On Not Being Gay

From about the time I was fourteen till just a couple years ago, my sexual identity was strictly delineated as “gay”. I now say that term can go fuck itself and the whole concept of binaries along with it.

I was always more drawn to androgyny, and it’s dawned on me that my physical attractions compel me more toward people who look like a joyous amalgam of gender designations—characteristics, appearance, attitudes, mannerisms, speech patterns stemming from wherever the hell they find suits them the best, whether male or female or those aliens from The Left Hand of Darkness or Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Data. Sexual organs are kind of beside the point, and frankly none of my business unless we’re heading in that direction or in a burlesque act together or both.

Now I hear you, cis white gay dude reading this. You take issue with that last bit because, as a gay homosexual who bangs dudes, you expect a penis on your partner when you go to engage in what I assume is extremely banal intercourse that you will gloat to your friends about being “mindblowing” later. I know this because I used to be you.

The biggest red flag in sticking to the binary has been, for me, the cis white gay male attitude. You know the one. The one that has been accepted into the status quo, molded into an easily understandable archetype of masculinity. Quote-unquote sassy, so body conscious (but not body positive) that they have crafted their own pick-up culture at the gym, adheres to the political majority beliefs of the left or the right, casually racist with “inner black women” (TM) and “no rice, no spice” on their Grindr profiles, internalized homophobia and misogyny disguised as being “real”. These guys are certainly a minority, one whose persecutions, trials and tribulations are not to be undermined. But not an intersectional minority. Basically Dan Savage. Fuck Dan Savage.

I’m not saying cis white gay men are all trash. If you assumed that then please consider how often you go on people’s personal blogs looking for confrontation. It’s that I’ve often found we cling to buzzword identities and let them consume us. The term “gay” harms individuals because it comes with the expectation to act and be a certain way. A mold to fill because you are gay and that is how gays are.

It certainly screwed with my psyche. As a teenage I first struggled to physically appreciate women who are considered attractive by most people (Protip: You can cheat by looking at Penelope Cruz, Gillian Anderson or Angela Bassett). Failing that, I did the whole coming out thing, got the hell over myself, and dealt with being a gay dude. Which was essentially hopping from the previous struggle to struggling to physically appreciate men who are considered attractive by most people. This was to no avail either. Bisexuality didn’t occur to me either—I assumed that if I didn’t appreciate mainstream masculinity or femininity then I couldn’t have been bisexual. But I couldn’t go back now anyway—I’d already come out to a lot of people and couldn’t say that men weren’t exactly my thing either. Their poor brains would explode.

But I stuck with it for better or worse. My cultural situation never lent itself well to inviting particularly androgynous people into my life (living in midwestern near-rural suburbs will do that to ya)—perhaps for the best, as I would not have been a very good partner to the “opposite” gender or any other gender iteration up until more recently, now that I’m a bit more educated and settled into myself (and sucks for them anyway, as I now have a wonderful partner). I’ve dated a few dudes, realized that the “dude” bits were not the most important parts of any of them. (Currently dating a dude too but I’ve been with him throughout this whole epiphany and he’s played a huge part in it.) In addition to various personality pressures—how ridiculous is it anyway that some people let the bodies of who they sleep with define them?—this “gay” label has pressured me into only pursuing men as viable romantic options.

I’m kind of over that. I’m not gay, or at least I reject that term as a designation of who I am as a person. I have been romantically linked to men, yes. But it’s none of your business to have expectations of a person based on their sexual preferences. It’s easier to process? Okay, fine. But then you are not only establishing preconceived assumptions of me, you are creating societal pressures for me to act a certain way based on those assumptions. In short, fuck you. I have nothing against Lady Gaga but I don’t listen to her. Ryan Murphy is scum and all his shows are trash.

I’m here to say that not only are binary sexual identities unnecessary, they are downright hurtful for everyone involved. Just ask literally any transwoman who has been with a self-styled heterosexual cis dude. We all become worse people when we adhere to an abstract identity or label without being honest with ourselves about how we actually feel about it.

This is something that a lot of non-white, non-cis people have already discovered. But it’s worth reiterating for whoever is listening.


About Bryan Cebulski

Writer. Cis queer. History, masculinity, media. Point-and-click adventure protagonist. He/Him/His. Collects bad habits like Jessica Rabbit.
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