Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sexuality is a Many Splintered Thing

I likely have written about this before (but maybe not here), but I find it a fascinating topic that comes up again and again in so many contexts (sorry for the mind in the gutter pun).

Just to put things in context, I'm bisexual and am attracted to both men and women, but it's women who sweep me off my feet and though I've dated both men and women, it's women who I get into long term relationships with (oh and I'm monogamous which may be a minority in the bi community but we're not sure as mong. bi's are a quiet bunch we're discovering.

As a result I think I am a little more comfortable with gray areas that my gay and lesbian bretheren. Though it doesn't stop me wanting to talk about them and probably why I've run BiFriendly for 15 years.

But enough about me, let's look at a gray area I've been watching for a while now.

To my surprise, I find I watch the completely contrived Reality TV show Survivor. This I find odd as Survivor is not my thing, The Amazing Race and its simplicity very much is. I start watching a Survivor season just because I want to see the scenery and the puzzles (I'd love to be a puzzle designer for them), but sure enough, I get sucked into watching the people and their interaction (or lack of it).

During this season, there is a woman named Denise who would totally read as gay in my world, but who is married and has a daughter. Now queer folk who get married to members of the opposite sex (MOTOS - really old, old term) are not uncommon and sometimes find themselves in heartbreaking situations later on it life, but Denise had the opportunity to have her husband visit the island and she genuinely looked content. When she was cuddling with him, she had the involuntary smile that many truly happy people have. She could be bi, but who knows. I'm sure the lesbian community is dead sure she's gay, but I think we should just get a bit more comfortable with the gray area.


Elf said...

Ignorant outsider question before I head back into the depths of the user guide I'm supposed to be reviewing... So how can someone "totally read as gay"? Are you saying that you can look at anyone & tell whether they are or not? And, as an expert in that area, how do you know no t bi?

Cite your references...


Ellen said...

Well I did say "in my world"
But since you ask, and just remember you did ask :)

Gaydar refs:

And you [usually] never know not bi. ;)

Elf said...

Cool, thanks. Interesting. I've thought for a long time that, if most occurrences are genetic rather than environmental, that there'd be other physical characteristics, too. It would make sense that, if gay people spend a lot more time around other gay people, they'd be more attuned to recognizing the traits even if they can't always identify what they are.

I took the test at okcupid and got 65%, but in a test with only 20 q's, I wonder whether that's really statistically significant compared to me just guessing. :-)

So here's my follow-up question--can "gaydar" tell the difference between hetero and bi?


Ellen said...

Sure, depending on how gay leaning the person is. People like me get recognized right away. Others are less recognizable.

I'm thinking about a recent BiFriendly group of about 10 people and most you could sort of sense something not hetero about them, but there were others you would have no clue unless you talked to them for a little while.

Bisexual is a huge spectrum, but the gaydar is picking up on the same vibe if you will.

Elf said...

Yeah, but "recognized right away"--do they plug you as gay or as bi right away?

Oh, OK, I know this is a huge topic...


Ellen said...

Generally gay as gl folks still struggle with the existence of bisexual folks.

You're right it's a huge topic and since we know each other it's likely time for us to head to a pub that is conducive to long semi-intellectual chats.