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Losing the Fad
Room for Squares
by Philip Wong on Nov 14, 2008
If there is one thing to be learned from the ruckus caused by the passing of that hateful proposition, it’s that we’re a hardy and steadfast bunch. We know what we want, we go after it and we won’t let anything stand in our way. So to all the naysayers out there who continually want to rag on our so-called fickleness -- give it a rest, will ya?
Honestly, I’m not sure what else can be said on the topic, and the last thing I want to do is beat a dead horse. But obviously, much more needs to be said, and it needs to be said loudly. For too long, we’ve taken for granted the notion that general tolerance would lead to widespread acceptance. We should realize now that the one doesn’t necessarily beget the other, a fact made painfully obvious to us last week.
There is this myth that pervades most popular thought on homosexuals, and it’s a topic I’ve discussed in previous columns. The story is that we all suffer from some Peter Pan syndrome which makes us youth obsessed and renders us incapable of growing up, taking on responsibility and settling down. If our perversions, as they say, make us incapable of constancy, then many argue that our dabbles in same-sex couplings (as plentiful as they may be) are merely reflective of our unsteadiness; as quickly as we fall in and out of love, we can just as easily fall in and out of gay.
A lot of misunderstandings remain about us, and, aside from the right or wrong debate, chief of these concerns is the idea that homosexuality is some kind of fad. Many people still believe that homosexuality is a trend. They think that when we “turn” gay, we will eventually “return” straight. To “turn” gay implies that there’s some revolution involved. But there isn’t. Anyone who “turns” gay was gay to begin with. But most people don’t think this. After all, any person who’s been straight for his whole life but one day decides to go same-sex must in due course grow out of the phase. Take Lindsay Lohan, for example.
On second thought, don’t. The last place we want to go looking for paradigms is young Hollywood. Instead, let’s use a much more local example. My friend “Venus” and her boyfriend “Mars” had been dating for a few years when one day, Mars decided to break off their relationship. Apparently, he realized that he was “bisexual” all along, and he felt it was time he got to explore his options. Ostensibly, by “exploring his options", he meant sleeping with men.
Now to us, Mars probably sounds like a typical closet case, finally celebrating his coming out party. In fact, after Venus told me that he had already been seeing another guy prior to their break up, it was pretty clear to me what Mars was actually admitting. But I couldn’t very well have told her, “Hey, wake up and smell the perfectly arranged, frost-tipped roses. Your dude’s into dudes. I mean, really into dudes.” Well, maybe I could have. In fact, maybe I should have, because all Venus could say to me for the following week was, “I think I’m just gonna wait this out. You know, let him sow his wild oats, so to speak, until he’s ready to come back.”
Well, guess what Venus. He’s never coming back. In fact, I doubt he’ll even take a backward glance. As the saying goes, once you turn gay, there’s no turning away. Haven’t heard of that saying? That’s because it didn’t exist until I made it up one sentence ago. You see, the problem is that most people, like Venus, are still working under the assumption that turning queer is like putting on an outfit that you can take off at will. They neither see it as a viable lifestyle choice nor as a means of probable living. And if people continue to see gay as fickle as fashion, then we’ll never get off the clearance rack of civil rights.
by Philip Wong on Nov 14, 2008