Is Gay like a race or a lifestyle?

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    Mar 24, 2008 6:19 AM GMT
    So is being gay like a race or is it a lifestyle?
    Because we use words like "gay lifestyle" all the time, like its a way to live. However we want to be treated with equal rights like a race would. Does anyone understand what I mean? or is it both?


    I have been trying to deal with this idea in my mind and would like to hear someone's opinion on it

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Mar 24, 2008 9:43 AM GMT
    Its neither really
    I don't like the word lifestyle because it connotes that there is some sort of choice in the process which I don't think there is
    and comparing it to a race is equally wrong because a race is easily identifiable by sight
    you can't always tell if a man is gay or str8 just by looking at him
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    Mar 24, 2008 9:43 AM GMT
    There were a few very early writings that referred to it as the third sex. I think that idea is rather appealing.
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    Mar 24, 2008 9:59 AM GMT
    I don't use "lifestyle" at all. Straight people do that.

    For "lifestyle", I just use "the gay scene" or something like that. But being gay itself is NOT just a lifestyle.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Mar 24, 2008 1:06 PM GMT
    Hmm, that's a tough one. For sure gay isn't like a race, but how you define gay can be as volatile a discussion as the numerous threads here about people defining words like gay, fag, queer.

    I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but I think only you can define what gay means to you.

    GQjock dosen't like the term lifestyle because for him it connotes we have a choice in the matter. For myself, I don't have a problem with the term lifestyle becasue a lifestyle is organic, it evolves and develops. Straight people have a lifestyle as much as gay people do. The guys on here that feel monogamy and marriage is a straight thing, and us gay men that are monogamous and want to get married are imitating straights. So for them, that's part of the straight lifestyle.

    But, just like many straight people don't fit that lifestyle, there are many gay people that don't fit in with the stereotypical image of the gay lifestyle.

    Define gay for yourself, don't let someone define it for you.
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    Mar 24, 2008 3:32 PM GMT
    It's invented by those PC thugs when it suits their needs.

    For me, being gay means I want to have sex with people of my own sex. Fullstop. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I have my own lifestyle, like everyone else, not defined by some GLBTT activists or some wanton effeminate sluts.

    I have my own race, it's complicated enough.




    ItsMyLife saidSo is being gay like a race or is it a lifestyle?
    Because we use words like "gay lifestyle" all the time, like its a way to live. However we want to be treated with equal rights like a race would. Does anyone understand what I mean? or is it both?


    I have been trying to deal with this idea in my mind and would like to hear someone's opinion on it

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    Mar 24, 2008 3:38 PM GMT
    To me gay is not a lifestyle or a race. Gay means homosexual. That means it is sexuality. The fact that I am gay does not change my lifestyle and it does not change my appearance or kinship with others. One thing that has always ‘tested my nerves’ is the idea that gay has to mean something. I don’t like the idea that there has to be a gay culture.

    I do believe we should have all the rights as heterosexuals, Muslims, or whatever because we are all humans. I understand why a gay guy thinks it is important to have his pride parade and rainbow flag. They probably feel that because of the lack of equality we must stand out and show that we do exist and we are human. If we did have equal rights, would we still have pride parades? Personally, I would hope not. That would be like African Americans having parades because of their skin color. To me it makes no sense. I do not celebrate the fact that I am 6’3” I just am and that is me.

    When I see these pride parades and look at today’s ‘gay culture’ (at least what is publicized by the media) I am slightly embarrassed. When I talk to my straight friends from high school, if I mention gay culture, there is an automatic connotation that it means leather bears, go go Boys, drag queens, and all that stuff that does not apply to my life or personal interests. It was more difficult to accept myself when I saw these forms of homosexual ‘culture.’ I knew that I was not that, but I had natural feelings for the male. I was luckily exposed to some ‘straight acting’ (I hate that term, but it is used for a reason, a lot of gays act effeminate). It was a relief to know that there are homosexuals that are not into the ‘gay culture’ that the media portrays.

    TO me being gay is just that, Gay and Homosexual. It is my sexual attraction and noting else. My only advice is to live your life and just enjoy the people you are attracted to.

    There is my naive 2 cents.
  • kinetic

    Posts: 1125

    Mar 24, 2008 3:55 PM GMT
    I thought Lifestyles were condoms...icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Mar 24, 2008 4:16 PM GMT
    I've always thought that "Gay Lifestyle" meant something similar to a "Vegan Lifestyle", or a "Orthadox Lifestyle". Something that is done because of our preference to be with other men, rather than a series of tasks that someone has to persue in order to be "part of the club".

    As for Our Equal Rights, those can just easily be disrespected by other people as someone can be for their color. It's not so much that equal rights only apply to people of color, ethnicity, and heritage, but also by orientation. Think of this way. If someone can hate, slander, and commit a crime against you for being gay, doesn't that mean that you should be gauranteed the Civil Rights to protect you from that abuse in the first place? It was true for people of color in the 1960's, for people of "opposing" religions at the time as well. Civil Rights allow blacks to work and live amongst whites if they so chose, and gave women a right to vote, seek legal counsel and work higher ranking jobs in business if they worked hard enough.

    But there are things that we do in the name of Civil Rights that contradicts other peoples rights. If we're to all be Equal, than we all need to be able to live, suffer and die by the same set of circumstances. No one special groups should be able to avoid the hardships that the rest do; otherwise they are exercizing a Civil Privelge, that a Free and Equal Society should not accomidate. Special Privileges are for Royal Kings and Queens, and we all know how well our Right fare when we've got a tyrant ruling over us. I think either everyone should be happy and complaining for the same mundane issues, or everyone should be protesting because we haven't evolved enough as a society to give up a few special treatments, in order to keep everyone happy.
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    Mar 24, 2008 4:18 PM GMT
    I like a term i'm stealing from Magneto (because arent gays just really fabulous mutants... and we all know Magneto was right)

    Homo-Superior!
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    Mar 24, 2008 4:25 PM GMT
    It's a good question and I think ShawnTO nailed it. It's really up to you to define it for yourself, though my opinion is that it is definitely not a race. I don't mind the use of the word lifestyle but I lean more towards the use of the word community.

    I personally don't mind the use of the word lifestyle, though I agree there is the connotation of choice in this word. For me there are 2 reasons for this:

    1) I don't think it should matter whether being gay is a choice or not (even though I believe it's not a choice). People should be allowed to be who they are whether it is a conscious decision or not, so long as they are not harming those around them.
    2) I believe the lifestyle component is a result of me being who I am naturally.

    I do not think that they gay lifestyle means that we are some queer version of the Stepford wives, each a clone of the other, behaving and desiring the same things. In my mind there is a commonality that binds us together, the desire to be intimate with the same sex which influences us to participate in certain common activities (though not exclusively) such as the RJ website, gay friendly clubs, churches, etc.. It also inspires us to promote the idea in society that being homosexual should be an accepted way of being. Being homosexual does indeed impact how we react to the world around us, though it is not the same for each homosexual. So it would seem there is a “lifestyle” component to who we are. Just my own thoughts on the topic.

    Gigman17b, I’m just curious why you call masculine men ‘straight acting’ rather than just that, masculine men. It would seem you are a gay man that is masculine and there are others on this site that feel they are masculine, but they are clearly not straight, are you all just acting or is this who you are?
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    Mar 24, 2008 5:55 PM GMT
    Like sedative14, I don't use the word "gay" to mean a lifestyle. My lifestyle is in many ways very similar to straight couples with no kids.

    To me the word "gay" is a term used to describe men who are sexually and emotionally attracted to other men, period.
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    Mar 24, 2008 5:58 PM GMT
    StripperRocco saidI like a term i'm stealing from Magneto (because arent gays just really fabulous mutants... and we all know Magneto was right)

    Homo-Superior!


    Ha Ha Agreed!
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    Mar 24, 2008 6:05 PM GMT
    gigman17b saidTo me gay is not a lifestyle or a race. Gay means homosexual. That means it is sexuality. The fact that I am gay does not change my lifestyle and it does not change my appearance or kinship with others. One thing that has always ‘tested my nerves’ is the idea that gay has to mean something. I don’t like the idea that there has to be a gay culture.

    I do believe we should have all the rights as heterosexuals, Muslims, or whatever because we are all humans. I understand why a gay guy thinks it is important to have his pride parade and rainbow flag. They probably feel that because of the lack of equality we must stand out and show that we do exist and we are human. If we did have equal rights, would we still have pride parades? Personally, I would hope not. That would be like African Americans having parades because of their skin color. To me it makes no sense. I do not celebrate the fact that I am 6’3” I just am and that is me.

    When I see these pride parades and look at today’s ‘gay culture’ (at least what is publicized by the media) I am slightly embarrassed. When I talk to my straight friends from high school, if I mention gay culture, there is an automatic connotation that it means leather bears, go go Boys, drag queens, and all that stuff that does not apply to my life or personal interests. It was more difficult to accept myself when I saw these forms of homosexual ‘culture.’ I knew that I was not that, but I had natural feelings for the male. I was luckily exposed to some ‘straight acting’ (I hate that term, but it is used for a reason, a lot of gays act effeminate). It was a relief to know that there are homosexuals that are not into the ‘gay culture’ that the media portrays.

    TO me being gay is just that, Gay and Homosexual. It is my sexual attraction and noting else. My only advice is to live your life and just enjoy the people you are attracted to.

    There is my naive 2 cents.
    l agree with all you have stated l could not do better and love the Dog!
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    Mar 24, 2008 7:47 PM GMT
    Thanks for all the responses. If gay is not a lifestyle then there shouldn't be any choice. But in other forums I have heard guys talk about bi-sexualality and other ideas as preference. Also guys have said they can have sex with women but they want to have sex with men? Is that a choice? I mean if it came down to it I could probably make myself do it too, but I don't want to. But when I say that my sexuallity is not a choice I feel like I am contradicting myself.

    And its hard not to be either a race or a lifestyle because we are treated like both by people who dont accept us. Anti gay movements treat us as liek a group of poeple who are like a race, and descriminate against us like we are. Then they tell us its a choice and that we dont have to be this way.

    And if it is all just being homosexual, and only about sex then why aren't we just one of the guys. We actually dont want to be treated equall when we sometimes austrisize( that is spelled so wrong but i dont have spell check on this computer) oourselves from other people.

    You know what I have so many issues that I have to deal with on my own and I feel that i wont stay on topic and neither will this forum. So thanks for the input everyone
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    Mar 24, 2008 8:15 PM GMT
    ItsMyLife saidThanks for all the responses. If gay is not a lifestyle then there shouldn't be any choice. But in other forums I have heard guys talk about bi-sexualality and other ideas as preference. Also guys have said they can have sex with women but they want to have sex with men? Is that a choice? I mean if it came down to it I could probably make myself do it too, but I don't want to. But when I say that my sexuallity is not a choice I feel like I am contradicting myself.

    And its hard not to be either a race or a lifestyle because we are treated like both by people who dont accept us. Anti gay movements treat us as liek a group of poeple who are like a race, and descriminate against us like we are. Then they tell us its a choice and that we dont have to be this way.

    And if it is all just being homosexual, and only about sex then why aren't we just one of the guys. We actually dont want to be treated equall when we sometimes austrisize( that is spelled so wrong but i dont have spell check on this computer) oourselves from other people.

    You know what I have so many issues that I have to deal with on my own and I feel that i wont stay on topic and neither will this forum. So thanks for the input everyone


    Only in response to the enboldened text above. Go question. I took me years to figure this one out. I believe that if a man is straight, than he has feelings for Mostly women - no 'choice'. If a man is gay, than he has feelings mostly for men - no 'choice'. And if someone is bisexual, than they believe that they have equal desire to love &/or have sex with people of both sexes - still no choice. Sure, there have been a few cases when a straight guy in 'forced' into a situation where he has the option of having sex with another man. Either be it cause he owes a gay/bi drug dealer money, is in prison, or does it to get a whole Lot of Money; but in the case of they straight man having gay sex, I say it's a choice. Whereas the bisexual person happens to be attracted to both, or lacks a 'moral compass'; in which case they're both like straights and gays, and don't have choice really, when it's either biology or a need to piss someone off (that overpowers his desire to be with women stictly).

    In my case, I feel that I discovered something that was already there. No part of me simply decided I could flip a switch to accept a life where I'd be the scorn of society and a kid on my own wanting to be made fun of and ostricized from my peers. If it were the case I'd switch back the first year after coming out to everyone. And though I tried for a month, nothing could change how I felt towards other guys, and nothing could make my feelings change. I accepted myself completely, but never felt I had any choice in it anymore than I could of chosen my family.
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    Mar 26, 2008 7:50 AM GMT
    It ISN'T a choice.

    I can have sex with a woman, sure, and be miserable doing it. Dogs and goats too for that matter. LOL. Does that mean I will do that?

    No. Because the only way I can be happy is with a man. I didn't choose that.
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    Mar 27, 2008 1:48 AM GMT
    Maybe this complicates things ... but I'm not sure that even "race" is like race, as ItsMyLife puts it. The two terms he uses are race (not chosen) and lifestyle (chosen). People assume that race is completely unchosen, but how you express your race actually can be chosen.

    For instance, it may be against the law for an employer to refuse to hire you because you are black ... but can he tell you that you can't wear your hair in cornrows? Likewise, people may say they have no problem with knowing that you happen to gay, but they may be uncomfortable if you do something that makes them aware that you are gay. Like, I don't know, keep a picture of your boyfriend on your desk at work. Or hold his hand when you go to a baseball game.

    There's a good book on this topic that came out in 2006 called Covering; it's by Kenji Yoshino, who's a law professor at Yale, and also a gay Asian guy.

    I think there's no question that no one chooses what turns them on, but acting on those desires is a choice. And it's a choice that gay people have as much right to make as straight people.
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    Mar 27, 2008 2:13 AM GMT
    Gay is a cultural label and about as accurately describes a homosexual man's sexuality as Colored does a black man's race.

    If I had to choose a non scientific label for myself, I'd pick Queer. Queer includes all genders and sexual identities regardless of sexual preference. You can be heterosexual and still a part of the queer community. Queer isn't as strongly defined as Gay so it doesn't become as stereotypical or homogenized as the term Gay is.

    Confusing the term "Gay" with a person's sexuality also puts women in a tricky situation when coming out. Do they come out as gay, or do they have to separate and self define themselves as a lesbian? Hence, the GL in GLBTI. Very few say, "mom, I'm a homosexual". Most will pick either of the two social labels.

    Gay, also alienates transsexual people. Many Trans people live in Heterosexual relationships but they don't always identify with mainstream Hetero society. But does that make them gay? What are they? Perhaps the only right answer is "they are people", and labels are fucking primitive.

    If you ask me, it's time to drop the Gay thing and move on. Our sexuality shouldn't be defined so heavily by a cultural label. With all the progress being made in accepting different sexualities it's time guys started straying away from the pack and forging their own sense of sexuality.
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    Mar 27, 2008 2:21 AM GMT
    Devildog78 saidIf I had to choose a non scientific label for myself, I'd pick Queer. Queer includes all genders and sexual identities regardless of sexual preference. You can be heterosexual and still a part of the queer community. Queer isn't as strongly defined as Gay so it doesn't become as stereotypical or homogenized as the term Gay is.


    I definitely like the revolutionary expansiveness of "queer." It does embrace a multitude of deviations from the norm that never was, while also insisting on a variety of differences. "Gay" also is often coded not just male but also white, which is another reason for retiring it. "Gay" does sound vanilla in comparison with "queer" ... and yet I don't know if I can let go of it yet.
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    Mar 27, 2008 2:30 AM GMT
    Its really just a minority group. It comprises multiple races just like Spanish speaking people, Hispanics or Latinos. All of the terms fall short for various people in that "Group." -- Everyone has their own way of defining themselves.

    That is also why I would not say lifestyle either because not all homosexuals have the same life style or ethnic culture. Scientifically I would just say Homosexual. Maybe one day someone will find a common genetic feature and name Homosexuals with that information.

    Anyway, Homosexual is a Sexual Orientation and a minority group - I think that is the most accurate way to describe it.
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    Mar 27, 2008 2:38 AM GMT
    And as members of a minority, a marginalized one, we take on shared characteristics that become part of our identity.

    I still think, though, that gay people do share some characteristics that transcend cultural construction.
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    Mar 27, 2008 2:54 AM GMT
    To the best of Ones knowledge, One was born, with Ones sexual orientation... It was never a choice. If it was, then surly it would come under lifestyle. But religion is a life style, as no-one is born religiousicon_exclaim.gif It is a choice to be so.

    But lets say we are born homosexual. It is what we do with it, when we are grown, what separates us.

    So one would have to say, we are a race, then what we do with it, when we are grown, is what becomes life style. I choose not to take on the gay life style, as by living in the gay community. Yet one is still a homosexual, as this is what one was born.


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    Mar 27, 2008 3:12 AM GMT
    Devildog78 said...If you ask me, it's time to drop the Gay thing and move on. Our sexuality shouldn't be defined so heavily by a cultural label. With all the progress being made in accepting different sexualities it's time guys started straying away from the pack and forging their own sense of sexuality.

    I'm not so sure about this, DD. There is still a very clear line in this culture and many others between straight and all others. So yeah, 'queer' works well if you want to be binary about it and the whole GLBTASDRFASDF has just become ridiculous. (I've often asked, can't we just drop the acronym and say The Non-Straights?)

    But I think the distinct differences in expressions of sexuality you've already mentioned yourself necessarily lead to parsing and creation of labels. For example, I have no earthly idea how my experience matches that of a transexual - esp, as you indicated, those who identify as straight. They have unique concerns and issues. We have as much in common as say a Latino and a black man. About the only thing that does unite us (or the Latino and black man) is the need to stand in opposition to a dominant/majority group that wants to deny us/them equal rights and opportunities.

    So I guess my point is, 'gay' as a group identifier works for me and it works for many others and I WANT others to have their unique identities. I think in the desire for some sort of label-less Utopian ideal, we run the opposite risk of squashing out difference.
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    Mar 27, 2008 3:14 AM GMT
    obscenewish saidI still think, though, that gay people do share some characteristics that transcend cultural construction.
    Yes, transcendent.

    Pattison said It is what we do with it, when we are grown, what separates us.
    It was Confucius who said "Men's natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart."