The New Meaning of Gay
It appears we have given up on explaining the nuance of our sexuality. At first, this phenomenon comes off as bisexual erasure, and perhaps it does. However, I’d like to explore why we’ve all given up and just say ‘gay’ for everything.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people casually say gay. The queer community has officially taken it back, and now we seem to use it how we please. The word no longer seems confined to ‘homosexual relations’ but now exists as a blanket term perhaps analogous to how we will say ‘queer’ instead of being specific.
I’m not entirely sure if this trend of language is harmful to anyone. Perhaps it is bisexual erasure. Perhaps it is homosexual erasure, as we are taking their word and using it for our own means. I might be gray asexual and aromantic but I am aesthetically and platonically attracted to members of my own gender, or close to my own gender. (Attraction to femmes, transfeminine individuals generally.)
So instead of explaining the nuance of all this, I just say I’m gay. It would be much hard to say, “Well, I guess I’m queer, but also ace and aro sort of? I’m nonbinary transfeminine so there really is no ‘same-gender’ attraction but there is attraction on a similar level.”
Gay. I just say I’m gay. At least when I’m talking to heteronormative and/or cisgender types of people. They generally don’t think about this stuff, and they don’t know our terms or goal posts we use to help others understand who we are.
I’m not suggesting we abandon using it, because it is a simple term that can go a long way when explaining to someone who doesn’t understand. That said, I think it’s important to note that not everyone is going to just shrug and be like, “I’m gay.”
Some people are bisexual or pansexual or other things. They shouldn’t feel inclined to just say “gay” as it does imply a homonormative narrative in which they are not part of.
Since I’m largely attracted to members of my own gender (or close to it) I just say I’m gay. It’s so much easier. It’s also fun to say it in a positive way, and gives me a leg to stand on when people don’t seem to get it.