One Drop of Gayness

Question: I have always been attracted to women and all of my sexual encounters have been with women, but many people think that I am gay. I’ll admit that my appearance and my interests fit the stereotypical gay male and it is starting to make me question my sexual orientation. Am I just in denial about being gay?

Are you distressed that your clothes and your musical tastes are showing up on others’ gaydar? Are you worried that your innocent Bieber fever will one day turn into a full-blown One Direction erection? Your concern echoes our culture’s insistence of choosing sides with regards to sexual identity, which unfortunately leads to distress when we do not conform to how society defines gay/hetero, female/male, and masculine/feminine.

First, it seems as though you, and others who are questioning your attraction toward a clitoris, are confusing sexual orientation with gender expression or role, both of which are components of your sexual identity. Your sexual orientation is your attraction toward others. You have indicated your attraction toward women, which, if you're identifying as a man, indicates you're on the heterosexuality spectrum. Your gender expression and role, however, is how masculine or feminine you are in your appearance, behavior, and interests, which seems to be the source of your concern for using a lot of Aveda products.

And when you add the other components of sexual identity - biological sex and gender identity - it becomes exponentially complex. Allow me to delegate the task of explaining this to a random person on YouTube:

This makes the idea of simply assigning blue for boys and pink for girls quite ridiculous. It’s more like 50 shades of purple.

Our culture assumes that we are naturally and exclusively heterosexual, cisgender (biological sex and gender identity matching), and express traditional gender roles for our sex. Any slight deviation from this presumption and the person is forced all the way to the other side of the sexual orientation continuum. If a woman has short hair and owns a golf bag, she’s a lesbian. If a man admits he cries while listening to Adele, he’s gay.

It’s a similar mentality with this culture’s racist history. In the not too distant past, a metaphorical drop of blood from African descent made that individual a Black person. States adopted this belief into various laws that quantified “Whiteness,” such that a person was not White if they had as little as 1/8th African ancestry.

Are these the "good ol’ days" conservatives long for?

But as the video showed, sexual identity is complex and is comprised of a vast gray area. It’s this middle area of the continuum that gets the most misunderstanding. Some believe the middle is just a temporary phase before the person permanently settles onto one side. Others endorse a religious belief that if two scrotums touch, even for a brief moment and only once in a person’s life, both scrotum owners are going straight to hell.

But this is not the truth.

So to concisely answer your question, while you may express an androgynous or more feminine gender role, it does not mean you’ll wake up one morning craving a penis in your mouth. And even if you do, or if you are just fantasizing about sucking on Leonardo DiCaprio’s toes, it does not mean those thoughts or behaviors took you to the complete opposite side of the sexual orientation continuum. Find comfort in the middle. Minimize the importance of a label. And most importantly, keep dancing to One Direction.

Just because you desire to become the 6th member of One Direction doesn't mean you desire to touch the members of the other members.

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