Some years ago I worked with a guy. He was really young, just out of school, when we met and I was about 10 or 12 years older. When I first met him, I thought he was gay. The more I got to know him, the more this firmed in my mind. But he didn't know my thoughts. Some years later, like 7 or 8, he sent me an email to say that he had found a partner and suggested I may need to be sitting before I read on :) He was so hesitant to tell his friends because he wasn't sure how any of us would react to his news. When I told him we'd all react fine, as it wasn't exactly news to any of us, he was stunned.
We met face-to-face not long after and he quizzed me about this. How did I know he was gay? What made the rest of us discuss our thoughts but never tell him? Why hadn't we told him when he'd been wrestling with finding himself?
I'd worked with a lot of gay people - men and women - and so I'd developed a kind of instinct about people's sexuality. It didn't bother me that they were gay. I always believe it's none of my business. But I did like to know that my picks were right, for my own peace of mind. (I think this is because when I was in my early 20s, I worked and played sport with a bunch of gay women and was shocked when I found out (about 2 years later!) that I was the only straight woman in the group. I was so naive. I promised myself I'd never be in that situation again. Not because I was uncomfortable, but because being oblivious to my friends made me feel like a useless friend).
I'd never told him my inkling, because I may not have been right. I have no desire to 'push' someone towards a particular way of life or way of loving. I have no desire to influence my friends' decisions about themselves.
In our discussions, I asked him if it really mattered? The 'gay' label... why did it matter? He found a partner when he was ready to find love. Who cared what gender the partner was, or how they had sex. The important thing was that he found a partner.
And this started me thinking about the whole "naming" thing. Why do we need to single out homosexuals? We're classifying people because of their sexual preferences, no other reason. Yet, we don't have "Missionary-style-sexuals", "oral-sexuals", "anal-sexuals", "selfish-sexuals", "giving-sexuals", "fantasy-sexuals". Why not? Why do we classify same sex as different to all the other sexual acts? It's something that makes me curious.
We don't need to know how any of the heterosexuals have sex, yet by giving the homosexuals a 'tag', we make their sexual preferences known to everyone.
I'm not fond of 'tags' and 'groupings' or whatever else it's called. I think we're all individuals, and we're part of a large grouping called the human race. I think it's about time lines became blurry and tags became obsolete. But maybe I'm just happy living in grey, with no black and white.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on the topic. I'm up for a good dicussion :)