Choosing Sides

Via a reprint of one of the stories on Upworthy (link NSFW), I’m quite curious about the Anything That Loves anthology, which promises to “explore the wild and wonderful uncharted territory between ‘gay’ and ‘straight.’”

The comic on Upworthy, for example, is about a gay may who finds he’s been repeatedly attracted to trans men, and the trouble he seems to get in with people who find themselves confused by what that may or may not mean about his innate sexuality.

I’ll admit, I’ve often found it frustrating, this vague binary which requires us to declare a sexuality like we’re picking a major. You’re either gay, or you’re straight, and if you’re not inclined to choose a side, you’re in the closet or in denial or confused or just plain lying. Men seem to suffer this anecdotally more often than women. “Experimenting” feeds more than a few straight porn fantasies, though, so that’s likely a reason why Lesbian Until Graduation gets the kind of traction it does. Far less prevalent are the men who give another man’s junk a try and decide it isn’t for them; apparently, if a man ever willingly touches another man’s genitals to see how he might like it, The Gay is forever inescapable.

For a movement which is ostensibly founded on principles that are, in essence, “you can’t help who you love, and why should you?” it’s especially frustrating to hear repeated assertions from members of the gay community about the non-existence of bisexuality, especially in light of the increasing recognition of transgender persons. Indeed, trans persons throw quite a few monkeys into anti-gay marriage debates, depending on where the debaters define gender.

It’s fairly confusing in a lot of ways, this question of who we love, and why, and what body parts they have or want to have. Look: I’m gay. I say it because it matters, because saying it puts a face on it and makes a lot of people have to decide if I’m a “them,” but great oogly-mooglies, won’t it be amazing when it doesn’t matter? When we don’t have to pre-declare whom we might fall in love with, and we can just worry about, you know, the falling in love part?

ETA: Johanna Draper Carlson just posted a review of the collection, which has my interest further piqued.

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