Opinion. “Out and proud” – a commonly-used phrase amongst queer people – has somehow become a basic assumption by society that all we are proud of is what we get up to in the bedroom, which is a topic that rouses the curiosity of even the most conservative.
As a gay man, I have always been bombarded with questions about my sex life. At university as the ‘only gay on campus’, tokenism was both my curse and my saving grace – it was support bubble I created but could not always control. Sometimes the reason I was included was as an interesting ‘accessory’ to the group and that interest was often in what I did in the bedroom.
Now, as an adult in a monogamous relationship in its tenth year, the intrusive questions may differ in some ways but a big interest remains as to who is the presumed bottom and top in our couple.
The increasing fetishisation of women in same-sex relationships is overwhelming. Many queer women identify being subjected to the male gaze, where they are seen as mere sexual objects to meet some porn fantasy for straight males. Maria Elerson, founder of Be Conscious PR, reported two boys as young as 12 accosting her and her girlfriend outside of her flat as they kissed, claiming how much they “loved lesbians”.
My plight as a queer man listening to straight family or friends asking about my sex life as if they’re entitled to know about it pales in comparison to that of trans individuals who deal with the cis nonsense of people who feel entitled to ask blunt questions about their bodies.
My Dad is fighting a daily battle with Parkinson’s and recently my Granda was diagnosed with bowel cancer. In this context, a single cent of medical research on reported hunts for the ‘gay gene’ should not be spent on what is basically an obsession with the sexual behaviours of consenting adults.
Nobody, as far as I’m aware, is investigating why some straight folks prefer doggie to the missionary position. Nor why my best friend’s sexual past seems to be littered almost exclusively with wealthy men. And yet, with the myriad of ways for straight couples to have sex, we don’t see an endless parade of queer folks asking them who tops and who bottoms.
To quote a Twitter trend; ‘yes, sex is good but are you part of the queer community?’ Being a member of of the LGBTQ+ family is so much more than bedroom behaviour.
As Jonathan Mildenhall stated while being interviewed for his book The Queer Advantage, ‘I’m still deeply motived by making them (cis-heterosexuals) feel that actually, they never had what I had – which was this incredible energy, incredible character, this creative intelligence that pulled me away from them.”
It is a diverse community who have mastered the art of thinking independently together. We are a community which provides visibility, and the freedom to shrug off the forms society pressures us to take, to embrace our true potential, instead of what we have been conditioned to expect.
And as the gorgeous artist and Instagram star Matt Bernstein so eloquently puts it, our queerness “can’t be defined or confined. It is who we love, the communities we form, the art we create and the shared experiences of being different. You don’t need to have had a sexual experience to know you’re queer and you don’t owe anyone an explanation of your sex life as ‘proof’ of your queerness.”
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