Have you ever sat around a campfire enjoying some edifying cock talk
with a couple of friends when someone starts to eavesdrop? You look in
their direction and notice they are interested in your conversation.
Decorum dictates that you introduce yourself and your friends. Next
thing you know this social interloper is beckoning you with a
beleaguered "What did they say?" at each conversational volley. "They
said PROSTATE," you bellow. The stranger decides that paying attention to
the conversation at large is too laborious, so they focus on you. And
there is no better ice breaker in their arsenal than the question, "So
what are you: gay, straight or bi?"
For one eternal nano-second your mind reels rendering you
uncharacteristically speechless. You're compelled to say, "What did
you say?" But you don't really want to hear it again. Instead you
wish that either you or they would fall off gawd's flat green Earth
that very moment. Finally you muster a response, "I practice safe sex.
I like to do it alone." You decide they don't even SEE you when they
reply with, "Oh, I see we're still undecided."
No, it's not that you're undecided. And no, it's not that you find
this meddlesome creature completely unappealing (although secretly, you
DO). It's that sexual preference labels just do not work as first
impression presentation material in your whirled. In fact, no label
ever works. Why do they need to know your sexual preference before
making an effort to get to know you? So that they can treat you
differently? That is sexism and we don't play that way round here.
What if you end up being the sexual preference of their choice? Does
that mean you are obliged to be intimate with them? What if you don't
fall within their preference column? Are they going to fink you out to
the other campers? "Oh, don't bother getting to know that person.
They're, you know."
Later you think of all kinds of things you wish you had said: "Does
that line actually WORK for you?" "Do you find that meaningful
relationships develop after an introduction like that?" "Have you been
satisfied by the friendships you have built around that question?"
"I'm a free thinker." "Yes I AM gay, straight or bi. Does it show?"
"I prefer dancing." "Which one do you NOT want me to be?" "I'm a
human being. But thanks for playing." "Uh, that costs extra." "No."
Furthermore, what is really being said here? What is the insulting
meaning underlying this inquiry? Let's break it down: "Are you gay,
straight or bi?" = "I don't want to spend any more time getting to know
you until I can determine whether I'm going to get some action off you
first." Heck, I wouldn't even answer that question if Kevin Costner asked me.
Now I'm not talking about behavior here. Behavior can be modified with
positive or negative reinforcement. Anyone can siphon like a mook,
tattle like a fink or be had like a chump. I'm talking about labels.
The kind that are applied on boxes for ease of categorization. The
kind that bind with invisible lines preventing us from expanding our
freedom of expression. Labels beget segregation. Segregation begets
isolation. Isolation begets insanity. Insanity begets terrorism.
Labels are just plain wrong people. Question the question. Oh, give
me land, lots of land under starry skies above. Don't fence me in.