Marc Anthony can kiss men too: My understanding of our misunderstandings of sexuality.
Marc Anthony posted an image of himself kissing a few people, including some who we think he has private parts in common with and it is really messing people's minds up. Just check the comments if you're curious.
What frustrates me more than the folks who are saying he's gay and that's sad is the folks who are denying the possibility of his sexual attraction to men by saying a kiss is meaningless and just because he's kissing a man doesn't mean that he's enjoying it or whatever. I'm not naive enough to think that kissing is indicative of sexual attraction, but this reaction begs the question: what is our resistance to that possibility in this instance?
So with that, I'm reflecting on my understanding of our misunderstandings of sexuality.
1. Categories of sexual orientation are socially constructed.
It's all nonsense basically, like every other social construct. We created these categories for whatever reason anyone believes in but they're here and they once weren't here. Because of them being created, the same categories look different across the world so standardizing them would be essentially irrelevant because each society is iteratively constructing as we attempt to police. I'm focusing today on sexual orientation but there's much more to cover.
2. Attraction is more than sex. Way more.
We are attracted to all sorts of people and things all the time. Attraction is when my eyes can't stop looking at something for whatever reason. When I double take because I see a nice outfit - that is attraction. When I compliment my colleagues, I'm expressing an appreciation and attraction for their look, style, or whatever it is that I'm complimenting. Our fear of admitting to particular types of attraction in particular instances is so divisive! Maybe someday we won't have to say no-homo.
3. Sexuality is fluid.
For example, I've never been attracted to men to the point that I've wanted to engage with one intimately. That doesn't mean I'm heterosexual because it's completely within the realm of possibilities that I'll wake up tomorrow and find myself gravitating towards someone that I never thought I'd be attracted to. The next common question, which is constantly on everyone's mind when I speak with them about masculinity (I know because they try to ask me in the strangest ways) is am I queer. The answer is: we all are - because every other category through which we examine and understand sexualities are not nuanced enough to include any real life human beings.
There's a school of thought that believes that the sexual orientation that we are born with is the one that we stick with throughout life. This is useful for speaking with folks who think being gay is a sin (or whatever other illogical thing they have going on) but when it comes to framing sexuality as an ever-evolving phenomenon within each and every one of us, I have to reject that idea. This is not for the sake of changing people, rather it is an adaptation of our understanding to include people who are changing - it is to give space for us to engage with ourselves more freely.
4. What would folks who identify as LGBTQIA+ say to me (as a self-identified cisgendered heterosexual man)?
I get pushback here all the time because people think I'm the straight guy trying to live in both the LGBTQIA+ circles and the straight circles. I understand that. I'm offering up a much more complex view of sexuality that does include heterosexual people into the rest of the identities along that strain (perhaps after the +) rather than rejecting heterosexual identity. With the rejection of the heterosexual identity in these conversations, in my mind, its power and dominance over the others is reinforced rather than equitized.
Equitized because it isn't half of the conversation, rather it is one of the many identities that fall under the umbrella. If it was equalized, it would be just as important as the other marginalized identities, which is not anti-patriarchal. Equitized also reframes the notions of oppression that are implied by grouping them together. I'm not saying I'm oppressed in the same ways or am lacking privileges in those ways due to my not having ever been attracted to someone who shares my privates but what I am saying is that it is possible that one day I could wake up and that could happen -- then what?