Last week we had our annual conference at work and this year the theme was Diversity. As part of that event we launched our own Human Library and I was privileged to be one of the books in it. This means that “readers” select you by way of a title and are then allowed a time to “read” you. This usually takes the form of a very interesting conversation as the reader has been introduced to their book by way of a particular attribute that perhaps would not normally crop up in conversation. Somehow this enable a quality of conversation that I have seldom seen elsewhere.
My title was “The man who cannot hold his husband’s hand.” obviously referring to my sexuality but also highlight my fear of the reaction that public displays of affection towards my partner might attract. This fear is something I have shared with a few colleagues and has been a complete shock to them. Whilst I don’t think I am alone in this concern I do usually point out that as we avoid such displays it is not something I have tested recently except at the annual local Pride events.
I hope that my readers gained some insight into what being gay means as part of that event. I certainly gained further confirmation on an issue that has become increasingly clear to me. This being that our sexuality is about so much more than just sexual activity. I think it also covers who and what we are attracted to; who we love; how relate to people; what we like; and also how we express our gender identity. It is certainly not just “something you do in the privacy of your own home”, as one of my readers commented. Perhaps the word sexuality itself isn’t very helpful in this respect.
This has led me to wonder where that is why some people view sexuality as a choice. I know from my own experience that it was most definitely not a choice in exactly the same way that gender, race, and age are not choices. And could this lack of understanding be part of why we often see such hatred and anger towards gay people.
I’d welcome others thoughts and reflections on these musings.