I have been thinking a lot lately about how much sexuality had changed since I got into the game in the '80s or so. It used to be that my sexuality was “normal”. Today, it’s “boring”. I’m a straight, white man who’s not into butt stuff (as in never tried it, refuse to try it), married to a straight, white woman who feels the same way about butt stuff. That used to be de facto “normal”. Butt stuff and bondage were kinky. The kind of thing you didn’t want people knowing about.
And then came the second sexual revolution, where people once thought to be on the fringe stood up in droves and said, “There is nothing wrong with me!” And now, it seems, I’m the weirdo. I guess butt stuff is “standard” these days. And there’s a whole lot more to people than “straight, gay or bi”. There is a whole, if I may borrow the term, rainbow of people out there with thoughts and feelings and desires my limited understanding never imagined.
Being the weirdo these days doesn’t bother me one bit, but it does make me a little sad. Not because I don’t have as much company as once thought I did, but because I imagine what it must have been like for all of those people to go through their entire lives thinking that they were the weirdos, that there was something wrong with them. By the time I became the weirdo there was no longer anything wrong with being different. I will never know their suffering. Not that the religious reich (did I misspell that? Oops!) yet accepts the reality of what is actually “normal” yet, so it’s not like anything has changed for me in any real way.
There was no point to this other than to get people to think about what our friends, our family, our neighbors and the loudest anti-gay Republicans must have gone through, and many are still going through. It’s a long road to actual social acceptance, made longer by intolerant leaders, and longer still by intolerant leaders who hate themselves for being one of the people they hate so much. Many of them, I’m sure, had a very hard time just accepting themselves because of the lies society told them, never mind gaining acceptance from others. I can only imagine, but I would guess that “coming out” to one’s self was, for some people, as hard as coming out to friends and family. Society told them that they were weird, even without knowing who they were. It must have been frustrating and confusing to hear personal praise for being a good human beings while being told that people like their secret selves couldn’t be good people. And so, so lonely.
I think that’s one thing we forget when we’re talking about or to non-straight people; that they went through a whole lot of messed up shit, often with no support, that shaped their emotional state today. Today we think, “Gay means happy!”, but we must not forget what society did to these people our entire lives before they could get to “happy”. I know I’m guilty of reacting to something a non-straight person says without considering the journey they took to get to where they are, the anger, depression and anguish many of them suffered that helped to shape their current world view. I only think of “the now”, when they are generally accepted, and don’t consider “back then”, which is part of what made them who they are, and the extremes, which they often still suffer today, especially with so much hate emanating from the White House.