Saturday, 28 July 2007


I was planning to do a post on coming-out nuance anyway, but Closet-NS kind of beat me to it.

The old labeling issue comes up time and again for us deviants (not a pejorative). Society seems to demand it. In the acceptance stages of our own development process we brood on it, break our minds over it and try to learn to deal with it. What are we? We're not 100% straight, that we know we for sure, even though we might not be ready to admit it. We are attracted to men, but also to women to some variable degree.

We know about bisexuality, but that term seems to infer some sort of balance in sexual preferences. There's pansexuality, which implies indifference to sex and attraction to personalities and individuals. Interesting, but not applicable to my case. I wish it was, though. It looks hugely futuristic and exciting.

The truth is that I'm probably about 65% gay, 35% attracted to women. Technically, we could call this queer but it doesn't quite fit the colloquialism. The word "queer" just doesn't convey nuance. And how do you honestly calculate such percentages?

Now I'm quite happy with this state of affairs really. I understand my own situation after years of doubt and thinking. But how do you explain this to friends, family, casual bystanders?

You don't want to get into facts or figures, percentages or the Kinsey scale. Society likes to put its members into carefully defined categories. I might not, but it's a fact of life and empathy and good manners seem to demand that I conform.

Society over the years has come to develop ways to deal with homosexuality. Manners and political correctness demand it and humanity has found a way to deal with it (at least in most of Europe and North America). People express indifference to a friend's sexual preference during coming-outs, to the relief of the speaker. That's etiquette, and it's a good thing, but it's often an act.

Society is less ready to deal with scales of sexuality. There's no scripted pattern to deal with those stories yet. Yet I and many like me fall into this category. We want to keep it short and simple, because after all it's private information we don't always want to share with everyone around.

So each of us individually ends up settling for a phrase, a term, a short explanation that will cover the current and expected future situations accurately enough. I've decided to settle for bisexuality even though it doesn't feel entirely correct.

In the end, I like men and women, and this allows me to come home with a girl even though I'm predominantly gay. Others have settled for different terms. That's fine, but wouldn't it be better to find some sort of common ground? Homosexual emancipation has benefited us, but it has also left us with a much too simple boolean choice between two groups that are not exact complements. Maybe we can only win one sexual battle at a time, but the case of the %-sexuals surely needs to be represented.

1 comment:

Matt-CNS said...

Sorry for beating you to the punch!! Good points though. I also think we have become a bit too simplistic in our definitions, but for the time being it is like you said "it's a fact of life'. Maybe one day people might actually understand all of this a bit better.

Closet NS