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I'm Erin Judge. I'm a comedian and a writer. I live in my Corolla. I will eventually land in Los Angeles.

25 July 2013

love: it's a no-brainer

I can't change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to... 

So goes the hook from the much-lauded Mackelmore song about how actively mocking and degrading gay people is wrong. Hooray for all that (but I personally think his stance against designer labels is way more contrarian and refreshing in the context of contemporary hip-hop culture).

And then there's this article from the LA Times entitled "Why Bisexuals Stay in the Closet." Synopsis: because a) nobody believes us, and b) those who do tend to think we're insatiable sex-crazed homewreckers. As an out bisexual, I can attest that, while the latter comes up only rarely, the former is constant. "Are you really bisexual?" outpaces "Hey you were funny!" as an audience response to my stand-up by a ratio of 3 to 1. (Which is especially crazy considering how hilarious I am.)

I would argue there's another big reason, one that ties into that aforementioned heartwarming hook. "Being gay is not a choice" has become a major justification for expanding not just marital rights to same-sex couples but even the most basic employment and indeed human rights protections to gay people everywhere. The logical extension -- "Because who on earth would choose a fate so awful as being gay?" -- is not just implied but often explicitly stated as part of that argument.

Well I've got your answer: bisexuals, that's who. Sure, plenty of bisexual people go their entire lives "passing" for straight, never so much as experimenting with members of their same sex, even though they know for certain they've always been attracted to people of both/all genders. But every single bisexual person who openly dates or partners with a member of their same sex is making a choice. A lesbian who feels exclusively same-sex attraction has two options: get her gay on, or remain celibate. (I suppose finding a beard is a third option, but let's not deal with such horrors here.) Most (but far from all) people seem to believe it's unreasonable to expect others to live lives of celibacy when they could have access to the fulfillment of love and relationships with members of their same sex. However (goes this argument), if you could love a person of the opposite sex, if you are capable of doing so, then that's what you should do.

There are reasons why bisexual people like me come out and stay out. One is that we don't actually think there is anything wrong with relationships between members of the same sex. Nothing. Not one thing. Not one single tiny little iota of a passing whisper of a notion makes gay sex any less moral or clean or pure or awesome than straight sex. The moral equivalency is utterly total and complete.

Another big reason is pretty simple: love is love. In Loving vs. Virginia, the plaintiffs didn't argue that they were somehow biologically incapable of being attracted to members of their own race. They asserted that two people in love should be afforded the dignity of recognition, that we should be able to marry whomever we choose.

The only thing that makes gay worse than straight is homophobia itself -- internalized and otherwise. When we no longer privilege straight over gay (or male over female, or white over black, or....), we as a society will not have to make arguments that focus on the inherent disadvantages of being one way or another. And that will be good, because those very arguments, though well-intentioned, serve to solidify and propagate oppression. "This group is less-than, so we must afford them some charity from our position on high." Once we stop condescending to one another, we will finally be able to acknowledge that the very binaries that define our oppressions and privileges are false. We are many, and we are all one.

I can't change the fact that I fall in love with men and women, even if I tried. But I don't want to.

Who on earth would choose less capacity for love?




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