START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Sep 28, 2012

This is an article I am copying from the Seattle Gay News [September 21, 2012].

By Michael Raitt, SGN Contributing Writer.

"What does Gay really mean? Going beyond 'sexual orientation' to embrace a deeper truth".

Do you remember "Uncle Frank" and his good friend/roommate, "Uncle Bill"? Or "Aunt Sue" and her friend, "Aunt Barbara"? They lived together for years and it was tacitly understood that their relationship went beyond that of a simple friendship, but the precise nature of that partnership was never openly talked about and was only superficilly acknowledged. Most of us can recall a situation in our family or neighborhood that resembled this.

Now these relationships are being talked about and they are being framed in the context of what they are really about -- love! I hear politicians talking about "being accepted for whom you love" and I see TV ads where parents are talking about loving their children and accepting their child's partner -- the person their child loves -- into their family. People are talking about the right to marriage -- not for monetary gain or to push a political agenda for the sake of pushing an agenda. Rather, because of love.

For years, the terms "Gay", "Lesbian", and "homosexual" have had double meanings. One meaning was that two women or two men were in a relationship together. However, the more powerful meaning, and the bigger focus that was applied, was around the act of sex, and the popular terms used were {and still are, I might add} "sexuality" and "sexual orientation". Being Gay was reduced to describing who we were having sex with. We've had it backwards this whole time!

Historically, I understand why it was backwards. The social constraints were so punitive in years past that, although many men and women longed for loving relationships with someone of the same gender, they absolutely couldn't risk it. The most feasible option left, in those times, was to go and seek a quick sexual connection.

A NEW PARADIGM

However, times are changing. Individuals, families, friends, and communities are recognizing that being Lesbian or Gay is about being in a romantic, loving relationship. People are seeing that their Lesbian and Gay sons, daughters, parents, friends, bosses, neighbors, politicians, and celebrities are pursuing loving relationships.

Being Gay or Lesbian is an emotional orientation! We should be stating that explicitly and correcting people by saying exactly that -- "Gay is not a sexual orientation, it is an emotional orientation", and "I am Lesbian/Gay because of who I love and not who I have sex with." We should be making it clear that love is the emotion that drives relationships, and we do that by using accurate terminology. I am Gay because of my ability to have a romantic, emotional connection with another man. "Emotional orientation" more truthfully explains the experience of being Lesbian or Gay. This whole push for marriage equality is about the emotional relationship between two adults -- not who they have sex with!

It is no longer acceptable, either for us or for the people who know us and love us, to allow the designation of Lesbian or Gay to reduce us to an act of sex. This is why I strongly disagree with the terminology of "sexual orientation". Sexual orientation almost entirely negates what it really means to be Lesbian or Gay. Those of us who are Lesbian or Gay should no longer be referring to our "sexuality". This minimizes who we are and perpetuates the focus on an act of sex rather than on the emotional bond that love brings. "Sexuality" and "sexual orientation" describe the simplest of observable human behaviors. It is impossible for those two terms to capture the real nature and complexity of emotion and relationship dynamics that are part of being Lesbian or Gay.

IT'S ABOUT LOVE

Love is very complex. We know little about it. We know it is a very strong drive and we know there are different kinds of love. Familial love is different than the love one has for, say, a favorite sports team. There is love of country, food, and gardening. Some love to paint or they love their job. People love their friends and their cars. Yet there is another love that is quite different from all of these. It is romantic love!

The majority of us have experienced romantic love. It is a sensation unlike almost anything else. It is exciting and scary. It creates bonds that can transcend physical time and life. We build families around it. I don't know of anyone who can tell us with certainty exactly how it happens but it does. What I can tell you is that romantic love is the force that makes us Lesbian or Gay. Every single Lesbian woman and Gay man who reads this can relate. They know it is true to the core of their being.

We are talking about love. We are fighting for love. Acknowledging our capacity to love makes us feel good. Being in love makes us healthier and happier. Love forms bonds and families and families create strong communities and a thriving country. Love is one of the most basic, yet extraordinarily powerful emotions that most humans seek to experience. We are hard-wired to love. Let us actively and accurately portray what being Lesbian or Gay really is - an emotional orientation!

[Michael Raitt, M.A., L.M.H.C., is a therapist and a contributing writer to SHN, where his column appears bi-monthly. If you would like to comment on this column, ask a question you'd like him towrite about, or suggest another topic of interest, please contct him at askingmichael@comcast.net.]

Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted: Sep 28, 2012 4:14pm

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

Author

BMutiny TCorporationsEvil
, 1, 1 child
Seattle, WA, USA
Shares by Type:
All (263) | Blog (141) | Alert (116) | Message (6)

Showing shares tagged with: gay [show all]
SHARES FROM BMUTINY'S NETWORK
Feb
15
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nIn a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council nineteen states opposed the approval of  GM Maize Pioneer 1507, developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemica l, while five supported it and four abstained from any view, EU officials s...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Please sign this petition asking shelters to open before temperatures hit life-threatening levels: http://www.thepetitionsit e.co
Feb
12
by Just C.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
 \\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\nW hy this is important\\r\\nAs a community comprised of members actively using the tools provided by this site to accomplish needed improvements to various aspects of all life (animal, human, environmental), we, the undersigned, are her...
Feb
11
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\r\nHow to spread the news\r\n02/11/14\r\n\r\nT his is really awfull, i did write many hosst announcements, but they dissapeared, luckely
Feb
10
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nDear friends! \\r\\nLet us please help these three innocent 6, 8 and 10-year-old children to get justice. \\r\\nThei stepfather abused them all and raped the youngest one.  \\r\\nThere is a very little hope he will get punished, since the ...
Feb
6
by Dave C.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\njust found this group and in case no one in it has been to care2 recently they now let you donate to save rainforest land using butterfly credits...just one hundred credits to donate.....saving rainforests is one of the most important things we can ...
Jan
28
(4 comments  |  discussions )
\\nSad that this peition has not gotten many signatures, I thought it would do well because anyone can participate.\\r\\nPlease sign if you have not done so yet. And if you have, thank you so much for all you do!!!  The dog pictured in the petition ...
Jan
24
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
\\nCoretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the ...