a step in identity

As I have indicated before, I have increasingly little time for the constraints of modern labels on human sexuality.

The label of “gay” has never sat easily with me, and judging from the reactions of a good few gay men I’ve come into contact with, the gay mainstream would share that opinion of me. Which isn’t that surprising now, as I’ve come to the conclusion that “gay” really is an artificial and forced construct (as opposed to any form of sexual or emotional desire, including the homosexual and homoerotic). Or maybe it just isn’t me, and it was a case of mistaken identity.

I believe in a sexual humanism, in human beings relating as humans, with varying needs for relationship, emotion and sexual fulfilment with men and/or women. It’s individual and it’s human. That’s how I see things, though we tend to be prevented from that purity of honest relationship by social pressure to be purely heterosexual, and the condemnation of homosexuality, as well as the coercion to be strictly monogamous. On the other hand we are equally distorted by the forced reaction and rebellion against those things.

I always identified as “gay” as that was the best available description, especially when seeking to find a way in the world as it is. But at this point I have divested myself of the term, except for the purposes of brief, pragmatic communication. My desires, sexual and emotional, for deep relationship are overwhelmingly for other men, or rather for certain kinds of men, and certain individual men (at this stage it is individual men). It’s an energy thing, a thing of the psyche, but also a thing of the body. But if I am to be “put in a box” and categorised, I feel the best term to attach to myself would be bisexual, not because I have felt the need to have sex or an intimate relationship with a woman (and I am now 58 years old), but because it would be disingenuous to pretend that I was absolutely 100% purely and only homosexual in possible desire or sexual behaviour, given the right person and circumstances. That is just silly in my view, bordering on phobic. Men really are my thing, without a doubt, but this great divide, with all the assertions and assumptions attached to either “side”, is I think false.

So better call me bisexual, if you must. If anyone wants to know more, well they better ask. But better still, just call me human.

mercuriuskopergravure

Mercurius KoperGravure by Matham Jacob (naar tekening Goltzius) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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scandal, tolerance and “rights”

Today I was watching a snippet of daytime TV with a friend, and the subject was a discussion of a “scandal” that had peeked out of the political establishment, of the old fashioned politicians and prostitutes type. I tend to find the reactions to these things puerile and moralistic, often deeply disingenuously so. It’s like virtue signalling, but made in the threadbare image of the Edwardian era.

In this case the politician was a “family man” who it has emerged had been consorting with male sex workers, and he’s now resigned.

The daytime TV program (Loose Women) had some varied opinions, the one I sympathised with most defending the politician on the basis that this really was not a public issue, and he had not acted hypocritically when measured by his stated positions on things like sex work, and we should just stop this kind of media circus. Others felt more critical, and one of the issues (aside from the public service angle), was the issue of the moral aspect of his “cheating” on his wife.

One person said she thought “in this day and age” people could be openly gay, and they should be able to live openly, and this kind of thing should not be happening. But I really think this misses the point of how far we have to go in bringing about real, meaningful freedom for people, not in terms of gay rights, or anything that can even be primarily tackled by the whole “militant” rights type of thinking, but in terms of how many people aren’t free to live as themselves openly. This man might not be gay, and sexuality is far more subtle and nuanced than ticking one of three boxes. He might specifically gain a certain kind of fulfilment from liaising with sex workers, as people have for thousands of years. He just isn’t the idea of a “family man” that people have. We don’t know, and it isn’t our business, and aside from maybe conjecturing that he and his wife might or might not have some communicating to do about their respective needs, no one knows, or should know, anything there either.

It really points out to me how our society has and hasn’t changed. Yes, we do have equal rights for gay people, and that is something to be proud of and grateful for. Honestly, we have it good. But there is a great deal else to question with compassion and openness, such as why not polyamory, validated sex work, alternative relationship forms, and a release from this whole thing of gay, straight or bisexual, stamped and sealed or else (get judged as something shady, confused or dishonest). This isn’t the stuff of politics,  it’s the stuff of hearts and minds. How much greater could we be, if we appreciated the real tapestry of human nature, sexual and otherwise?

What we need is a sexual humanism.

The Great American by Jasenlee (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Great American by Jasenlee (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons