Why advertise sexual orientation?

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  • #10153

    Josephine29122
    Participant

    Why do many gay people have to be so assertive and public about their sexuality? Why make it their entire identity? I am heterosexual, but my life and identity as a person do not revolve around my sexuality. Is this only because homosexuality is still not accepted by so many – because you still need to get the word out in all ways possible? Do you believe that once there is more widespread acceptance, it will become less of a culture/way of life, or will the gay community always separate themselves from the heterosexual community?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Josephine29122, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 24, City : Richmond, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Designer, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #25390

    Chuck
    Participant

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘advertising’ and being ‘assertive’ and ‘public’ about sexuality. Heterosexuals do so all the time. Think about the pictures your co-workers have up of spouses and kids, or the conversations you’ve had about where a friend and her husband went on vacation, or your fondness for a particular male celebrity/politician/sports star, etc. What constitutes everyday conversation or ‘normal behavior’ for you can seem to be ‘advertising’ when someone else does the same thing regarding the same sex. But it’s really not any more or less ‘public’; it’s just the double-standard at work of a majority orientation and a minority orientation. As to your other questions, I can only speak for myself: I don’t separate myself from my heterosexual friends, co-workers, relatives and neighbors and wouldn’t want to. However, I know there are gays and lesbians who have felt enough oppression from a dominant heterosexual society and either want to reaffirm their pride in their own worth or want to take comfort in being around people who are less likely to be judgmental. I can understand that.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Chuck, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 38, City : Raleigh, State : NC Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #19766

    Edgar
    Member

    Your point about non-heterosexual people in effect living in a veritable sea of advertisements for and reinforcements of heterosexuality are well taken. The same sort of thing happens to the non-religious vis-a-vis theists (particularly Christians), but that’s a different discussion. Being open about one’s sexual orientation will not always be easy, but it is considered worthwhile to do so (it is by me and my partner) for various reasons too complex to describe in detail here.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Edgar, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 56, City : Dayton, State : OH Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #22433

    bob-r
    Participant

    Chuck. Your right to a point. Yes there is nothing worng with haveing pictures of lived ones on the desk and be open with your partner in public What i have a problem with is the same a the author of the question. Ones sexuality does not define a person. so why continue to advertize it ? a example on ST Patty’s day the NY fire and police dept march as fire and police. but there is always the few within them who want to march with a banner the gay and lez fire and police.Its just not nesasary.I dont need to know what they do in the bed room and it dosent matter. there are so many things starting now like gay cable stations gay mags. gay clubs gay ect.its almost as if they beleive themself to be a seporate type of human being. how do you expect to be treated the same when they try to be dofferent ?

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    Name : bob-r, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Catholic, Age : 49, City : easton, State : PA Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #25902

    Keith
    Member

    I would challenge you to imagine that your whole life you felt like you had to hide your sexual identity. Imagine not being able to hold hands, kiss and tell stories about your significant other. Straight people are privileged in that they can express their sexuality without being questioned by society. A gay friend once told me (in response to a similar question) that after holding all of his homosexual sexual feelings in for so long (until he ‘came out’), he came STORMING out because he was finally able to be true to himself. This may not be the situation for everyone who is GLBT, but it gives straight people something to think about: Heterosexual privilege.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Keith, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 22, City : Iowa City, State : IA Country : United States, Occupation : Graduate Student, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #26701

    Marie
    Member

    I’m not certain I would agree that many homosexuals ARE assertive about their sexualities – the media focuses on the vocal segment, so society has gotten a skewed image. Most homosexuals I’ve known are fairly quiet about it. I dislike the idea of making my orientation my life. But I don’t make attempts to hide it, either, and by many standards I’m thus quite assertive. There is, unfortunately, a huge double-standard. A gay/lesbian couple can’t walk down the street holding hands without ‘flaunting it’ in the eyes of many; forget a goodbye smooch or hug. There are, however, many who do wrap their entire concept of self around being gay. Is it ‘to get the word out’? Frankly, I don’t know. In some cases, maybe. But you’d be surprised how deeply sexual orientation can affect your view of things.

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    Name : Marie, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Lesbian, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 17, City : Waukesha, State : WI Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #33385

    Dan-C27319
    Participant

    Let’s face it: gay people are mentally ill. In addition, they thrive on attention. Maybe normal people should start to ignore them. I believe they’re striving for minority status so they can be eligible for all the government goodies, just like other minority groups.

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    Name : Dan-C27319, Gender : M, City : Omaha, State : NE Country : United States, 
    #34448

    Leslie22887
    Participant

    Here’s an interesting tidbit that relates to this topic: Gay bookstores are increasingly going out of business. Why? Because mainstream places like Barnes and Nobles now carry gay books. I think as gay people become more accepted and part of the mainstream, the ‘culture’ will dissipate a bit.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Leslie22887, Gender : F, City : Tampa, State : FL Country : United States, 
    #35446

    BillT
    Member

    I think there are two related issues that answer your question. One is perception. Because the assumption of heterosexuality is so common, it seems striking when one is faced with a gay person who is comfortable and open with his or her sexuality. The other issue is the differences in growing up for gays and straights. As gay people, we spend a much larger percent of our time trying to understand/hide/accept our sexuality, which straight people do not. This experience colors our politics, religious life and even entertainment choices, so it does seem like we’re ‘fixated’ on the topic.

    User Detail :  

    Name : BillT, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Recovering Catholic, Age : 35, City : Silver Spring, State : MD Country : United States, Occupation : Health Care, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #43220

    Ed25568
    Participant

    First, I’m not a fan of advertising your orientation, straight or gay. But I have many friends and coworkers who are gay, and I have to say that on the whole, they ARE more overt about their sexuality than straight people I know. Sure, I know some very overtly straight women and men, but that percentage is much higher with my homosexual acquaintances.

    I always thought that maybe this behavior came with ‘clearing the hurdle,’ because it’s very hard to come out of the closet. So there could be a sense of ‘look at me!’ at work there. There also may be a sort of ‘preemptive strike’ going on. There are still people out there who are shocked, or at least momentarily stunned, when they realize the person they’re talking to is gay, so they may be merely getting a potentially awkward situation out of the way by being so open. These are just guesses. But, here’s an item of interest: a co-worker of mine who is a lesbian caused quite a stir when she threatened to quit because the company refused to announce via internal memo that she and her partner were adopting a baby. She went on a major discrimination rampage, making the entire company feel very uncomfortable. The problem was, they don’t announce that for anybody, straight or gay. So this also may be a case of a few bad eggs spoiling the whole dozen for you.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Ed25568, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 30, City : State, State : NY Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #14083

    Jessica
    Member

    I challenge you to find me scientific/neurological proof of homosexuality being a mental illness. If you consider homosexuality a mental illness, where does that leave bisexuality? In limbo, almost mentally ill but not quite over the edge yet?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Jessica, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Bisexual, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 23, City : Huntsville, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #23106

    Kerry
    Member

    Straight folks advertise in a thousand ways, without even realizing it. You try to pay attention some day, to how often you talk about it. Do you admire some girl walking past? HIDE your glance. Do you wear a wedding ring? Take it off. Any pictures on your desk? Nope. You can’t so much as walk down the street holding hands. No hello/goodbye kisses, no hugging, no talking about them ever. If a straight person does any of these things, nobody says anything. They can practically have sex, and nobody notices. Two women walk down a street holding hands, and you’d think the world just ended, the way some people react, telling these two very low-key women how ‘aggressive’ they are. The tiniest thing, if the couple are the same gender, is blown way out of proportion. As for mental illness, homosexuality was correctly removed from the list in the ’70’s. We aren’t ill any more than anybody else.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Kerry, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Wiccan, Age : 32, City : Ventura, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Stagehand, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #26949

    Kirk26403
    Participant

    Frankly, I’m surprised this response got through. I thought this was a forum dedicated to answering questions not only free of the constraints of political correctness, but also free of hate speech. FYI:. The psychiatric profession removed homosexuality from their DSMV in the seventies. Gay people are not mentally ill according to the very community that defines such things. If it is your religious belief that we are, that’s your business. In fact, the mental illness many gay people suffer from, depression, is usually the result of living in the world where it is still okay to beat someone up because they are gay, fire someone from their job because they are gay, deny someone housing because they are gay, etc. (That and the many other issues of just being human that can cause depression.) To answer the original question, some gay people do become ‘obsessed’ with the gay piece of their own identity. It is, quite simply, a question of relating to each other. From the political angle, it is empowering to be surrounded by people who share your experience of opression and discrimintation and a committment to do something about it. From a social perspective, it is just a lot easier to express the sexual side of your identity around others who share your orientation. BUT, not all gay people segregate themselves from the rest of the world. In fact, it would be extremely difficult to do so, given that most of the world is heterosexual. I personally see myself as much more complex than this one piece of my identity. Living in the ‘gay bubble’ as some GLBT people call it has no appeal to me. And pleeeze, Mr. Omaha! Who doesn’t like attention, as long as it’s positive? What you see as ‘flaunting’ is more than likely not a cry for attention because unfortunately, in most parts of the world, being openly gay in public will only win you a lot of cold stares or an ass-kicking. And what you see as ‘government goodies’ many others see as basic human rights that minority groups, including gays, are denied.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Kirk26403, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Gay, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 30, City : Minneapolis, State : MN Country : United States, Occupation : Marketing, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #30643

    Jakki
    Member

    Those of us who are straight do advertise it, generally. We do it by hitting on people of the opposite sex, expressing relationships in terms of ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ and ‘husband/wife,’ and other ways that you don’t even notice. Consider how many guys get their left ear pierced. That is a symbol saying that they are heterosexual. Actually, I once seriously flirted with a guy, very much flaunting my heterosexuality to him, without having the slightest clue that he was gay! But for those that do ‘advertise,’ there is a reason for them to do it. When you’re homosexual, it’s not quite as easy to find a date than it is for those of us on the other half. Hell, just asking somebody out could get you beaten up if you ask the wrong people. So showing people that you are gay could kind of ‘coax people out’ so it’s easier to find somebody who -won’t- beat you up.

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    Name : Jakki, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Pagan, Age : 18, City : Oshkosh, State : WI Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
    #27468

    Paul-A19550
    Participant

    If you’re normal, I don’t want to be normal! Go listen to Rush Limbaugh, please!

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    Name : Paul-A19550, City : Long Beach, State : CA Country : United States, 
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