Monday, February 10, 2014

gender issues: preference

the thing about sexual preference is that people get it confused with gender identity.

in the misspent days of my youth i viewed bisexuals with suspicion.

clearly these people just can't cope with being gay and are hedging their bets, or trying to be less gay than they are.

you know, because being partly gay isn't as bad as being gay. isn't it a shame these people are so filled with self-loathing that they can't just be who they are?

see what i did there?  i wasn't too far off of those people who think gay men want to be women.

ok, so self-loathing does figure into the equation and in some cases even fuels gender identity problems, but i think mostly we aren't born despising who we are. that gets drilled into us by others.

i said it wasn't binary, and it isn't. there are a great many ways people experience sexual attraction.

but let's for a moment pretend it's a linear scale and that we all fall somewhere on the line between preferring men and preferring women.

if you're unsure of who is appropriately male or female or who is behaving according to gender norms, you might be attracted to a WRONG PERSON and be punished for it.

so you'd have to guard against wrong sexuality and you'd have to make sure OTHER PEOPLE are getting it right.

so, ok, now you have a self-perpetuating cultural bias against the wrong kind of sexual attraction. people who might fall along the middle of the continuum now have incentive to keep to the "proper" side.

and a secondary damaging thing emerges: people who have to make sacrifices to stay on the "right" side do not like it when others decide not to make those sacrifices. this is a common thing in any case where some people give up something for whatever reason and others do not. those who have sacrificed sometimes feel as if their choice is threatened or devalued and anger results.

but really, if you look at it rationally, why do you care what kind of sex other people want to have?

i can think of a lot of sexual behaviors that squick me, but there are perfectly competent adults who enjoy those same behaviors and as long as i don't have to engage in those behaviors, there's no reason you shouldn't.

i have to kind of get around my own sense of "ewwww, that's just WRONG", but if i think about it, it's only really wrong for me.

if you are an adult and you like the thing you're about to do with another adult who likes that thing, it's just none of my business.

of course, to make sure i am not about to be doing something with someone who might like a thing that squicks me, i'd actually have to talk with that other person, and that might be uncomfortable.

if i get RULES made so that nobody is supposed to be able to do the things that squick me, i don't have to have any awkward conversations. i can just punish people who do the thing i don't like.

sucks if you like it, though.


cookie said...

I have always wondered the same thing...why do people care what other consenting adults do in the bedroom? I know--because Bible--but now we know about valid variations. Stop waving your torches and pitchforks, people.

Zhoen said...

Have never understood this, although I accept it as a real thing. I've stood near that line, peered over, decided it was ok, just not to my taste. But then, some people get riled if you don't like their favorite foods, as well.

When I first met actual gay people, it took me a little while to get used to the idea. But I was young, and kept in the dark about so much of life that wasn't Catholic Orthodoxy. Sort of like seeing couples of varying colors, takes a moment for the eye to adjust.

Some people really hate having to adjust.


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