There are probably many ‘sexualities’, and this is why labelling is a fairly useless exercise. This has been discovered in HIV/AIDS education which was initially targeted at ‘high risk groups’, namely gay and bisexual men and intravenous drug users. The problem with this approach is that a man who has sex with other men may not identify himself as either gay or bisexual and would refuse to believe or simply not understand that he was at risk. We live in a society that loves to label people, but some people don’t find the label suits them. It’s like the old joke about the man who says, ‘I’m not gay but the bloke I had sex with last night is.’ What makes more sense is to talk about specific sexual activities. I mean, some people are surprised to find that there are some gay men who hate anal intercourse. There are certainly some people who are surprised that there are heterosexual couples who like it. That’s why labels like ‘homosexual’ or ‘heterosexual’ are fairly impractical when it comes to preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
Times are starting to change. HIV/AIDS is finally being seen as a problem for the whole community. In Australia and
Canada the military has reviewed their rules banning gay men and lesbians from the armed forces.
Recently there was a much-publicized defamation suit in Britain involving the performer Jason Donovan. He successfully sued a British magazine for publishing a story that implied that he was gay. Now, regardless of the finer legal details, it just goes to show that being labelled ‘gay’ is considered to be a long way short of a compliment.
Maybe one day we will have a society mature enough that ‘gay’,’ bisexual’ or any other label will not be considered an insult. Maybe the labels won’t even exist, as people focus less on sexual acts and fantasies as the key to personality, and more on whatever relationships add value to our lives.
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