Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stop Trying to Figure Out Why I am Gay.


This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

Why am I gay?

This has been a question I've been asked so many times I could just record my answer and play it back. Well, along with a considerable amount of profanity.

Originally I answered this question with:

I am born this way. Nothing made me gay, this is an inherent part of who I am. This is me. You could not have a straight Sparky and it still be Sparky - a straight Sparky would be a stranger, an alien, missing a fundamental part of himself. There is no more a reason for my being gay than there is a reason for my existence at all. In fact I've spoken about that before and what it means

And while it was and is most definitely true, it lacked something.
This gradually became less eloquent and rather more snarky from pure repetition. "Why are you straight?" generally morphed into "why are you even asking me?" and has finally landed on "of fuck you and the heteronormative horse you road in on."

Because the question now annoys me. No, it offends me and insults me.

We don't ask why people are straight. Because straightness is assumed. Straightness is normal. Straightness is default. Straightness is nor only what all people should be - but straightness is what all people are.

Because by asking "why are you gay?" they're asking "why are you not straight?" Because something must have happened. And often that "something" is assumed to be some of the worst things imaginable - as we saw yet again in yet another fail from the BBC, asking a child abuse victim if that caused his sexuality

We ask "why are you gay" because we assume that something must have caused me to deviate from the proper course of events. Because you can't just BE gay. Not like you can be straight - no, because straightness is normal, natural, encouraged, ok. But being gay is questionable, abnormal, unnatural - it needs a reason, it needs explaining - it cannot be just accepted. It cannot just be like any other basic, ground state of being.

I am gay.

I don't have to explain it. I don't have to justify it. I don't have to defend it.

You don't need a reason. You don't need to ask why. You don't need to examine it.

It's not complicated. It doesn't need a step-by-step guide, it doesn't need a long, complex explanation.

If we applied these statements to straightness we wouldn't blink. In fact we'd be surprised that they needed to be said. There's no reason why we shouldn't be treated the same way