I strongly believe that sexuality is a fluid concept, susceptible to change and fluctuations as people grow, change, develop. After all, the qualities we find attractive in a potential friend are the same as those we look for in a potential mate or partner. All it takes is a small shift in emotion to move from the ‘friend zone’ to the ‘lovers zone,’ regardless of gender.
I fully accept that many people disagree with me. Lots of people think sexual preference is cemented and unchanging. That’s fine. Yet I can’t help but think that people place far too much emphasis on their sexuality.
Being gay can be hard. Some people are prejudiced and will treat you differently because of who you love. It’s unbelievable how forcefully these prejudices persist, but persist they do. They’re hard to deal with, and hard to overcome, especially if you aren’t sure how to deal with your newly-awakened self.
Whilst you should never, ever have to hide your sexuality, it’s equally true that you mustn’t make it your defining attribute. Have the self-confidence to say that yes, this is a part of who I am. But only a part. Let me show you the rest – it’s awesome.
Now, this isn’t something exclusive to the gay community. All people can take any one of their hobbies, qualities or characteristics and magnify it until it eclipses everything else. It diminishes them as a person, shrinking their character to fit within the strictly delineated limits described by this one attribute. It can happen to anyone, over anything; music, clothing, eating habits, sports, careers, religion. We do this to have a thing, to align ourselves with a certain community. But sometimes this can be all-consuming, and these limits then become oppressive, removing opportunities. People force themselves into molds that leave no room for anything else. And eventually, there is the inevitable existentialist crisis: is this all that I am? Is this it?
Sexuality seems to be something that people get particularly hung up on, possibly because there is still an air of controversy about it. So that’s what I’m specifically focusing on here. It is one thing to be proud of who you are; it is quite another to deny that you are nothing more than your sexuality. Reducing yourself like this only feeds the hatred that so many are eagerly waiting to heap on you. Your sexual orientation, whatever it may be, is irrelevant to how you function at work, in social environments, and with friends. Sure, it may influence you. But it doesn’t control you. Denying that you can be gay and more than that feeds prejudice and panders to harmful stereotypes. Of course you’re more than that.
Who you like to have sex with does not dictate who you have to be.
…Or does it?
After all, aren’t we just an amalgamation of our desires, lusts, wishes and hopes, bundled together in a tenuously bound, nervous package? If that’s the case, then your sexuality could well be the lynchpin of your character. Following this, stereotypes could be just slightly exaggerated representations of what we all secretly are. We fill molds because we can’t do anything else. If this is so, will we ever be capable of being truly individual?
Can we be more than what we lust after?
I like to think so.
It upsets me to see people reducing themselves to a walking, talking representation of what gives them the hots. There is more to them than that. There is more to everyone than that. People are beautiful, intelligent, creative and fun to be around. We’re multi-faceted and complicated. We can have more than one thing, we can fit into more than one community. We don’t need to arbitrarily limit ourselves, aborting our own potential.
Friends: We love you, neither in spite of nor because of your sexuality. We love you regardless. We love you unreservedly because of everything you are, and everything you can and will be.
We could not care less about your sexuality. It’s only one part of the intricate diamond of your personality. We’re interested in the whole. Don’t reduce yourself. You’re better than that.