The Validity of Love

To correspond with the annual Sydney Mardi Gras parade, I have decided to try to describe where I stand regarding LGBTQI rights, including same-sex marriage.

1. I support marriage equality, for all LGBTQI individuals. [The right to marry or not marry.]

2. I am for the end of workplace discrimination against all LGBTQI individuals, as well as for the end of harassment of such individuals in schools.

3. I am for educating the public, such that social equality can become a reality.

Australia doesn't currently support marriage equality, although there have been some encouraging steps in other areas. In 2011, new passports were to allow for a third gender. Instead of male or female, an x would appear on a passport in the category of gender for those who had not undergone surgery to realize their identified sex, or possibly who do not identify as strictly male or female.

Also, the government is considering adding the options of "parent 1" and "parent 2" which may be chosen instead of "mother" and "father" when same-sex partners fill out passports for their children. The US and UK have already adopted similar measures.

As I write, I find that I'm not sure if I'm being offensive or insensitive or merely ignorant in one way or another. I still have a lot to learn.I don't have a lot of practice verbalizing or articulating my ideas in these areas, and I tend to feel awkward. But inside my head, even when I was still a child, I took for granted that gays and lesbians deserved equal rights. I just didn't have much knowledge related to what the realities of inequality were, I had foggy ideas related to transgender and transsexual issues, and I had very little awareness of what it was to be intersex. I didn't understand the extent of discrimination and social prejudice faced, and I didn't realize how little the laws protect such minorities.

When I was 17 years old, my family moved to Toronto. When I first got there, I used to go out walking on my own for hours. I would also take the subway to random locations, just in the spirit of exploration. This was not an ongoing thing; at that age I was already having trouble with going outside on a regular basis, but I do think of that as an interesting time.

One night in downtown Toronto, I saw two men walking together, holding hands. I felt immediately very happy that I was in Toronto; I thought I was in the right place.

But the ways I have communicated over the years have obscured my underlying ideas about equality. I haven't had or I haven't recognized opportunities to make my stance clear. It's like I don't have enough practice in knowing how to communicate without sounding awkward. It's difficult to find the right balance between expressing support and coming across as privileged and unthinkingly condescending.

Most of my experiences have been with males. But..

From the time I was a child, I thought I could have sexual relationships with females. My first childhood sexual experiences were with females. I didn't ever have any opportunities for relationships or experiences with adult females, or I wasn't able to read their signals.

As an adult, I have had one very significant relationship with a person who is intersex.

I also found that I enjoyed dressing men up as women for costume parties and the like, and often later in my own makeup application, identified with drag queens. As I write this entry, I am wearing MAC's Vivaglam I. I would have found it fun to have a relationship with a man who liked to dress up as a woman.

If I were to describe my sexual orientation, I think it would be best for me to choose pansexual. To some people, this fits under bi. Sexual orientation is not necessarily related to how much experience a person has.

I really do not like the term 'straight' to describe sexuality. I think 'straight but not narrow' is maybe less ugly, but even if I am primarily attracted to men, I don't like the term straight.

For several years, I have been a member of HRC (Human Rights Campaign), which is based in the US. They are a very organized group, and I support their efforts, hoping that as the US makes progress, there will be a snowball effect around the world. I don't really do much except occasionally make donations or sign petitions or fill out surveys, but I do read the literature they send via email, and I absorb what I can.

I do think that when people who identify as solely gay or lesbian say that they have always known, they are telling the truth, and that it is not fair to doubt them or to try to change them. I think also that some people do have a more fluid sexuality, and even if they fall more to one part of the spectrum than any other, they are capable of relating sexually to more than one sex. This might have something to do with why some people think homosexuality can be 'cured' - reasoning that if some people can go either way, then all people can. I don't think this is true, though.

I do think that potentially a lot more people could be open to more than they think they are. The direction I would favour would be for a more open sexuality, rather than categorization.

I think I can understand people wanting others to choose something specific, and that many people who are gay or lesbian have been hurt by others who might have been 'experimenting'. On the other side, we have women who have been married for years to men (or men to women) they eventually find out are gay, and so no one wants that to happen to them, either. I can also see that eventually, many people might move out of an experimental stage, or a role originally adopted out of self-protection, and just settle on one main orientation. I don't think that makes the other stages invalid. Most heterosexual couples have had other relationships that turned out to be unsuitable before deciding to marry. If you are trying to force yourself to be attracted to someone you are not attracted to, it is not necessarily only related to sexual orientation. All of us learn about who we are and what we want through experience. Sometimes it is difficult to filter out all the messages from society coming in and to try to take a personal stand.

There is nothing wrong with exploration or experimentation. People of all sexual orientations can get hurt when they are with someone who wants something out of a relationship they don't, but that is the risk that everyone has to face. Different approaches to sexuality might fit different stages in a person's life and development.

I've seen a lot of people on the internet who seem to be annoyed that gay people have parades and and that this vocal minority would continually shove their sexuality down the throats of the majority, when said majority don't have parades to celebrate their heterosexuality.

What is taken for granted is the heterosexual right to displays of affection in public, and that it is OK to shove heterosexual ideals related to love and marriage in everyone's face on a daily basis. Heterosexuals who are married have rights that not everyone has, egs, to have their spouse be there and make important medical decisions, and they have the right to make decisions regarding any shared children.

LGBTQI individuals have to call attention to inequality, because otherwise no one would get it. 'Acceptance' would consist of allowing such individuals to do what they want, only behind closed doors, and without being able to take advantage of the rights and help available to those with legally legitimate relationships. They would not have the right to fully participate/integrate in society, while being accepted as themselves.

There are probably a lot of gay celebrities who choose not to come out because they either know or have been counselled that it will ruin any chance of a successful career, despite the exceptions to this rule.

There is definitely a lot of support out there for equality, but there is also still quite a lot of hate and prejudice, so much that at times I find it shocking. I do think that eventually the laws, as well as people's hearts and minds, will change.

-Xesce, 03/03/12















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