Aug 10, 2011

On Gender: "Are You...?"

The other day I read a story in a column of the Washington Post about this woman who had this very effeminate fiancé, who had have this traumatic experience with a mother that turned out to be gay, who dealt a great deal of harm on her and her father, who then married a woman, whose previous husband turned out to be gay and she suffered a lot. In her letter to the columnist this woman said that her family was worried her fiancé was gay, but on the other hand her fiancé's friends and family assured her that he was as straight as it comes. So what's the truth?

Reading this I had to reactions. First of all, just by the description of the guy - how he's effeminate, talks in an effeminate way and holds himself in an effeminate way - my first reaction was: "he's soooo gay!". He can lie about being or not gay, particularly  if she has dosed him with stories on and off about her family trauma and how  unspeakable and horrible is to marry a gay person and find out later and what a wreck such people leave behind and blah blah blah. His friends and family could lie or could not, but not know the truth. Maybe he has never been with another man, but he might have kept a wandering eye, or well, anything. You don't actually have to fuck someone of your own gender to "become gay". If you are gay, you are gay, whether you act on your inclination or not. In this sense, I was amazed how someone so intolerant (because that reaction can only be explained as triggered by intolerance towards accepting  homosexuality in her partner), so terrified by the idea of marrying a homosexual person, actually gets engaged in someone who looks gay, acts gay, and may or may not be gay. I mean, for instance, let's say that you have a thing against Chinese people. You can't stand them, you hate them, you would never ever marry a Chinese person. Will you get engaged with a person with a name like  Sam Ching, with almond shaped eyes and appreciation for the Chinese culture, though swores not to be Chinese? No, you would be running the other way, wouldn't you?

Whether her fiancé turns out to be gay or not - and I still strongly suspect he is - she's choosing to bring to her marriage a baggage of doubts and things to be constantly afraid of. Why would she do that? Before anyone ventures to say "well, maybe she loves him", wouldn't you say that then she wouldn't mind if he's gay?It's not like he's a rapist or a murderer, he might just like men, feel attracted to them and maybe eventually sleep with them. It's a perfectly safe thing (if done properly) and no harm comes from it. The economy of the U.S. won't fall into crisis over a husband looking for some male-love on the side. So, if it is a big deal, why to peak someone who pushes up the chances for it to happen?

I posed a question about it, what would you do if your significant other turns out to be gay, or in the case of gay people, if by some strange circumstance your significant other turns out to be straight. (It sounds silly, but there have been cases, where straight people pretend to be gay and fool gay people, and then come out as straight. It has caused lots of drama.) The question actually aims to make you look into yourself, and your significant other, whether there is one or not, and decide what's exactly what you see or want about them: the person or the gender?

Another reaction I had on the matter was about whether it could be that someone acts in a way usually perceived as that of the opposite gender and not being gay. Could that be? Masculine women who are actually straight and so with effeminate men. Certainly there are many quite masculine men who are gay, and very femenine women who are lesbians, so, could the opposite be true? Honestly, so far I've given everybody a fair shot, and have claimed my suspitions under quotation marks, and giving the chance that "it might not be so", but so far time and again none of my suspects have turned out to be straight. So, could it be? Could it really be?

What really strikes me of all this, is the fact that we talk about behavior, which is largely defined by society and the environment you live in. Who we are gender-wise, and who we are inclination-wise, or even who we are spiritually, intellectually, metally, might all be different. You can encounter peopleof a given gender, who have positions, attitudes, ways of thinking, whatever of the opposite gender. It is then widely accepted that instead of being purely male or female, the human is actually a mix on several layers of both. Then again I also subscribe to the idea that the gender is only on the body, and has a single function: to procreate, and aside from that the rest of us works on planes entirely separated from the gender. However society struggles to separate the genders, and push them into roles and behaviors to keep some sense of order. This is how even in the era of great advances in gender equity, we still go around labeling a lot of things as "girl" and "boy". Girls read fashion magazines, boys watch sport programs. Dude, it's fashion and sports, and no, women can actually watch a game for the love for the game, not just because they want to look at the asses and assets of the players. But then again, we work around certain things, like calling analytic, simplyign thinking "man-thinking", and multi-variable, branching out thinking "woman-thinking". We socially accept that men are more about the present, the action and women are more about past and future and feelings. What a load of bullshit, however this is the names we give to it. And there are men, lots of them, who are actually concerned by feelings and past and future and other "womanly" things without them being effeminate or gay, AND there are a lot of women who are concerned by the now, the action and can't give a fuck about feelings, and they are neither lesbians or masculine. So where do we stand?

Is a man who acts effeminate gay by default or are we applying a preconceived idea based on superficial information instead of really looking at the real signs of his preference?


Julie said...

Just thought I'd let you know that I enjoy your thought-provoking posts! :) And you never fail to make me laugh...

By the way, I do know several effeminate men who are gay and a few effeminate men who are straight! Same thing goes for women. I don't think that gender is all black and white! Neither is sexual orientation, for that matter...

Storm Bunny said...

I'm glad you like my posts!! ^_^ I believe I've never met an effeminate straight men in my life, but then I've met many very masculine men who are gay, so why wouldn't the other part be true as well?

It does sound strange though, and it gets me thinking what could make them that way.