I am a 62 year old Gay man who grew up in a family of five sisters, one mother and one grandmother. As I came to understand my sexuality, I drew a lot of inspiration from the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. Back in the 1970s I considered myself a Phil Donahue type of feminist. I remember laughing at the 70’s bumper sticker that proclaimed that “A Woman Without A Man Is Like a Fish Without A Bicycle.” Because much of my political awakening happened in the thick of the feminist movement, surrounded by women in my personal life, I “became a man” who holds many of the values that women happily claim as the female part of the Yin and Yang.
Yes I understand the unfair reality of the concept that it’s a man’s world. I understand the frustration of unequal wages for equal work. I understand that women are often abused physically and emotionally in relationships. My sisters and my female friends taught me very well to understand the concept of equality versus inequality. But being a Gay man in a world that believes it’s heterosexual, I learned first hand that equality can sometimes be a hypocrite! With that in mind I say to my sisters and female friends that it is also possible that “A Man Without a Woman Is Like A Fish Without a Bicycle!”
So now let’s talk about sexism through the eyes of true equality. If talking about cutting out the genitals of females is considered violent speech, then the same goes for talking about cutting off men’s genitals! If it is imperative for men to understand where a woman “is coming from,” then it is also imperative for women to understand where a man “is coming from!” Yes, that’s right, I watched Oprah too! So don’t make us invisible by not hearing us! A generalization is a generalization regardless of the gender of the person making it. There are a few basic biological distinctions between the male and female that I’m sure are difficult to understand today in a rapidly changing world.
Deep in the intuitive Yin (Female?) part of my being there is an aching in my heart each time I hear women speaking of men as though we are responsible for everything bad in the world. Listening and understanding is a two way street. I do not know what it’s like to be in a female body, to have female needs, to see the world through a woman’s eyes and experience. I am sure the same can be said of women trying to understand men.
But I am a man, and this I can tell you from my own experience if you are willing to listen. That simplistic idea that all men are “cheaters and liars” grows out of a basic unwillingness of many women to allow men to be, feel or even speak of who they are biologically. And it angers me to see how ideas that viscously attack many aspects of masculinity go unchallenged. Relationships are personal, to be agreed upon by the persons involved in a particular relationship.
Every day of my life now I mourn the loss of the true love of my life and celebrate the fact that I had a truly wonderful relationship at least once in this lifetime. That relationship was not based on monogamy or religious inspired morality. It was based on the idea that we should be able to tell each other the truth without feeling the truth would end our relationship. That required both of us to delve deep into what we believed it meant to be men. We eventually came to the understanding that while sexuality seemed very important at the time, it was a very small part of our overall relationship. We never required the other to lie! Jealousy became something that seemed childish as our relationship became stronger and stronger. As the entire nation struggles with the battle for equality in marriage laws, I am baffled at how many people within marriages are so quick to throw them away when my relationship lasted without a piece of paper.
At the bottom of my e-mails is a line from Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s song “Closer To Believing.” “From the opium of custom...To the ledges of extremes..Don't believe it till you've held it..Life is seldom what it seems..But lay your heart upon the table..And in the shuffling of dreams..Remember who on earth you are.”
That was the theme song for our relationship. The line that really expressed how we both felt was this: “I need Me, You need You, We want Us!”