The Unique Depth of Same-Sex Romance
Those who cling to traditional morality are quick to remind queer people about what our relationships don’t have. They point loudly to our inability to procreate, our alleged lower rate of long-term monogamy, or the health impacts that they believe are part of the ‘gay lifestyle.’ There’s no point arguing; people who believe that there’s only one way to lead a life prefer the simplicity of strict rules over the reality of our complex existence. Knowing this doesn’t make the comments of these ‘rules people’ any quieter or less hurtful, though. In a life where some of the strictest and loudest rules people are individuals who I love, I find solace partly by focusing on the unique potential for depth and beauty that lies in same-sex romance.
The Beauty of Shared Pain
They say men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but us queers are all from this dirty old Earth. There is great beauty in straight relationships, but the depth of shared experience, shared trauma, and shared gender that I’ve seen in love affairs with other men is something only queers can know. When the rules people shame our community for a casual attitude towards sex, they’re missing the fact that we have a unique ability to connect with each other more quickly and more deeply than most. Ironically, homophobia has created a population of queer people who have been shaped by similar hardships, and so can understand each other more after one hour of one date than most couples can after one month.
Enjoying the Present
The rules people reject anything outside of an ancient and narrow concept of love and family. To them, every romantic relationship has an end goal, an objective, an expectation. Let me be clear, monogamy can be a beautiful thing, but in the traditional view, any relationship that doesn’t end in monogamous bliss is a failure — something to forget and move on from. Same-sex dating makes up for what it can lack in future stability with freedom and satisfaction in the present. Whether it’s a fling with a big age gap, an occasional evening with somebody still in the closet, or something deep and long-lasting without any boundaries, queer relationships are often more about appreciating and enjoying another person in the here and now than locking somebody in for a lifetime.
It Takes all Kinds
Differences, and particularly the celebration of differences are what make our species more vibrant, more intelligent, and happier. If the field of science needs many different types of minds to progress, so too the sphere of romance needs many different types of hearts and bodies. In today’s culture, we acknowledge that every person is different, yet still expect everyone to conform to the lifelong soulmate model. As soon as a queer person accepts the way they are, they have necessarily given up part of the old model. Such a rejection of the norm helps us realize that just as there are many different types of people, there are also many different expressions of romantic connection. For this reason, the queer community isn’t just a voice of diversity in relationship culture, but often a voice of positive change.
What I’d Tell a Younger Me
Before I came out of the closet, I was taught that depth, beauty, and love could only be found between one man and one woman. I desperately wish I could tell a younger me that nothing is wrong and life has beautiful romances in store for me, but the best I can do is to tell the world what I now know. If you’re queer and out and you come face to face with the hurtful statements of rules people, consider silent gratitude for your uniqueness as one strategy to shield yourself from that bigotry. If you’re in the closet, I hope my words have opened your mind to what might be in store for you in a life with less hiding and more authenticity. Whatever your stage or identity, learn from the paths of others instead of avoiding that which is different.