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"Being Gay Doesn't Define Me"

Posted by libhom Saturday, January 01, 2011

Rainbow flag from Warsaw PrideSan Francisco Husky Bear blogged about something that really gets on my nerves too.

Some people just work my last nerve with the "being gay doesn't define me" line.

You know what I'm talking about. "There's more to me than being gay." "Being gay is just a small part of me. It doesn't define me." Like being gay is a pretty shirt you can pull out of the closet when you're in the mood. And I chose the closet analogy on purpose.

I have news for you, sister. Being gay is everything about you. There is nothing that is with you more than your gayness. Not your religion. Not your family. Not your job. Nothing. Your gayness is with you 24/7 every day of your life until you breathe your last breath.

And by the way, that's exactly how the world defines you, whether you like it or not. Get over it.

Intellectually, I know why people do this. It has to do with the internalized heterosexism we are all brainwashed into since birth.

young Asian man in briefs waving rainbow flag at pride paradePeople in denial about the importance of an aspect of themselves that they, consciously or unconsciously, feel is bad are trying to feel better about themselves. However, beneath the surface, it is toxic and only makes people feel worse about themselves.

We are all told that we are heterosexual from birth. We also see negative messages about being LGBT everywhere, some less overt than others. Some queers try to pretend that we aren't different. The minimization of who we are is part of that.

Some people use the biological basis of homosexuality, bisexuality, and being transgender as a justification for something that is perfectly fine and doesn't need to be justified.

However, people who use it to say that they "can't help" being LGBT don't understand the implications of it. The initial study supporting the biological hypothesis showed differences in brain structure between gays and heterosexuals. It just doesn't make sense to assume that the impacts of differences in measurable brain structure would be exclusively related to who we lust for and who we love.

Fighting heterosexism isn't just about fighting overt prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is about countering the underlying notion that difference is bad and makes people inferior. Resisting conformity of all kinds must be a strategic priority of the LGBT movement if we are to ever win any kind of real liberation.

Photos: Jakub Szestowicki

Bryan Gosline



  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. PLEASE remember to thank GetEqual for their efforts by making a DONATION today. Help us win more of these battles.


    We need your support NOW!

  3. TomCat Says:
  4. As a gay-supporting straight person, I can't really identify with this. Heterosexuality is certainly not the be all and end all of my existence, but I've never been put in the position where it was a reason used to demonize me. If I had, perhaps I could see it more clearly.

  5. libhom Says:
  6. TomCat: Being a straight man permeates every aspect of your life. Sexuality and other differences between gay and straight affect your every waking moment. It even effects your dreams when you are asleep.

    You just take it so for granted that you aren't even consciously aware of it.



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