These traditions, including that of male belly dancing, have continued to flourish for many, many more years that passed, that everybody in the community would participate in the dancing. We recognize here the origins of folk dancing, of which belly dancing has one its roots. And people from the Middle East, and Africa, where belly dancing is believed to have originated, apparently don't see much problem from men doing belly dancing in modern times, as long as they're doing it "folkloric" style.
And available documents show that men have been doing belly dancing, which can be gleaned from folk dancing, or what's known as "raqs baladi" in Arabic. Male belly dancing is most particularly familiar, historically in Turkey. During the long history of the Ottoman Empire, "rakkas" or male belly dancers supplied the need for Ottoman men to watch something visually artistic and pleasing - as women were generally not around during social and entertainment life. Rakkas maybe either "kocek (or kocheks)" or "tavsan oglan," most of which, even to-date, maybe seen performing during Ramadan.
The Koceks, who would usually wear women's garb, and with long, flowing hair were described as: "young boys who were sensuous, attractive, effeminate, and carefully trained in music and dance. Their dancing was sexually provocative and impersonated female dancers. It incorporated ladylike walking, finger snapping (a special two-handed finger snap), slow belly movements, suggestive gestures, acrobatics, and playing wooden clappers called calpara or, in later times, metal cymbals called zils. The boys danced as long as they stayed good looking and could hide their beards. The dancing boys were an acceptable substitute for the prohibited women dancers." They faded into relative obscurity after they were officially banned in 1856.
The tavsan oglan ("rabbit boy") usually have "charming little hats" and "tight pants," who historians note might have come from the islands in the Aegean and Marmara regions. Most worked as bartenders, too, in meyhanes (traditional restaurants serving hors d'oeuvres - meze -, and Turkish beverage - raki -).
The presence of these male belly dancers during those historical periods reflect Turkish society then, when men and women were strictly segregated, and where men dominated all aspects of life. Even celebrations, including those in weddings then, have separate functions for men and women, thus these male belly dancers easily supplied what was lacking and missed.
However, records, too, show that male belly dancers had actually got into the awareness of the general public in the USA, though largely ignored by the then press, for one reason or another. They were around the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, where the Egyptian and Syrian pavilions featured male belly dancers - read this online article for additional information on this, including a picture, too.
Turkish male belly dancers also had their counterparts in Egypt, where they were around until around mid 19th century. W.E. Lane's book "Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians" and Gustave Flaubert's "Travels in Egypt" describe these dancers extensively.