Several factors contribute to this post-firstly it was Cardiff Mardi Gras yesterday, our pride event which I managed to miss, yet again. Second a comment on the last post by my former Stonewall colleague and friend Megan (more on her and her blog at the bottom) who commented she didn’t actually know my sexual orientation. Now something seems amiss when someone I worked with at Stonewall of all places doesn’t know that surely? And I think it means something has been amiss with me.
I listened to one of my idols Tony Kushner on an archive recording while in London talking about the responsibility of, I guess ownership of one’s sexual orientation.
My trouble is I don’t actually know how to own or even categorise myself. What’s trendy now-pansexual? Queer? Most people would probably put me as ‘bisexual’ but I don’t know I’ve never liked the term. Plus my overall lack of romantic or sexual life and perhaps lack of desire for either (see last week’s post) is making me lean towards categorising myself in the ‘asexual’ category. But you know what either way-no scratch that-‘either way’ is far too binary, whichever way then I’m happy.
I have never looked at myself and said it’s wrong you think that girl is attractive, or it’s wrong you have no/little desire to form romantic or sexual attachments. I have always accepted it in myself shrugged it off and generally got on with something more important or interesting. So why then the silence? The gender ambiguous terms? The purposefully avoiding discussion of relationships (or lack thereof)?
Short answer? The rest of the world. It’s bad enough to admit you’re not really bothered about relationships, quite another to admit that if you were bothered you wouldn’t mind what gender that person was.
Now I have a loud voice when it comes to sexual equality and discrimination. My life has a whole lot of gay in it-from work to play, most things I read, see or watch somehow or other end up being a little bit gay (or perhaps I just make it that way). Anyone who knows me for more than a few weeks also will come across my strong opinions on the matter, partly again because of my work, my research requires getting angry about LGB issues, I teach a course on gender and sexuality where woe betide anyone who expresses even a minute element of homophobia in the classroom. And there’s also the fact that it’s quite simply what I believe in. But I’m ashamed to say that I leave it quite ambiguously linked to my own life or experience.
I wasn’t always like this I can clearly see when and how it happened-when I moved back home. A dark time personally and professionally a very lonely and miserable time. I found myself in work environments where I couldn’t be myself and without the sort of friendships in which I could be myself. So I’ve become guarded, ambiguous reticent almost.
What does it mean really that’s any different though?
Nothing really- Put simply I don’t have a gender of choice. To me gender is nothing more than a part of the aesthetic preferences we all have. It’s a whole person, a mind, a personality I know I’ll fall for if I ever do fall for anyone. The outside is neither here nor there, just like some girls like mullet wearing gun toting rednecks and some boys like pneumatic blonds with no brain cells-it’s not my taste but fine if that’s what you like.
I still hypothetically want to have my wicked way with Benedict Cumberbatch, David Tennant or Matt Smith (whoever is available really or form an orderly queue) but I admit to an admiration for Alex Kingston that goes beyond her kick ass clothing and hair and a love for Heather Morris that has something to do with her Britney Spears routines. But still in practice, in real life I have no real desire for romance and relationships, at least right now. Nothing I wouldn’t have told anyone if asked. So does saying this out loud change anything?
The answer is not for me, despite the fact my hands are shaking writing this, it is about pride in who I am and ownership of who I am. But if it changes anything for you, if it changes how you see me then I’m not sure what else to say, other than to borrow from a song, ‘I am what I am’. I hope these words don’t change any of my friends should they read them, because perhaps sadly then they weren’t the friends I thought I had.
I mentioned the lovely Megan earlier, a champion of gay rights and all round lovely person please visit her blog which details living and loving long distance with her fiancée Whitney.
And for information on any LGB issues take a look at Stonewall’s website