Looking for Inner Peace

There is a point at which the fight against marginalization turns into an addiction. Most people who have had to grapple with feeling “different” have had to face the possibility that maybe they really are. For me, the quest for acceptance and normalization (to use a loaded word) is less about assimilating into society as a whole than about realizing that everyone else is just as crazy as I am. I’m not out to make myself exactly like everyone else; I just recognize that the whole point of fitting in is to understand that we really aren’t so different, even if we’re not all exactly the same. Where am I going with this? Let me explain.

I hear a lot of misogynistic bullshit these days about how feminism is destroying the American family. You can dress it up however you want, but that’s all it is. Mainly, what’s hurting us is this deeply held conviction that so many of our, well, primarily religious and right-wing friends have that the only way to live is to marry somebody of the opposite gender at a young age and have monogamous sex with them for the rest of your life (after saving yourself for marriage, then eschewing contraception because we all know both of those things are sinful sinful sinful). Their logic is purely circular. Why must we do things this way? Well, because we always have, obviously. What’s that you say? Polygamy and even gay marriage have all been practiced at some point in world history before now? All the more reason we should ban those things, because they were the hallmarks of less-civilized societies. Basically, just don’t disagree with us. Because God always agrees with us about everything always. Even when the Bible contradicts us, because then you’re just not interpreting it selectively enough correctly.

In a way, the reason why we need gay marriage and perhaps even polygamous marriage to be legal in this country is to shake things up for straight, monogamous people. I believe that no relationship is automatically superior to any other, provided that the participants are consenting adults. Period. End of discussion. No, seriously, that’s all there is to it. Spare me this nonsense about how allowing people to follow their hearts undermines the fabric of society. Society is an arbitrary construct. You’re just jealous of people who are living more freely and openly than you are. There might be something about the Y chromosome that makes the male sex drive somehow more immediate and animalistic than the female sex drive, but that doesn’t mean that sex is less important to women or that they can’t initiate it; it just means that men and women might have subtly different points of view when it comes to how they approach sex. But to boil that down to “women want commitment, men just want sex” is idiotic, reductive fucking nonsense.

Dan Savage, one of my idols and someone whose praises I sing around here pretty often, gets dinged a lot for supposedly hating asexuals/bisexuals/transgender people/women/Christians/whoever. It’s all nonsense. Dan has a long history of being blunt. He has told off asexuals for going on dates with sexual people and failing to disclose that they aren’t interested in a sexual relationship. I think that’s fair. Sex and dating, for most people, are inextricably intertwined, and if you don’t see it that way, that’s fine, but it’s on you to inform the other party of that. Being straight might not be “the norm” so much as the default, but there’s nothing wrong or even heteronormative about assuming somebody is straight unless given reason to think otherwise. It’s numbers, nothing more. People are individuals. Making assumptions isn’t bad, just don’t hold onto your assumptions even after someone has corrected you, that’s all.

Basically, what I’m saying here is that everyone is responsible for standing up for themselves. When I was a teenager, I read my fair share of shitty gay teen romances because that’s what I needed to escape. Those books bear little-to-no resemblance to real life, and the only difference between them and Twilight or whatever teen girls are eating up today is that they don’t shy away from the sex. It’s funny: we spend so much time telling men to act like men and women to act like women that when bigots are confronted with a couple that upsets that paradigm, their only response is to deny that party’s right to even exist. If the only valid sex is penis-in-vagina intercourse, then why do bigots care at all what gay people do? Shouldn’t they just shrug and say, “Well, I don’t approve, but whatever“?

I don’t know if anyone else here is watching Looking, the HBO show about gay guys in San Francisco, but the last episode was phenomenal. Basically, it was a two-character play about young lovers getting to know each other. It starts off with randy sex, then moves to getting-to-know-you shit like exchanging coming out stories and talking about HIV and topping vs. bottoming. If you believe, as I do, that there is universality in specificity, then you should relate to that. You may not have dealt with those issues yourself, but certainly you can recognize the basic beats of a budding relationship. A straight or lesbian couple is not likely to deal with exactly those same issues. The words are different. The music is the same. And Richie is the most perfect fictional boyfriend I have ever seen. I can’t remember the last time I wished a fictional character were real that hard. I want to have his babies.

I...I...*fans self*

*fans self*

Since I’ve run out of things to say about sex and gender and stuff, I’ll just say that for a guy whose stuff seems aimed primarily at kids, Weird Al is still pretty funny. His act has not gotten stale. I haven’t moved on from that part of my life, not entirely.

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