Spectrums, Part One: Sexuality
Updated: Sep 8, 2018
“Is Evan talking about rainbows again?”
If there’s one thing the LGBTQ community loves, it’s spectrums. The rainbow is a color spectrum, and we slap that bad boy on anything and everything we can get our hands on. Then there are the more abstract spectrums, like sexuality and gender. In fact, you could make the argument that most things in life exist on some sort of spectrum.
This is the first time I’m attempting a small series on this blog. The theme is spectrums, in case you couldn’t tell. The series will consist of three parts. Part one will be about sexuality, part two will be about gender, and part three will be about relationships. All three topics deserve my full attention, so I felt I would be doing them a disservice to slap them all together in one post.
Before we do this, I need to ask one thing of you: open your mind. For the next couple of posts, leave your preconceived notions at the door. I know these topics can be scary for some, but we will take it slow. Fear is a catalyst for growth.
So, let’s launch into part one: Sexuality.
One of the hardest lessons we must learn as children is that the world is not a black and white place. When we’re little, we want so badly to believe that everything can be separated into good and evil - and we hope that we live in a world where the good side always wins. Children often struggle to grasp that the world doesn’t work that way, because it’s hard to open your eyes to the infinite shades of gray that color our world.
As we become adults, we learn to wrap our minds around those shades of gray, and that’s how we begin to form our morals and values. We all understand that.
So why, then, should it be surprising that sexuality exists on a spectrum?
Unfortunately, as gay people become more and more visible, the world seems to be solidifying its belief that your sexuality works one of two ways: you like the same sex, or you like the “opposite” sex. The problem is that this two-sided theory completely erases a vast majority of people.
We’re complex beings. If we’re lucky, we learn and grow and fail and succeed over decades and decades of life. Each year brings new challenges and triumphs, and we all completely change as time goes on. So why should we believe that our sexuality is this firm, rigid thing that can’t change as we change?
Here’s the thing: sexuality is fluid. Believe it or not, I think your approach to sexuality changes constantly, depending on your environment and the people surrounding you. Certainly, some people are 100% gay or 100% straight. But I think most of us, if we are being honest with ourselves, exist somewhere in the gray area between those two polar opposites. I consider myself to be very gay, but I can’t lie and say that there hasn’t been the occasional woman that’s made me wonder (I’ll never say who…).
Bisexual people have the short end of the stick, in my opinion. People typically view them in one of two ways: either they’re “gay” and just don’t want to admit it, or they’re “straight” and they’re just going through a phase and want to seem edgy. You’d be surprised by how many people, both within and without the LGBT community, don’t believe bisexuality exists. But why should it be so hard to grasp that people can be drawn to multiple genders and multiple identities? It’s a topic that deserves more attention, because bisexual erasure is a very real problem in the LGBT community, which means it’s even more of a problem in the world.
Then there are those who aren’t really attracted to anyone, or those who are attracted to people in some ways but not others, or those who haven’t figured it out yet. Sexuality is complex and, as I said, ever-changing. I can’t wait until we live in a world that doesn’t force you to identify yourself so rigidly and leaves more room for expansion and exploration and growth.
If you’ve ever heard of the Kinsey Scale, you probably didn’t even need to read most of this post. This is a scale that supposedly determines your sexuality. It ranges from 0 – 6: zero meaning that you are 100% heterosexual, 6 meaning that you are 100% homosexual. This scale was developed by Alfred Kinsey in 1948, so as you can probably imagine, it was well ahead of its time and likely received a lot of backlash.
The Kinsey Scale was the first scientific tool that verified the fact that sexuality exists on a spectrum. Kinsey wanted to prove to the world that sexuality wasn’t a rigid, two-part system, but was instead a fluid, ever-changing mechanism. While he eventually boiled his scale down to 7 categories, he began with over 30 – which means he fully understood that sexuality cannot begin to be defined, even on a 7-part or 30-part scale.
The only reason I bring Kinsey into this is because some of you may be reading this and thinking Okay, Evan, I don’t really see you as an expert on sexuality. And I most definitely am not. But there is scientific evidence to support the theory that sexuality is fluid and cannot be easily defined. So, take that, haters!
Anyway. The whole point of this post is to try to convince you all to take a step back and evaluate your entire sexual life (no big deal, right?). You’ve likely defined yourself a certain way – gay, straight, bi, or anything in between – but have you ever really let yourself be free? You may be surprised what you discover when you drop the labels and just let your mind and body roam.
Thanks for listening to me rant. Watch out for part two, which will be focused on the lovely spectrum of gender, coming soon. We have a lot more to cover and I can’t wait to tackle it with you.
This post was brought to you by Break-Thru by Dirty Projectors, because it’s composed of a bunch of sonic elements that shouldn’t work together, but somehow they come together to create something really pleasing to listen to. Almost like… a spectrum.
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