2010/10/29

Heteroluctant

Thank you, Ghlam, for the cool song title! Which I have nicked for a blog entry title.

For any given person, if you were to assume that the person's sexual orientation was heterosexual, odds are that you would be right. That indeed is what most people do—assume other people are heterosexual unless they learn otherwise. Most people, when they ask a woman about her partner, will say "husband" or "boyfriend" or "he," and if they ask a man about his partner (does that happen as often?), will say "wife" or "girlfriend" or "she."

Given my own sexual orientation, I try not to make heteronormative assumptions. But I find it as difficult to do as most people would who never think about such things. But depending on the context I'm in, my assumption can vary.

While most of the world is heteronormative, some parts are, in fact, homonormative. In some environments, you have to flip a switch on your gaydar to put it into "straightdar" mode. And I'm not talking about Pride parades or queer events.

I know a lot of musicians. Most of the musicians I know are female. And it seems that a great many of them, maybe even a majority among those of my acquaintance, are lesbians. That might just be about who I happen to know, but it definitely sets me up to think in those terms when I am among female musicians.

So when we arrived at Ladies Rock Camp last weekend, I seem to have been in homonormative mode. Soon after I arrived, I met M (who was to become the singer in the band I was in). We started chatting about Maui, which we both love. I can't remember what I was saying, but I realized later that somewhere in my excited-to-be-at-rock-camp brain, I was thinking of us as sharing the same sexual orientation. Fortunately, either she did not pick up on this or she forgave me for making the unconscious assumption. Later on, I met her fiancé. He is definitely a guy.

I gave my head a virtual whack, shifted gears, and tried to stop making any assumptions. Good idea. I actually got into a mode where I didn't make a judgment one way or the other. It's funny though. When I found out someone I'd met actually is a lesbian, I felt oddly relieved.

It's not surprising that minorities form their own associations. At least part of the time, we want to be in a world where others are like us. A world where we don't have to explain ourselves. A world where we are the majority, if only for a while.

The great thing about rock camp was that it was an environment where sexual orientation didn't matter. At least it felt that way to me. I was totally at ease being myself. There was an incredible openness at camp. I can't say I got to know other campers intimately, not even those in my band, but we shared a lot about ourselves. That was just one of the many things I loved about being at camp.

2 comments:

Aerin said...

As to the bi-sexual thing, Dan Savage had an interesting comment (which I can't find now) about his belief that bi-sexualism is, for most but not all, people more of a stage than a state. It kinda made sense to me and my experience, but then again, what do I know?

And as for people assuming things - why can't I be in a happy long-term relationship without people assuming I'm married??? He/she is NOT my husband/wife because I've made a conscious decision that I don't like the social/religious/etc. implications of such. Not because I'm afraid of commitment or something equally ridiculous! (I do see the irony of me running away from a state that a whole bunch of LGBT folks are fighting to attain, but what can you do?)

Véronique said...

@Aerin: Lots of lesbians and gay men are fighting for equal marriage. Some, however, don't want it, so you're not alone in rejecting marriage. They probably have concerns similar to yours.