More Sex, Please

Wow. Kai Wright, a journalist in my very own neighborhood of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, strikes a bullseye in an article on Alternet titled “More Sex, Please,” that goes right to the heart of some issues that really stick in my craw about the modern LGBT movements. I support the right to gay marriage out of intellectual principle: people should be able to marry who they want, without being discriminated against by random sexual fears. But other taking a certain sadistic glee out of pissing off holy-roller demagogues like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, I can’t really get passionate about it. The narrowing of gay rights to focus, with laserlike intensity, on the right to marry as though it were the Holy Grail of queerness, has been destructive to the community as a whole. As Wright says, “We’ve sacrificed sexual pluralism on the altar of civil rights.”
I’m (mostly) heterosexual, but I’ve never considered myself straight. To be straight implies too much normality, too much acceptance of the box that other people have built for you. It doesn’t sound right for the way I view sex, which is as something that needs to be constantly explored and can be constantly expanded. Looking at it this way, perversion is a good thing. Perversion is the process of moving outside of that box.
Perversion is in the process of being pushed out of the gay movements; the motivation of the gay establishment seems to be to remake themselves into “gay straights”: completely contained within the inoffensive norm, with the single exception that behind the white picket fence are two (and only two) same-sex partners. Wright describes the fallacy thus:

Legal equality is a worthy goal, all the more so for those at the lower end of the economic ladder who can’t afford to tell the boss to fuck off when he demands they dress like ladies or gents. But it’s also a goal that will remain elusive as long as we opt out of the sex wars. We must convince America to celebrate rather than hide from the fact that we all have sex, of all different sorts—to champion the idea that hetero or homo, missionary or doggy-style, it’s all good. For until the country stops dividing sex by what’s natural or perverted, we’ll never get our rights—civil or otherwise.

Moreover, the effort to market our normality not only fails to address the real issues driving American homophobia, it is also self-defeating, because it forces just the sort of political divisiveness our civil rights leaders have rightly identified as holding the movement back. For, if gay relationships are normal, what’s a normal gay relationship? Is a leather daddy or dominatrix normal? What’s a normal “commitment”?

“Normal” hurts us all, starves us of the ability to become something more than what Mom and Dad and the preacher say we’re supposed to be. In the end, the process of normalizing queerness is a conspiracy of silence, entered into by LGBT and hetero institutions alike. It tucks sex back in the closet, something that polite men and women acknowledge only obliquely.

The conspiracy keeps the status quo safe because while it repeats the idea that gay people are normal, just like everybody else, it safely ignores the flip side of that: everybody else is just like the gays. All the hallmarks of queer freakishness — the leather daddies, the public sex, the fetishes, the BDSM — that groups like the HRC and hacks like Andrew Sullivan would like to banish from public sight have their counterparts in the heterosexual communities. We’ve known how polymorphously perverse hets are since Alfred Kinsey first published his report on the American male in 1948. We’ve known that “normal” is a lie, and that these nice straight people are cross-dressing, sticking things up their asses and twats, flogging each other, swapping partners, hiring whores of both genders, masturbating manually and with toys, and generally fucking, sucking, and coming in any way they could possibly imagine. But to be polite, we pretend that it’s not happening, and that everything is securely in the box.

I learned everything I know about sex from queer communities. I learned to think of sex as something fun, instead of a way of proving something; I learned safer sex techniques and risk assessment; I learned the mutability of gender and other categories. I wouldn’t have learned those things from the community that LGBT leaders are trying to create now, the normal, non-perverted one. Eventually, I can see the HRC or some future organization helping to create a gay version of the government’s abstinence-only webpage.


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