Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Homosexism

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Homosexism

Article excerpt

When I was 22, my father asked me why I was a lesbian, and I replied, "Because I've never met a man who wasn't a man." At the time it seemed like the truest answer I could give. And it still does. But what does this seeming tautology really mean, if anything? It means, I suppose, that, sexually speaking, I'm an essentialist: I think men and women are essentially and irreparably different. Incommensurable. Men, in all their various shapes, sizes, and temperaments, are still men. And women, at bottom, are women. Of course, whether or not I'm right about this is largely irrelevant. It's what I think, what I believe. This belief, whether I believe it for hereditary or environmental reasons, defines my sexual orientation. It determines with whom I will have enjoyable sex, with whom I will fall romantically in love, and with whom I will mate for life (if I ever do). That's it. It does not, however, define my human orientation. It will not determine with whom I will forge friendships, alliances, business partnerships, or extended familial or social bonds. In sum, I think men are men, and I don't love them for it, but I don't hate or eschew them for it either.

And I think, though some might deny it, that many gay men and lesbians don't feel the same way. They define their homosexuality in much the same way as I do mine, but they globalize this kind of sexual separatism. They often don't distinguish their orientation from their way of life; their sexual preference from their general, nonsexual likes and dislikes. So you end up with the gay person whose reverence for her own sex has blinded her entirely to the virtues of the opposite sex or has even translated into what you might call a deep-seated though largely subliminal dislike of half the human race. You might say you have the kind of gay woman who truly thinks all men are pigs and the kind of gay man who thinks women smell like rotting fish. …

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