In the eighth grade, I “came out” as gay when I professed my love for Billy H. in an invitation to be my date to our homecoming dance. My girl friends celebrated their new gay friend, excited by the prospect of adding a fashionista to their clique; despite owning a closet of jeans and ratty t-shirts, being “gay” evidently meant a lot more than kissing boys. In the tenth grade, I discovered (or rather, finally admitted to myself) that I was also into the female form, breasts no longer simply fun pillows at girls’ night sleepovers. I waited until senior year to come out (again), this time as bisexual.
As a wrestler at 6’4’’, 230 pounds, I don’t conform to mainstream conceptions of the gay/queer/non-straight male. Bisexuals are stereotyped as fence-sitters, straddling the divide between queer and straight culture; instead of trying to pass between the two, I too often clash them together (I love blasting Lady Gaga while practicing my shot with a .222 in the Arizona desert). Bisexuality is about contradictions, simultaneously orthodox and heterodox in its practice of sexuality. I, however, find myself bisexual in most every aspect of my identity: a Democrat in the National Rifle Association, a sexually liberal moral traditionalist, a Christian Darwinist, a romantic sybarite caught between intellectualism and frisson’s appeal. For me, bisexuality is about more than a sexual identity – bisexuality is a philosophy, a method of thought that characterizes how I approach the world and the way in which I lead my life.
Most of my work within the queer community has actually been fighting against it. For all of our efforts to break down gender stereotypes, homophobia and traditionalist understandings of sexuality, the queer community can be incredibly oppressive of members of its collective who are “too straight,” too conservative or just not quite gay enough. The most pernicious discrimination I have faced has been at the hands of my queer friends – while the queer community fights against the mythologization of the gay male as promiscuous, amoral, neurotic and a bastion of venereal disease, we far too often perpetuate that mythologization against the bisexual.
Here at Harvard, I concentrate (major) in History, specializing in military history and sexual history. My senior thesis will concentrate my focus in sexual history, with my current track of study the issue of situational homosexuality (in short, how isolation and containment in a homosocial space produces homosexual desire or behavior, particularly in the military, prison, prostitution, pornography, sports teams and education). My academic interests also include the history and evolution of sexual practices, particularly those with crossover between the straight and queer communities (i.e. circumcision, masturbation, the kiss, monogamy/polygamy and BDSM).
As I continue to blog, I hope to address issues concerning the bi-community, sexuality and its practices and the ways in which homosocial spaces deserve room in a queer community. Sexual history is as deserving of historical attention as the history of nations, militaries and empire, particularly in an age when sex screams to be let out of the closet. The study of the prurient is not itself pornographic. Too often the queer community is chained by sexual mythology (and bisexuals two-fold) – an open discussion and appreciation of the libido, the sex drive, is crucial for any campaign of queer empowerment. After all, Martin Luther did not simply nail ninety-five theses to a church door in Wittenburg – he placed the sex drive at the core of man’s existence, as necessary as food and water, and launched a Reformation that exploded Christianity in its embrace of the power of sex.