Prince George went viral over the weekend after a photo surfaced of the young prince on a helicopter, looking joyfully at another helicopter. Bent at the knees and leaning over with his hands on his face, the 4-year-old looks happy and expressive in the photo, leading many in the queer community to playfully dub him a “gay icon.”
Except there’s one problem: Equating femininity with homosexuality is both homophobic and misogynistic. Calling Prince George a “gay icon” suggests that any form of expression from a boy that is “feminine” connotates that they are gay. And that just isn’t accurate. Straight, gay, and bisexual men express themselves in a variety of ways, as do young boys and girls.
Linking gender expression with sexuality reinforces gender roles that are damaging to the queer community because it forces people into stereotypes that may not conform with reality. For example, some expressive men are bisexual, not gay. And some masculine men are gay, while some feminine men are straight. Gender expression isn’t inherently linked to sexual expression.
Many queer Twitter users criticized the joke right away, pointing out its homophobic and transmisogynistic leanings.
This has annoyed me all weekend and I've even reported a few tweets. It's pathetic.— Dan (@WSussexDan) July 23, 2017
Still, some queer men defended the joke, arguing that Prince George’s happy, campy look reminds them of themselves at a young age.
it's not really homophobic if i think being gay & camp is positive. i like this photo because i see my young self in it— Baudi Moovan Updates (@mothballsoup) July 24, 2017
While the effeminate-gay equation was offensive to many, there is a point to made that being gay itself should never be taken as an insult.
Let’s just say the young prince looks great in violet gingham and appears to be a happy child.