Diatribe - 11

“Despite current usage, the word [homosexual] is an adjective describing a sexual action, not a noun describing a recognisable type.”
(Gore Vidal)

I am a man, I have romantic relationships with men and I have sex with men. At the same time, I do not think of myself as “gay”, yet I often refer to myself in this way. I do this because it’s easy and people understand it. Moreover, I’m lazy. By saying “I’m gay”, my romantic and sexual interests are quickly made plain and this can be advantageous. Yet each time I say it, I feel slightly uneasy. In effect, I’m making my sexual preference my defining feature. The alternatives, however, are just as problematic: “I sleep with men” [slutty]; “I like men” [ambiguous]; “I like boys” [less ambiguous but somewhat paedophilic]; “I have relationships with men” [woefully untrue at this point in my life] etcetera.

Gay, straight, lesbian, bi; these words (and many others) are used when describing a vast array of different people and a vast array of different circumstances. They indiscriminately lump us into particular types, types that enable others to make assumptions and stereotypes. Yet in reality, the meanings of these words are all the more banal; they are merely adjectives describing sexual actions. I’m not saying that sex is banal (at least it shouldn’t be), but who puts what where with whom, that’s beside the point. “In any case, [consensual] sex of any sort is neither right nor wrong. It is” (Vidal).

Perhaps I am being pedantic; the foundation of my argument is based on semantics. Yet, actually being something, or merely having that something describe your actions; that distinction seems important to me.

My life is my story to tell and I want to pick the title. 

Posted 6:49am Thursday 19th May 2011 by Anonymous.