Thursday, November 08, 2007

Word Gay is Just Too Narrow Sometimes

You've read of a few of my other postings about my discomfort with the way in which the general public tends to lump anyone who has sex with someone of the same sex as gay. We read of folks like Larry Craig that his toe-tapping in the men's room means that he's really gay and the love he has for his wife and adopted children have all been a sham.

But as most of us also know, sexuality is a spectrum and has always been so. It includes totally gay, totally straight, and a whole lot of 'in th middle'. When someone like George Michael explains, "Being gay isn't about who you can 'get it up for'", to Richard Curtis' declaration that, "I am not gay!", one can easily see that the conversation is much broader than 'this or that'.

Dan Savage wrote an interesting article (you can read it, but it's kinda 'earthy', if by earthy I mean he doesn't mince his words) about a new term to describe folks like Curtis, who might not actually be gay at all but according to sexologists, he may very well be "autogynephilia" (I had to copy and paste the word, I just couldn't spell the dang thing). If this is so, there may be a closer connection to being transgender than gay.

And so the conversation continues--what does it mean to be gay? I know several guys who "experimented as youths" but ended up realizing that they weren't really gay; they are married now, with kids, and living fulfilling lives. To be honest, I think many youths are not homosexual or heterosexual, they are 'try-sexual', they'll try anything. Wouldn't it be great if all our hormones ravaged us like they did when we were kids--then again, we'd prolly never get anything done. ;)

Here is another example of what I mean: The handsome fella I am dating now is from India. In his youth, "experimentation" was encouraged by adults as boys played with boys. As the boys turn to teenagers, and teenagers turn to adults, it is expected that the young adults will stop playing with each other and marry a woman (a pre-arranged woman, but a woman nonetheless). Many do and go on to live fulfilling lives never again "playing as they did as children". But a few do not. My fella is one of them. For his childhood friends, he has had to remove himself completely from them and his family--for even the sexually relaxed expectations of children give way to strict mores of sexuality that are often not as easily defined.

You see, the spectrum of sexuality isn't as clear cut as many would like to imagine. And for folks like Curtis and Craig, the disgust of their actions have more to do with their hypocrisy than their particular actions (although Craig really should find a better venue, in my opinion, than an airport toilet). Hypocrisy is when said politicians condemn gay, lesbian, and transgender folk in matters of law and proclamation while secretly engaging in that very same activity. You can't have it both ways--or rather, you shouldn't have it both ways. In reality, many folks do have it both ways and that isn't fair to those of us who don't have secret lives but choose instead to live openly (and courageously, depending upon where you live). We shouldn't be condemned by the very men and women who could be helping us--who instead become our biggest oppressors.

What we all need to realize is this: sexuality isn't a clear cut thing for some. For others, it is. And we shouldn't be condemned by the very people who are too busy hiding their own acts of sexuality at the expense of everyone else's. Instead, we should realize that the human condition is vast and broad and that society should be a big enough tent to welcome everyone, regardless of their differences or a threat to the existence of one over the other. As long as what we do respects and values the other, then I say, "Come on in, we've got plenty of room for you."

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