If you've read my Bitch fest, you may have come across a rant on this topic. This is a strange phenomenon that occurs in pretty much every fandom and every pairing more than a few times. The Sentinel fandom is just riddled with it, so much that it boggles the mind. What I am talking about here is two men, both or maybe just one, of whom were heretofore straight falling in love and are Suddenly Gay. They've never had these feelings for another guy before, never even shown any inclination for it. They don't even feel any angst over this sudden turn of sexuality in their lives. What the fuck is up with that?
I mean for god sake's at least one of these guys was as straight as they come before this, now they're gay. Just like that. Since when in any realm of reality does this occur. Things like that don't just suddenly come out of no where. In reality a person usually has had feelings or attraction for the same sex before if something like this happens. They may have repressed it, but it was there. When you hear these stories about 40 year old guys coming out. You don't here one of them saying, "Oh no, I never had feelings for another man before. It's just this one person in particular." Nope. They usually say, "No, I was always gay. I was just trying to hide it from myself. It took me a long time to come to terms with it. I've always been attracted to men." Yet, in fanfics I have lost count of how many times I've heard this conversation take place.
'So are you gay?'
best friend of character.
'No, it's just him,' varying characters in varying fandoms.
God, how I hate hearing that. On one of the lists I was on once. We got into a discussion about this. Thanks to the discussions what exactly that bugged me about that little conversation finally popped into the conscious part of my brain. It's that every time I hear that response, 'No, I'm not gay. It's just him.' I feel like right there is the angst of the character over being in a gay relationship summed up to it's fullest. With that one turn of phrase you have firmly planted the characters in denial land. They are steeped in it. So freaked about being in a homosexual relationship they can't even face up to their own desires. It is like just having these feelings once is ok, they're not gay. Oh, but having them about more than one guy that makes them fags. Heaven forbid. The first few times I heard that my dander went way up. I could literally feel my hackles rising. It's like seeing some prejudice seeping in from the writers. Like it's ok, for them to be in one same-sex relationship, but to have even had attractions to other men in the past is just to much. Like the writers don't want them to be gay. Here's a tip, "If it walks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, if it looks like a duck. It's probably a duck." If a guy fucks another guys he's probably gay, at the very least bi-sexual. Get the fuck over it. Let them be gay, or bi. Let them be proud of that fact and embrace it.
Every time I hear a character say 'No, I'm not gay. It's just him." I always get the feeling that they are going to completely freak out any minute now and make a mad dash back for Het Land. Any minute now they are going to slip out of denial, realize they are fucking and/or being fucked by another man and totally flip out. That's the impression I always get. That as soon reality break through that denial, away we go, into the true angst of the story. I mean you are paralyzing the characters, getting them so lost in the fear of themselves and this blow to their self-image there is no way for this relationship to last. Not until they own up to the realization that they are in love with a member of their own gender. That they are attracted to other men, I don't care if it's only one man. They are no longer completely heterosexual. Bi at the least, gay if this is a long term, for life kind of commitment. If your in a same-sex relationship for 40 or 50 years, I'd say at some point you have to concede your gay.
I think I figured out where this comes from one night while channel surfing. I landed on MTV and there was some show they had on, I think the name of it was Truth or something like that. I mean you know MTV doesn't play videos anymore. (It shows just how old I am that I can remember when that was all they showed.) They set up a trailer in mall parking lots or something and invited people to come in and talk about their lives and relationships. Tell a story or two about something. One woman came in and started talking about this very thing. How she had never been in a lesbian relationship, never even thought about it. Then she meets this one woman, they become very close. Over several months develop a very deep emotional relationship, fall in love, and then the next logical step is to have sex. For them it was a physical expression of what they felt for one another. She had a boyfriend at this time, but realized she would lose this women if she didn't leave him. She loved the woman so much she knew she was the one she wanted. So she left the guy and came out to her family. No one was really happy about it. She didn't care though, she felt so deeply connected to this woman she knew it was right. It was also the best sex she said she'd ever had. <g> You could just feel how in love they were. It was truly beautiful.
I realized then. That is how women think. That even if we have never been in a relationship or acknowledge even to ourselves attractions to the same sex. If we met the right person, felt a deep enough emotional connection to them. It wouldn't matter to us what gender they were. That we could see beyond that. Sex for us is based in emotional connection, has to be. Sex in it's basic essence is about pro-creation, having babies. We may have evolved beyond that being it's only purpose for us, but it is still part of it. For women sex had consequences long before people became terrified of deadly STD's like AIDS. It had the consequence of producing a child, so we had to choose wisely who we slept with in case we might become pregnant. Once upon a not so very long ago, contraceptives were not so widely available or used. If we got knocked up our family might make us get married. So we had better like or love who we slept with.
Men don't always think like that. AIDS has brought a new and dangerous complication to sex for them, it can kill you or your partners. If you knocked a chick up you could deny it or run off to avoid marrying her. She couldn't. So sex means gratification to them alot of times. It can mean love, but they can separate the difference. Some women can, but most don't want to I think. Since we know how sex can feel so much better when you care for the person you are with. With men I have never heard of an instance of them switching teams just because they develop a deep emotional connection with a friend. Especially, if they have never felt attractions to the same sex before. I'm not saying it never happens, just that outside of fanfic. I've never heard of it occurring.
Women might find that conceivable in their lives. That they could transcend gender and focus only on who the person is on the inside. From there finding the beauty and a sexual attraction to their partner. Maybe the person is repressing that they have always had attractions to the same sex. Who knows? I've never heard of it happening to men though. When I read men saying that in stories, it always causes me to roll my eyes. Most men aren't emotionally in touch enough to have that happen. I'm not saying it couldn't. I've just never heard of it. Maybe we hope that they could, that they could get that in touch with their emotional selves. I'm just not going to hold my breath for it to happen. I'd probably suffocate.
Get over the angst of not wanting to label the characters as gay. Sex for men is often a much more physical response. Based more often in physical arousal, at times, than emotional arousal. Now don't start e-mailing me. I am saying sometimes. I know men can be emotionally invested in sex, I'm just saying they aren't always. It can just be about getting off to them. I know it is one of their more annoying qualities, that we hate the most. It falls under that heading of 'If you can't live 'em. Shoot 'em.' Still it is part of who they are.
What I am trying to say is. If a guy is in a same-sex relationship for the first time, in reality it probably won't be the first time he has been attracted to another guy. Or the first time he has thought about it or wanted to be with a guy. Just the first time he has gone ahead and done it. I'm not saying you should make it all about sex, just let them acknowledge having feelings for men before, attractions to guys. It comes off as more believable and makes the likelihood of them running screaming back to Het Land much less inevitable. Get off the it's just him crap. That story about the chick I told, I'm not even sure she wasn't maybe repressing or denying to herself some feelings and attractions in the past. It is just the only time I've ever heard it said by someone in the real life. So take it with a grain of salt. Those attractions have to come somewhere. From some part of a person's psyche. They say we are all basically bi-sexual anyway just conditioned to think we have to decide to be one or the other. When it might be in our very nature's to be both. Society just forces us to choose one or the other.
So to sum up get of the Suddenly Gay shit. No one buys it really and it just screams denial in the characters. Unless you are going to address that denial and have them come to realizations about themselves in the story. Cut it the fuck out. It's annoying and endlessly over used. It is much more realistic for them to have either had experiences in the past or at least thought about it and been to chicken shit to do anything until now. Get off the 'No, I'm not gay. It's just him crap.' Every time I type it, in my head I'm mocking it. I swear. It is almost comical after you hear it enough times. You almost find yourself singsonging Someone's in denial. I can never figure out if it's the character or the author in denial about the characters. Hmmm...still confused on that part.
Ok. That's it. I'm
done on this topic. Anyone want to snark at me about it or tell me you
agree with me. You can e-mail me at: email@example.com.
Send me your worst I can take it. Fair warning. I'm a big bitch with a
mouth like a sailor. Hell, probably a marine. I might make a sailor blush.
So I'll snark back and be nasty about it if you flame me.
Back to Slash Articles