This weekend was Atlanta’s Gay Pride weekend, a great excuse for gays throughout the South to come together, mix, mingle, and dress a’ la straight women on Halloween (ie entirely more provocatively than would normally be acceptable). En route to attend the parade (which is a loose term for a line of political candidates, businesses, and churches who carried signs and rode in trucks with some streamers taped to them), I got into a conversation about the Kinsey scale of sexuality. Being a fruit fly myself (modern fag hag), I’ve known and loved those who are gay, straight, bi, trans, and everything in between. Through all of these lives and hearing everyone’s stories, it’s led me to believe in the Kinsey scale which generally states that everyone falls somewhere between a 0 (purley heterosexual) to a 6 (purely homosexual). Many fall somewhere in between, but often tend more strongly towards one end or the other. I also recently learned that there exists an ‘X’ on this scale, for a-sexual or non-sexual people.
It seems that most people want to create order and therefore prefer to label and categorize. Inherently, there isn’t anything wrong with wanting to understand and therefore put a title on something, but certainly all circumstances don’t fit neatly into one. A few examples would include a couple who have committed their lives to one another but choose to not get married. Boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t seem fitting, and perhaps life partner isn’t one’s choice, but husband and wife isn’t fitting either. Or, perhaps your religious and/or moral beliefs come part from your upbringing, and another part from your life experiences, and don’t neatly fit into the packages of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, etc. These are a bit more extreme examples, and I could continue with everything from race categorizations, to career title, to any number of other things. I use these to say that people’s sexuality doesn’t always fit ‘gay’, ‘straight’, ‘bisexual’, etc like many would like for it to in order make ourselves comfortable with other people’s orientations. I admit that I’m certainly guilty of this as well, wanting people who I think are ‘gay’ to “come out already!” or ask people, ‘is he straight?’ when I think a guy is cute.
I highlight this scale for many reasons, but also now because October 11th is National Coming Out Day (and also my niece’s birthday). With the recent gay teen suicides, couple with Gay Pride weekend, and this holiday, I think it’s important to shed light on our own conceptions of both our sexual orientations as well as those of others. It’s clear that I’m a ally to the gay community, but I think it’s also important for me and others to re-orient our thoughts on not wanting to shove everyone into a box so we can ‘understand’ them. If we truly want to understand, we should get to know on a deeper level who he/she is, maybe keeping this scale in mind, understanding that not everyone is a 0, 3, or 6 and we’d often like to believe.