I am still pretty new to the lifestyle, so perhaps I'm discredited from the start from such a conversation. Or, perhaps there is some advantage to not having been immersed in queer analysis of everything. When I read such analysis my eyes usually gloss over and my mind wanders. Gross generalizations such as "men who have sex with men on the side are just bisexual" make my whole being cringe. On what basis can such a claim be made? On what authority? Such claims confuse sexual attraction, sexual practice and sexual identity each of which is a distinct reality. In recent years, the World Health Organization and other health authorities have abandoned the terms 'gay' and 'bisexual' and now employ the phrase 'men who have sex with men.' This recognizes two realities. First, regrettably many who are exclusively attracted to men still are reluctant to identify as such. But, more interestingly, there is a sizable number of men who have sex with men who in fact are not either gay or bisexual. That is, they have no emotional attraction to their own sex and have sex with men as a matter of convenience, experimentation, money, social pressure, commercial exchange, etc. While the social sciences can help us to a degree, their notorious failures should stand as reminders that they are not free from politics, personal bias or the temptation to overstate their effectiveness. One such grand failure was the common claim in the 1970's and 1980's that pedophilia could be treated and that various clients had been rehabilitated, resulting in numerous catastrophes. Catholic bishops aren't the only ones to blame (though that is the politically preferable conclusion in many settings). In my opinion, there are some therapists that belong in jail. The gay community is notorious for morphing it's self definition to suit its political aims or worse, fashion. In the 1970's, the common wisdom was that gay men and women shouldn't have to think in terms of marriage which was for straight people. Having multiple partners in various constellations of relationships without guilt was what "liberation" was all about, at least sexually. We all know that promiscuity (a very dirty word) became frowned upon in the wake of AIDS. Suddenly, the ideal of marriage became the new orthodoxy, if not in practice then in the community's projected image to the straight world. (Regardless of the ultimate outcome of the political debate, this false projection can only come back to haunt a community as perceptions of gay sexuality catch up with reality.) By now many of you will be angry or tuning me out as a self-loather. Before you do so, give me one more chance... If sexual attraction (distinct from identity) falls on a continuum, then with the pronouncements of various ideologies and orthodoxies convenient for the activist, all bets are off. The impulse toward some grand theory of sexuality is understandable and seemingly natural to the human mind which instinctively simplifies reality to reduce effort. The simplification often takes the form of rejecting data that doesn't fit rather than attempting to account for all data. Attempts to account for all data nullify most orthodoxies. One of the gay community's latter orthodoxies upon which it bases most of its politics is the genetic explanation of orientation. Politically this theory has the advantage of portraying homosexuality as something utterly beyond ones control. This would have been news to those earlier queers of the 1970's who proclaimed the lifestyle as a "choice" and the orientation as a "sexual preference." As many as a third of American males have had sex with other men. Only a small fraction of those are exclusively gay and less than a third have had sex with men outside a small window of time in their lives. It appears from the numbers that "choice" and "preference" are more accurate descriptors for those who practice gay sex. Shockingly, gays are the small minority (perhaps only 10%) among those who have gay sex. While same-sex attraction is beyond one's conscious choice for some, the genetic explanation cannot account for those who at one stage in their lives are more attracted to one sex and at other times are more attracted to the other or those who fall into the categories mentioned above. It certainly doesn't account for the hippie boy who is committed to his undefined status and glad to sleep with whomever strikes him as attractive and available at the moment. Another gay orthodoxy is in jeopardy. Being Post-Gay then, is a brave new world. It doesn't rely on comfortable ideological tenets, dispenses with unsubstantiated generalities and convenient labels and insists on the singular observation that people are people. Dividing the world between breeders and "us" or into gay, straight and bisexual just doesn't account for all the data. As people like other people we are happiest with being ourselves and loving others for themselves and not resorting to the inevitable falsities that arise from crude labels. It's time we take the sexual continuum seriously and realize that with convenient orthodoxies, labels and generalities, all bets are off ! Joey Graduate Student, ND, Ind.