"Sexual orientation" vs "gender"

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by B_henry miller, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    NOTE TO MODERATORS: This is intended as a serious and thoughtful discussion. This is not an intention to create a "flame." Dicussions on this topic can become heated and sometimes ugly, so if that does happen with this discussion, please feel free to delete this thread. Thank you. :smile:
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    On this forum there is a lot of talk about unusual things like "men who have sex with men" but who are not "gay" or even "bisexual." I always scoffed at this, but lately I'm sort of getting it.

    I remember a quote by someone like Mae West where she stuck up for gay men by telling homophobic men, "Gay men are actually women in men's bodies, so remember that when you beat up a gay man you are actually beating up a woman!" And in gay circles it is common for one gay guy to refer to another gay guy as "girl."

    As a "bisexual," I have tried to participate in the gay community. And I do take part in some gay events (Pride parade, sometimes), but more and more I find myself drawing toward what is called "straight" culture. I can't relate to so much in gay culture. It seems to me that in gay culture (maybe I should use the term "LGBT") it is expected that any member of the community have a huge amount of "feminine" energy and basically be what Mae West described: a woman in a man's body. Again, "not that there's anything wrong with it," but I can't relate.

    Anyway, that point I'm trying to get at is I think I can now understand terms like "men who have sex with men." I think society associates same-sex sexual activity in males with femininity, and some of us can't relate.
     
  2. MissThing

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    I am always trying to make this distinction when explaining being transsexual to people. I know that is out of the context in which you bring this issue up, but it does relate. Gender and sex are not mutually exclusive. Gender is one's identity and sex is physiology. When one's identity and sex do not match, he or she is transgender. Sexual orientation, however, is simply what one may be sexually/romantically attracted to. That being said, a gay man identifies as being male and physically is male, but he is attracted to other men in a sexual/romantic way. I identify as a woman, but am physically male (transgender), but am only attracted to men in a sexual/romantic way, so I would consider myself to be "straight" in a certain context. I know that many people try to avoid the whole labeling thing and that simply because one may engage in an occasional sexual act with someone of a particular sex does not neccesarily define the sexuality of said person. I have always believed that we define our own sexuality. That is my understanding of the subject as someone who has experienced having to make a distinction between gender/sex and orientation.
     
  3. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    It IS basically the same issue. I actually think it's possible that there are many gay men who don't realize that they actually are the female gender. But, then again, maybe they DO realize it and that's why they call each other "girl."
     
  4. buffaloboy

    buffaloboy Active Member

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    This is a very limited view of what it means to be a gay man in gay culture; perhaps it's no coincidence that you're quoting Mae West because it sounds incredibly old fashioned.

    If you'd been to many of the places I've hung out in, I doubt you'd think that the majority of gay men there have a lot of 'feminine energy'. And I'm talking about a variety of places from hipster bars, to sex clubs and places for black gay men.

    Sure, there are men who have sex with men, who don't gave anything to do with the commercial 'scene' and they may seem like 'regular dudes', but that also applies to many people you could meet who do openly identify as 'gay'.
     
  5. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    But that may be the key: black men.
     
  6. buffaloboy

    buffaloboy Active Member

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    I didn't just refer to black men, though, did I? Indeed, I made a point of specifying a 'variety' of places.

    I very much get the sense that you tend to focus on what's convenient for you in order to endorse your own arguments, rather than see a wider reality.
     
  7. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    (Boldening mine.)

    I grew up in a black community and therefore know that generally speaking in the black community there is a greater emphasis on masculinity than in white communities. I think it was after all the black community that invented the term "down low." (I recall Denzel's advice to Will Smith regarding Six Degrees of Separation: "Don't be kissing no man....")
     
  8. buffaloboy

    buffaloboy Active Member

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    Why are you only highlighting the bit which supports your view? That's incredibly selective.

    But OK, you're agreeing that in gay black clubs, gay men don't necessarily have a lot of 'feminine energy', so, already, the premise of your argument is looking shaky. And as I've pointed out, there' are other places where you can find gay men who don't correspond to your stereotype.
     
    #8 buffaloboy, Dec 4, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  9. D_HKx4ztc

    D_HKx4ztc New Member

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    It's definitely not the key! Sounds like you're posting a message from the 1950s. I really can't imagine that California is that different from the UK in terms of 'the gay eperience' (that sounds like a terrible phrase, sorry), but gay men being women trapped in men's bodies?! Please. Yeah there are a few high profile gay characters who fit this description, a surviving few from the time of Mae West perhaps? But the gay people who I know are proud to be men, and act like men. In fact, as I write that it sounds ridiculous, because what does it even mean to behave like in a man in the 2010s? With David Beckham, Kanye West etc l proudly flaunting the pride they take in their appearance and so on. No one questions their 'gender' or 'sexual orientation'. Is Kanye West a woman trapped in a man's body becasue he likes buying good clothes and taking time to look good???
    But what I think you mean is the stereotypical gay man; mincing around, listening to trashy pop music while admiring each other's fabulous outfits and airkissing their 'girlfriends'. And my point is, that caricature bears no relevance on being gay now. regardless of skin colour! I can honestly say that I know no one who is gay who fits that description, and like I said, I can't imagine California is that far behind where the UK is at.
     
  10. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    It's not "my" stereotype. It's what I've observed. And my only arguement is that there is a difference between "sexuality" and "gender." This is agreed upon by most people who study sexuality. People who change from one gender to another and then are attracted to their opposite gender after the sex change, have referred to themselves as "heterosexual."

    I have indeed met homosexual men who are masculine. But they are vastly in the minority from what I've met.

    I'm not saying I know all gay and bisexual men and can describe every one of them. I'm describing what I HAVE seen and experiences. It's what's called a conversation. Welcome to it. :smile:

     
  11. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    I posted based on the experience of growing up in a black community and reading studies. In my experience, there is more emphasis in the black community on males being masculine, even hyper-masculine. And studies I've read have said that the black community is less accepting of homosexuality than the white community. This is because the black community has had to survive by religion, and the religion (often Southern Baptist) often is homophobic. There are exceptions, of course, as there are to everything.

    Good for them. I'd like to meet them. :smile:
     
  12. buffaloboy

    buffaloboy Active Member

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    I honestly think you need to get out more.

    Like the guy above says, no one is claiming that there aren't feminine gay men, but I'm not like that, and neither are my friends, or the gay men that I casually know and have met.
     
    #12 buffaloboy, Dec 4, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  13. ColonialBoy

    ColonialBoy Member

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    Pick one from each menu item:

    1. genetalia you were born with: male or female. Boys are 'trained' from an early age to play with fire engines & girls with dolls
    2. who you are sexually attracted to; male, female or both
    3. which sex you identify with internally ie woman in a man's body
     
  14. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    I've lived in four states in the United States and visited four continents.

    What is so difficult for you to understand about the fact that my experience is different from your own? You've known gay men who don't fit what I describe, but I haven't. Different experiences, that's all. Doesn't make me small minded, bigoted, or less-than-well-travelled. It means my experience is different from yours, that's all. Thanks. :smile:
     
  15. buffaloboy

    buffaloboy Active Member

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    Henry Miller:

    I note that on your profile, you wrote a blog about this very subject back in July. It seems to be an issues that troubles you somewhat and that causes you internal conflict:
    http://www.lpsg.org/blogs/henry+miller/gender-vs-orientation-7688/

    ''I'll just admit that I used to think that being gay or bisexual meant that a guy was also feminine and sort of wanted to be a woman. This is yet another hurdle I had to overcome in coming to terms with my orientation. But I find that I actually am usually attracted to very masculine guys, and lately I am very much on the masculine side. I guess it sort of turns my previous ideas on their head. In other words, I'm bisexual because I love being male, NOT because I want to be female.''

    http://www.lpsg.org/blogs/henry+miller/gender-vs-orientation-7688/

    This speaks of how at a conscious or subconscious level, you believe, or at least have done in the past, that to be attracted to another man is somehow feminine, and you also hint at not always being so masculine yourself (''lately, I am very much on the masculine side''). 'Lately'? So what were you before?

    The issues surrounding gender and orientation seem to trouble you somewhat which you then project outwards on to gay men you perceive to be feminine. Your sense of inferiority about your own masculinity is at the root of your internal conflict, which in your own mind becomes a 'deficiency' in other self identified gay men.
     
  16. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    Thanks for finding that. I actually did a search before I posted this thread because I thought this title sounded familiar. I forgot that I had used the same title in my blog. Forgot to look there. Thanks.

    There are two issues here:

    1. How I percieved a gay or bisexual man had to behave.
    2. How society seems to think gay and bisexual men behave.

    These are two different issues.

    I myself mention in this blog that I came to realize that being gay or bisexual doesn't mean you have to be feminine.

    But this doesn't change the fact that I have since realized that larger society seems to equate same sex male attraction in males with effeminacy.

    It's not my own internal conflict; it's society's perception. I've been given a hard time outside gay clubs becasue I don't look "gay enough" to them, for example. One bouncer thought I was there to gay bash when I asked, "Is this a gay club?" Finally, I had to clarify, "I'm LOOKING for a gay club!"

    For a while, I was hanging out in a LBGT community center, and I would take a look at the magazines, for example, and notice that the men in gay magazines are as objectified and sexualized as women are in mainstream publications. I just think the LGBT community objectifies and feminizes men in the way larger society does to women. Just what I've expeirenced. But then I've already said that a million times and am kind of tired of repeating myself.
     
  17. B_henry miller

    B_henry miller New Member

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    PS: Yes, I used to be more feminine than I am.
     
  18. Boyscumslut

    Boyscumslut New Member

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    some gay guys like being girly, hence moi.Some dont.Unless you physically want to become a woman it is not a gender issue.
     
  19. buffaloboy

    buffaloboy Active Member

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    I think the issues might not be the same but they are certainly connected in as much as they both revolve around perceptions of masculinity - yours and society's.

    Some people have a very narrow conception of what constitutes 'real' masculinity and from what I can make out from your posts, you appear to subscribe to this notion (even though you may not always have been quite so masculine yourself). So when you've been stopped by bouncers upon entering a gay club, these are people who have the self same narrow definition of masculinity that you aspire to and attempt to emulate, but that's only one way of being masculine.

    As for the gay community 'objectifying' men, isn't that something of which you're particularly guilty?:

    Young Stud Thread
    http://www.lpsg.org/112944-the-young-stud-thread.html

    Full-Body nude studs on LPSG
    http://www.lpsg.org/264553-full-body...stud-list.html

    Hmmmm....
     
  20. B_Nia88

    B_Nia88 New Member

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    As a trans women I can tell you sexuality and gender are not the same at all. sexuality is about who you are attracted to sexually and Gender identity is defined as a personal conception of oneself as male or female (or rarely, both or neither).
     
    #20 B_Nia88, Dec 4, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
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