This Meme Of Prince George Has Been Labelled “Gay” And It’s Made A LOT Of People Angry

26 July 2017, 12:42 | Updated: 26 July 2017, 13:11

Prince George
Woodrow Whyte

By Woodrow Whyte

People are upset but they've totally misunderstood the intentions

Last weekend the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took a five-day visit to Poland and Germany to do royal things like posing for pictures and visiting places for no apparent reason. But it was their son, Prince George, that really stole the show thanks to this one picture.

After being invited on to a helicopter, Prince George couldn't contain his excitement. Immaculately dressed in a checkered shirt tucked into to his navy shorts, with his knees slightly bent and his hands clasping his face in utter joy, the photo quickly became a meme. The image struck a chord with gay men in particular, many of whom felt the innocence of George's feminine pose reminded them of their own childhood. 



The Carly Rae Jepsen fans were all over it...


...and the Ari stans too.




Other tweets appeared to speculate on Prince George's sexuality because of the camp/effeminate pose that George has in the photo.




That made some some people very uncomfortable. They felt it was wrong to project a sexual identity onto a 4-year-old boy. Others felt these tweets were mocking George, similar to the homophobic bullying many effeminate men face during their school years.




This being Twitter, there was a backlash against the backlash. Some argued that people were only uncomfortable with the idea of Prince George being gay because they were homophobic, or because they viewed effeminate behaviour in men as a negative thing. 



Speculating on the sexuality of a child isn't cute. As someone who is gay and was often intrusively questioned about my sexuality when I didn't want, or know how, to talk about it, I can understand how stressful that experience can be. 

That said, there is a nuance being lost here. As Louis Staples so articulately wrote in the New Statesmen, the reaction to this photo isn’t really about sexuality; it’s about the innocence of childhood. It's about the time before boys experience 'shame' for being effeminate and are taught to be masculine. The time when you are free to enjoy the things you like without the fear of prejudice, only because you have no conception of it yet. 

When I see Prince George in that photo, I'm reminded of how much I liked gymnastics at primary school, only to later learn that it was considered a sport for girls, and so the other kids would be mean to me about it. Eventually I stopped. 

Most of the posts I've seen are about a nostalgia for a purer time when being masculine or feminine didn't matter. That doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.