We have long lived for Michael Henry, not only for his witty comedy videos but for always being so outspoken about the issues many gay men face, including mental health and dealing with society’s treatment of femme guys. More than most, Henry examines gay culture through smart comedy. So when we asked Michael Henry if he was down to join our #MyFemmeSelf campaign, he immediately said yes! And we couldn’t be happier to have a voice like his in Hornet’s latest initiative.
Michael Henry is a gay comedian, actor and writer based in Los Angeles who started uploading to YouTube his “comedy videos with a queer narrative” (as he likes to describe his work). And like us he’s also obsessed with reality television and carbs.
Michael Henry, how do you best describe your video work?
My work is all about queer situations. A lot of my video scenarios I’ve been in or my friends have talked about being in. Sometimes they’re heavy topics like HIV or misogyny or alcoholism in the LGBTQ community. But I lace it all up with a comedic bow.
I’ve had people message me telling me that my videos have helped them be more comfortable with who they are. That’s it’s OK not to fit into that beefcake mold that we’re usually told we have to buy into. That it’s great to be feminine or goofy or thicc. And that they feel represented in my work, which makes me feel amazing.
What are the responses you’ve received for your videos? Have they been good, bad?
It’s everything. Mostly positive. I have some people tell me my videos are just playing into gay stereotypes and that my videos are bad for the community because of that, which is disheartening for me to hear because it means there are just some queer people who don’t get comedy. [Laughs]
I do hold a magnifying glass up to certain stereotypes, but it’s to show the ridiculousness of some of them. And sometimes to make certain types of people feel dumb.
Have you ever been discriminated against for being a femme guy?
I mean, aside from being bullied in high school for being a feminine gay boy with a higher than average voice, yes. I do think gay men are conditioned to find a certain “type of gay man” fuckable/hot/boyfriend material, and I’m including myself in that. And it’s hard to navigate not feeling like you look like or act like that type.
I can’t say that I’ve necessarily felt discriminated against for being a feminine gay man but I do feel like it makes it more obvious that I am gay, and in the past that made me more uncomfortable because I didn’t know how to feel confident with who I was.
Why do you consider it important to be part of a campaign like #MyFemmeSelf?
It’s important because you have to be proud of who are, and you have to let people know that you’re confident with the way you present yourself. That you don’t have to change your behavior for anyone.