display | more...

I’ve heard a few accounts of how people’s decision to Come Out in high school turned out to be premature, as it exposed them to scorn and isolation before they had the adult resources to deal with such things. Such examples were intended to illustrate a criticism of the way queer folks have made Coming Out an end in itself without considering possible dangers.

I can at least see where the push for Coming Out came from – western culture (and particularly American culture) is steeped in not only heterosexuality, but the expectations of same, especially in secondary education with the unremmitting talk of boyfriends, girlfriends, do you have a boyfriend yet, why not, please go out with me, why won’t you go out with any of the blah blah blah blah SHUT THE FUCK UP I’M GAY ALRIGHT?

See, it’s very tempting to declare oneself openly in order to stand firm against the flood. It is difficult to resist the pressure of heteronormativity without having that rock to stand on.

Lately I have often wondered if the whole business of declaring oneself Asexual is also overhyped, in the sense of, you know, who’s going to care if you’re not interested, right? But my experience has been masculine  and entirely virginal, and I have been ignoring the way in which women in general are the ones BEING propositioned, so they’re the ones facing most of the flood, and Asexual women find themselves fielding the same questions as Lesbian women, and having to say “no thank you I’m not interested” and have people blithely ignore the refusal, and in such a circumstance a firm declaration of Asexuality is another rock to stand on.

The flood still comes, of course, because people who are lusty sometimes don’t let a silly little thing like orientation get in the way, especially if they have an entire ocean of “Men and Women Should Be Together” pushing them forward.

And if enough people have a rock to stand on, maybe they can put all their rocks together and make an island, or a continent, like the woman who made dry land out of earth on the back of a turtle. In that sense, Coming Out has value as a communal thing moreso than as an individual thing.

Quite a bit sacrificial, yes, a bit reckless, a bit martyr-y, if you’re doing it on your own. It’s the kind of thing where individual actors cannot stand alone, and must stand together, and it’s hard for any one person to see their contribution, amidst a vast field of similar efforts, but believe me it’s there. I know because I’m standing on the dry land, made of all the people who put their rocks together.

I like the dry land, thank you very much, and I am long since fed up with the idea that this orientation or that orientation should not be part of “the LGBT community”, as if the whole thing were a city with walls where you could keep outsiders out. Oh no. No, if you want to cast a piece of the mainland into the sea then the whole continent is made lesser for it. You run the risk of breaking the whole thing apart, and then you’ve got these little islands, and when the water comes again they suffer the usual fate of islands in a hurricane, which is either to be severely reduced in size, or to be swamped completely.

John Donne warned everyone about that a long time ago.