Thursday, October 21, 2010


I've been an LGBT Rights activist for about twenty years, and have been quite disturbed by the seeming political indolence of many professed Gay people, as well as the counterproductive frivolity and displays that are virtually guaranteed to offend the sensibilities of decent people, both Gay and Straight alike.

Unless decency and dignity, and a fire in the belly, accompany the struggle for LGBT equality, not much will be gained in this area, and much will be lost; the gratitude for crumbs of incrementalism and embracing an appeal to the electorate for equal rights will be embraced by those Gay people who are either filled with recognized or unrecognized self-loathing and/or who are not even Gay at all, despite the fact that they publicly identify as "Gay."

There must be a distinction made between being "Gay" and being a "sexual hedonist" who gets off on having sex with people of the same sex, and I truly believe that the lack of recognition of that distinction is what is going a long way toward retarding true equality and the acquisition of full and equal civil and sacramental rights for Gay people.

Simply put: just because a person has and may even enjoy sexual relations with the same sex does not necessarily make that person "Gay." We know this fact from life in prisons and boarding schools where same-sex relations are not uncommon, and yet many, if not most, of these people, once out of those institutions, behave heterosexually.

It seems to me that many self-proclaimed "Gay activists" are definitely sexually involved with members of the same sex, but may not be necessarily Gay! Merely having same-sex sexual activity does not necessarily make one Gay, and the confusion of the two is what is helping to muddy the waters in the fight for full and equal LGBT equality, a fight that many of the sexual hedonists are greatly impeding!

To be Gay means to have an emotional and romantic affinity with one's own sex, that may or may not include sexual activity! For example, even if one can't have sexual relations, he/she is still Gay or Straight! Mere sexual activity does not necessarily determine one's true status.

Just knowing about one's sexual activities tells us virtually nothing about his/her status as Gay or Straight! In the sexual realm, probably the psychoanalyst Anna Freud gave the best operational definition to distinguish "Gay" from "Straight." She said the best criterion to determine who is Gay or Straight are the fantasies one has when he or she masturbates! And in the sexual realm of life, I concur with her contention.

However, when it comes to publicly defining who is Gay (and who is Straight), mere sexual activity tells us very little about that person's status but, rather, the sex of the people to whom he/she most romantically and emotionally relates.

It is the overlooking of this distinction between feeling and behavior that may be seen to contribute to the false notion that sexuality is fluid! It is only "fluid" if mere sexual activity is considered to define one's status as "Gay" or "Straight."

However, if we see that our status as Gay or Straight consists not merely in who we have sex with but, rather, to whom we emotionally and romantically relate, the notion of "sexual fluidity" is seen as the fiction it is; the notion of being "ex-gay" is seen as being a myth, as one can abstain from sexual activity and yet still emotionally and romantically relate to people of the same sex, thereby defining that person as permanently Gay; self-identified "Gay activists" and others may or may not be truly Gay, but merely enjoy same sex sexual activity.

In sum, it is my contention that a lot of vagaries will disappear if we accurately define being Gay (and being Straight) as primarily involving emotional and romantic components rather than largely defining those classifications in terms of sexual activity.

And it may well be that the frivolity, the counterproductive pageants and displays, and the gratuitous use of hateful words as self-identifiers, all of which are retarding the struggle for full and equal rights for LGBT people, are more likely to come from "sexual hedonists," many of whom view themselves, and are naively viewed by others, as "activists," who enjoy same-sex activities rather than from Gay people as defined above.
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genevieve said...

Jerry, this may be the reason that people don't take us seriously. Being transgender is a lot more than sex and this is not lost on me. I blame LGBT media also for doing their part in creating this mess. I'm really disappointed that more style trumps subjects of substance.

Jerry Maneker said...

Absolutely, genevieve. And to call it "style" is a stretch! Best wishes, Jerry.