Hollywood is making strides with its depictions of gay men, but when it comes to overly feminine guys – that’s another story.
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Western culture still ridicules a man who embraces his femininity and that goes without saying within the LGBTQ+ community. It’s no secret that the community shuns femininity, as seen through the ironic saying, “no fats, no fems.” While we’re excited to see more guys owning their femininity, like the upcoming CW series, “Glamorous,” starring gender non-conforming star, Ben Pierce, there’s still a long way to go.
Which is why we’ve been excited with actor and writer Corey Camperchioli’s short film, FEMME, since it debuted last year. The movie is being developed into a full series, with big names like Rachel Brosnahan who won a Golden Globe for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, attached as executive producer. The story is based off of Corey’s own live experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ community as well as in Hollywood.
“I kept getting feedback that I was ‘too gay,’ and that I wouldn’t make it because of that,” Corey tells Very Good Light. He was also finding rejection on hook up apps with “only masc, no fem” in descriptions. It got Corey thinking. Why was it that our culture despised feminine men?
“I wanted to dig deep on the issues of femininity within the gay community and prove to myself that feminine was beautiful,” he tells us.
And so he wrote the short film along with the support of producer Benno Rosenwald as its biggest champion. “He told me that this needed to be an authentic portrayal that to be exactly has I am – that was the only way he’d work with me,” Corey say.
The result was creating the short with $25,000 the sum of what he raised on Kickstarter. Next was getting Aja (Jay Rivera), the popular drag queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race, to join in. The result: A beautifully powerful film about a character named Carson who goes on a journey of self-love and discovery with a drag fairy godmother (Aja) leading the way.
“I think other queer people affirming your identity is so necessary,” Corey says. “We’re told we’re not supposed to take space. When another queer person validates you, it’s so empowering.”
The result of the film was empowering others on social media with the hashtag, #freeyourfemme, something that challenged others to question their own identities. While his agent and Hollywood as a whole may have told him he was “too gay” and “too specific,” he’s proven otherwise. Last year, Corey was named Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 in the entertainment category, and is in talks to develop FEMME into a full series.
“I have no desire to hide any part of myself,” he tells us. “We are perfect exactly as we are. And we are worthy.” And for others who are questioning their identities? Corey says this: “Stay the way you are, stay here. We need you.”
To watch FEMME, head over here.