More clarification for the sake of education….

In the field of Queer studies and lingo there is a recent increase in the emphasis on the difference between sexual and romantic attractions, and how the two may not be related. For some people, who you want to love and who you want to have sex with are not the same. New terms and labels such as panromantic homosexual are being thrown around left and right , so what follows is an overview of terminology that you may see in your Queer travels.

Note: traditional definitions of homo- and hetero- sexuality include both romantic and sexual attraction, the separation of the two is a very new concept that is not yet widely used. This list is just meant to help if you encounter someone who identifies as having different romantic and sexual orientations.

Homosexual: being sexually attracted to members of the same sex

Heterosexual: being sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex

Bisexual: being sexually attracted to both sexes and/or genders

Pansexual: being sexually attracted to people regardless of gender or sex

Asexual: not experiencing sexual attraction

Homoromantic: being romantically attracted to members of the same sex

Heteroromantic: being romantically attracted to members of the opposite sex

Biromantic: being romantically attracted to members of both sexes and/or genders

Panromantic: being romantically attracted to people regardless of gender or sex

Aromantic: not experiencing romantic attraction

Any combination of these terms is an acceptable identity. I was once almost-kinda dating a girl who identified as bisexual but was more aptly described as biromantic heterosexual because she wanted to hang out and flirt but didn’t want to have sex with me (which was frustrating). I know of a girl who identifies as a panromantic lesbian (romantically attracted to anyone, but only sexually attracted to other women.

Clearly, the concepts of love and sex and attraction are more complicated than originally anticipated…

Sexual Orientation in the City…?

In the great debate over whether or not sexuality is a choice, I want to punch Cynthia Nixon in the face. While I totally respect can tolerate that she thinks that maybe she is gay by choice, declaring it in that interview gives every anti-gay, homophobic asshole the ammunition to say, “Cynthia Nixon, a big gay herself, said its a choice so by George it must be!”

I don’t pretend to know exactly how sexual orientation is formed, and anyone who says they do is full of horse poopy, but there is an inherent problem in saying that it is EITHER genetic OR a choice. Which ever way it goes has complications…

Sexuality as a choice:

  • Gives every right-wing, conservative, religious, bastard the ammunition to say that if sexual orientation is a choice then one can just simply choose to stop being gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/queer.
  • However, there is some legitimacy in saying that one chooses to act upon their sexuality rather than live closeted. But this is in no way the same as saying that one chooses to be gay or straight.
  • If Cynthia Nixon, or other people, believe that they chose to be gay than it’s not really my place to say that they didn’t; I have no way of knowing how they feel or how their sexual identity developed.

Sexuality as something we are born with:

  • Some people are left-handed and some people aren’t. Some people are gay and some people aren’t. If its something we are born with than it’s just part of the natural variance within the human species and its nothing to be “changed” or “cured”.
  • But (as was pointed out to me in my Gender and Sexuality Studies class) saying that we were “born this way” implies that if we DID have a choice we would choose to not be this way, but we can’t because it is something that we were born with – like some kind of birth defect.

It’s not by any means a pretty argument.

In Cynthia’s defense, she later clarified her comment, saying that bisexuality is NOT a choice but being in a relationship with a woman is.

Advice of the Day: Think before you speak, or crazy closeted republicans are going to turn what you say into a reason to deny people basic human rights. And that sucks.