I have always been the kind of person that considers his sexuality something personal (which is not the same as private). Therefore, I’m not fond of the ‘Hey, I’m X and I’m Gay’. I simply do not consider it relevant at that stage of the conversation.
However, this ‘relevancy’ of one’s sexuality has been put at the stake recently (and for the past decade). As the laws of different countries change and the gay collective (and people) get more attention, we often hear (mostly by straight people) ‘How is your sexuality relevant?’, ‘Why do you introduce yourself with your sexuality?’ (a bit of an exaggeration, even though sometimes does happen), ‘Why is this on the news?’ or ‘What’s the pride in it?’.
Most of the time, these are comments on Social Platforms replying to the news. I feel like answering all of them! But I thought I would rather write this article.
First of all, the introduction. Yes, it is certainly out-of-place to state one’s sexuality in his/her introduction. It is odd. I can think, however, about a few situation in which the context demands that kind of specification.
But, let’s be honest… in many situations, if that person wouldn’t have said anything at the beginning and then, let’s say, in the middle of the conversation, talking about certain actor, he says ‘Yes, I agree, he is quite hot’, the chances of all the eyes in the room suddenly turning to look on him/her are very high. This particular way of looking, saying: ‘Oh my God, are you Gay? Why didn’t you say it before?’. It can be accompanied with excitement or disgust.
Not, it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you find normal people (whatever that means), who just smile. But they are surprised. It does surprise even me if someone else does it, and I am gay!
Therefore, it may be out-of-place, but let’s not use the card of ‘Why do you have to make a big deal of it stating it in your introduction. I don’t care at all’ when they actually mean ‘I don’t want to hear it. Not now, not ever’.
The Gay and the News
With the recent coming out of Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, another issue has been posed again: whether this is a relevant new or no.
When I read such comments on those news, I just lose it.
Seriously guys? Are you actually playing that card again? Relevancy?
Tim Cook could break a leg, be featured on the news for that, and nobody would complain. People would probably make some #BendGame joke about it.
An actress kisses a guy in public and it’s all over the news. Actors get their iCloud accounts hacked, and the internet goes mad talking about them or even looking for those leaked pictures.
Are you seriously going to tell me that ‘that’s his private life’? That ‘you don’t know how that is relevant’?
Moreover, do you know to whom is this not relevant? To him.
Do we seriously think that the CEO of one of the biggest companies of the world actually ‘needs’ to come out to the world as gay?
‘Why then?’ one may ask, ‘why?’. Because.
Because we still live in a society where being gay is not acceptable. Because there are still a myriad of countries where it’s illegal, and punishable (sometimes with death). Because of Russia’s gay propaganda law.
Because we live in a world that has its eyes focused on big names, big stars. They are seen as ‘the relevant people’ and, by coming out, they are setting an example.
Because at one point, there would be impossible to (truly) hate-avoid gay people — we serve your food, design your gadgets, organise your events, drive you home. And in that moment, people, however they feel about homosexuality, would be forced to exercise a very particular attitude: respect — sincere respect for human dignity.
But today is not that time. Today, there are people still struggling. And today, that is a relevant new. Maybe not for you, but neither is the relevant for me the iCloud leak.
Again, if it bother you so much, you can repeat with me: ‘It’s not that I don’t find it relevant, I just don’t want to hear it. Not now, not ever’.
Keep it private or ‘what we do in bed’
Another recurring comment (following the same line of the ones above), is ‘I’m okay with gay people, but I don’t need to know about it, people should keep what they do in bed, private’.
Wrong. My sexuality, like yours, is public, not private. As public as my name, my profession or my hobbies. It is definitely ‘personal’, but not private. And it is most certainly not limited in any way to what I do in bed.
This was very well explained by Jose Luis Serrano in his article (it is in Spanish, though) ‘Nobody care what you do in your bed!’
He gave a great example. If we go out for a walk with our wife and kids and we come across with a friend, it’s mandatory to introduce her, and definitely to introduce her as our wife. If that happens with our husband, and we do the same ‘showing off’ our sexuality or ‘what we do in bed’.
Can you imagine reacting to the first like many do with the second?
‘Goodness me, I’m okay with you having sex with a woman, but keep it to your bed’.
We would be lucky if we are not, first slapped by her, and then punched by her husband. And rightly so (even though I don’t excuse any kind of violence).
Like Jose Luis says, in his article:
My sexual orientation is public. I’m married to a man, the mailbox in my house has the names of the two of us, we share our flat, mortgage, the good and the bad, I sign for his certified letters if he’s not home, we go together to the family meetings, at work, I include him in my health insurance. We watch TV, go to the films, we laugh and cry (a little). Some day we will be buried together (better later than sooner!). That’s my sexual orientation. The other stuff, what we do in bed, that which concerns all of you so much, is my private life. And it’s my private life as much as yours is too.
This is doubly true for the ‘news’ mentioned above.
I am up for removing the ‘personal’ life of celebrities from the news and the internet. Let’s go for it. Most Wikipedia articles feature parts of their personal lives. Let’s take all that down.
But that is not the problem right? Again, repeat with me: ‘It’s not that I don’t find it relevant, or that it has anything to do with what they do in bed, I just don’t want to hear it. Not now, not ever’.
The Pride of being Gay
There is another major comment that I hear every now and then, probably the most frequent one. ‘Why are they proud of being gay? Should I be proud of being straight too then?’
This is probably the dumbest of the comments.
I am sorry, I try to empathise with other people views, but this comments is just a ‘No, no’.
Let’s make it clear. Gay people do not simply feel ‘proud’ of being who they are; that would be, indeed, quite irrelevant. They feel ’proud’ to be true to who they are ‘in spite of’.
In spite of your awful, sometimes cruel, comments.
In spite of the abuse the have to go through.
In spite of reading in every week in the news how another gay couple has been beating just because they were holding hand in the street.
In spite of not being able to commit themselves in same-sex union in their own countries.
In spite of feeling that they are letting their parents down (check this great article about a Muslim guy and his coming out)
And I won’t even go to the Middle East, or some other countries and their penalties (that argument is a bit overused, even though it’s still true).
People may feel that this pride, and even mor specifically, the ‘Gay Pride Day’ is very out-of-place. But, you know, it was only 50 years ago that homosexuality was still considered a mental illness. That gay pubs were being raided.
That didn’t change with ‘peaceful dialogue’. That changed with protests, with celebrities coming out (however irrelevant this may seem to people). Yes, it changed with men in thongs and feathers dancing on the street. No, I don’t feel that this last picture represents me. But God forbid that I ever criticise someone standing for the right of others, however flamboyant the means are.
Some people compare it with overweight. And it may be true in some degree. I had both things during my teen years.
But overweight, even though it could depress me and lead to a lot of discrimination, didn’t scare me. It didn’t make me think that I wouldn’t live to everyone’s expectations, that I could never have a partner or a family (that’s just me, of course).
Above all, overweight is something I was able to change. And sometime, like it was my case, it just changes as your grow physically. So now, that isn’t there anymore, but I am still gay.
So, the moment being straight becomes and issue, the moment it becomes illegal or punishable, the moment you have to go and tell your parents about it with your whole body trembling, the moment that you are beaten for holding hand with your girlfriend.
That moment, I will build a monument for each of you. I will organise the greatest parade ever. I will not only accept that coming out as straight is relevant, I will encourage you to do it. I will support you. I will cry it out with you.
In some respects, I already you. However this articles may seem to focus only on ‘the gay thing’, they are translatable to you as well, to any other aspects, whether it’s sexuality, religion, ideology…
If after this explanation you still feel like using that card, repeat with me: ‘It’s not that I don’t understand why there’s pride on coming out as gay in spite of everything, I just don’t want to hear it. Not now, not ever’.
And here, respect beings…
Image: Gay Pride, bologna june 28, 2008 by l3m4ns