So I’ve been trying to respond to the thread about my apparent obsession with going on about my sexuality (note – they’re talking about this) that’s manifested over at NSLog(); except now all my comments are getting bounced for ‘questionable content’. I’ve tried removing all the rude words from what I write, but god knows it’s hard, and it doesn’t appear to be doing any good. Before anyone goes running at his head suggesting that he’s blocking comments like this to avoid debate, I should point out that I’ve been having problems with the MTBlacklist questionable content filters recently, so I’m not implying anything. Instead I thought I’d just post it here, with all the rude words back in… Feel free to post your own thoughts about this stuff either here or over on his site… But be nice, eh?
If what you’re doing here is warning me that by having my sexuality on a card I might give out to people might stop me getting jobs, then thank you very much. Clearly by my age I wouldn’t have figured that out already.
Figures suggest that people who don’t meet their partners at school or university tend to meet them through work. Clearly this happens by complete coincidence – two people (let’s say they’re straight) are so conscious that they must not be flagrant about their heterosexuality that they avoid all mention of it for years until they happen to bump into each other at some kind of ‘straight bar’, recognise their attraction suddenly and fall into each other’s arms. Clearly there’s absolutely no assumption that it’s okay to flirt with each other at a Christmas party or whatever. Clearly no one talks about what they did at the weekend if it could possibly be construed as to make any reference (direct or indirectly) to whether they’re gay or straight or not. So they wouldn’t say that they’d cooked a meal for their girlfriend, or go to see a film with their boyfriend. Clearly they wouldn’t say out loud that they’d had a birthday party for their 3-year old son. I mean all of these things would be shouting from the rooftops about their sexuality. They may as well be standing outside your house with placards or rutting like Bonobo monkeys on the photocopier.
And quite right, I think, they should be ashamed of themselves – fornicating with their partners at home! Giving birth to children! Socialising with their family! Getting married! The shame. They make me sick.
I can honestly say that I’m stunned by your statement that you cannot see the difference between someone feeling the need to make it clear they were gay to avoid discomfort and awkwardness for themselves and their colleagues, and the fact that straight people simply don’t need to do that stuff. Straight sexuality comes up in conversation a dozen times a day – by association, by reference, however.
At no point during my piece over on plasticbag.org or here have I said that a gay person should ‘go on about’ their sexuality. In fact quite the opposite. As far as I’m concerned, getting it out of the way early means that the whole thing becomes less of an issue – not more. It’s about everyone knowing where they stand, so that they don’t say something crass in the office like, “Oh that photocopier is so gay” while someone over the other side of the room feels it like a kick in the head. It’s so that the gay individual concerned doesn’t have to go through this whole long drawn-out tentative process with each member of staff as issues of boyfriends/girlfriends, what you did at the weekend, what you think about some piece of the news, whether you fancy that bird in accounting come up in idle conversation. Because that stuff is bloody difficult and infuriating and frankly I’m not prepared to go back to a time where I have to go through all that bollocks every time I happen to meet a new human being.
All of which misses the point. I don’t make a secret of my sexuality, but nor do I tend to make a big deal about it. Most people who read my site have no idea that I’m gay. They find it a ‘surprise’ when they find out. I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish that they weren’t assuming that I was straight. I wish it wasn’t an issue at all, but it remains one I’m afraid. I could bring my sexuality into my site all the bloody time if I wanted to, but I don’t. I think I’ve struck a good balance between making my sexuality clear and then getting it off the table to talk about other stuff. And if you don’t like that balance, well frankly tough. I don’t care whether you like it or not. I’ll be damned if I’m going to treat the rest of my life like my teenage years and live in fear of ‘being found out’.
I should also point out that you’ve missed a hell of a lot of qualifying language from my post as well. I mean the very title includes, “In a happier world…”. The text itself calls it a “Tongue-in-cheek-ish slightly-bored early-evening version of what I would kind of like my business card to be like.” I stand by it – if anything your reaction makes me want to use it more – but it was never meant to be anything but a throwaway offhand happy and less formal card that I felt represented me accurately. It’s true that I don’t think that the normal separation of life and work is a reasonable one – that I think that we should act according to our principles in both, that we should care about our work all the time, that it should ideally be a passion and as much of our personality as things like your sexuality or nationality or political beliefs or whatever. I really care about my work and don’t just see it as something that pays the bills, any more than I think my sexuality is just about something that happens in bed with a friend. But just because I’m not as willing to distinguish between the things I get paid to do and the things I do because I think it’s the right and proper way of operating in the world, doesn’t make it reasonable for you to conflate two words on a mock-up of a business card with a form of big swinging-dick sex-obsessed radical queer activism!
Oh and somewhere along the line you also make some comment about how I seem to have a lot of respect for myself, and I’m beginning to think that’s really where a lot of this stuff is coming from. If you find me personally annoying or offensive then just say so and we can talk about that like grown-ups. Seems at the moment that the only person fixating on my sexuality is you.