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Yes, we have our own journal and apparently some Australians read it



For most of my adult life I have tried to destroy heteronormative myths about gay couples: that gay men are promiscuous and incapable of long-lasing monogamous relationships. Notwithstanding the fact that I have known more than a few gay men who were promiscuous with no interest in stable, long-term relationships, most of my gay male friends are living lives that look a lot like those of many heterosexual couples (different plumbing excepted).

Ann and I, resisting the common slanders, have been heard by audiences as a nice, normal, married couple—the kind you see in TV spots and just the kind of allies many gay men desire in this cultural battle. Our support of gay marriage would seem to come from the reasonable recognition by a straight couple that gay men are quite capable of having the same kind of relationship as we have. They can make homes and raise children as part of a stable dyad, all of which is, of course, quite true. But, Ann and I have the nagging feeling that we should be battling for others as well. After all, while the battle over marriage is a battle for a certain recognition of normalcy, Ann and I are floating out there near some decidedly abnormal boundary.

Here’s the rub. Ann and I have not been a nice, conventional monogamous couple. We created a marriage that would be seen by most as demonstrating a decided tendency to polyamory. Our accommodation of my sexual proclivities has included both triads and my relationships with other men in which Ann has not participated. I am a little troubled by the strategic retreat from discussing the validity of choices other than life as a couple.

One paper from a 2008 article in the Journal of Bisexuality (Yes! We have our own academic journal) by the well known authors, Pallotta-Chiarolli and Lubowitz on an ongoing Australian study put it this way when discussing the borderline existence that Ann and I live (avert your eyes; this is why no one reads academic journals):

“Their multi-sexual relationships are both “outside” gendernormative and heteronormative constructs of marital and defacto relationships and yet “belonging,” for the partners may “pass” as a “normal” couple. They are also “outside” the dominant constructs of Australian gay identity and community while simultaneously “belonging” due to their partners’, and sometimes their own, same-sex attractions and relationships.” (Maybe we are fully inside the dominant constructs of some other country's gay identity and community. Des, would you speak to your people about this?)

I wonder how much the weight audiences give our support for the monogamous gay brethren in our community would decrease if people knew how Ann and I really have lived. To be sure, if people have enough gumption to ask, we are quite honest about our lives. Many of the gay male couples we know, including some who have asked us to speak up, have never asked. Why would they? We look so bourgeois. I just hope that they would be as supportive of our choices as we have been of theirs, the marriage battle aside.

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Not sure what you mean by "speaking to my people?" My life observations are well and truly outside the mainstream and decidedly left of centre.

I can say that Australians are of a culture that has that suspicion of bi-sexuality that seems so common to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. In other words no one trusts a bisexual.

For myself I have become aware that my discovery of my capacity for homosexual relationships at an early age was in an era where it was a criminal offence to have such relationships. I and my peer group grew up believing that if we enjoyed sex with other males then we were by definition, homosexual.

No one told us that just because you enjoyed sex with other males that you might be bi-sexual, or even capable of sex with the opposite gender.

It should have been obvious, but only after some 50 years of happily and luckily living as a homosexual, I realise that in those far off days of civilised ancient Greece that was supposed to be devoted to pederasty, (not paedophilia) those Greeks had a chlid birth rate that was slightly higher than the surrounding city-states, and the men were married to their wives. It is also true that some men did live together beyond the customary years of their adolescence. What I didn't see as a lesson from this was what I now think is a clear indication of the sexuality of human beings being far more than a label.

There is no reason other than religious dogma, for human beings not to have sexual relations with each other regardless of gender. I do think there is a tendency for us to gravitate to settling with a person for whom we develop a deep and abiding affinity, or if you prefer, love. But love does not restrict, it should expand, and that may mean, for many people, loving and varied relationships beyond the need to think of themselves as described by a sexual label.

Of course this invites criticism by those who feel the need to label themselves because of their experiences, and it is necessary to be quite clear that sexuality whether influenced by genes or experience is a human right. Sexual expression of the feelings we have for each other should never be dictated by the culture. The culture must permit individuals to express their love with those who consent to join them in a sexual relationship. If the culture does not permit such expression then individual freedom means very little and human rights are forfeit. Religious edicts which proclaim sex as sin are patently fatuous.

To sum up, being gay must be acceptable, but so should being heterosexual or bisexual, but here also, is an inherent demand in such acceptance for us to recognise that expressing our affection for each other in consensual sex is perfectly natural, regardless of gender. We don't need to think of ourselves as being anything other than able to express ourselves sexually with those we love. If we feel only capable of that expression with one gender, then that too is our human right.

As for me I'm way too long in the tooth to regard myself as anything other than a gay man, but I at least know now it wasn't my choice, but whom, I was told I was. My genes were intent on me being sexual. Isn't that hysterically funny? Human rights demand that we have the opportunity to love. Who we love is up to each of us, and our culture has no right to tell us otherwise.

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