Tag Archives: hierarchy

Diminished

Have you ever heard the saying, “A candle loses none of its light by lighting another candle”?  It’s a beautiful quote, author unknown, that speaks volumes to me about community, helping our neighbors, and giving for the sake of it.  But that’s probably because I’m a bleeding heart who works in the non-profit sector.  

But what if we applied this concept to Love? I would argue that right now, we don’t.  The model we’re peddle from day one thanks to companies like Disney is that somewhere out there this is a magical person who is your missing other half and all you have to do is find them! There are only 7 billion people on Earth, so how hard can that be? True love awaits!  

If you’ve been reading my blog for more than 5 minutes, then you already know I think this idea is bullocks.  There are just too many people in the world and too much love to be shared to say that we each have ONE person who’s our soulmate, ONE person who will be right for us for our whole lives through and ONE person whom will provide us with everything we need.  It sounds like a fairy tale because it IS a fairy tale.  

People ebb and flow in our lives.  Some leave as quickly as they arrived, others stay in it for the long haul, their involvement in our lives varying over time as we grow up, grow apart and come back together again.  I think of parents, for example.  No one would deny the important of their parents in their lives (for better or for worse), but most of us don’t talk to them every day.  We might even have friends that are our parents’ ages.  Does this mean we’ve replaced our parents? Does this mean we don’t care about them or love them?  Of course not.  When you’re 5, you spend every waking moment with your mother.  When you’re 25, you’re probably dodging her Sunday morning calls so she doesn’t know how hungover you are.  Our relationships change and evolve over time, but they are not somehow less important because they change. 

So back to my original question… what if we shared our love freely and weren’t ruled by ugly emotions such as envy and jealousy? Why do we hold onto this concept that by virtue of sharing our love, it is somehow diminished? 

It’s a insidious little thought, one that permeates every part of our culture.  The whole concept of “purity” or virginity is based on this idea– that you should only share yourself with ONE person, and if you share yourself with more than one person, you yourself are diminished– you, yourself, are worth less than you previously were.  Well I call shenanigans on this purity bullshit and all it entails.  Whatever higher power gave me this body also imbued me with bodily autonomy.  As long as I am sharing my love, and not hurting anyone, as long as I am consensually giving of myself, how am I diminishing myself?  The more I love, the stronger I feel, it just doesn’t add up.  

So if you’re a purist or a fundamentalist, if you think a woman’s worth is directly related to her virgnity, this is simply where we part ways.  I will never believe that a person’s worth is in any way tied to their virginity, regardless of gender, and frankly I find any other assertion disgusting.  We are more than the sum of our experiences, more than a series of actions taken or acted upon us.   Human beings are beautiful, complex creatures and I can’t think of anything much more meaningless than the number of people you’ve had sex with.  Like most numbers, it’s just used to shame.  Throw it out!  Love all, shame none. This is a SHAME-FREE ZONE.  

Over the years I’ve had run-ins with polyamory, as it were.  I used to say I just kept falling for people who identified as poly, but at some point I have take a closer examination of the fact that I keep gravitating towards people who identify as polyamorous.  Note: polyamory as in “many loves,” not polygamy as in many spouses.  (Which isn’t to say I’m against polygamy, but it’s not quite what I’m talking about.  Culturally speaking, polygamy is often tied to certain religious beliefs, while polyamory is basically the creation of many thoughtful, ethical sluts.)  

Recently I met someone who just awes me in so many ways, perhaps most profoundly in how much love he has to give.  He is, indeed, polyamorous and he has complete understanding of the idea that one relationship need not take away from another.  We are force-fed the idea of of monogamy (along with the marriage and picket fence end game) and the concept of relationship hierarchy.  And this is where I see a lot of new-to-poly folks fall into a trap.  They might’ve gotten rid of the monogamy thought, but not the hierarchy, and that will cause serious problems if you are juggling more than one romantic relationship at a time.  Trust me.  

But what if we throw both ideas out?  No more hierarchy, no more “primary partner” or “one and only”, just love.  Just love given freely.  It seemed so simple when it first hit me.  That jealousy is beyond pointless.  That I can love someone and have a deep and unique connection with them– and it doesn’t diminish what we have for me to love others, or for them to love others.  If anything, you’re just making the pie bigger.  More love, no shame, no jealousy, no competition.  I’m not saying it’s easy, especially when we’ve been taught the only way to be special to someone is to segregate them from all others.  But that’s not the way.  That sounds more like keeping a pet than loving a person, to me.  I mean, heck, even my cats are allowed to socialize.  

So I ask again, how is my Love diminished by sharing it with more people?  Knowledge is strengthened by spreading it around, I don’t see why Love is any different. 

Just use a condom.  Seriously, be safe.  

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The Dangers of Being a Single Queer

I’ve come to notice over time that in some ways, being LGBTQ and single carries some additional stigma to it than if you’re a single heterosexual.  I don’t mean to say that we don’t all experience loneliness equally, or that women whatever their orientation don’t get a bad rap (“spinster,” “old maid,” etc.), but we still have some very pervasive cultural myths about gay people, and when you’re single, this makes you a suspicious gay person.  Allow me to elaborate.

In the 40+ years since the Stonewall Riots, gays and lesbians in America have made leaps and bounds towards equality.  The last four years in particular have been very fruitful: We saw “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed, the Obama administration stopped defending the dreaded “Defense of Marriage Act,” and last November at the ballot box we gained 3 more states that have marriage equality (bringing us up to 9 nationwide!) and saw an attempt to ban same-sex marriage shot down.  The wheels of change have been put in motion, and we are not going back!

But, amidst all this excitement and progress, it’s easy to forget that we were demonized as deviants and pedophiles not that long ago and, alas, in some parts of the world still are.  One need look no further than Uganda, and the continual push there for a “Kill the Gays” bill, to know that we are NOT out of the woods yet.  I mean, heck, look at the Civil Rights Movement and Feminism– how many years have they been at it? And black men are still arrested at an astronomical rate in comparison to the number actually committing crimes, and women are still raped with impunity while her rapists feel free to post pictures and video of the assault all over the Internet.  It would be fair to say that none of us are out of the woods– unless you happen to be a wealthy, white, straight guy (sorry wealthy, white, straight guy allies– I believe you exist!).

And, of course, I do not believe the fight for queer rights is anywhere near over until we get things done for our trans* brothers and sisters.  I mean, if you’re trans* in America, you aren’t even guaranteed the right to employment or shelter.  In fact, for many years I’ve been frustrated how hard the queer community has been pushing for marriage equality in particular.  Don’t get me wrong– I think marriage equality IS a civil right and both should and will happen eventually… but I can’t help thinking we’re pushing too hard and too early.  Too hard, considering how many other basics LGBTQ peoples are denied and, no offense, but marriage equality doesn’t do much to help the single gay guy who got evicted for the horrendous crime of being himself.  Too early, because it feels like we’re trying to get rights by coming in the back door (no pun intended).  If the general public doesn’t yet accept queer people as being a naturally occurring part of humanity, if we don’t have the right to live, work and serve unmolested, then going for marriage equality seems like jumping the gun, doesn’t it?

There are few things in this world that make me as livid as seeing someone denied the right to see their spouse/partner in the hospital, or having their children taken away because their partner died and their relationship was not recognized under the law in that state, but I can’t help worrying that pushing this hard for marriage equality is going to eventually lead to a hierarchy of gay relationships.  Oh yes.  There may one day soon become the “good gays”– you know, the ones who get married at “act straight”– and the “bad gays” who are unmarried and by virtue of being unmarried take up the mantel of negative stereotypes against gays, like that we’re inherently promiscuous.  Suddenly, being a single queer person isn’t just stigmatized the same ways we stigmatize all single people, but all the negative stereotypes we’ve ever held about gays get dumped on the “bad” single gays.

Take this fabulously dated PSA, circa 1950s, about homosexuals “on the prowl”–Boys Beware!

Now, read some of those YouTube comments and tell me, how dated is this really?  Second comment on the page: “Homosexual freely admit to being paedophiles [sic] in “Louis Theroux – A Place for Pedophiles (FULL)” on Youtube, so all you FUCKS who deny the idea can listen to your fellows ADMIT IT FULLY and WITHOUT GUILT….”

I have no doubt that some pedophiles are gay.  Just like I have no doubt that some murderers, rapists and thieves are gay, female, of color, etc.  Every group has its rotten apples, it’s the nature of humanity, unfortunately.  But it’s NOT the other way around.  Just because one, or many, young white men take up arms and become mass murderers, I don’t see anyone condemning all young, white men.  Granted, this is largely because of the privilege of the patriarchy, but it’s correct in that NOT all young, white men are mass murderers and we can’t just condemn them all because of a few bad apples.  Likewise, you can’t condemn all minorities for the actions of a few within the group, but this happens every damn day.

Oh, and regarding pedophiles, what does the evidence say?

“Using phallometric test sensitivities to calculate the proportion of true pedophiles among various groups of sex offenders against children, and taking into consideration previously reported mean numbers of victims per offender group, the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles was calculated to be approximately 11:1.” -From The proportions of heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles among sex offenders against children: An exploratory study

So don’t tell me how most pedophiles are gay, regardless how many acts of pedophilia may be “homosexual acts,” many of those men readily identify as heterosexual.

But this is the kind of crap you get to look forward to being gay and single.  You will be seen as a predator, a pedophile, as promiscuous and incapable of having a long-term relationship.  People will always think you’re trying to recruit them or hit on them.  And heaven forbid you enjoy genderbending or drag– that’s a whole new level of perverted!  (For the record as a Drag King, I don’t want a penis– I love the pearly, pink detachable one I already have, thanks.)  Sure, some kinksters are gay.  But the vast majority of the population is straight, and likewise, the vast majority of kinksters are straight.  Maybe a higher percentage of queers are kinky, but I think that has a lot more to do with the fact that, at some point, you had to explore your sexuality because you figured out you weren’t straight, and I think this can lead to more open-mindedness about kink, for example.

I digress.  But my point is simple: Different strokes for different folks, you can’t paint us all with the same brush because of that one experience you had that one time.  $50 says that guy wasn’t even hitting on you, but kudos on being incredibly vain.  99% of gay people have no interested in “turning” straight people, the same way you would likely not be interested in someone of the opposite sex who was in no way attracted to you.

So I dedicate this post to all my single queers out there, who deal with an extra mountain of bullshit just because of who you happen to Love.  Kudos to you, and keep on doing what you’re doing; living your life to the fullest despite all the haters.  We’ll need your strength for the coming battles.

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