I’m not gay.

I love unicorns.
And Madonna. And Fetish-Clubs. And Drag-Queens.
I’m not a bad person, but sometimes, when someone gets to me, I want to punch them.
I’m not into football, but I watch Championsleague.
I’m not gay, but I really like feather boas.

I read this sentence a few weeks ago on facebook. “I’m not gay, but I like unicorns.”
Some friend wrote it, surely not meaning any harassment. But still, she wrote it to distinguish something from herself. And I wondered, why that is. What was it, that she wanted to keep away from her image? Why is it so important to say you are not gay? Why talk about your sexual preference anyway? Do people need to know? On Facebook? And if they think you are gay, what’s the problem? And if you are gay, what’s the problem? Why can’t you just love unicorns?

If you’re gay that simply means that you prefer to sleep with people of the same sex.
As easy as that.

To be honest, I thought about this sentence a lot. It stirred something inside. Because I cannot really grasp the importance of defining yourself by stating your sexuality. (That’s like going to the supermarket, telling the shop assistant: “I’m not gay, but I would like to have sparkling wine.” Why would you? It’s ridiculous.) Why do you have to say it, implicating most likely that something (being gay) has a very definite meaning to you. Whatever that is. In this context your opinion doesn’t seem very kind.

So I tried to find out the reasons for this circumstance. I pore over it. I thought: Well, we have to distinguish ourselves from our surroundings, other people, etc. in order not to dissolve in an abundant world full of diversity. That’s why we have criteria like colour of hair, country of origin, whatever. But there is a thin line between distinguishing for good, i.e. to define my boundaries – or to being able to find out the difference between my upbringing and someone else’s for instance, because we come from a different culture – or to discriminate against someone by judging these very differences.

I suppose sexual preferences are a very essential self-defining aspect for humans. Sex is our drive, our instinct. Like our eating preferences (vegetarian or carnivore) or body, i.e. outward appearance (for example our definition of beauty, which differs in cultures, religions) it is something connected to our core, our animal self, something that is part of our everyday life, of our body, and this is why we have to define it. For ourselves, first of all, and then we communicate this definition to the world. (There is an interesting video on YouTube about the crucial point when we decide to be gay/straight.)

Very well, I thought, we have to define that for ourselves.
But why do we have to connect sexual preference with unicorns or, let’s say, a type of ice cream?
And why do we have to (ab)use the word gay (which means merry, too, by the way) thoughtlessly, not considering that this might hurt someone? It’s just a tiny word, a little expression, a moment, a puff of air, and then it is forgotten, you might say. But what if that tiny word is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and some kid kills himself, because he just couldn’t take it anymore, that saying “I’m gay” gives everyone the right to judge?

People can be cruel. They do incomprehensible things.
They go to the streets to demonstrate against other people getting married. Just because they are two men or women, and not a man and a woman. In my opinion, just because something has been like that all the time doesn’t justify its existance. That applies to mariage acts, too. Maybe we should all deal with our own sexuality first, instead of judging and punishing the ones who have liberated themselves, who are living different lives, with different partners.

I once recorded a little thing for a friend’s film. I was meant to be the editor (I was an advisor later) and since it was fundraised via the Internet, the team put their thoughts on video. People told me how brave it was to say that on YouTube, and so on. Again, I couldn’t understand why it is brave to say that we should all be free to express our lives and loves the way we want to.

Me too, I sometimes say things I don’t mean because my mouth speaks before my mind thinks. And I have hurt people, too, without wanting to. But I think change can happen, when we start with ourselves. Maybe we could start with being aware of the words we use.
I would like to live in a world where someone doesn’t have to be afraid to say: I’m gay.
And where being gay is, if it has to be a definition, a synonym for being happy.

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