Here’s a few thoughts on the meaning of “gay” and how I sometimes encounter the word in my life.
I was on YouTube the other day, watching a some clever homegrown production and a couple of the commenters left one liners that said something like, “this is so fucking gay.” I know, I know, you may be shocked to find such crude attacks in YouTube comments, where each post is a miniature School of Philosophers.
My first thought was to respond with “how is that an insult?” because they clearly meant it as such. I can probably predict their witty rejoinder: “Dude, you’re so fucking gay.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d hear that, though this mostly comes to me second-hand, through Jana. Girlfriends occasionally ask her if she worries about the possibly of my coming out of the closet some day.
And thanks to xJane, I might have an answer. She recently tweeted, “DH [Dear Hubby] & I have decided that he’s gay, he just likes pussy and I’m lesbian but like cock.” So maybe that’s me. I’m gay, but I’m sexually attracted to women.
I’ve steeped long enough in that wonderful blended tea of gender theory to arrive at the conclusion that gender is way more mutable than most people believe, but not so long that I don’t believe there’s at least some tiny amount of biological determinism. This gives me a lot of wiggle room, and wiggle I do. It’s boring to do the straight shuffle when you can sashay down the promenade of life!
Anyhow, so how am I gay?
I’m ok with some physical expression of affection with my male friends, as long as the other guy is comfortable with it. Men are capable of giving the best hugs.
I’d rather spend time with most women or sensitive, verbal men than strong, silent, typically masculine men.
Some of my guy friends and I flirt with each other.
I care a lot about my physical appearance. I can name colors like chartreuse, peacock and kelly green. I liked The Devil Wears Prada. I sometimes wear shirts with flowers on them and women’s jeans. I notice when female coworkers get haircuts and comment on how it enhances their features or works with the shape of their face.
I have no problem with cross-dressing and wearing make-up to a costume event.
I fight for gay rights. This shouldn’t set the Gaydar a beepin’ (any more than fighting for Civil Rights made a white woman black), but I’m sure that it does for some folks.
I’m not saying that any of these things should be labeled “gay,” but they often are in our society, and if this is enough to make someone gay, then maybe I’m gay as far as these characteristics go.
How am I not gay? I’m not sexually attracted to my same gender. I imagine that this is a pretty big one. And I’m comfortable enough with my sexuality that if I were attracted to men, believe me, I would be open about it. I even tried watching some gay porn once, just to see if it would make any impact on me. It didn’t.
I thought about why I’m even writing this. If I’m comfortable and secure, do I even need to write this? Should I follow Keanu Reeves’ “no comment” line whenever someone asks him about his gender preference? In the end, I decided that I want to be as open about this subject as I am about most other things. It’s another topic full of nuance and shades of grey, like most of the other subjects xJane and I blog about here.
I’m not without secrets, but I have very few surprises. Anyone who reads Mind on Fire can get a pretty good picture about who I am without having to read anything between the lines.
Oh, and to anyone who comments that this post is “totally gay” I say, Thank you.