Thinking about Beautiful Aliens during Pride Month

In honor of Pride 2020, I’m writing this blog post about Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader.

I first learned about Steve Abbott when I read Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by his daughter, Alysia Abbott. The book walks the line between biography and autobiography, since it is told from Alysia’s perspective with first person pronouns, yet her father Steve, not herself, is the main subject, because being a single gay father in the 1970s and 1980s was *cough* unusual. Nowadays, Steve Abbott is probably much better known as The Single Gay Father of Alysia Abbott than anything else.

But I was curious about Steve Abbott’s writing, so when Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader was published, I got a copy. Continue reading

People of All Orientations Can Choose to Which Intimate Relationships They Consent

The other day, I read this essay in which a bisexual dude compares the arguments for excluding bisexuals to the arguments for excluding asexuals. As I was reading it, it occurred to me that, at the heart of those arguments for exclusion, there is a deep-seated insecurity about the validity of same-sex intimate relationships (what I mean by ‘intimate relationships’ includes, but is not limited to, sexual, romantic, and queerplatonic relationships).

Let me explain.

The idea behind the arguments for bisexual and asexual exclusion is that bisexuals and asexuals have a ‘choice’ about entering same-sex intimate relationships, therefore they do not need protection from hatred towards non-straight people. It is heavily implied that homosexuals do not have a ‘choice’ about entering same-sex intimate relationships, therefore they do need protection from hatred towards non-straight people.

First of all, homosexuals do have a choice about whether or not they consent to same-sex intimate relationships. For example, here is writing by a gay Christian who abstains from homosexual sex for religious reasons. I do NOT share his religious views, but he clearly has a choice about what he does with his personal life. Everybody, including homosexuals, has a choice about whether or not they consent to same-sex intimate relationships.

The idea that heterosexuals have to enter mixed-sex intimate relationships because, um, something, and that homosexuals have to enter same-sex intimate relationships because, um, something … *ahem* it smells a lot like compulsory sexuality.

And the idea that homosexuals cannot help getting into same sex intimate relationships, unlike bisexuals and asexuals … well, that has all kinds of problematic implications.

It goes back to the arguments of many gay-rights activists that homosexuality is not a choice, therefore they should not receive so much hate. I 100% agree that homosexuals should not receive hate on the basis of being homosexual. However, I don’t think that has anything to do with whether or not it is a choice. [For the record, I do not consider my own orientation – asexual – to be something I chose, and seems consistent with my knowledge of the world that sexual orientation is mostly not a matter of personal choice.] Even if sexual orientation were a choice, and even though the behaviors which people consent to absolutely are a choice, that does not justify throwing hate at people.

And once one has wrapped one’s head around the idea that it’s wrong to throw shit at people on account of their sexual orientation, regardless of what kinds of intimate relationships they have or don’t have … well, it’s harder to exclude bisexuals and asexuals from spaces for people who deal with shit on account of their non-straight orientation.