Not Gay Enough: Closing the Closet Door on Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Individuals

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Young liberation movements are consumed by the act of defense – fending off attacks on character and, unfortunately in many cases, person. Marginalized groups spend the formative years of their crawl into mainstream acceptance combating the propaganda of legislators and moral leaders, who warn “normal” folks of the impending moral apocalypse, brought to you by the unmentionables. For the LGBT community, our identity has been defined by outsiders through the incendiary characterizations that we’re child molesters, abominations, mentally ill, incestuous, vulgar, sex-crazed, perverted, subversive and unable to control ourselves. Fortunately, in excruciating increments we’re gaining victories and reticent support across the ideological and political spectrum. Far from accepted, yet light years ahead of where we’ve been, we’re hurtling towards unprecedented visibility not as scourges of humanity but as people who simply want to love freely and equally.

uncle samDon’t Ask Don’t Tell’s recent repeal highlighted the dissolving effectiveness of the tired arguments which have, for so long, weighed us down in nonsense. Those in favor of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell came out swinging with the golden oldies, explaining that if gays were allowed to serve openly in the military, unsuspecting soldiers would be raped in the shower, unit cohesion would be obliterated and the barracks would turn into a giant orgy. Yet curiously, and perhaps for the first time, the public wasn’t buying it. In fact, an overwhelming 67% of Americans supported the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

As we win these landmark battles with greater frequency, our identity will be less defined by fanatical homophobes and we can begin the arduous task of self-defining who we are. So far, our simple explanation has been that we’re just like heterosexuals, with the exception that we’re gay. We want the same things as our breeder brethren: a spouse, job security, a nice house and maybe some kiddos. We just want it with the same sex. In essence, we’ve made heterosexuality and homosexuality two sides of a coin which, regardless of how it lands when flipped, is joined by a common sexual structure.

Except our identity as the anti-heterosexuals is a shallow one that egregiously misses the most important truths of human sexuality. It’s to LGBTs’ detriment, and indeed may contribute to our continued oppression, if we persist with the same arcane ideology of sexuality that homophobes have relied on, ironically, to oppress gays for eons. Heterosexists, the ones that try to keep us from adopting babies or getting married, claim that there is one way for humans to experience sexuality. One Man. One Woman. They believe that anything that diverges from this in any capacity and for any period is absolutely wrong.

The same attitude pervades the gay community, and perhaps in some circles exceeds the homophobes. Men and women who question their sexuality and gender or identify as bisexual or transgender are often considered divergent from the gay status quo, and therefore lesser. A common quip among gays is that bisexuality, for instance, is just “a layover on the way to gaysville.” The idea of a person who is neither gay nor straight seems inconceivable to those who fit neatly into discrete categories. Likewise, individuals who identify as transgender often find themselves, even among their gay and lesbian peers, misunderstood, mocked or called out as freaks. For the “confused” who lie somewhere in the murky in-between of gender or sexuality are often treated like outsiders, because they’re simply not gay enough. The core of the LGBT community is clearly gays and lesbians, partly because they are greater in number or perhaps visibility, but also because they’ve established themselves as the only viable alternative to heterosexuality.

barack obamaThe idea of not being sufficiently minority isn’t a conundrum peculiar to the gay community. Commentators of all races and beliefs clumsily tried to navigate what it meant to be black enough when Barack Obama secured the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Some whites, most notably President Obama’s running mate Joe Biden, declared that Barack Obama was the right kind of black, or as he put it, “Articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Among African Americans, there was a discussion of Obama’s kind of black, meaning he might be black in color but not “black like me.” (Though, to be fair, some journalists point out that a white media might have overblown this division of thought.) As a man who straddles culture and color, President Obama is a challenge to those who assume that a cultural identity is founded on homogeneity of thought and belief. This challenge confounds humanity as a whole: Am I feminist/Christian/liberal/green/conservative enough? What does my identity mean if not in line with those of my ilk?

Underlying the tension of “In between-ness” is the threat of betrayal. If a person is bisexual, it ostensibly means she could receive the benefits of heterosexuality while still engaging in the camaraderie and inclusion of being gay, serving as a walking Trojan horse which lies in wait to disrupt the serenity of gay life. Admittedly, this fear isn’t wholly unfounded. Many gays have been ruthlessly excised from mainstream heterosexual society, cast aside from family and profession or persecuted to the point of retreating. In their exile, they make a new life with new friends and a web of supportive, like-minded people. Their exit from straight society becomes their entrance into one that is strongly padded from the haters and the homophobes. The presence of those who straddle the worlds opens the gateway for more hurt, judgment or feelings of abandonment.

modern family

Additionally, some gays and lesbians view the “freaks” e.g., transgender, intersex, bisexual etc. as potential saboteurs of the heterosexual ideal. When gays are presented as strikingly similar to straights, such as the gay characters Mitchell and Cam on ABC’s sitcom Modern Family, the public accepts the picture with little confusion. Mitchell represents the “man” on the show, working as the emotionally brusque breadwinner who is constantly trying to calm his emotional spouse. Cam, on the other hand, cooks, cleans, takes care of the baby and often bursts into hysterical tears. Even anti-gay viewers can appreciate the show, and indeed many do as evidenced by its popularity among traditionally conservative Republicans, because the men have been crafted to act out in male and female stereotypes. What if, instead, one of the men had transitioned from being a female to a male? What if one liked both men and women and made frequent, sexually-charged jokes about each sex? Modern Family, instead of being critically acclaimed and wildly popular, might find a viewership that didn’t warm to a couple who lies outside heterosexuals’ comfort zone. For some gays and lesbians, keeping up the image of being “normal” queers means greater acceptance.

These justifications for spurning sexuality ‘tweeners makes the plight of an exclusive gay group seem sympathetic. That is until you recognize that the world is mostly made up of people who, whether they consciously cop to it or not, lie scattered across the Kinsey scale, harboring some degree of heterosexuality or homosexuality. The chasm between gay and straight becomes the deepest, darkest closet that one could imagine leaving. After all, being neither of those groups and feeling contentiousness on both sides, hopeless in-betweeners know they will find no tribe that will accept a person who lives in the nebulous. This closet becomes even more constrictive when it comes to gender. Lying outside the feminine/masculine, man/woman dichotomy is perhaps even more dangerous and lonely than diverting from sexual mores. Scores of people abandoned in a sexual no-man’s land live life buying into their worthlessness and oddity, abandoning sexual or gender expression and trying desperately to adhere to the only options available to them.

freak showWith these potential allies lost, the gay movement has accomplished what the heterosexists have been desperately seeking to do; bolstering the idea that sexuality is black and white. Homophobia isn’t even close to being about gay people. It’s about a disruption. Women who trend towards masculinity or men who exhibit more feminine characteristics receive the brunt of anti-gay bigotry because they are experimenting with the sacred cow of gender norms. Their disproportionate discrimination serves as proof that obstructing centuries of socialization comes with quick and severe rebuttal. Being gay also opened the locked door to previously taboo sexual modes like serial monogamy or open relationships that most keep “on the down low” in order to conform to the heterosexual paradigm of lifelong monogamy with one person. These troublesome sexual rebellions illuminate the truth of homophobia: It isn’t necessarily the fear of gay people only, but the fear of the sexual unknown; uninhibited, fluid, dynamic and challenging.

The gay movement need not represent the in-betweeners and the queers in order to be vital or relevant. Indeed, raising awareness of alternate sexual identities might in fact be the first step to a broader civic conversation. Yet the intentional or tacitly condoned shunning of bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning individuals may cause the unintentional effect of obstructing wider progress for the gay community. The emerging gay identity, simply a mirror image of heterosexuality, means that non-gays might never fundamentally understand anything outside of heterosexuality. Their beliefs of their rightness and entitlement will only be reinforced by this watered down version of gay-ness, producing a fake acceptance for queers of all stripes.

Note: The jargon, theory and politics associated with gender and sexuality expression can be overwhelming and maybe even a bit intimidating to some who are unfamiliar with less-visible minorities of the LGBT community, like transgender or intersex individuals. If you’d like to know more about the struggles of “in-betweeners”, I’d suggest the following books:

Queer Theory, Gender Theory by Riki Ann Wilchins

Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity by Matt Bernstein Sycamore

The No-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity by Vanessa Baird

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  • Comment Link William Harryman Tuesday, 12 April 2011 03:09 posted by William Harryman

    Nice article - I agree that media depictions have relied on showing gay couples assuming the traditional gender roles and hegemonic masculine and feminine. This does not serve the gay and lesbian couples I know - hell, it doesn't serve the straight couples I know.

    Further, I quit thinking of myself as bisexual many years ago because it legitimates the homo-hetero binary that is mythical at best. Sophie B Hawkins suggests omnisexual, although pansexual seems to be the preferred term.

    The hegemonic structure of the gender binary leads to whole segments of the population being "non-people" in a sense - how do we make sense of the intersexed, transsexuals, transgendered, gender queers, gender dysphorics, gender benders, or anyone else who doesn't fit the binary? What about drag kings and queens?

    Of course, gender identity is influenced by biology, but it is much more of a social construct. It can be and should be expressed and experienced as more fluid than our culture allows.

    As you mention, part of the problem comes from the gay and lesbian communities - I would add: as well as radical feminists (MTF trans women, and sometimes even lesbians, are to be excluded) and ultra conservative men (gay men, trans men, intersexed men are not real men in their view).

    Too many groups have only their own interests at heart - and that doesn't really serve anyone very well.

  • Comment Link LKC Tuesday, 12 April 2011 18:54 posted by LKC

    As is aptly and eloquently noted here, the chasm between a zero and six on the Kinsey scale is indeed a gulf of silence that desperately needs to be filled with public awareness/acknowledgement of the truth about the fluidity of sex and gender, and intelligent discussion about the best way to create a more fully realized community of acceptance. This article provides a brilliant site upon which to build such communication, so thank you!

    This article touches on the exact key to the problems that both surround and pervade various pockets of sexually-similar groups - fear and misunderstanding of non-traditional or unfamiliar gender roles. I agree with the author that this creates serious problems with public image of the gay rights movement. Should we not stand for acceptance of all sexual identities, rather than ally ourselves with those who would only acknowledge us if we can squeeze our partners and children into an idea they have the language to address already?
    Indeed, the author's note at the end of the article regarding jargon is the perfect symbol of what the movement needs - rather than utilizing a traditional vocabulary to describe various roles and lifestyles within the LGBTIQ community, we must embrace and disseminate a lexicon as myriad and broad as the individuals it encompasses.
    However, I also agree with the author that this problem is not wholly the fault of the gay rights movement, which, to the extent it has employed a language of conformity to advocate for its members, has done so for the most sympathetic of reasons - seeking essential rights and protections from society.
    I think the questions I am left with are those of logistics and boundaries. How do we create a space for non-traditional gender roles or sexual identities to be equally accepted? And where do we draw the line - or do we?
    Does being accepting work in reverse? I have a sinking feeling it might... Is it the role of marginalized groups to not-judge those in the majority?

    Thanks for a thought-proviking piece!

  • Comment Link afraid to say because of the orwellian climate surrounding this issue Tuesday, 12 April 2011 22:41 posted by afraid to say because of the orwellian climate surrounding this issue

    Isn't it important to acknowledge important, qualitative differences between a man's rectum and a woman's vagina?

    I don't think religion is necessary in order to acknowledge important differences between heterosexual attraction/behavior/marriage/adoption and homosexual attraction/behavior/marriage/adoption.

    I think some people feel like the media bullies the public into accepting homosexual marriage/adoption/etc.

    They do this by threatening people with emotive keywords like "homophobe" and "bigot" and "hateful" and "ignorant"... the list goes on.

    Those words are designed to intimidate and censor perspectives with which a person disagrees or refuses to hear.

    The media always portrays homosexuals as noble victims or martyrs.

    They draw a false parallel to the black rights movement.

    Also society is forced to believe that people who consider themselves homosexual are "born that way".

    They ask, "Do you think I'd choose to be this way?"

    I don't think they were born that way, and I doubt that it's a "choice" in most situations, either.

    Sexuality is very complex.

    Maybe many of the people you label "homophobes" are intelligent and see things you can't or refuse to see.

    I'm sure thousands of them are not religious, either.

    They just haven't been intimidated or brainwashed by political correctness or extreme social pressure.

    Wanted to throw this perspective out there and see how it's received.

    Sorry if my tone isn't nice.

    It's an important issue, and I wish I could agree with every single person on the planet.

  • Comment Link Richard Friday, 15 April 2011 23:55 posted by Richard

    Interesting topic. I applaud Beams and Struts and Abbie for taking on this issue! Great read. Some of my thoughts:

    I don't think it's quite as straightforward as "a single gay community" relegating anyone who's "in between" into silence.

    While I've not researched this, my personal experience is that the way many gay people interact now is different to how we used to (at least the younger generations) with far less ghettoization. There is less centralization and more intermingling of all kinds of people in social groups, which have the capacity to easily include all shades of GLBT and straight.

    However, in my experience, people who are bisexual typically don't come up on the radar. I've been out for 10 years and have met thousands of GLBT people and have only met about 5 people who identify as bisexual. Of those, only 2 of them still identify as bisexual and the others now say gay (and I believe they're happy and they mean it).

    I know there are countless people who are bisexual (I totally agree with a spectrum of sexuality), however it is very rare to actually meet them and get the chance to talk to them about their perspective. I think it would be great.

    In my view, if there's going to be any real change to perceptions for the Bs and Ts of GLBT, it's not going to come through the media and it can't be done by the Gs and Ls.

    I believe it has to do with every day, normal bi and trans people taking chances and talking about their lives with people they know, forming local communities and friend groups where they feel empowered (whatever the makeup of those groups may look like) and normalizing their experience of the world in their own hearts and minds and in the hearts and minds of those around them. I believe a lot of it has to come down to basic decency and living lives of meaning that others can see, respect and over time accept as a beautiful expression of the human mosaic. Whether those others are straight or gay.

    This is the way perceptions have shifted in regards to most minority groups throughout history including gays, lesbians and ethic and racial minorities. The media and public debate also have a role to play of course but I believe a big part of any change happens in neighborhoods and in workplaces not on Modern Family and similar shows, regardless of what they portray.

    Currently, the majority of these people seem to live in silence, which I can only imagine would be tremendously tough. They also have the added difficulty of seemingly taking on the sexuality of the type of relationship they are in at any given time. So, "coming out" for them is not necessarily the same as they could land in a heterosexual relationship and likely don't want to be cast as being "too gay for straight and too straight for gay."

    I think it's important to remember we can only speculate around many of these things and making over-generalizations isn't ideal. Particularly, in such a rapidly changing time and era. There's a lot a foot in this new generation of adults coming up (30 years old and younger) on both the gay and straight side and no doubt the bisexual cohort as well. As we age and move into positions of greater leadership and authority, it will be fascinating to see how some of these issues play out. On a global scale, this current generation is the most accepting of diversity of all kinds in a way that has never before been seen.

    In regards to to the person who's commented about the Orwellian nature of the gay debate, I have a couple thoughts.

    As a minority that has and continues to be violently oppressed around the world, our only protection on a mass scale is through communicating our desire for freedom to express ourselves to authorities and the general public. It is a terrifying thing to know people would gladly kill and harm you and those you love because of who you love. I'm sure you can image if this was your life, then you heard people advocating against your total equality, words such as bigot and hateful would easily come to your lips as well. If you're wondering why that's the case, the answer is frustration and fear. If you're wondering why that exists, the answer is oppression and incredible violence currently and throughout history.

    Rather, than using words like you've articulated above, when I hear things I disagree with, my response goes more towards, "they simply don't understand us."

    To make it clear what I believe gay people want:

    "The right to feel like equals, to live lives in accordance with our hearts and not feel intimidated mentally or physically for doing so."

    If comments cross these boundaries, it is my view, they should be kept of out of the public debate. The same way we censor disparaging remarks about race, ethnicity, age or gender. If you feel it is important to express opinions about any of these groups including the GLBT community personally, it is your right to do so. However, my friend, you shouldn't be surprised when people respond negatively. To you this is an intellectual conversation. To them, it is their life, love, pride, dignity and freedom. I'll phrase that to make it more personal, it is my life, love, pride, dignity and freedom and the preservation of honour for my self and others like me.

    In my view, life is remarkable and human life particularly is a mysterious miracle. As a human, I make it my responsibility to honor all types of human life. This includes seeking out minorities and asking important questions like, "How do I help them?" "How can my life be in service to them and all of humanity?"

    By asking these questions it helps me to fall into sync with all people and I don't feel the need to push against the boundaries any individual group has fought to erect. I work to take their perspective and put myself wholly in their skin. I accept, if they have done something, there was a good reason. While bringing my rational mind to the table, I have basic respect for their discernment and judgment and want to aid them in furthering their journey, in whatever form I can serve most effectively.

    From this perspective, I encourage you to put yourself in the position of a gay man who is you. Your name, age, personality, family, friends, work, all of it. Except gay with a long-term male partner and with many gay friends who you love and who love you. Then I encourage you to re-read your post above and think about some of the comments made about gay people in general. Then imagine making them specific to your life and imagining how your mother would feel if she heard her son being talked about that way.

    This is our life, my friend. Not a debate to be won with words. I say that with the utmost respect.

    In regards to your comment about being born gay, I have naturally been curious about the cause of homosexuality as well. In my subjective experience, I can report it is simply genetic. This is what most other gay people say as well. However, for a more objective 3rd party analysis that highlights this point very clearly, I recommend the following book:

    Gay, Straight and the Reasons Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation by Simon LeVay

    "The nature vs. nurture wars over the development of homosexuality have been pretty definitively decided in favor of nature. In this survey of what makes people gay, lesbian, bi, or straight, neuroscientist LeVay (When Science Goes Wrong) brings readers up-to-date on the current state of knowledge. Other recent books have covered much of the same territory, but LeVay's is the most comprehensive. He begins by tackling the seemingly simple question "What is sexual orientation?" As the book progresses, he discusses how gayness is not monolithic; rather, there seems to be different kinds of homosexuality. Some people claim to be able to identify gays using "gaydar," but LeVay says differences between straights and gays go beyond body language to include visuospatial abilities (e.g., lesbians, like straight men, have better spatial abilities than straight women) and verbal fluency. He reviews current thinking on the role of genes and how testosterone levels may influence the fetus's development. "

  • Comment Link Gilles Herrada Monday, 18 April 2011 15:13 posted by Gilles Herrada

    Dear Abby,
    I appreciated your article and the interesting points it makes.
    Yet, yet, yet ... I'm puzzled.
    I'm not really sure why you accuse the gay community of silencing "in-betweeners." Historically speaking, for instance, drag queens have been by far the most visible elements of the homosexual "constellation," from the Stonewall riots to RuPaul. I have the vague feeling that you really are trying to make a point about yourself, that is, bisexuals. But to give more weight to your feeling of being a victim, you drag along all the in-betweeners you can find. I don't think that's accurate.
    In addition, bisexuality has been extensively explored by lesbian authors. The concept of women's bisexual tendencies has almost become a commonplace in western culture today. I'm not saying that there isn't more to explore but again Abby, what are you referring too exactly when you talk about society completely ignoring the bisexual experience?
    Not to mention that you fail to mention that many bisexuals happily identify as "open-minded" straights or (more rarely) gays. Behavioral bisexuality by no means implies bisexual identity. There are people who indeed identify as bisexual, true, but they are themselves a minority among the people who have sex with both sexes.

    But ok, granted! you speak for bisexuals (and this, despite the ambiguity of your many claims). Still, you provide no explanation whatsoever, no understanding of the mechanisms involved other than pointing at the villains (the heterosexual world, and occasionally, the gays also) as the source of your problem. You make no effort to understand the perspective of the other side(s). In other words, your discourse remains profoundly monological. Monological, inevitably, turns into moralistic, and that rarely leads to solutions.

    It seems that you accuse both the straight and gay communities of putting a lid on the social and cultural presence of bisexuals. Note however that you do not say anything about bisexuality yourself. Bisexuals are still struggling to define themselves, it's true, and there are many good reasons for that (to be discussed elsewhere?). From my perspective Abby, you seem unwilling to take responsibility for your own struggle. You accuse the "others," just like teenagers accuse their parents for being the cause of their existential crisis.

    To me, your perspective (like that of queer theorists) remains typically a postmodern view, which always sees the dominant culture as a form of oppression. Only that now, gay culture is also a dominant culture. This is nothing new, I'm afraid. If you want to stand out, Abby, and make a real difference, I think you will have to go deeper. Far deeper. From your post, I can tell that you already have the energy, courage, and authenticity required. Good luck.

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Friday, 29 April 2011 19:57 posted by Chris Dierkes


    Thanks for the response. Nice to hear from ya. How are you? Hope you're doing well.

    I'm not in a position to speak for Abbie and as a straight dude I'm pretty far (in certain ways) removed from all of this. At least from an inside perspective. I spent a lot of my time in circles of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, questioners, and more rarely transgendereds, so what Abbie describes is something I've noticed myself but could never exactly put my finger on. I feel like her piece gave some words to a set of experiences I've had.

    It's to transgendered portion I'd like to speak (something you don't really mention in your comment). The only thing I can say on bisexuality is that when I posted the link to this on my FB account, some of my bisexual friends were very supportive and felt that it spoke to some of their struggles. So I agree with you that there are interpretations here that are perhaps open to some critique/questioning, but I think Abbie's hit some kind of nerve and pointed to some practice that deserves some inquiry--I really appreciate this about her piece.

    I'm interested in your perspective because when I read this one, I didn't see as being sourced in vicitimization language. I saw it more as a loving critique of one's own family--from the inside. I'd be really interested to have you write a longer response to this piece (or a related topic) for the site.

    Would you be interested in doing that?

    So on to the comment.

    My experience (I should say) with transgendered individuals is quite limited, but it has been my experience that the people who have been most vocally critical of such persons are gays and lesbians. Now this is probably influenced by the fact that I run in postmodern circles, and straight people can't get away with such criticisms, whereas (in that social context) gays and lesbians can because they are considered an oppressed minority. Somehow that seems to give legitimacy to being critical of another oppressed minority (which I find strange) but I do get the whole GLBT thing really doesn't make sense culturally and is a (legitimate) political grouping.

    e.g. Drag queens aren't necessarily (or in my experience most often) transgendered. They're cross-dressers and in my experience most often clearly gay men. So saying drag queens are part of the gay scene doesn't necessarily it seems to me respond to Abbie's point.

    As a sympathetic outsider my sense is something like the following. [I could be WAAYYY off on this one.] And an extra wrinkle to add here is that I work in church circles, so that adds another layer of complexity.

    As best as I understand it, the criticism in our society of gays and lesbians is that they are "disordered"--they are attracted to the wrong kind of bodies basically. And the experience of gays and lesbians is that their biological sex and orientation are two parts of one whole. This whole is what is criticized and why it's so damaging.

    Transgendereds on the other hand feel they are mismatched between their self-identity (gender) and their biological sex. They often describe feeling 'trapped' or 'not fitting' in their own bodies (again based on what I've heard, I don't know this from the inside).

    The gay-lesbian criticism of transgendereds that I've heard is that they don't buy there is this kind of 'immaterial self' that can be transplanted between different biological sexes (in TGs). I think the transgendered argument in some cases, threatens gays and lesbians. They worry that if society starts to accept the reality of Transgendered folk, then straight society might tell gays and lesbians that they should change sexes.

    A separate category that Abbie didn't discuss is pangendered. And I think there is a point to what she is saying that such groupings are entirely different vector of human experience, for gays, lesbians, and heteros. I see as actually running diagonal to that whole spectrum (namely the Kinsey scale). I guess we could throw bisexuals in there to a degree.

    I think it's fair to say that the experience of transgendereds and pangenders is not normative for others (I think this would be a postmodern mistake if it is being advocated by someone). But it is worth an inquiry, it seems to me. About how those of us not in that life stream, identify the complex brew of sex, orientation, gender, and so on.

    I hope what I'm saying makes sense. Thanks again for your comment.

  • Comment Link Gilles Herrada Friday, 13 May 2011 18:31 posted by Gilles Herrada

    Dearest Chris,
    Gee, I'm only discovering your response now (a month and half later). Let me confirm first that I would be delighted to explore those issues with you and any other integrally informed folk. What a treat that would be!

    Then, briefly, I won't dismiss your personal experience. I'm sure it is true. But overall, I find it hard to deny that gays, lesbians, cross-dressers, and transgender people tended to hangout together, at least since the 19th century. They have fought for their rights together, with the extraordinary results that we know.

    This said, Chris, homosexuality has for a long time been conceptualized as a gender inversion (a woman soul in a man's body, and vice versa). Most early homosexual activists, like Magnus Hirschfeld, completely supported the idea. Even our very dear Carl Jung believed homosexuality was an animus-anima disorder. Freud, who little understood homosexuality, was one of the first to acknowledge that homosexuality was remotely associated with gender inversion. But that was already the middle of the 20th century! It was one of the most remarkable achievements of modern homosexual movements that started in the United States after WWII to dislodge the idea of homosexuals as feminine men and masculine women. So, perhaps, what you might have perceived is the lingering need of many homosexuals today (and I would be one of them) to differentiate themselves from gender inversion, which, inevitably, means, to distance themselves from transgender and cross-dresser people.

    Homosexuals and transgender people embody different symbolism. As a gay man, I feel closer physiologically, psychologically and symbolically to a straight man than a transgender person.
    Bisexuals will have to explore their own symbolism, beyond the "we are the best both world" they often tend to hide behind. I am looking forward to what the new generations will come up with. But one can be sure of one thing: nobody is going to do that work for them, because they can't.

    Much much more to say ....

  • Comment Link Ettina Wednesday, 25 July 2012 15:04 posted by Ettina

    Another group that is constantly forgotten (even in this article) is asexual people. It's assumed that, whether you have them for boys or girls, *everyone* has those feelings. Well, I don't. I have never felt any sensation or emotion I can unambiguously identify as being sexual in nature.

    I find most often the prejudice asexual face is a) just being forgotten, b) being treated like we're lying or repressed and just need to discover our sexuality, or c) being pitied because people can't imagine a fulfilling life without sexuality. (Personally, I like being asexual. Saves me a lot of trouble.)

    It's weird - I once got some guy telling me that I'd end up hurting someone because he'd fall in love with me and I'd reject him. I tried to tell him it would be worse to lie about my feelings, but he didn't get it. He also insisted on describing me as 'unable to love', which I object to because I love my family, my closest friends, etc. There are many kinds of love besides romantic love.

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