It aint no ‘lifestyle’

‘Lifestyle’

I don’t think everyone gets how offensive that word can be.

Choosing to drink in the morning and wear Crocs is a lifestyle. Choosing to eat at Nandos only and always wearing a KFC tshirt when you do, is a lifestyle. Reading comics and watching sci-fi is a lifestyle. Being a homophobe and/or going to church is a lifestyle. Being a right-wing politician is a lifestyle, you weren’t born that way.

I’m not really here to puff up the career of an American Idol nobody who will disappear in an eyeblink, but I AM fed up of this phrase ‘gay lifestyle’.

Lifestyle. It sounds temporary doesn’t it? Or frivolous. Something you choose?

But being LGBTQ is NOT a lifestyle. It’s not something you choose, it’s not something you can change. People betray their utter lack of understanding when they use that phrase. And then go ‘WHAT?’ when it goes down like a lead balloon, as if us queer folk are somehow to blame for their ignorance or secret bigotry. It’s a red flag – most, if not all people who use that term immediately move onto the ‘scientific fact’ that being queer/LGBTQ is a ‘choice’. When no-one has proven that either way.

It’s also a convenient holder for those ‘love the sinner hate the sin’ bollocks too. I *LOVE* you but hate the lifestyle! How convenient…so you love me, but hate everything I do, everything I am and don’t want me to have a sex/love and live a celibate and unhappy life with no possibility of sexual or romantic expression?

Can we have a recount on the part you say you love me? (or that your God – which one? – or Baby Jeebus does?). It seems a very strange definition of love, one that seems to actually, well, hate, and seems to suggest your God makes mistakes. Isn’t that blasphemy?

(I personally go for a combination of nature and nurture, but it’s obvious that it can’t be just nurture otherwise you could brainwash people to be straight…aversion therapy which has been tried, even some really horrible treatments, but has failed every time. Read those links. They’re pretty horrific…you might understand why I get so angry sometimes. People have pushed that stuff aside, hidden it, hidden the real history. Tried to forget what they did.

I met the guy who wrote the book at a seminar recently, and I don’t think these links really express the true horror of what happened in those mental hospitals. It was brutal torture, basically. People came out broken for life.)

I would go as far to say that anyone who uses the phrase ‘gay lifestyle’ or even worse ‘homosexual lifestyle’ is probably a homophobe, or at best, very very ignorant. A stealthy one, but probably a bigot in hiding. Nope, get with the 20th century…leave your codewords, your weasel words behind. I mean even GLAAD and AP & New York Times have banned them in their books of style.

Try googling ‘gay lifestyle’ or ‘homosexual lifestyle’. See what sites pop up? Mostly right-wing and mostly Christian, pretty tin-pot? Can you see my point?

Try ‘straight lifestyle’. Did you laugh or smile? Sounds silly doesn’t it? Exactly. It’s a codeword for something else…what?

Well it’s said best by this man responding to a Quora about this:

I’m old enough to remember first hearing of the gay lifestyle and wondering what was meant by it. What is this way of life that I was supposed to be living? Sometimes it was mere boilerplate folklore: the average gay man, so it was expounded, is a savage party animal, feasting on amyl nitrite and rutting with several thousand “tricks.” But most of the time the phrase was used it was never defined.

I got more of a handle on what it was about back in the ’90s. A user of Prodigy, I read and posted on some gay men’s forums. We were buttonholed, almost daily, by the usual idlers: trolls, kvetches and ranters, a motley of self-appointed preachers, exhorting us to abandon the hellish excitements of what they called the gay lifestyle. Taking advantage of the opportunity, I would civilly ask them: “Could you tell me, though, what you mean by ‘the gay lifestyle’?” Hardly any of them answered, not altogether surprisingly; but occasionally someone did. “Oh, you know,” he or she would say. “No, I really don’t,” I would respond. “I have no idea what you mean by it.” “It’s, like, what you people do in bed” I would eventually be told.

“That’s it?” I thought. That’s all? Why, then, the nebulous, gaseous phrase? I came to realize that the evasiveness was the point. If someone were to say “I don’t approve of gay sex,” most people would probably reply “Well, it’s not exactly any of your business, is it?” Much more impressive, at least to the readily impressed, is something like “You know, I just can’t bring myself to condone the homosexual lifestyle.”

After all, what do gay people have in common except for their “orientation”? Most people apparently know someone who’s gay. It’s no longer as easy as it was to propagandize that the “typical” gay man is a tawdry sybarite, trailing glitter and epigrams on the way to another orgy. Yet “the gay lifestyle” has never died out as a convenient formula. That’s the way of code words: the more they’re used, the less susceptible they are to definition. They convey an emotional charge, a slogan for the troops, and that’s their purpose.

Yep, it’s code for that stuff we do in bed. because we are only about our ‘lifestyle’ of endless hookups and sex (some do, and more power to them says this ethical sex-positive slut. But not everyone? Anyway I think about server configurations more often than sex nowadays!).

It’s code for you choose to do that, live that ‘sinful’ life. It’s code for it’s temporary, can be cured, it’s optional and flippant. It’s code for ‘straight lifestyles are more important than others’. And the rest.

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