(previously published in 2014 by Nick, our Director)
We’re only here for a very short time. In every moment, we only have one real choice: Will it bring me closer to or further away from love?
So, tell me — will you choose love?
(Mike Iamele, 21/08/14)
I came across an article today that really grabbed me. Not only do I believe that this is exactly how I will find ‘the one’, but it also speaks directly to my sociological views of how sexual orientation is fluid. It does beg the question, nature or nurture?
Now, I’m not one who believes that sexual orientation is a choice – I mean with the amount of prejudice and discrimination that non-heterosexual people face, who would choose to put themselves through that? However, I don’t necessarily align to the GaGa ideology that ‘Baby, I was born this way’. My sexual orientation, or rather my emotional, physical, intellectual, social, attraction orientation is intrinsically linked to my identity – that is, it is part of my overall make-up. That identity, I believe, has been developed from every ounce of experience I have lived through for the last 26+ years of my life, and will continue to develop and change over the rest of my life. As a queer thinker (see queer theory), I fundamentally believe in the fluidity of identity. We live, we learn, we grow, we change, and we develop a robust sense of self. So does that mean I believe is nurture that caused me to ‘be’ gay? Does it heck as like. An over protective mother figure, an absence of a male father figure (neither apply to me by the way) no more cause someone to be attracted to people of the same sex as it does give them the ability to fly! Neither by the way, is the reverse true, however, the opinions of parents, family, friends and so on, can have a profound impact on whether or not a person feels supported enough to ‘come out’ if they do happen to not be straight. I use the terms ‘non-heterosexual’ and ‘not straight’ because nobody has to ‘come out’ and tell their friends that they are attracted to people of the opposite sex – society assumes that to be true until told (painfully in many cases) otherwise.
The article I read (Read it here) tells of person who believed he knew his identity, knew who he was. But one day, the power of love (and yes I’m singing now as I type) flipped all these notions of his heterosexuality on their head. In the article he still identifies as ‘otherwise straight’, but he happened to fall in love with a man. How is this possible I hear you ask…surely he is gay now? Well he can be purple if he wants to be as these words are only social labels that are ‘understood’ by society at large. What makes someone a label? What makes someone gay? Is it the way they speak, the way the dress, the way they act, who they spend time with, who they love, or is it who they sleep with? Take for example, in today’s metrosexually bromantic society the young boy who wears fashionable clothes, files his nails and plucks his eyebrows…is he gay? Well he might be, but only if he chooses to label himself as gay. Take the girl who plays hockey, wears sports clothes and looks like she could do pretty well in a bar fight…is she gay? Well she might be, but who are we to assume? What if both this boy and this girl were sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex…are they gay now? Do we really reduce people to an identity by the sex of the person they choose to sleep with? What about people who never sleep with anyone? Are they assumed to be straight? Probably, considering the heteronormative assumptions society places on people…after all, how can they be gay if they don’t sleep with anyone of the same sex?
The truth is, people can be who they want to be, and in fact we all try to be, but what stops us from expressing our true identities is the fear of how people will react to any such expressions. We think about the way we dress, the way we look, the way we speak, the way we act – all because we are afraid of what others might think of us.
Well done to the man the article is about I say. Congratulations for having the courage to go with your feelings without allowing the world to hold you back. If only we weren’t all socially conditioned conform to social norms and social labels (for those outside the norm – the minorities) from the second we are born eh? Blue for a boy, pink for a girl? Dolls or cars? Why are these boy things or girl things? Why can’t boys like dolls and dress-up and girls like bikes and action figures? It’s all part of our fluid identities, and guess what, it doesn’t make us straight, gay, bi or apricot – it just forces us to act in certain ways, and can lead to oppression of our internal identities, and social isolation and exclusion.
Love is love. If you find true love, that person who causes an increased production of oxytocin when you’re near them, and a drastic depletion of it when they’re not around…then I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world.