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16 January 2004

On being gay 24 hours a day

In the comments about 10 Tips for the Heterosexual, Darren said:
I wonder if you could expand a bit on #10 there. I mean, I'm a heterosexual 24 hours a day, but I don't think it shapes the whole of my existence. That is, aside from being attracted to and having sex with women, what parts of one's day is driven by a man's heterosexuality? And how do those parts differ for a homosexual man?

I was writing a comment but it became way too long for the comment box. So it ends up as a proper post.

Well, people tend not to see beyond what gay people do in their bedrooms. It seems to them that there is nothing more to it than that. But there is. When I want to get the same benefits for my partner at work as other couples, I have to fight, sometimes even take it to court. Rights that are available to other people are not available to me. Luckily in The Netherlands, I can get married to my girlfriend so in this country that is not really an issue.

It shapes your behaviour more than you realise. Your sexuality has a deep influence on how you relate to people in daily life. Everyone approaches people differently. Ask yourself: When you go shopping and the check-out girl is a pretty girl, do you approach her differently than when it would be a bloke? I don't mean in a sexual way or with lust or something. I can tell you the answer is yes. You might smile more at her, even say hello when maybe you wouldn't do that with a bloke. When you see a woman with a car break-down, do stop to offer help? Would you with a bloke? Try it for a week or so and you will see. It all works subconciously. As a lesbian, I have tried this. And it DOES work like that. And it is nothing sexual whatsoever.

I believe that it is rubbish when gay people try to deny that a number of gays and lesbians (in my opinion a LARGE NUMBER) 'look' different. In my circle of friends, I DO find that lesbians tend to behave different than straight women. In small ways. They way they dress, their outlook on life. If you want to use classifications, I would say more 'masculin' without havnig to be total butches. And vice-versa for gay men. This means that eventhough I am not a screaming dyke, people tend to ask me 'are you a lesbian' just out of the blue. As if that isn't rude..............
It means I am confronted with my sexuality lots of times during the day. Not just when I am in bed.

When I am in a pub and I bring my girlfriend a beer, I give her a peck on the cheeck. When you do that, you probably won't feel the eyes of half the male population on you. I do most of the time. And it bugs me. The more I am with straight people, the more gay they make me feel. When you watch TV, you don't even realise you see straight people all the time. When I watch TV, I do. When I watch Will and Grace, I laugh, as you do probably. But I also think: It would be nice to see a 'normal' gay person on TV, a gay person who is 'just there' and not the centre of jokes that focus on his/her homosexuality. For example: Kerry Weaver on ER had a massive coming-out storyline (read: interesting drama and snogging women) and now that she is a lesbian, it is never mentioned again whilst we see other characters having all sorts of relationships. Like showing gay and lesbian people in their normal day-to-day life is more shocking than lifting their storyline out and make it big and special.

That is what it means to be gay 24 hours a day. Actually, it doesn't even begin to describe what it means. But that doesn't mean I find it a problem in the least. I am happy with my sexuality. Niot proud of it. I am only proud for things I have achieved, things I had to work for. So I am proud of the way I live with my sexuality, for the way I approach life and other people. And proud of how I deal with people being rude and nasty. But I am not proud of simply being a lesbian. That is the easy part of it all.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm............very very long post.


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