Every time I hear someone ask why we gay people should have to “advertise” our homosexuality or our “sexual preference,” I have an instant urge to reach down that person’s throat. Yes, I’m human.
But when I sit down and think about just why I am so aggravated every time someone says this, it begins to make plenty of sense. For the record, It’s the same reaction I have when I’m “admonished” to not “flaunt” my sexual orientation (whatever the hell that means).
You see, this mindset is rooted in a simple misunderstanding. Their mistaken belief is that sexuality only happens in the bedroom. After all, bedrooms are for beds. And sex. And sleeping. Or something. The greatest myth in the minds of today’s anti-gay world is that they’re not really anti-gay. They don’t really care if we’re gay, they say. They just don’t want to see us be gay. So why not just take the road of less resistance and be “straight acting” so that they don’t have to think about all those gay things like blowjobs, anal sex, and gerbils? Yes, I know that gerbils have nothing to do with being gay, but let’s face it. Anti-gay people have some weird ideas.
So, let me talk to those of you who do not want me (or any other homosexual out there) to “advertise” my sexuality. After all, you might think — what is the point? Why do YOU have to know about OUR sexual “preference?” It’s simple, really.
The fact is, dear anti-gay person, you DO talk about it. You DO advertise it. Quite frequently. If you’re married, dating, or even talking about that hot woman across the room. That’s part of being human. You “advertise” being straight when you go with your wife (if you’re married) into a restaurant, to the movies, and to the park. You “advertise” it when you put a photo of your significant other on your desk. When you buy her flowers. When you kiss her or hold her hand in public.
Oh, we all love to say that we don’t like public displays of affection, but what newly in-love couple can resist? Let’s face it. They’re all over each other. If that isn’t “advertising,” I don’t know what is.
Look around a restaurant sometime. See just how many straight people are “advertising” their sexuality. Watch and see how many young couples sit side by side at a booth instead of across from each other. Look at their body language as they enjoy their food. Observe as they hold hands and kiss passionately shortly before they leave to… well, you know. Look at the couples waiting in the lobby as they hold each other closely in the crowd. Every one of them is “flaunting” their “sexual preference.” They’re just being who they are.
Don’t you think that gay people deserve the same courtesy?
If you’re straight, you, like more than 90% of the population, don’t have to worry about being scoffed at, bullied, kicked out of the restaurant, fired from your job, beat up, told that you’re going to hell, or that all straights are going to burn, or even live under the threat of being killed just for being straight. Chances are you were never told that you were an abomination by your preacher — just because you were attracted to girls.
That’s why organizations like the gay rights groups and high school and college gay-straight alliances are so important. They provide places where LGBT people can relax and just be human. They are made up of people — real, live people — who went through high school (and earlier) going through every bit of that pressure and harassment — every moment of every single day. They are just people who happen to be attracted to members of the same sex, and this group gives them a place to be themselves with total openness. In any conservative area, these groups are an oasis of freedom, acceptance, and life. THAT is the point. We shouldn’t need those isolated oases.
So the next time you ask me not to “flaunt” being gay, maybe you should think about how impossible it is for you to not flaunt your heterosexuality. Or better yet, we could stop pretending that sexuality does not exist, and learn to accept each other as we are.
DAVID W. SHELTON is a graphic designer, blogger, writer, activist, and author of The Rainbow Kingdom: Christianity & The Homosexual Reconciled. He lives in Clarksville, TN with his better half and their many, many pets.