((Note: This is written entirely in character, and it’s from the perspective of a gay male character. You’ve been warned.))
Crimsèn wrote this after reading in Queer Voices Holozine so many articles about the hardships many gay and transgender men face.
Is there a luxury to being gay? That is the challenge the Queer Voices Holozine has given to its readers. Must confess I have never thought of it before: Being gay is what I am, a part of what I am. Hard to think of it as having any luxuries. Do I get a bonus for being a gay man? What riches does being homosexual grant me? Good questions…
I do see why it should be asked and answered. Being gay is often seen as a point of hardship- Most articles in a holozine like this, or a local news network, are about the difficult aspects of being gay: Homelessness among LGBT youth, getting beaten up in an alley, slurs, insults, being barred from renting apartments, and even how to behave at family reunions where some of the relatives are homophobic are often part and parcel of being gay. Some of those hardships have entered my life: I ran away from home when I was fifteen because I knew if I stayed my parents would have killed me the moment my orientation came out. Being gay is why I witnessed my parents kill two slaves right in front of me, and why on Nar Shaddaa I have to make sure the group of men across the street aren’t out to get one of the patrons leaving the Shadow’s Rest Cantina.
The problem comes when the horror stories are all people hear. If all that anyone hears are the hardships, then they will assume there is nothing positive about a non-heterosexual, and/or non-cisgender orientation. After reading all of them, I am amazed we don’t have more allies suggesting we should either move to our own planet, or try to be “normal”. Well, even “normal” reality has hardships, and there are success stories to being gay or transgender or bisexual. Since I’m a gay man, and cisgender, I will write from that perspective.
Well, I suppose the first positive is that my life would be very different if I wasn’t gay. Included in those differences is I would not have a beautiful husband, and three children. To wish to be heterosexual and say gay is all bad means labelling them as bad. My akise, which means beloved in Sith, is good! My children are good!
I know what some might be thinking: Well, Big Red, if you were straight you could have had a spouse and kids. Hard to argue with that: Chances are I probably would have met a beautiful red Sith woman and made Sith babies, but she wouldn’t be my husband. Those babies would not be the babies I have now. And my husband would not have met me, nor cared for me in this way. Husband and children are a positive about my sexuality. To all the boys who are discovering they look at men in a different, desiring way: You can find love in your way.
That is a specific, so I suppose I should move into general. Since I am attracted to males, and simply men, I have removed the chances of me having unwanted children in the galaxy. Not a guarantee if I was heterosexual. I find that many women consider me a breath of fresh air because I am one of the few men that will never approach them for sex. As a result, I see them as persons and not simply a hole for my dick to go in (yes, I’ve heard tales from women across the sexual spectrums). And I confess it is nice to hang around women without the expectation that we’re significant others in the making.
I find being gay gives me permission to like more than “masculine” things like fashion, make up, and cooking. In fact, I think that gay men bring a different interpretation of masculinity. It is similar but different from what say transmen bring to masculinity. Transmen, I find, bring the idea that being a man is not determined by genitalia but by the mind and how one perceives the galaxy. Gay men, I find, step a way from the long list of rules that define being a straight man.
In case you do not know, there is a long list of what defines being a man. This means straight men cannot feel strong emotions, must always be the logical one in the room, is restricted in terms of what they can wear, cannot show intimacy in public, cannot look at men a certain way, and even have decorum for relieving oneself. Any deviation and you risk being accused of being homosexual, as if sexual orientation has anything to do with gender identity. (I can save the straight men sometime: They are different, though not mutually exclusive).
As a gay man, I really do not care for such rules. In fact, as stated above, I think being gay means a man can disregard those rules completely. I am not the only member in my family who does to some degree. I am one of three gay men in my family. One of us wears long robes and is quite emotional in his dealings with people. The other likes to wear dresses, bakes, and would much rather plan a party than hold a logical debate. I like to wear make up, dance, and shop. Deviations to the straight male rules of society, but freedoms we enjoy because we are not straight! These are deviations we enjoy, and are positives about being gay.
Is it hard to be gay? Yes! But it is hard to be straight too. For example, straight men have expectations I listed above, and indirectly they’re automatically expected to be smart, logical, in control of everything around them, not ask for help, the bread winners, want sex but not intimacy, and over all be at the top of the world. There is no room to be vulnerable as a straight man, and there is even less room to express themselves in their unique way. Yet they are happy with being straight.
I wish many of my fellow gay men could say the same. I wish men who were born in female bodies could say the same- I wish we they could say in spite of the debates over which bathroom they should use, in spite of the insults, and in spite of risking being kicked out of an apartment that we are happy with being gay or being tansmen because it blesses us with the freedom to own our personal expression, use our emotions, re-think masculinity, and it lead us to life partners if we choose to have life partners. Perhaps then teenagers would not scream at themselves in the mirror when they say “I am gay” or “I am not a girl, I’m a boy”. I wish my fellow men who are were born with female bodies could say the same. I do hope this response to the Queer Voices Holozine will encourage them to smile and say, “Being gay is not all bad.” Force knows I can.