I have lived my life with the handbrake on. Too prone to hit the foot-brake too, and terrified of the accelerator pedal, I seek to free myself. My project here is finding what stories, understandings, and responses serve my freedom, which increase my serfdom. Jtteop, despite a rebarbative idea which initially blinded me to the value which might be in what he says, seems to seek such freedom through words, so repays a closer look.
His “myth” is that one is born gay, only attracted to persons of the same gender. His counter-myth is that being gay is not innate.
The process starts when a person says words or performs actions that are outside the range of social acceptability for their gender. It will then be suggested to the person that they might be ‘gay’ and they will be asked to meditate on that possibility, with the hope that they will have an epiphany of sorts that will lead to a confession. This is called ‘coming out’.
The human brain is very flexible in this regard and will presumably help out, as it always does, to let the denounced person see the previously unrecognised possibilities.
There is a huge amount wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with being gay, any more than with having red hair. Twin studies show that there is a greater correlation of orientation between identical than non-identical twins, so there is a genetic component, even if that correlation is not total. Then again, before death the only orientation anyone can be sure of is bisexuality: there are lots of reasons to fight particular sexual attractions, but “I’m not gay, I’m straight” is not one of them.
The word “gay” is liberating, as “Uranian” was before it. It fosters acceptance of ones desire and permits sexual fulfilment. It is not as jtteop asserts linked to not fitting the socially ordained gender role, though it may be.
However the tincture of truth in jtteop’s post is that the label “gay” can be constraining, leading a person to imagine they should behave or respond in a certain way. More usually, it is liberating: it is permission to respond in that non-standard role, without shame. The word “straight” is far more constraining: men have an idea of how straight men “should” behave.
For jtteop, gay is simply the shortcutting of a natural process (same with drug use) . You gain pleasure without the necessity to go though all the usual mechanisms to get that pleasure. Well, no. Here he says that only straight sex is natural, or indeed that gay sex is easier to get- not for those with internalised homophobia it isn’t. Also that straight sex is fulfilling, but gay sex only seems to be. Though he is libertarian: he wants people to be able to do whatever they want to.
Words and understandings can imprison us. Jtteop recognises this. The way to freedom is to permit responses, and to perceive without judgment.