The Trap of Sexual Orientation

I think we are all a little gay. Gasp! Now that that's out of the way let me explain myself.

We think about sexual orientation and "gender" the same way we think about "race". We categorize those who do not fit into our boundaries of experience, and section them off somewhere else. They are not one of us. We make distinctions all the time, and I'm not sure why it's so important for us to do this. I'm not sure what it means to say someone's gay or straight in relation to myself, nor do I think it makes a difference one way or another what they are. The categories just seem to be in place to separate and set exclusive boundaries between the self and the other.

The categorization of people based on aspects of themselves that cannot be helped is unfortunate, but even more unfortunate because it is something we do on a daily basis. It makes us feel uncomfortable when someone does not share our "category" - that place we have grown up all of our lives. It makes us even more uncomfortable when we, ourselves, question our own category. Here's the problem: since we distinguish and rely on categories, when we all of a sudden do not fit into a category, it's a scary and confusing production that results in identity crisis' and psychological issues and/or trauma. Can't you remember being a teenager? Let me tell you something about sexuality.

There was a time where everyone I knew was either gay, bisexual, or bi-curious. It is called high school - that weird and awkward place where your hormones are out of control and you really have not a clue who you are because you are just becoming aware of the world outside of yourself. It's this place where you are confronted with new ideas and feelings you never had before - and this would be great, except you are constantly censoring these feelings because of fear of being ridiculed and judged, which happens all too much in high school. Everyone is afraid of the same thing. Not being accepted. Not fitting into the categories which have been structured in our minds since birth. The only thing that could result from this is DEATH! Not actually death, but when your that age, not being accepted IS death.

What I realized from this time in my life is that no one really fits into the categories of sexual orientation. Having an openly gay man as my best friend (which, by the way is the most courageous and strong thing to admit to in high school), I became aware very quickly that appearances are not as they seem. That stud on the football team that all the girls wanted? Yeah, let's just say its not so easy to set people into one category or the other. The thing about categories is that they only make it harder for the individual to be themselves by pressuring him or her to choose the most accepted category. The more healthy way to think about sexual orientation, in my opinion, is to have just one category. Let's say that everyone is on an even playing field. There's just one big world of people who can and will fall in love with each other at any second, regardless of their sex or gender. I don't even think it has to be sexual love, for those of you still uncomfortable with this concept I am presenting. Have you ever seen two man friends or two lady friends, apparently so into each other it's kind of hard to believe that they aren't actually dating? Bromances? Girl Crushes? We've all flirted with men and women equally. That's love baby, and it crosses the "boundaries" of sexual orientation.

Attraction is something universal and doesn't see gender or care about categories. It takes place on a daily basis. We all partake in this practice of being attracted for all sorts of reasons. We have eyes - thus we can admit when there's someone good looking in the room, and we can all agree on it. We all have minds, that connect with each other on a more personal basis, and become attracted more abstractly. We should measure difference not categorically, but individually based on personal connection and compatibility. This is my theory, and I think it would be a happier, more truthful, and more accepting and less ignorant world if we started raising our kids with this in mind.

Arianne Tong1 Comment