Sunday, February 6, 2011

THE MYTH OF SEXUAL FLUIDITY

But many other formerly hetero-identified women do jump the fence and partner with women, as I share in my anthology, Dear John, I Love Jane.

They happen to be sexually fluid. That means that they can spend the first 25, 30, 40, 50 years of their lives identifying as straight. They aren't bi, or closeted. But bam...one day they meet a woman and have hot sexy feelings about her. Or maybe they have a wonderful, close friend, and something shifts; a sexual dimension enters the relationship and they fall in love and/or lust.

This often happens as a woman's hetero relationship is winding down, or when a woman is already divorced. When everything you took for granted has gone up in smoke, it's a lot easier to imagine new possibilities and see where they lead.

It happened to me. I did some same-sex experimenting in college, but nothing lasting came of it. I dated men in my twenties and happily settled down with the man who became my husband. But seven years later, when we both admitted that our marriage was over, I was ready to really explore being with a woman. I put my profile on match.com, clicked "woman seeking women" and began to go to women's dances and events. A year later, I met my partner, Laura, and I've never looked back.


[For the full article, see here.]

To speak of, or allege, one's "sexual fluidity" falsely shows sexual orientation to be a choice; an allegation that is used by homophobes as attempted justification to prevent the acquisition of equal rights for Gay people and same-sex couples.

The fact is that although each of us can engage in sexual activity with people of the same-sex or opposite sex, that doesn't make us Gay or Straight! Rather, what makes us Gay or Straight is innate and partakes of emotional/romantic/sexual attraction, whether or not that attraction is recognized and/or articulated from childhood.

Frequently, the recognition that one is Gay is not realized until rather late for some Gay people as there are few if any role models within the cohort for that person. In this sense, Black people had an easier time affirming themselves, as both their families and their churches, to one degree or another, were there to support them.

Tragically, most all Gay people have neither their families nor their churches to affirm them! Indeed, those institutions often demean them and drive them away, often irreparably damaging their sense of self and self-esteem.

Hence, many Gay people define themselves as "Straight," as that is the norm in society, the family, and in churches, and it is only until later on in their development that many, though not all, come to recognize that they are Gay, and were Gay, all the time.

The above cited article is tragic on a number of levels, and distorts the reality of what it means to be Gay. As my friend Don Charles stated in reference to this article:

This article is insulting on several levels. First, it revives that long-discredited myth about bad relationships with men turning women into Lesbians. Second, it plays the reader for a fool by saying "I had no Gay feelings before" even while admitting to earlier sexual experientation with women. That's another myth: That all heterosexual women are "bi-curious"(not)! Third, it assumes that being LesBiGay is about nothing but sex. Fourth, she compares sex with women and men as if she were comparing Chinese food to Thai food . . . really offensive! Fifth, she's engaged in subtle fearmongering. In effect, she's telling everybody: "Look! I'm exotic. I switched from heterosexual to homosexual. It's weird and spooky. Maybe it could happen to you, too!" Finally, she's reinforcing the old lies that homosexuality is a deviation from heterosexuality, and that it can sometimes be "chosen." Why does she feel the need to do this?

The author may feel the need to allege her perceived sexual fluidity because she may have been confused about her sexual orientation all of her younger life. A lot of Gay people date and even marry members of the opposite sex, both to hide or deny their orientation, or falsely think that by so doing they will become Straight.

Yet, despite all of their machinations and rationalizations, they are still Gay, were always Gay, and will always be Gay, and no amount of dating or marrying members of the opposite sex will change that God-given reality!

Gay people who allege their perceived sexual fluidity are giving ammunition to strident homophobes to convince potential Straight allies that sexual orientation is a choice! This damn lie is a major vehicle for denying equal rights to Gay people and to same-sex couples, and that lie must be brought to light for all to see it and its dangerous consequences.

And for Gay people to perpetuate this lie is nothing short of traitorous to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT people!
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5 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jerry,

I just posted a link to this timely essay on Twitter. I'm sick to death of idiotic people like Candace Walsh, parading their sexual denial in the media, sensationalizing LesBiGay identity and trying to make it look like some hot new fad! "Friend, have you grown tired of your husband of wife? Why not GO GAY? Switching your sexual orientation over is as easy as switching your cell phone service!" Lord, deliver me!!!

genevieve said...

It's really sad that those in sexual denial harm themselves as well as others. Is it worth all the mental games to be played because they cannot deal iwth the fact that they are not straight? I really don't understand it.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi genevieve: That denial comes mostly from the rabid homophobia in our society, largely fueled by most of the institutional Church. When youngsters (and adults) are told that Gay people are sinners, are possessed by the devil, aren't worthy of equality, and are choosing a perverted lifestyle, it is no wonder that there is not only denial, but a lot of suicides, assaults, and murders of LGBT people. That's why the LGBT Civil Rights movement must concentrate on the homophobic churches whose clergy and congregations have blood on their hands! Best wishes, Jerry.

FQ said...

Jerry and Don, I totally agree with your analysis. Candace Walsh's mindset and essay is ...dangerous, humiliating. I felt disrespected four or five different ways ... and I suspect a good many Gay men would say the same thing.

Thank you for your analysis, Don and Jerry.

I've finally begun to feel comfortable with the real me. My sexuality is a gift from god.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks so much, FQ, and thank God you recognize that your sexuality is God's gift to you and to the world. Best wishes, Jerry.