erin judge writes this

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I'm Erin Judge. I'm a comedian and a writer. I live in Los Angeles. Let's hug.

July 25, 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?

July 15, 2013

social media-crity

Between June 26th and July 14th, I took a break from Facebook and Twitter. I didn't label it a "fast" or a "sabbatical," nor was I religiously strict about it. I checked most days for messages on Facebook (because that's where a lot of my professional colleagues reach me) and crazy shit on Twitter (like an errant "Test" I didn't write, which prompted me to deny access for a few apps and change my password and feel humiliated that two people RT'ed it).

Here is what I learned:

Twitter Miss
Despite barely participating in Twitter for three weeks, I nonetheless gained and lost 3 to 5 followers a day. I wound up with roughly the same number of followers I started with. Lesson: Never ever saying shit is dead even with releasing frequent pithy blah-blahs when it comes to expanding my influence. Bummer.

Not Like
Of course I know it's not necessary for me to weigh in on every news controversy or comedy world conflict. I just always thought I did it for fun. What I realized when I stopped for a while is that it's actually pretty stressful. From the extremely active and sometimes combative message board system on my college campus to the world of blog comments and lengthy wall threads, I've been fighting with strangers (and acquaintances! and family!) publicly on the internet for my entire adult life and most of my adolescence. But it turns out I feel better overall when I just... don't do that. Like, at all. Weird.

I Fucking Love Babies and Weddings
Let the haters hate. Babies and weddings are by far the best part of Facebook. And touching tributes to departed loved ones are neither tacky nor inappropriate. They're lovely and human. At its best, Facebook lets people share the big moments in their lives with family and friends (and a few highly-paid corporate demographers).

Resolved: I'll focus more on the lovey-dovey, touchy-feely aspects of Facebook, and I'll throw Twitter a joke or two from time to time without putting too much energy into following every little controversy and hashtag. And I will not let social media get me all stressed-out and worked up and combative and unproductively ragey. Because my righteous indignation is potent, yo! It should be employed in the service of actually fucking shit up, not just sitting around being mad at @IAmSomeJerkfaceIdiot or whatever.

To sum up, from now on, my relationship with social media will be more of this:

...and less of this: