Sigh. Cat Specter, why do you disappoint me so?
on Tue 19 Jan 2010 10:23 AM EST | Permanent Link
There is no such thing as gay sex. Any sexual act performed by LGBTQ persons can be performed by straight persons. Anal sex is not gay sex. Oral sex is not gay sex. Swinging from a trapeze wearing a dildo is not gay sex. It is simply sex.
In today's column you made this slip albeit in a slightly different context - the gay sleepover.
This means if your husband's drunken, possibly gay, sleepovers bother you (I can't imagine why they would), he owes you the courtesy of a calm, thoughtful conversation. The very fact that he gets so defensive and angry means something is up. You absolutely must talk to each other, at length and without screaming or talking about divorce (yet). Is he gay? Is he engaging in any illicit activity during those nights away? Is he secretly getting housecleaning lessons?
Cat, this sort of shorthand is problematic for me. It feeds into the perception that "gay" means different, lesser, strange. Yes, the concern about her husband's sexual orientation is worth addressing, especially if he's engaging in sexual contact that could put her at risk. Keep in mind, Cat, that contact with other women can also put her in danger.
Yes, it is inappropriate for a grown married man to regularly sleep over with anyone else, male or female.
Yes, his irritability about her questions is equally troubling. A frank conversation is overdue between these two adults and she has every right to ask him point blank if he's engaging in sexual contact that violates the rules of the marriage.
But gay sleepover? Come on. You can do better than that. You have been doing better than that for the past few years. I'm not suggesting one slip up sends you spiraling into an abyss of homophobia, but I urge you to show more care in your phrasing.
"Gay" anything is not appropriate shorthand. It is the adult equivalent of "that's so gay" which is absolutely devastating to LGBTQ kids AND kids from LGBTQ families. It wasn't that long ago you were in high school and whatever your "status" back then, I'm sure adult life has given you perspective on the agony many kids suffer at the hands of the peers.
You commit the same sin. When that slur is hurled around the high school locker rooms it often labels kids who as your "Blood Pressure Rising" says "Everyone thinks" is gay. When adult advice columnists do the same thing, the damage can be more widespread.
Sleeping over with another adult who may or may not be gay does not constitute a gay sleepover. An event organized by the GLCC to raise awareness about LGBTQ homelessness might be a gay sleepover. The difference is that the event might have a gay theme whereas the other could simply be an illicit tryst by two men who may or may not identify as gay.
You don't know the whole story and your shorthand, casual reference to the gay sleepover hurts people.
You never followed up on your uninformed capitulation to racism in housing. You may not do so here either, but I certainly hope you'll think it over. Don't ask your gay friends, Cat. Ask the professionals who work with the children in Pittsburgh's high schools.