I’m sick and tired of everyone talking about 50 Shades of Grey. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve read the book and seen the movie. Overall I think it’s great that conversations about a kind of sex not usually depicted in the mainstream have opened up. But today I’m not interested in talking about BDSM or the movies as such. Today I’m talking about 50 Shades of Gay. As much as the mainstream embraced BDSM, it still kind of fails to embrace all the shades. That’s right - I’m talking sexuality, and the fact it’s not black and white or always heteronormative. Sexuality should be discussed and re-branded as being one of many possibilities.
Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Heterosexual…often we are led to believe that we should fit neatly into just one of these categories. (And stay in that category!) My belief is that we need to stop trying to box people into categories and labels, and instead accept that perhaps we’re just ‘sexual’ beings, and that’s okay. Sexuality is a very grey area, so people shouldn’t be made to feel like they have to wave their specific labels around… so let’s set a few things straight.
Sexuality refers to the feelings and attractions you feel towards other people. You may identify as a heterosexual, yet occasionally feel attracted toward someone of the same sex. Does this mean you’re gay? Not necessarily. Alternatively, you may identify as gay but experience an occasion (or many occasions) when you feel attracted to someone of the opposite sex. Does this mean you are compromising your labelled sexuality? No. It means you are human, and your sexuality is fluid. Both examples, and attractions, are completely normal and natural, and as humans it’s pretty fair to say that most of us at some stage have surprised ourselves with who we are attracted to – regardless of gender.
I myself identify as a woman who loves ‘people’ and who identifies as ‘sexual’. People often ask me if that means I’m bisexual, and I used to think that perhaps I should have a definite answer to that question. Years later I have decided, and believe, that it’s completely okay for me to be attracted to both genders, and to be open to feeling love for a person. That love is not about gender. I don’t feel comfortable being labelled and placed into a category: I prefer to identify as a sexual woman and wholly embrace that side of myself.
I understand that for many people, labelling their sexuality creates a sense of understanding and belonging, and that’s completely fine too. Hopefully one day, though, we can live in a world where everyone has the permission to be open to any possibility when it comes to sex and love, and accept the fact that perhaps we are all just sexual beings, and that 50 shades of Gay is perfectly okay.
This article was published in Juliet's regular Saturday column in the Gold Coast Bulletin 28th March 2015