Heterosexuality has no place in a gay cultural circle.It has
>even less in a political one,especially an independent state.

As a slave may save himself from an early death by finding
some way in which he can prove entertaining to his
master...likewise, a transvestite is one way (some) gay men
make themselves amusing to their hetero overlords. Women,
also, in dressing up in so-called feminine manners...cater to
their male hetero rulers. In both cases, assuming feminine
ways places you as (hopefully) desireable property of male het
rulers, thus earning some sort of protection and even the
reward of companionship. For me, and for many gay men, and for
some of our more liberated het females and lesbians, this is
far too high a price to pay...for part of that price includes
surrendering one's very own integrity and dignity...or in
other words: your soul.

The assumption of women being "feminine" as some form of
inferior "opposite" to the het an enforced code of
acknowledgment that you, as female, are subservient to all
males. The entire western concept of the feminine is false and
demeaning...and is a major function of the heterocentric world
view. For this reason, I denounce the ridiculous feminine
attire and demeanor as not worthy of any human being with any
reasonable sense of self-esteem. This would apply of course,
as equally to men as to women. When you stop to think about
how much the conventional female makes herself over, with
complex makeup, hairdo, and layers of expensive
can see them more as some strange variation of a "clown"
preparing to enter the three-ring circus to perform her
hilarious act.

Women activists, for the most part, are aware of this
contrived femininity, and rightly rebel against it. Of course,
the right wing, and perhaps uncomfortable liberal males, mock
women like this--exaggerating their stance by comparing them
to bulldogs and such--with the ulterior motive to discourage
the majority of women from dropping their extensive wardrobe
and makeup, and following suit.

A gay nation would unlikely accommodate any form of contrived
feminine they are an explicit symbol of
heterocentric fascism. Just as Germany has outlawed Nazi
organizations...and frowns upon anyone who might dress like independent gay society would (or should) outlaw
explicitly feminine dress and it would any of the
other obviously heterosexist cultural mores.

Granted, gay people are part of the larger gender identity
issue, with which Amerika is still very uptight about. This,
of course, would include transvetites, cross-dressers, and
very feminine acting men (and to a lesser extent, masculine
acting women). However, the particular issue for gays is the
right to love another of the same sex...and we, as a
community, really should stop spreading ourselves so thin, by
including everyone else with a gender identity cause, under
our political umbrella. We (at least here in Amerika) have
lost sight of the essence of gay rights...and have no need to
accommodate bisexuals, trannies, and the like. They do,
however, need to support the gay agenda...and in so doing,
will gain more freedom for themselves in their personal lives.
In other words:

        Let's put the "gay" back into gay rights.


Billy, I've given a lot of thought for many weeks, before
composing this reply. I hope you find it worth contemplating:

>I love and am attracted to other men. It doesn't matter to me
>how they dress.

It matters to me, because I am not attracted to the female,
hence towards feminine sex in whatever form. Furthermore, I do
not love, or have attraction for, other men...only for the
occasional man here and there. There are many men for whom I
lust, and no women...ergo, I am homosexual...Kinsey 6, in
fact. It is the rare man that I desire to have as lover. Do I
hate women? No. Do I hate men who dress in feminine garb, or
act effeminate? No. But I find their friviolous attitudes and
vindictive behavior a serious nuisance, when one considers the
civil rights of gay people a serious matter, not to be wasted
on inviting justification of society's stereotypes of gay
people as frivolous, effeminate, and otherwise useless.

I don't think any oppressed minority appreciates that sort of
behavior from their own kind. Except as occassional satire of
oppressor thinking...say, on stage or in some sort of
political demonstration...but not as a frequent, everyday

A comparison to drag queens behaving like the stereotype that
society has of black rights...would be if a large
group of blacks dressed down like plantation slaves, walking
around with slices of watermelon in their hands, and
addressing everyone as "massuh" throughout the day. In
essence, I don't think drag queens are doing gay rights any
favor...and I don't think it takes more courage for a man to
dress like a woman in public; than for an everyday kind of guy
to assert his gay identity in the workplace and all other
social settings. In fact, I think more straights would feel
quite uneasy around such a man...more so than around one who
plays out a stereotype (albeit with great pomp, much to the
titillation of his hetero audience--with emphasis on "tit").

>My feelings for others comes from my heart, not some
>preconceived notion of what is, or is not, politically

Mine do. Example: I would never have sex with a guy who hates
the poor, who is against rent control, who does not believe in
Universal health care, etc. What kind of a loser would I be if
I did not consider a man's integrity, before becoming intimate
with him? If you don't get to know some things about your
potential amour, for all you know, you could be bedding down
with Hitler's protege. People are, among other things,
political animals.

If your attraction were based solely on feelings of the
heart...why, then, you'd be bisexual! For you'd be blind to
other distinctions, in addition to whether or not a man dress
like a woman...including gender.

>How we define what is male dress and what is female dress is
>solely based on heterosexual values. I would like to suggest
>that those of us who can only accept the heterosexual
>definitions of male and female dress are just as guilty of
>furthering heterosexual interests as cross dressers.

What seems to be part of the drag queen subculture, is not
just feminine dress and behavior...but dress and behavior that
is more of a parody, than an imitation, of the hetero female.
And even more than that: a parody of the bitchy female, as
portrayed by a handful of Hollywood icons such as Bettie
Davis, Joan Crawford, and the like. If all drag queens were
merely acting feminine, they would not at all manifest one
particular type of "acting out". This is not just an issue of
female sex worship and parody: it is Hollywood
adulation...something for which I have no interest. It really
irks me whenever the news media calls certain actresses (never
*actors*, mind you!) as "gay icons". I'm gay, but they're not
my icons. Perhaps among a small segment of gay people--drag
queens and their followers mostly--these actresses are their
icons...but still, this doesn't make them "gay" icons!

This is a good example of how we allow hetero society to
define who we are, as gay people. They even tell us who our
icons are! I think the drag queen has too great a slice of
recognition and representation in the gay community. But
because of their sensationalist and bizarre antics, and
because this is what the media laps up...we have such a
situation. If the nasty slander and other vindictive behaviors
of the conventional drag queen in urban Amerika, were not part
of their acting out...then I would be more tolerant of this

But consider that what is defined as feminine in Amerika, is
already so contrived and demeaning to women. And I have little
tolerance or respect for those women who play these games, as
if they really were man's great gift to be worshipped. The
amazing contortion of their bodies to please "man", along with
layers of cosmetics and ridiculous hairdos...remind me more of
a circus clown, than of an everyday type of human being. This
is a sad situation for women, and numerous women in the
liberation movement, do reject this false definition of
female. They do not dress female, nor act female...many are
still hetero, and some are of course gay. Why should men be
the only sex to enjoy the freedom that comes with inexpensive
and unembellished manners of appearing and behaving?

I therefore do not regard the drag queen cult with much
pleasure. Though I would certainly defend them--as I would
anyone--who is being mercilessly attacked by homophobes. For
one: drag queens are *not* being feminine...they are usually
being parodies of the female definition. For another: they are
celebrating, in their own way, a very heterocentric viewpoint
of women...a viewpoint that many women are trying so hard to
shatter, because said viewpoint is oppressive and ignorant.

>If one of these extremes should be viewed with suspicion, then
>so should the other.

Or so drag queens would have you believe, even accuse you of
being homophobic if you did not absolutely adore everthing
about them...and praise them to the hilt for being the fairy
godmother guardians of gay rights...defending us from the
toothsome maws of homophobia. I don't see why anyone should be
regarded with suspicion, for expressing distaste towards a
group of people whose standard behavior includes bratty
vindictiveness, and passing it off as "camp". Or who hold the
record in slanderous gossip that has grieved many basically
innocent people who have the kind of integrity that makes such
queens jealous. I am even composing an essay called "Vicious
Queens I Have Known", as my own glimpse of the drag queen
life, after 23 years of living among them, here in the "gay

As a final remark, do not think that my statements herein
imply any approval towards the ridiculously macho, leather
S&M/butch crowd either...another extreme parody taken too
seriously for anything that could be considered wholesome and


>Without fear of being rebuked by anyone in the type of gay
>environment I dwell,I could have written as well "Insofar as
>death by suicide results among young gay males as the
>consequence of the slandering of male homosexuality through
>the drag queen stereotype,tv/ts associated with that
>slandering are party and accessories to an act of war against
>gay people and culture with all the consequences (of the worse
>order) involved".

In my essay (pub'd 1997), called "Gay Turncoats In Our Midst",
I discuss similar issues, and from which I'll quote this

---begin quote

Their motive is not one of liberation, but to maintain their
own, comfortable status quo of recognition, affluence, and
influence. As we know, the fight against AIDS has been turned
into a big money making machine for many organizations that
have now become powerful and rich as a the cost of
unnecessary suffering and deaths. Why would anyone be so
foolish as to assume that queer politics is no different, at
least here in Amerika? There are those in the political elite
who have a vested interest in maintaining the status
keep AIDS and homophobia this is how they continue
receiving recognition, power, and finances. If either beast
were finally conquered, they would lose their power base,
replaced with new, more egalitarian ones. They also block or
discourage (often through vicious tactics) a lot of decent
GayFolk who could otherwise have greatly enhanced the civil
rights movement for all Same-Sex Lovers.

Turncoats do whatever they can to deter any brother who
believes (and actively participates in) Hellene Rights;
through games of mockery, isolation, rejection, and any other
forms of persecution that occur to them. Because of their
uncontrollable jealousy, turncoats also suppress the talents
of their artistic brothers, whose work, if acknowledged and
encouraged, could contribute in a big way to Gay Rights.
(There are numerous turncoats in the "art world" with the
money and power to back these revolutionary artists; but they
do not.) I wonder: just how many of our decent brothers have
committed suicide--not from the slings and arrows of hetero
brutality--but from betrayal (of the most vicious kind) from
their own Gay "brothers."

---end quote

I would have to include in my list of gay turncoats, those
drag queens and nellie types who make it their business to be
so petty and spiteful, as to cut down a gay person for
whatever imaginable slight. Among those cut down would be, of
course, impressionable gay youth who are more likely to trust
the wrong kind. This "cutting down" often mounts to sabotaging
another's job, love life, friendships, or housing...and the
guilty queens care not if the victim goes insane, homeless,
jobless, or friendless (or all of these things) as a result! I
have witnessed such viciousness in action, quite often here,
in the heart of the heart of the gay "mecca", a.k.a. "The