Thursday, December 03, 2009

[LGBT Youth]: Just Not Quite Gay Enough

an Essay by Tony Meyer Jr. Harvard 2011
1 December 2009 in Campus Pride Blog X-Posted with permission


Bisexual-identified LGBT Activist, Harvard Undergrad and 2007 Point Scholar Tony MeyerIn the eighth grade, I “came out” as gay when I professed my love for Billy H. in an invitation to be my date to our homecoming dance. My girl friends celebrated their new gay friend, excited by the prospect of adding a fashionista to their clique; despite owning a closet of jeans and ratty t-shirts, being “gay” evidently meant a lot more than kissing boys.

In the tenth grade, I discovered (or rather, finally admitted to myself) that I was also into the female form, breasts no longer simply fun pillows at girls’ night sleepovers. I waited until senior year to come out (again), this time as bisexual.

As a wrestler at 6’4’’, 230 pounds, I don’t conform to mainstream conceptions of the gay/queer/non-straight male. Bisexuals are stereotyped as fence-sitters, straddling the divide between queer and straight culture; instead of trying to pass between the two, I too often clash them together (I love blasting Lady Gaga while practicing my shot with a .222 in the Arizona desert). Bisexuality is about contradictions, simultaneously orthodox and heterodox in its practice of sexuality. I, however, find myself bisexual in most every aspect of my identity: a Democrat in the National Rifle Association, a sexually liberal moral traditionalist, a Christian Darwinist, a romantic sybarite caught between intellectualism and frisson’s appeal.

For me, bisexuality is about more than a sexual identity – bisexuality is a philosophy, a method of thought that characterizes how I approach the world and the way in which I lead my life.

Most of my work within the queer community has actually been fighting against it. For all of our efforts to break down gender stereotypes, homophobia and traditionalist understandings of sexuality, the queer community can be incredibly oppressive of members of its collective who are “too straight,” too conservative or just not quite gay enough. The most pernicious discrimination I have faced has been at the hands of my queer friends - while the queer community fights against the mythologization of the gay male as promiscuous, amoral, neurotic and a bastion of venereal disease, we far too often perpetuate that mythologization against the bisexual.

Here at Harvard, I concentrate (major) in History, specializing in military history and sexual history. My senior thesis will concentrate my focus in sexual history, with my current track of study the issue of situational homosexuality (in short, how isolation and containment in a homosocial space produces homosexual desire or behavior, particularly in the military, prison, prostitution, pornography, sports teams and education). My academic interests also include the history and evolution of sexual practices, particularly those with crossover between the straight and queer communities (i.e. circumcision, masturbation, the kiss, monogamy/polygamy and BDSM).

As I continue to blog, I hope to address issues concerning the bi-community, sexuality and its practices and the ways in which homosocial spaces deserve room in a queer community. Sexual history is as deserving of historical attention as the history of nations, militaries and empire, particularly in an age when sex screams to be let out of the closet. The study of the prurient is not itself pornographic. Too often the queer community is chained by sexual mythology (and bisexuals two-fold) – an open discussion and appreciation of the libido, the sex drive, is crucial for any campaign of queer empowerment.

After all, Martin Luther did not simply nail ninety-five theses to a church door in Wittenburg – he placed the sex drive at the core of man’s existence, as necessary as food and water, and launched a Reformation that exploded Christianity in its embrace of the power of sex.
Campus Pride LogoCampus Pride is an American national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001 which serves LGBT and Ally Student Leaders and/or Campus Organizations in the areas of leadership development, support programs and services to create safer, more inclusive LGBT-friendly colleges and universities. The organization is a volunteer-driven network "for" and "by" student leaders. Campus Pride envisions campuses and a society free of LGBT prejudice, bigotry and hate. It works to develop student leaders, campus networks and future actions to create such positive change.

8 comments:

  1. Wow, this essay was well written and very honest. It never ceases to amaze me what a well articulated, well thought out essay can convey. Good job Tony Meyer Jr and thanks for sharing BiNet USA.

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  2. Welcome to the ranks of BiNET bloggers, Tony. A few of our blogs grow legs, and get passed on, cross-posted and re-posted, and strangers come up to you at queer events and mention they read them and were moved. This will be one of those blogs.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this and would be interested in doing an interview with Tony for my Queer magazine, Zenger's, based where I live in San Diego, California but distributed in other cities as well. I can be reached at (619) 688-1886 or by e-mail at mgconlan@earthlink.net. I'm a member of the local Bisexual Forum and have done a number of featured stories about Bisexuals before, often covering the same issues raised in Tony's article: the ways in which the Queer community maintains its own negative stereotypes about Bisexuals and bisexuality.

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  4. Well Said.

    You're on the right track my friend!

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  5. Wow, I love your post. I'm transgender and am great disturbed when I hear people say that bisexuals are fence sitters. We are who we are. Your thesis sounds very interesting.

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  6. Very well written, I like it.

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  7. Tony, Genevieve: I'm not on any fence. I'm decidedly bisexual. I am in love with the soul, the spirit, of people.

    I am interested in loving, in falling in love, in making love, in immersing my soul in that of another, in enjoying the smell, the flesh-on-flesh, the embrace, the touch, the kiss, the softness, the hardness, the furriness, the sounds, the love, the joys, the sorrows, cooking for, looking after, caring about, missing, rejoining, talking, cooing, nuzzling, hand-holding, walking, pillow-talking, eye-gazing, lip locking, hip-rocking, dancing, laughing, living, and every other thing that comes with loving....
    ...and not a single thing I mentioned above of the passion of the deepest soul-burning love has a gender requirement.

    "I was born a soul without a sex.... now I have sex to find my soul." -- me

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  8. A very well-written essay, by someone remarkably sure of himself, sexually and otherwise (I stop short of saying "for his age" - not just because it sounds condescending, but because it dates me horribly ;)

    I'm that outcast freak among outcast freaks: a bisexual man married to a bisexual woman. We were friends for more than 10 years before making the leap into matrimony 13 years ago; in that decade we came to know and understand ourselves and one another both sexually and platonically.

    One reason so many in the LGBT community have a hard time with bisexuality is that it implies choice, a word that's anathema to the present-day gay world. If I choose to be with a woman, then others can, too, and therefore I'm the weak link in the chain, one that can be pulled by the conservative asshats who want to convince the world that it's *always* "just a choice." I understand that, but I don't really respect it. It's heartbreaking to find so many people unwilling to interact with me as an LGBT man when they learn of my situation.

    Many see a monogamous bisexual as an oxymoron; I've made a commitment to one side, so that's obviously who I must be. But all it takes is listening in to one Friday evening conversation with my wife and I to understand how far off that assumption can be.

    I applaud you in your ongoing quest to know and express yourself as well as you do.

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