That’s right. Just like all lesbians are serial monogamists who move in together on the second date, right after adopting a cat. Fat people can’t stop eating, and people who are really good at math are equally bad at driving. Let’s see, who am I forgetting…?
OK, so maybe not all gays are sex fiends. Like most stereotypes, this one is used to pigeonhole and marginalize a group that many people don’t understand and that they subsequently, if subtly, fear. Like hetero people, plenty of gays grow up longing to find (or to be) Prince Charming, maybe wear an elaborate gown to a ball, and then grow old in rocking chairs Happily Ever After. Queer people of every bent are, of course, every bit as capable of long-term, healthy relationships as straight people.
But here’s the thing: some gay men are sex fiends; some lesbians are serial monogamists. And neither of these facts should impact our access to equal protections under the law. In my San Francisco Pride-soaked youth, I had plenty of relationships rise and fall in the bedroom; most of them were a blast and I regret none of them. (Well, few of them.) It’s OK if the dominant culture doesn’t understand us, or if “society”—whoever that is—doesn’t approve; I didn’t ask for their input in my life, did you? They still don’t get to deny us housing, or jobs, or basic human dignity. There shouldn’t be a Just-Like-You!-o-meter dragged into courtrooms, legislatures, or even onto cable talk shows against which our access to legal equality is measured.
Or, more to the point, if we are going to use a Just-Like-You!-o-meter, we shouldn’t use one that was constructed on the set of Leave it to Beaver. Because at the end of the day, allowing for a few adjustments re. Tab A and Slot B (or C), queer people are just like straight people. Some use prostitutes and meet sex partners in bars and airplane bathrooms; some cheat on long-term partners and some turn up in bed with lovers of unexpected genders; some only have sex with strangers, and some wind up in committed threesomes. And yeah, some meet-cute in college or online or at an ice cream social and fall in love and raise children and fuss and fight and roll up their sleeves when necessary to do the work to make a relationship last. Hetero behavior runs the gamut—hell, they invented the gamut, and they add to its scope at every possible opportunity. Unless their sexual proclivities are dangerous to others, overly public, or otherwise illegal, they don’t factor into the application of the law on their every day life. A cheating dog husband can still make decisions about his wife’s care when she’s in the hospital. A gold-digger can still wear white in Vegas when she marries
sucker husband number three. And roughly half of all hetero marriages end in divorce. Why should gay people be held to some kind of higher standard than this? Why is the fact that some gay men are unrepentant sluts even taken into consideration when the right of a committed couple to be joined in the eyes of the state is debated?
It is an oft-overlooked and somehow misunderstood truth that homosexuals, like everybody else, seek (and sometimes even find!) happiness. I have always found that living outside of the dominant paradigm—not bound by the stifling societal blueprint of job-marriage-family-death-and-taxes—gives us more opportunities to build the lives that we want. And the fact that these lives don’t always jive with what some conservative church group from two towns over thinks the world should look like neither diminishes the value of these lives, nor our right to them. And if your Big Gay Dream Life does involve a wedding to rival Muriel’s, then go on out and buy you that gown; it’s still legal, last I checked, to throw a big party, and they’ll let you register for cool stuff at Target. The most effective way to open eyes and change attitudes is to live your life—whatever it looks like—openly and without shame. Get married, adopt, then send those Benetton-lookin’ kiddoes to public school; the fabric of society will not be rent asunder, and when our communities are confronted with this reality, the effectiveness of Queers-as-scapegoats will diminish. Our focus shouldn’t be on blending in or keeping quiet or promising never to offend, but rather on contributing to thriving communities no matter who we are. People might not have a problem denying basic rights to a faceless group of sex-crazed strangers, but nobody’s itching to run off to the courthouse or the voting booth and say, “My neighbor deserves less than I do!”
As attitudes change, so too will laws change, but don’t you change: you’re worthy of respect, dignity, and certainly of equal protection, no matter who you are.
(super-hot photo mobbed from gaytwogether.com)