Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Caught you!

Wendy and I wake up every morning to the Proud FM radio station.  They are, as the name suggests, very much a gay themed station and although the music is much the same as any other pop station they spend a lot of time on news specifically relating to gay issues.  They would phrase it as LGBT issues, or maybe queer issues, but that isn't actually what they do it turns out.  This morning they had a piece on Jesse J, a female musician who came out as bisexual a few years ago and is now claiming that she is straight since she wants to marry a man.  Bizarrely they talked about it as a gotcha moment where they were finally able to confirm that she is straight as they knew all along.

I really don't get the appeal of the 'Haha, we caught you, you fake bisexual!'  It was as if they were claiming that she had lied all along and that they knew she really wasn't on their team after all.  It is entirely possible to be a woman who is mostly interested in being in a primary relationship with a man and still be very much a bisexual.  One does not need to carefully have sex with a man and a woman each week in order to retain one's bisexual credentials and being bisexual but mostly leaning one way or the other is perfectly normal.  I know a bunch of people who are exactly like that in fact.

It isn't even a necessity to stay in one particular mode throughout life as there are plenty of examples of people whose orientation shifts over time.  Much of the advocacy for gay rights has focused on the 'born this way' argument and unfortunately both gay and straight folks tend to lean on that pretty hard and assume that you are on a team assigned by either God or chance and you cannot change teams.  It just doesn't work that way; many people play for both teams regularly, or mostly for one team but moonlight for the other, or play for one team for a few years then swap.  Sexuality is remarkably fluid even though that isn't what either of the teams talks about most of the time.

Proud FM really should be more straight up with what they are promoting.  That is, they are a LG radio station.  They talk about marriage equality, which is a good thing, and about gay rights, which I approve of, but they really don't give much more than lip service to either the B or T in LGBT.  In that they are following right along with mainstream culture that has widely accepted gay marriage and the 'born this way' rhetoric but still views anyone who won't pick a team with suspicion and has a lot of issues with trans folks.

People who talk about the entire alphabet soup LGBTIAQP+ where they actually mean everyone in the group are actually pretty rare.  Mostly they are talking about a small specific subset of the group and use the acronym pretty randomly without thinking about the fact that those people are really very different.  They have some common cause in not conforming to gender and relationship norms but the actual challenges they face are enormously different, not to mention their level of visibility and acceptance.  Gay people aren't super well represented in the media but compare that to trans, poly or asexual people and you see a huge gap.

I wish that people like Proud FM who claim the label for themselves actually took the time to think about it a bit before making it part of their image.  It isn't much use to claim to be inclusive of particular groups when you really have very little interest in actually doing so.

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