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Who’s Gay Now?

September 10th, 2016

Who’s Gay Now?

In 1969, I was living in New York, Greenwich Village, at #7 Gay Street, just around the corner from The Stone Wall Inn, a bar later known for the Stonewall Riot, or just plain Stonewall, in June of that year.  I was outside that place as the “riot” was going on — on the periphery of the crowd, to be sure, but not unaware of what was going on.

In the days after, the Village was alive with organization and discussion of what to do next.  A main subject of debate was, What do we call ourselves?  We were tired of being called ‘homosexual,’ a dry and medical-sounding term.  We certainly were not ‘faggots’, ‘fairies’, ‘queers’, ‘mericons’, or similar disparaging terms; we needed to find our own name, to be able to find our voice.

The term ‘gay’ was not unknown, but not a widely used word; it was used mostly in the musical and theatrical circles, but not in the general population.  But it sounded right — and not just to apply to males.  In the discussions I took part in, we saw that the term ‘gay’ could apply equally well to lesbians and bi-sexuals.  That is, Gay meant someone attracted to the same sex, whether exclusively or not.

The term was later used to encompass the transgendered, anyone who considers themselves ‘queer”, and recently has been used to include intersexuals–that is, people born with both male and female genitalia (google it): thus, the LGBTQI community.

The point was:  Inclusivity.  We’re all in this together, folks; we’re all gay.  No narrow categorizations, no intra-group squabbling,  let’s put an end to these narrow definitions that can be used against us and unite toward the common goal of acceptance in the greater community.  And this effort worked, to the point that gay people can marry their same-sex loves.  It’s been a difficult journey, but we’ve come a long way.

I’ve recently heard some people say, “You’re not gay, you’re bisexual!”  To me, this makes no sense.  Have there never been happily married gay men?  Are lesbians not part of the gay community?  If you’re queer, are you not gay?  Must a man be completely inexperienced with the female sex, to be considered ‘gay’?  Are there no gay people with children born to them?

I’ve considered myself gay for some 68 years.  I know who I am.  I know my most innermost thoughts, my most intimate feelings.  I am happily married to a wonderful woman, whom I love deeply.  I find some men sexually attractive.  I am gay.  I didn’t suddenly change, just because I got married; there was never a Road-to-Damascus moment.


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