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July 9, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Queer

I have a pal, Dave, who loves to say the following at parties: “This is my friend Charlotte. She’s a bisexual.”

Ah, labels. Bisexual is the word I hastily chose to describe my orientation at the age of seventeen and now, thanks to Dave, everyone in this room knows exactly who I sleep with. Thankfully, most people tend to leave sexual preference out of introductions these days (which I support wholeheartedly). This means that others will make up their own mind about what they think you are and aren’t. And, if you’re not 100 per cent straight or gay, be prepared for a certain amount of confusion.

I believe that everyone exists somewhere on the sexual continuum. But in terms of what you call yourself, others will always want to stick that label on you and stack you on a certain shelf in their pantry. Sure, you can inwardly and outwardly philosophise about your true sexual identity until you’re blue in the face. But is it really worth it? You can call yourself bisexual. You can call yourself hetero-flexible.

Whatever. However you ‘identify’ yourself, it doesn’t really make a difference – as the saying goes, you’re only as gay as you look. You don’t know that saying? It’s possible that I just made it up. But it’s oh-so-true. Let’s use an example: There’s a dude. Let’s call him Lester.

Lester tells all of his friends that he’s bisexual. He receives varied responses from said chums:
“Yeah. We know. We’ve all known since third form.”
“Sweet. I mean…that’s cool. My cousin’s gay.”
“That’s so wrong. Can’t you see that God made a man and a woman to fit together? What you’re doing is sinful (pause). Jesus loves you!” Lester meets…Brian. It doesn’t work out. He then meets Jim. Then Sarah. Then Tania. Then Craig. (Yes, I have now resorted to using names of Shortland Street characters). He eventually goes back to Jim. They get a civil union, buy a house in Aro Valley and breed Burmese kittens. What’s your point, you ask? The point is that it really doesn’t matter to the world if Lester still considers himself to be bisexual. He looks gay. And if he was with a chick, he would look straight.

Then, of course, there’s how gay you LOOK…and what level of aesthetic gayness you find attractive in others. Personally, I don’t tend to get recognised as a member of the queer community. Which is kind of a bummer. A girl I briefly dated did a quiz on me, to determine my level of outer dykeness. I didn’t do too well. To summarise: I have long hair, no tattoos or piercings (other than ears) and I don’t wear leather. I don’t listen to Ani diFranco. Embarrassingly enough, I had never even heard of her until said evening of enlightenment. I don’t play sports (but avoid them like blue food). I eat meat (it tastes good). I wear stilettos. I’m not a goth or a hippie. I like it when guys open doors for me and pay for stuff, which makes me a crap feminist. And I find all kinds of people attractive.

To sum up, not everybody gets it. It’s not out of ignorance or stupidity – we’re just all really, really different. It’s not easy to muster up the courage to tick the ‘queer’ box – especially when you’re not even sure how queer you really are. But it does help that most of you raging homos and straighties at least try to figure us, and our changeable ways, out. Cheers at you.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments (12)

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  1. Holly says:

    Dude….are you for real??? a DISEASE? if homosexuality is a disease, I’d definitely count your unbelieveable bigotry and ignorance as something that also needs to be “treated”.

    Well done charlotte on a great article, i enjoyed reading it :)

  2. Jean-Michel says:

    Pretty sure “Normal Guy” is just trawling for a reaction. Might I suggest a loud, obnoxious yawn?

  3. I dunno, Licking piss wasn’t so bad…

    Licking shit could work to,

  4. I am aware of a previous somment to this article, posted by “Normal Guy” which was deleted probably for breeching the Salient internet guidlines (see http://www.salient.org.nz/blog/salient-internet-guidlines ) as Homophobic. The comment was saying that it definately wasn’t normal to lick your faeces of another mans penis, and homosexuality is a diesease that needs to be cured. This is probably the first time a comment has been deleted for breeching the Salient internet guidlines.
    Readers of this comment thread who did not see Normal Guy’s comment, the comments of Holly and Jean-Mitchell may appear confusing. perhaps Steve it could be more appropriate if when you delete a comment, you can put a comment in its place saying ” A comment by (name has been deleted for breeching section this and this of the Salient internet guidlines.
    There are also wider issues involved abot the comments deletion policy. The sections 2 and 4 are vague, and people may have different views about what is “extemely offensive” or involves homophobia, rascism and sexism. It appears from the salient internet guidlines blog post that comment deletion should be rare, and it will need to take something exceptional for a comment to be deleted under it. It is my personal opinon that section 2, prohibiting rascist, sexist or homophobic views should be deleted, due to it being vague, and comments that are seriously rascist (like say one calling Black paeople seriously deformed and raciaslly inferior) would fall short of section 4, about being extremely offensive. If section 2 is to be retained it should be rarely used.
    I also note one worrying feature of section 2, namely that it includes only racism, homophobia, and sexism, and the fact that allegations of these three things are made quite commonly be people from the left of the polical spectrum, but rarely from the right. This gives it the potential to be used disproportionately against people from the right of the political spectrum. This is part of a trend towards resticting free speech by those who hold conservative political views, which come from calls for hate speech laws, usually directed against those who hold conservative political views. For instance, in Sweden in 2003, a swedeish religous minister, pastor Ake Green was sentenced to one month imprisonment for a sermon calling homosexuality “abnormal” and a “cancerous tumor on the body of society”. There is a real issue of free speech where it comes to hate speech laws and these issues. I also note that the guidlines don’t include prejudice against Religon as a ground for a comment to be censored, so a omment labbeling homosexuality evil might be deleted under section 2 of your guidlines, but a comment labbeling christian fundamnetalism being evil will be allowed. Perhaps, a ammendment could be made to the guidlines to allow comments that breech section 2, when they constitute political debate.
    Personally, I think the second part of Normal guys commentt, calling homosexuality “a disesease” was going a bit too far, and I’m not too woried if it was deleted only for the second part. However, if the first part (about homosexuality being abnormal) alone was grounds for deletion, I would be worried. I personally believe anal sex to be immoral (views that some people may find homophobic)and I should be able to say things like this if thats what I think.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” George orwell.

  5. Kahiwa says:

    Awesome article Charlotte :)
    You bring up great points, and I’m sorry if I’ve ever done it.
    Anyways, love you :)

  6. Rim Reaper says:

    Hey O’kane – How about anal sex with a girl? Is that immoral?

  7. kokonutcreme says:

    It’s very interesting reading and listening to the ever and forever going to be…Gay debate. I’m a Christian and that’s that! God loves me as much as he loves Gays, Pedophiles, theives and what-ever!! At the end of the day one thing is certain….we are going to die! If I am wrong and God’s promises and wrath are just a fairy tale then so be it! I can handle that!! But ….. If Gods word is true then eternity is a long time to be suffering in hell!

    I love the research regarding Lesbians and how the majority of them admit to coming from a hetrosexual relationship…I also like the stats here as family violence levels are on the increase with lesbian relationships…the truth is out there! Gay is ?

    100 years from now…..where will you be? :-)

  8. Well if gays are anything like the Jewish (who were also persecuted by christians), in a hundred years they’ll have a huge amount of power, influence and money. And judging by the high level of education and success the gay community shares, I’d suggest the Pope keeps his ass covered.

    Why do evangelical christians keep marginalising themselves by preaching so much hate?

  9. Charlotte says:

    Ummm, wow…crazy that my little sex and the city-esque column created this much drama. Good luck debating everyone. Especially you Nick. You may just need it.

    Love you too KAHiwa! (who else has the same name? nobody! xx)

  10. Paul says:

    Oh fuck off dick o kane, you drooling moron. How much time did you spend writing all that bullshit?? and kokonutcreme – putting a smiley face at the end of your judgemental post doesn’t make you a nice person. losers, all of you.

  11. kokonutcreme says:

    Why all the bother?…Live life the way you want, it’s your choice. I am a nice person and I’m sure that many of you are! There is a right way and there is a wrong way,…. Man and Woman = Child=you! ….. How else do you think you got into this world? Quit your denials of that truth! After all it is the truth!

  12. Jean-Michel says:

    How else do you think you got into this world? Quit your denials of that truth! After all it is the truth!

    What in god’s name does this even mean?

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