Remember When You Could Beat Up Gay People And Nobody Would Bat An Eyelash?

Jim Burroway

February 14th, 2012

Peter LaBarbera and North Carolina pastor Patrick Wooden reminisce over the good old days:

Wooden: My heart breaks and I literally mourn over what has happened to the NAACP. Ben Jealous says he has a brother who is transgendered in his family, the little boy grew up dressing like Diana Ross or somebody when he was a child, well I say his parents should’ve took the child and whooped the child’s behind and taught the child how to dress.

Wooden: If you want to get knocked out just go into a male bathroom in the African American community or any community I would think and you’re standing there in a dress and many times the people are trying to hit on people, trying to make sexual responses, one man there, you know, you don’t want to be in there feeling like another man is trying to look at your penis. We’ve always had a hostile response, or a disrespect if you will, for that kind of behavior.

LaBarbera: It used to be common of course, I’ve heard many stories. I remember a story from a military guy, saying a guy came and he was a sailor and they had some temporary little day off at port and some guy hit on him and he decked him.

Wooden: That’s normal.

LaBarbera: When you make a sexual advance against a man on man, that is a normal response, and yet I fear in the rise of political correctness what’s going to happen is, somebody is going to find out that there was a man in his wife’s—his wife was in the restroom when a transgendered man, a biological male, was in the female restroom and he’s gonna punch him, but then the man who punches him is gonna be charged with a hate crime, that’s what I’m afraid of.

Wooden: We’re not promoting, advocating violence here.

LaBarbera: Of course not!

Oh, well, of course not. But they were the gold old days Peter, weren’t they?

Priya Lynn

February 14th, 2012

I just can’t imagine how in their twisted minds they think they aren’t promoting violence.

Regan DuCasse

February 14th, 2012

My friends, I can’t tell you the fury that brings up. These are cowardly men, talking here.
Who won’t own their words, nor account for their negative result.
But they’ll backpedal when confronted, and complain they didn’t mean what they said, and act like we didn’t take their words as meant.

They know who listens to them, they know what fury THEY can raise in someone to hate their own LGBT flesh and blood.
They know who will ACT on their words, but will deny that their words were intended for that purpose.

There is nothing that boils my blood more, than listening to these pussies, and think of children like Carl Walker-Hoover or Sakia Gunn in their graves.
CHILDREN in their graves…over the sentiment these men relish every day.

I’m done with tears people.
And note, that these pussies wouldn’t DARE tell it to our faces when nobody is looking.

Andrew M.

February 14th, 2012

Evil exists. No one should ever doubt that.


February 14th, 2012

Just more ignorance. My transgender friend is still married to her wife, whom she married while she was still living as a man. They can’t even separate gay and transgender, and of course they live to make blanket statements and dehumanize said people by pretending they’re all sexual predators. These are the last people to hit on someone whose not interested because they already know they can get beaten to death just for walking down the street. Peter LaBarbera is a mentally-ill closet case, and if he comes on this site again, I’m gonna tell him again; He’s a clown.


February 14th, 2012

So, not beating people is “politically correct” now? Could you imagine if they were talking about an unattractive girl in a bar? It wouldn’t even be a question if they should punch her in the face for hitting on them. These people are total idiots.


February 14th, 2012

Their position is based on nothing but animus toward gay people. They would never think about hitting a woman that they weren’t interested in. It’s not a “normal” response; it the response of a psycho that isn’t confident in their own sexuality. All you have to do is say “no thanks”. If they sexually assault you, then by all means, defend yourself. But the act of telling someone you want them is hardly deserving of violent defense.


February 14th, 2012

The first name that comes to mind is Matthew Shepard — he, and the fact that he stands for uncounted thousands of other men and women in the US alone, about whom these guys are chuckling.

Even the ineffable Jerry Falwell found the wisdom to dial back his rhetoric at the time of Shepard’s death. But that honeymoon is long over.


February 14th, 2012

Yeah, parasite Wooten, those were the good old days. When I could get a bunch of good old boys together and give you a necktie party because you looked at me funny or didn’t get off the sidewalk when I was on it. And you would get more than a decking for trying to sit in the front of the bus.


February 14th, 2012

So let me get this straight: the alleged transgendered woman who is innoscently and legally trying on clothes in a public fitting room is the predator, while the manly man that assaults her is the true victim? I get it. It’s what Merkkin Jesus would do.


February 14th, 2012

These guys are nothing but just a bunch of punks.


February 14th, 2012

I’m old enough to remember other kinds of “good ole days” when I was growing up in Mississippi.

These people’s words need to be recorded and distributed widely. Most people would be shocked to hear the level of animosity these haters direct toward our community.

Jim Hlavac

February 14th, 2012

The bizarre wishful thinking of these two men that any gay guys are hitting on them is so strange to imagine. I can’t for the life of me ever recall hitting on a man in a rest room. Nor being hit on. Nor loitering gays looking for tricks. Nor can I recall any conversation with a gay friend who said he was going to cruise for hetero men in restrooms. It’s a bizarre fantasy.

Meanwhile, neither has any gay man ever punched out any women who tried to pick up the gay guy.

These two are just borderline psychotics living in a fantasy world.


February 14th, 2012

@TN — I like your analogy.

Not familiar with Wooden, but we all know EXACTLY how Porno Pete would do in one of those studies that demonstrate how the biggest homophobes get turned on by gay porn and male sexual images. They’d probably have to replace the device (and very likely need to re-paint the ceiling and walls). See:

Ignoring the B.S. about predators in the restrooms, many straight men who are comfortable with their own sexuality (and who really ARE straight and not closet cases a la Pete) are flattered when they get hit on by guys–it just reaffirms their “hot” self-image. It’s those with inner demons who lash out to project their self-hatred and reveal their cowardice.

And the denial in the African American community is largely to blame for the down-low behavior and also puts women at risk.

Regan DuCasse

February 15th, 2012

We all saw the video that went viral of a couple of young women beating up a transwoman who tried to use the bathroom at McDonald’s. And the laughter, and reluctance to help the victim as she was being attacked.

WE have video like that, news accounts and footage of violence and the evidence and proof from investigative agencies regarding the homicidal violence out there against the LGBT.
Yet, the anti gay dismiss the pain, anger and helplessness of the LGBT community as unwarranted, childish, tantrums and wrongful hostility. And of course, cast themselves as victims because of these reactions.

Their fantasy at how they’d react or want others to in such situations would be laughable, except for the real violence we know occurs against the LGBT for being in those situations.
It IS similar to how racist thugs would violate a black person for using ‘their’ white only facilities.

If they think there is a difference, the only difference in their revisionist terms, is that violating blacks wasn’t justified, but violating the LGBT IS.

Regan DuCasse

February 15th, 2012

I don’t have to tell you all. But how THEY define a sexual advance, and what one actually is in their minds, can be extremely different things.
Anyone this paranoid, and waiting for their opportunity to violate a gay man, they could take a smile, a friendly greeting, a look in their direction as a sexual advance.
It’s people like Wooden and LaB that make CASUAL contact impossible. Whether between gay people or gay and straight people.
Just as racists did so between whites and people of color.
They’ve made the situation so tense, paranoid and irrational, no gay person can walk down the street towards someone invested in their paranoia more than sense.

And I resent that het people like me, are considered somehow hypnotized by, or ignorant of gay people in general, regardless of our more intimate and honest relationships with gay people. That because we DON’T harbor hostility and suspicion, we’re stupid or as infected as gay people are.

Offensive of course, but what would be funny about that, is that in truth, we are UNAFRAID and the most innoculated against such runaway paranoia. We’re decidedly NOT infected with hysteria and hyperbole.

It must really SUCK to be Wooden and Peter LaB.
I’ve got news for those two, there are straight women (such as myself) that find them so repulsive that they wouldn’t touch them while wearing a haz mat suit.
It’s hilarious they think themselves so irresistable to gay men.


February 15th, 2012

Why do these unattractive straight men think that ANYONE male or female would want to come on to them or sneak a peek at their genitals?

Maybe they should turn on the light next time they face a mirror.


February 15th, 2012

I don’t know anything about gay men in bathrooms so anyone who does pls feel free to correct me. I thought gay men had gaydar, don’t they? I didn’t think that gay men hit on straight men and they can tell using their gaydar, especially in bathrooms. Am I wrong here? Maybe I am wrong, I just didn’t think that gay men routinely hit on straight me.


February 16th, 2012

Straightgrandmother; the idea of gay people hitting on other people in bathrooms in today’s society is wholly heterosexist. While in the past bathrooms facilitated hookups where society allowed no other outlet; today only those who are deeply in the closet, are self-loathing, or are dedicated fetishists would continue such an unnecessary/unsanitary practice (Think of Larry Craig (deep closet case/full of self-loathing) & George Michael(dedicated public sex fetishist)). This is why police still set up stings in bathrooms. You can’t cower a gay man who is out and proud, but you can cower one who is in the closet or chock full of internalized hetrosexism.

Regarding gaydar & gay men not hitting on straight men. Some gay men do hit on straight men. & I have to admit there is a certain thrill in turning misogynistic objectivity on those who are mainly its perpetrators. I doubt anyone has seriously studied it, but I would have to imagine based on antidotes I’ve heard from both sides that gay men hitting on straight men is not unheard of, but, overtly it is rare.

Also gaydar isn’t really so much of an actual thing as it is an understanding of body language. My own gaydar developed while I was in the closet. When I tried very hard to mimic straight people I paid a great deal of attention to their body language & attempted to imitate it. As my observational skills became more honed I noticed that I could easily pick out other boys (I came out in high school) who were similarly self-conscious about their own body language & thus: gaydar. Now, that I’m out & married to a man, however, I am no longer paranoid about my body language & my own gaydar has suffered as has others perception of me as gay. Often other gay men are surprised to learn that I am married to a man. While I don’t employ it much anymore (gaydar’s not really as useful for married/monog men)I do recall that there was at least one complication in my gaydar insofar that extremely attractive men threw it all out-of-whack. But I don’t know if my experience is typical.

Also, Straight & Gay are nice labels & all but they don’t cover the full range of sexualities. Many ‘straight’ men will engage in sex acts with gay men for various reasons & gay men with extensive histories of sex with straight men might be more inclined to ‘hit on’ straight men.

Just some thoughts. Others may be able to share different insights.

Chris McCoy

February 16th, 2012

Blake wrote:

I do recall that there was at least one complication in my gaydar insofar that extremely attractive men threw it all out-of-whack. But I don’t know if my experience is typical.

I call this phenomenon ‘wishdar’, and I assure you it is quite common.

My phrase is “Wishdar interferes with gaydar.”


February 16th, 2012

Blake = “Some gay men do hit on straight men”

StraightGrandmother = Really? Well I’ll be darned. Huh? I can’t figure out why though? Why would they?

This article talks exactly to that point. Isn’t it kind of dangerous to hit on men who are straight if you are a man who is gay?

FWIW men who identify as straight, but still have sex with men are not really straight in my book. They are bi, or maybey gay but they are not “straight.”

I remember watching a show on Oprah about this, it’s called being on the down low. You can say what you want about Oprah but I learned a lot of things from watching her show. And that is the first time I had ever really heard that married men would sneak out like that on their wives.

Additionally I never even knew, only learning within the last year or so that a lot of men who are gay marry a woman. It just never occurred to me that that happened a lot. I never even heard of ex-gay therapy or pray away the gay up until I started following the Prop 8 Trial.

One news article lead to one link and one link lead to another. I only know a few gay men and lesbian women and they are out to their friends and family. The only ones I know are legally married or coupled for many years, nice professional people. This closet side, and what goes on there, I never really knew about, but like you taught me today Blake, I am learning.

I still can’t figure out why a man who is gay would hit on a man who is straight?

Timothy Kincaid

February 16th, 2012


I still can’t figure out why a man who is gay would hit on a man who is straight?

Why does a woman marry a man with a history of domestic abuse? Why does a man leave the woman who put him through college and raised his kids and still found time to exercise and moisturize and looks incredible to chase a cheap-looking bimbo half his age who only loves his wallet? Why do people of nice appearance ignore other people of nice appearance to chase after astonishingly beautiful (but shallow) people who will never know they are in the room?

There aren’t logical answers to those questions, but the answers are all the same. Each of them are enacting some response to their own internal sense of inadequacy.

Maybe the chase is safer if you know that you can’t catch the prey. Maybe the thrill of danger. Maybe hope that this one time you’ll succeed and prove to everyone (mostly yourself) that you are special and extraordinary.


February 17th, 2012

“FWIW men who identify as straight, but still have sex with men are not really straight in my book. They are bi, or maybe gay but they are not “straight.”

That’s an statement to make when you’re going one way, but really such statements are like the gay equivalent to the antiquated ‘one-drop-rule’ regarding blackness. Gay sex acts don’t necessarily make one gay (or bi). This is THE major difference in understanding sexuality between many on our side and many anti-gays.

Think about it from the flip-side. Do you consider men who have had long marriages with women but who come out later in life as bi too? What about gay men who have had sex with women at one point or another in their lives?

My husband, for example, slept with women before he came out. But he is not bi.

Sexuality is not black & white & bi. While ‘gold-star-gays’ and ‘gold-star-straights’ (my friend’s term for people who are wholly in one camp and the other side disgusts them) do exist but most people fall somewhere between. I think it helps to think of sexuality not as three categories but as 10 (or 5 if we’re talking in person b/c the hand makes a handy tool to illustrate). On the 10 point scale 1 represents someone who is 100% gay, 5 the 100% bisexual & 10 the 100% straight. While there is a small population of ones, fives & tens, most people fall somewhere in the 2-4 or 6-9 range. Also the numbers represent more than just who you have sex with. A person (say a male prostitute) can have had a majority of his sexual experiences with men, but could still be straight oriented. That is to say his primary desires are toward women and he seeks to build romantic relationships with women.

Male Prostitutes aren’t really good examples, though, because of money. People do lots of stupid things for money (like having sex with someone they’re not sexually attracted to). So consider a straight man (as I define straight: a man who seeks women to build relationships with) who also seeks sexual outlets with men. His excuse is ‘there is less drama with men’s reactions to sex’. Let’s say he understands my scale, buys my argument, & honestly places himself as an a 8. Low enough to acknowledge that he finds men sexy in certain situations, but high enough to reflect the fact that, comparatively, he always finds women more attractive then men. All else being equal, he would pick women over men every time. Is he bi? I’d say no. Some’d say yes. I’ll come back to this.

For the time being, if you accept my understanding, as illustrated above, a straight man can have sex with a man and still be straight. A straight man can even find a man sexually attractive & still be straight. One way to think of it is as man’s equivalent to LUGs (lesbians until graduation = some women in college will experiment with lesbian relationships before embracing their straight sexuality). While women do it openly, most men do it underground.

Back to bi. Regarding our 8, above, is he bi? Well I’m sure the O would say yes, but consider the following. What is she basing such a statement on? In order for him to be bi (by the definition I laid out)he would have to have an equal desire to build a relationship with men as with women. But he doesn’t. He wants to be with women over men, but he finds men more convenient. Not for relationships, but for sex. So what is he? I still say straight.

In my opinion, gold-star-bi people are as rare as gold-star-gay or gold-star-straight people. Go back to the 10 point scale. Only fives are gold-star-bi. Most bi people (as defined by the O and even some self-identified bi people (hipsters come to mind)) are actually somewhere in the same range as most other people. The difference being that they’re a little more self-aware or open about their preferences. Insisting that our 8 is bi because he has sex with men while not considering who he actually wants to build relationships with, who he fantasizes about having sex with (women), or how he identifies himself (straight) is doing him a disservice.

There’s more to it than who you have sex with. Another example: I would consider someone who is primarily attracted to men, fantasizes about having sex with men, but who, for whatever reason, only has sex with women as gay. Not bi. But he probably identifies himself as straight or maybe bi. So perspective matters too.

The point is, the three categories of sexuality that we use are inadequate. This inadequacy is why I dislike the idea of men on the ‘down-low’. By forcing people to fit into the three labels we are ignoring the complexities inherent in the cross-section between sexuality & identity and are going straight for a simplified identification. “OH he has sex with men, he must be gay or at least bi.” To make such a statement only reinforces the notion that sexuality is easy to understand and that these labels work. And when we insist that only these labels are valid we force people (evangelical Christians, for example)to ruin their lives trying to live up to a label which is, in many ways, arbitrary.

Anyway, I’d be happy to continue this conversation in a different forum and to point you to some links and websites from where I learned this information. I’m not sure how this sort of thing works (I’m truly an internet dunce) but perhaps the moderators can facilitate some sort of exchange of e-mail addresses? Alternately, I could set up a junk e-mail address & then post it here? SGM,let me know if you’re interested.

BTW, SGM, I see you all over the place. Thank you so much for the work you do.

Timothy Kincaid

February 17th, 2012


I love to see people really thinking about sexuality. And your ideas are interesting.

However, I see two flaws.

1. If orientation is defined by sexual attraction, then “who one wants to have a relationship with” is not really a factor. For decades Exodus and other ex-gay groups presented as “former homosexuals” men who very much wanted to be in a relationship with a woman. It didn’t make them straight.

2. While your bell curve might seem likely (and theorists like Kinsey assumed it was true) research found the opposite. Attraction in men is more like a J curve. Most are either strongly same-sex or opposite-sex attracted and become moreso over time. There are more gold stars than your theory allows for.


February 17th, 2012

Thanks for the corrections Timothy, I was indeed relying on Kinsey & personal anecdotes for the proportions. Technically, though, the curve I described is shaped like an M. Although I would like to see that data about the J curve. If it is from self-reported sources then I would be suspicious of it.

Self-reporting makes for all sorts of problems in studying sexuality. With all the social baggage & politics which surrounds sexuality it is going to be impossible to get a good picture of it as long as people are reporting their own activity. For example, I’m in an HIV vaccination program. As a part of the program they ask all sorts of questions about my sex life. My sex life is pretty boring, but if it wasn’t I might would lie to make it seem more boring in order to fight the perception that ‘gay men are sluts.’ In fact I already have lied when answering some other questions because I’m a recovering alcoholic & I didn’t want to admit when I failed. This is the reality of human nature.

We’re never really going to understand sexuality unless people consent to be monitored without their knowledge.
Some sort of surveillance of extremely private moments under some sort of pretense & without their knowledge of when & how they’re being recorded & where they don’t think their sex lives are the subject of the study (or that the camera is in the bedroom at all). Actually, in this day & age that might not be too hard to pull off…

Anyway, regarding the note about attraction. I was attempting to contrast the idea that someone who has gay sex is automatically gay or at least bisexual with the realities of sexual identity. I did not mean to imply (as I did) that any one element of identity was more important than another. Just that sexuality is complex & not as well understood as we all like to tell ourselves & that our language often fails us when we consider the intricacies. This understanding I drew from the Klein Grid.

To re-sum my previous:
Sexual Orientation is defined by a blend of:
1. Who you have sex with
2. Who you you want to have sex with
3. Who you fantasize/dream about having sex with
4. Who you want to build a life with
5. How you identify.
6. How you live.
7. From whose perspective you’re looking at it from.

Just as we can’t define Cynthia Nixon’s gayness for her we can’t define Alan Chambers’ straightness for him. But we can all certainly try. Regardless, the fact that different people looking at the same facts can come to different conclusions about a person’s sexuality is clearly symptomatic of trying to force everyone into 3 categories (or 5 or 10).

Take this example: A friend of mine used to run in hipster circles. I was at a party with him & I met a young man. When he heard we were openly gay he came & talked to us. His story was (at least this is what he told us) that he’d only ever had sex once. It was with a man, but he’s primarily sexually attracted to and wants to have a long-term relationship with women. He identified as Bi. By my understanding of sexuality I would say he’s straight. By the Religious Right’s definition he was gay while he was having sex with a man, but now he’s straight (or ex-gay). I imagine others would also say he’s at least Bi but probably “a big ‘ole closet case”.

Now, of course, my focus here is on the intersection of language & identity as well as the meaning of words. None of this should suggest that sexual orientation is mailable or easily changed. Just that our language fails us when describing sexuality & therefore people who a majority of others would agree are straight may sometimes have sex with men & gay men might hit on straight men because some understand that straight is not necessarily a non-starter sex wise. But I’m certainly not encouraging people to hit on straight men. As others pointed out, in the wrong situation, it can be very dangerous.

The weirdest example of a straight-gay relationship I can think of is one between a bartender I used to work with and his concubine (for lack of a better word). The concubine straight identified, had a wife, self-reported that he was only marginally interested in men sexually, yet went to my former co-worker for gratification so often that he would come into work and do chores on his behalf. Of course when people connected the dots he got a lot of eye rolling & “sure he’s straight”. But still, by my understanding, I agreed with his perception of his own sexuality: straight. Why? He never once hit on another man in there. He never even commented on other men’s appearances. He sometimes pointed out sexy women (but not so much that one felt like he was compensating) & he never talked about it directly. At one point, though, I was hanging out with them both & they were quite candid about their relationship away from work. I guess this is because they could better control the reactions & felt offended by the eye-rolling. Not what is the concubine? I said he’s straight. The RR would say he’s being corrupted by a gay man into the gay lifestyle. He says he’s straight. His sex partner says he’s straight. A bunch of patrons would assume he’s a closet-case. Who is correct?

Straight ain’t always so straight & narrow.

Priya Lynn

February 17th, 2012

I think to eliminate confusion sexual orientation is only defined by who you are attracted to, identity, who you want to build a life with, etc. are irrelevant.


February 17th, 2012

I appreciated the discussion between the two of you Timothy & Blake. I have been a faithful follower at Warren Throckmortons blog where I have learned tons on this subject of sexual orientation. I am not sure I would ace the exam but I know I wouldn’t flunk it either. I only personally know 2 kinds of people, Gold Star Gays and Gold Star Straights, and it is kind of obvious which one I am.

There is the scientific study, then there is the man on the street understanding. I would venture to say that the average Gold Star Straight person would NOT say that your Bartender’s friend is Straight. Only based on my new found knowledge during the past 2 years of study and research, could I say that “some” Gold Star Gays WOULD say Bartenders friend is straight.

What I think is, that people who are gay see more layers of gray in sexual orientation than Gold Star Straights do. Gold Star Straights, if they study it like psychologists do, can see those layers, or perhaps call them gradients, but unless you are studying this, Gold Star Straights are only going to ever see 3 classes of sexual orientation. Even though I have been studying it informally on my own I STILL have a hard time with it.

I know it to be true that people can be a 3 or a 4 but gol darn it, I simply can’t “visualize” it. In other words I can only understand it intellectually not emotionally. Even though I have never had a parent die I can emotionally under stand the deep sorrow of someone who has lost a parent. I know intellectually how it works, a straight man could have sex with men and still think of himself (and others could also think of him) as straight. But I still don’t get it emotionally, emotionally to me he is NOT straight.

In conversations I have to check that emotion and rely on the intellectual truths I have learned. You can see why it never occurred to me that gay men would hit on straight men. I never even knew that Rachel Maddow is a lesbian until a few months ago when I read an expose on her. I watched her but it never crossed my mind that she is a lesbian.

Timothy Kincaid

February 17th, 2012


It has been over a decade since I first was surprised by the results so I can’t put my finger on that exact report. But I’ve followed this subject pretty closely and the results of studies of men, whether based on identity, orientation (attraction), or behavior seems to follow a J curve. (women do not)

I understand the problems with self reporting. Add to that the issues relating to how one’s sense of identity impacts what one is open to considering. Even answering what one believes to be truthfully may not be answering accurately. (Again, lessons learned from Exodus).

But, be careful in using doubts about self-reporting to advance your bell curve views. I think that you are aware that a certain percentage of young men falsely identify as bisexual during their coming out process and this would work against your theories.

I agree with you that sexuality is extremely complex and that we don’t have the language to address it or understand it (which is, in part, why I’m a stickler about accurate use of “orientation” and see it as having a different meaning from “gay”).

I don’t disagree with some of your ideas, but I very much disagree with you applying the term “sexual orientation” to them. Orientation is a measure of the direction of attraction.

Consider, for example, discussing a location. It has coordinates, height, weather, and a whole host of other attributes. But we don’t say that compass coordinates differ based height above sea level.

Similarly orientation is not impacted by “who you want to build a life with”. It is a measure of sexual, emotional, and romantic response. It directs crushes, lust, warm fuzzy feelings, and the general instinct to like and want to be around attractive people of a certain sex.

As a very real example, Alan Chambers is married to his wife Leslie. He loves her. He loves his life. He experiences sexual attraction to her. He is perfectly content with his relationship.

But Alan’s sexual orientation – the direction in which his attractions point and in which his unconscious reactions respond – is homosexual. Alan does not disagree with this; he simply finds it an immaterial fact in his life. (Some who discuss this subject have come up with the slightly-tongue-in-cheek term spousosexual to describe homosexual men who are not attracted to women in general but are attracted to one, their spouse).

For a long time we have all of us used muddled terms without good definitions. And even this definition fails in part. (For some, sexual attraction is not matched to emotional response and crushes and lust go in different directions. Fortunately that doesn’t seem to be very common.)

Gay (and straight) is a more identity based term and encompasses a sense of community and belonging as well as ideas on how ones orientation does or should impact their life. Often they are interchangeable for discussion of politics or personal life. But not always. For example, Alan is not gay.

I like where you are going in your thinking and in your efforts to break out of the box, but in the process let’s try to use language that is more exact. Ironically, it allows us to articulate ideas that are less exact by giving us a point of divergence rather than a nebulous cloud of uncertain meaning.


February 22nd, 2012

Fair enough. I’m willing to accept that I was not speaking of sexual orientation as you defined it. And I agree, Alan Chambers is simultaneously not-gay & gay at the same time.

More of what I was reacting to was the personal pet-peeve of mine which SGM brought up and which I labeled as the one drop rule: the popular perception that sexual orientation is defined by one’s actions. The idea that there are three categories of social sexuality; that they are gay straight & bisexual and that if a man sleeps with a man then he is no longer straight & now some sort of bisexual absolutely pisses me off to no end. So if I got a little off point… While I’m constantly trying to fight my egotistical/self-righteous/arrogant/pompous nature my personality gets the better of me sometimes.

Regarding the bi stepping stone, I would say that its existence supports my understanding of the m curve. Small at 1 small at 10 and small at 5. But my curve is purely conjuncture based on personal observation, anecdotes & outdated science. In all honesty, I truly believe that men & women’s sexuality aren’t as different as society makes us believe & that whatever the women’s curve looks like will be what the men’s curve will look like once we’ve dropped all of our social pretensions. Or at least adopted a different set of ’em. Social pretension also informs my use of Kinsey’s old statistics because I believe that, in the long run, Kinsey is going to be closer to the mark because he was studying men in a situation where the social pretensions are vastly different than they are in society at large (which is still true in prisons: for an interesting look at the mores of prison life I highly recommend Hard Time which comes on National Geographic Chanel). Also, as a counterpoint to the stepping stone, I’ve met a number of men who say they’re gay but are bi & aren’t openly bi because of the prejudice in the gay community against bi folks. I have also witnessed such prejudice first hand. Being a bartender really does teach one a lot about human nature.

One last train of thought that has been gestating over the past few days:

While sexual orientation as you define it above makes perfect since to a gay layman, I think there must be some sort of disconnect when coming at it from a straight perspective. We as openly gay people have plunged the depths of our sexual psyches. We’ve pushed the boundaries of our own sexual ordinations as far as they can go. For some that’s marriage & a family & coming out later in life. For others (myself included) its second base. Regardless, we’ve asked ourselves difficult questions about attraction and orientation which straight people may never have considered or may have never had to ask at all.

So while yes, we can easily make a distinction between Sexual Orientation and Gay identity, I seriously doubt most straight people can. I feel like SGM was striking at the same point when she described the difference between man-on-the-street understating of human sexuality and gay understanding of human sexuality. I think its critically important that we bridge that understanding or at least acknowledge that while we’re all using the same terms, the other side means something different.

Anyway, sign & signifier, language is complex, and all that jazz…


February 22nd, 2012

Agree with Blake’s pet peeve. Also runs into mine, which is reductive thinking.

Human sexuality is ridulously complicated, in no small part because it’s bound up in self-image, sexual impulse, circumstances, societal influences, goals & desires, socio-economics, the list goes on and on.

So, “gay straight or bi” is reductive enough. But pigeon-holing people by arbitrarily defining the terms and to circumvent thinking can be just obnoxious.

I love that Blake is putting a lot of thought into it, and is resisting easy categories (very non-reductive).

I will say that I have had the following observations:

I, like many other guys I know spent a period of time “warming up” to my gay identity by defining myself as “bi”, even though I wasn’t having much luck with the ladies. That said, I found myself very emotionally attracted to women. This made a lot of gay guys, and several straight friends very angry. They perceived it as cowardice.

In college I met a few gay guys – guys who truly dated without consideration of gender. Sometimes it was a guy, sometimes it was a girl. These folks were rare enough – and different enough – that I would argue they were a different animal entirely… not a gay/straight mishmash, but someone who truly is differently oriented because they think differently.

None of this gets into the many people I know who are asexual or non-sexual.

Although functionally gay now and attached, I would have no objections to a future relationship (including sex) being with the right woman. I still identify as gay.

I hear about a lot of folks in the newest generations being a lot less prone to rigid definitions – notions of gay / straight / bi / whatever seem to be becoming more fluid for men – which is consistent with destigmatization of gay sex and masculinization of taking the power of openly owning one’s own sexuality (for guys at least). I find this development fascinating.

Timothy Kincaid

February 22nd, 2012


So while yes, we can easily make a distinction between Sexual Orientation and Gay identity, I seriously doubt most straight people can.

True. I do hope that eventually our language is more clear and exact but it will be a process getting there.

Timothy Kincaid

February 22nd, 2012


These folks were rare enough – and different enough – that I would argue they were a different animal entirely… not a gay/straight mishmash, but someone who truly is differently oriented because they think differently.

Yes, i think that it may be an error to think of bi as being kinda gay and kinda straight. Bisexuals seem to testify otherwise. I still have learning to go on that.

But I resist efforts to base discussion on “I don’t use labels”. While there are some who do not clearly fall into any of the pigeon holes, the vast majority seem to. And refusing to use descriptive terms only serves to limit information, not increase it. So a young fellow saying “I have ambiguous sexual identity” may be taking a social position, if he glows if an attractive man enters the room but the first thing he notices about a hot girl is her handbag, it isn’t a very truthful or useful statement.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.