Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Future of Gay Life

I was watching the recent season of a Gay TV Show called "Hunting Season" recently when something about the portrayal of the gay characters in the series struck me: "These characters embody archetypes of gay men. These archetypes, thought somewhat exaggerated, stem from an honest place that resonates with me because I know gays like these men I see on Tv  And if that is the case then what does that tell me about the place of homosexuality in the Western World, in media or in terms of the media's relation to defining the future of the 'Gay Lifestyle'"

I normally cringe a little bit at the use of  the phrase "gay lifestyle" simply because it seems to have become a part of a grand narrative that dictates to all young and developing gay men that this "lifestyle" comes with various attachments and various things that you must do in order to be considered a true gay. Such things would include having a space for Grindr or Jacked on your phone or defining oneself as bottom, top or vers and aligning oneself with specific characteristics according to that subgroup of gay. Though I don't judge anyone who has these apps on their phones (I have both Grindr and Jacked on my phone) I do wonder whether gay men question their presence on these apps or whether they fall prey to the grand narrative that random hookups and cheating boyfriends are a part of what is deemed the "gay lifestyle."

Ofcourse this way of thinking is filled with flaws and problematic areas. One could argue that gay men are subverting the hetero-normative world of Judeo-Christian monogamy and making a space for themselves where sex and sexuality is easily and more readily accessible and where one is more able to explore and experiment with one's sexuality. I would argue that to some extent this is true. But to what extent does sex become an overriding part of who and what we are? What happens when we define ourselves solely by the individuals we sleep with? I think more often than not the focus on sex and sexuality in the gay community stems from the inherent oppression in the hetero-normative world. Gay men, especially down-low gay men or men that pass as "straight", are constantly invisible to the world until they speak up and announce their homosexuality through either  actions or speech. So to some extent the constant quest for sex in the gay community may possibly be a quest to finally announce and express ones sexuality in the most intense and pleasurable way. But what does this have to do with Homosexuality or the future of it in the Western World?

Homosexuality, in its free and undefined form is a threat to many corridors or power in the Western  World. Not only has it been defined as a threat to the nuclear family but it is also evidence of the intricate play of sexuality and gender in our society and how our gender as human beings is fluid and socially constructed. I would propose that "sex" for homosexuals is not simply about the act itself but it is also a power dynamic that seeks to stamp one's definition of oneself in the hetero-normative world. This power dynamic, realized in the moment of orgasm, is at once transcendental and freeing  but it also succumbs to power-powerless relationships where men believe that if they penetrate or if they have oral sex performed on them, then they are not homosexual. The powerless ones are those who succumb to these men and feed into their fantasies. The powerless ones are those who let sex or the sexual act either define them or lead them into self-loathing and guilt.

I believe that the gradual acceptance of homosexuality in the Western World will have a dramatic impact on the meaning of marriage and how sex or sexuality is regulated in society. I believe that once  the "perverse" label has been removed from all homosexuals in the world that gender and sexuality will become a more fluid entity, one that doesn't seek constant definition but that relies on a natural energy existent between two individuals, without acknowledging the gender of either.

But what does it take to get to this Utopia of sexuality? I think it takes these type of growing pains that our society is experiencing at the moment. The lines between normal and abnormal are constantly being redrawn and we must be aware ofour implicitness in the structures of power that seek  to keep the world hetero-normative and monogamous. I'm not saying that we should have orgies and go crazy no. But I am saying that exploring such avenues in ones sexuality can be done in a safe and controlled environment. Obviously my views go against many religions and many ethical systems that seek to control and remedy the natural impulse to have sex. And I respect those, gay and straight, who still seek monogamous and faithful relationships. I myself seek such an ideal as well. But at the same time I am suspicious of this ideal that I seek. Is it  my upbringing and my conditioning in a Catholic hetero-normative household that has made me want this ideal?  Or do I, the person within, truly want such a thing? I think it comes down to what I base my personal convictions on. It is based on the  views of the world that I seek to absorb into my own system of ethics and morality. I believe  that one always has the power to reject their own conditioning and background and to choose for themselves who and what to believe in.

So coming back to "Hunting Season" and what the show made me think about the future of homosexual, I think that such shows, while overly sexual and limiting in the spectrum of gay identity, offer insight into how the gay world comes into contact at various points with the hetero-normative world, changing definitions of marriage and even definitions of monogamy. In today's world a lot of society is based on control and regulation and sex does not fall outside of this paradigm.

So we should be constantly reflecting on our roles in the hetero-normative world and in the gay world, seeking at some point to converge the two into one so that the "gay lifestyle" is not just a "lifestyle" but a inherent part of ones being that does not limit them but instead amplifies the many facets of their being and frees oe to decide what kind of relationships they wish to have, monogamous, open etc.

The future of homosexuality will change the way we view sex, sexuality, marriage and monogamy forever.