Most of the posts I put on this blog are encouraging because that’s how I prefer to deal with bisexual erasure, violence, etc. It’s better to focus on the ways to solve issues in a positive manner than dwelling on the negative. But sometimes you have experiences that just leave you seething.
I attended a dinner tonight that was business oriented for a new colleague’s birthday. All those in attendance were self-identified gay men, excluding myself. Five minutes into the dinner, the conversation turns into a discussion of how bisexuality doesn’t exist and that a mutual friend, who was not in attendance, was dating a girl. Comments turned into, “It’s almost sad” because he’s “obviously gay and it’s not going to work but we’ll sit and watch. Poor thing must be so confused. But hey…he’ll figure it out.”
The issue at hand was that all of the (mostly older) gay men in attendance had only known this mutual acquaintance to date other men. However, over the summer he had starting dating another friend who happened to be a woman and he was very excited to start this new relationship.
To question a colleague’s sexuality, especially when they’re not in attendance, is just unacceptable. As this discussion progressed, the same old tired comments about bisexuality came out. “The only bi men I know say that they’re bi but they all lean one way or the other” or “Well…honey….he should just admit it. He’s gay. It’ll be easier.”
My own sexuality was not up for discussion here directly, but it was the same. fucking. erasure. that happens daily for bisexual men. I was so mad that I turned visibly red.
At this point I said something to those at the dinner about how I have a dear, unnamed friend, who is married and loves, LOVES sleeping with his wife but also is allowed to sleep with men and enjoys both thoroughly. This comment got brushed off with someone saying “Oh that’s like my friend _____. He’s gay but he’s married to a woman so they have an open marriage where they both sleep with men on the side,” which completely missed my point and basically suggested my friend had a sham marriage.
How can people in the gay community, especially older members of the gay community, be so ignorant, and frankly asshole-ish about sexualities other than gay or lesbian? When this cohort of gay men were younger being gay was still listed in the DSM-II of Mental Illnesses. You’d think that a group who experienced Stonewall and the first wave of the gay rights movement firsthand would be more open.
And the way that they talked about women. And it’s not just this particular group. We often hear about how straight men are misogynistic. But little discussion, until the past couple years, has occurred talking about how it’s just as bad if not worse among the older gay male cohort. The shit I have heard some gay men (and often older gay men) talk about how “Women are just…ew. Like…don’t they smell and…just ew” and joke after joke suggesting men are obviously superior to women because we have cocks and pronounced pecs and muscle-y thighs, etc. How the fuck do you think you’re around? Those vaginas you find so revolting were somehow involved in you being in existence. And those “floppy boobs” are evolutionarily designed. It’s because of them that you could have the proper nutrition to have the cognitive ability to even have this conversation.
This is not to say you have to like women. You can even be repulsed by their genitalia. But to speak and talk about women as if they’re a different species and portray their own sexual beings as something hideous that should be hidden is simply…misogynistic and a throwback to the 1950s.
But I think the part that angered me the most was that a personal friend of mine was at the table and said nothing. This friend didn’t exactly agree with the comments being made but he also didn’t say anything. He didn’t defend the fact that the man he himself is in love with (also not in attendance) is bisexual. Nor did he do anything to account that his own friend sitting next to him, me, is bisexual and obviously very uncomfortable with the way the discussion was headed. Granted, in a setting such as this it would have put him at odds with his superiors but yet I was in the same position as he was hierarchically-speaking and decided to speak up for myself.
I do not mean this rant to blanket the entire older gay community. Some of my closest allies are gay men that are in the very same age bracket as these men and they have been some of the most supportive and amazing people I have ever met. But it still remains that a large portion continue to perpetuate stereotypes about bisexual men, trans* people, and women that are ridiculous. And in 2014. It is just unacceptable.
So please, followers. Send me some love AND responses. I want to hear your thoughts, even if you think my rant is totally base-less. I want to know what you think.