Exercise in Utopian What ifs
So Germany has finally legalized same-sex marriage. Many of us didn’t dare hope it would happen so fast (‘so fast’ definitely meant sarcastically, because it’s been postponed no less than thirty times in the last four years). And of course, there’s been heated debates about it, though most of my friends are very firmly in the pro-camp. During one of these discussions, somebody brought up an interesting theory, one that led to this blog.
She said she thinks that most people are probably born bi-sexual, or at least without a preference for a certain gender, and that it’s society that forces us into heterosexual relationships, simply because there (still) aren’t that many examples for homosexual relationships in most young people’s lives (it’s improving, though). I don’t know if this theory can be scientifically verified, but the idea in itself intrigued me. So let’s play a game of what if.
What if we really are bisexual from birth? Would our society be different if we acknowledged that?
Humans define themselves and the people around them by many things. Gender is, in my opinion, the most prominent one. You are either male or female. If we meet somebody who doesn’t fit in one of those categories, either because they look androgynous, or are wearing the ‘wrong’ clothes, or don’t behave the way we expect them to, we get uncomfortable. Not being able to label the other person makes us nervous.
With gender also come a million attributes: alpha male, good housewife, caring mother, manly man, successful businessman, trophy wife,… the list is seemingly endless and very often unfair. And when somebody doesn’t fit, like the female CEO or the Manny, we apply a new set of labels, heavily tinted by prejudice.
Successful women in the business world are not ‘real’ women, they are more like men. All Mannys are gay. (I stick with these two examples, because, just thinking about it, I can come up with enough to fill at least two more pages. I think you get the gist.)
As the discussion about homosexuality and different approaches at gender and sexuality are coming to the fore, another label has garnered equal importance: sexual orientation/identity. He’s gay. She’s trans. A persons’ gender and sexual orientation are now linked heavily and very often seem to be the most important label we can put on a person. Unfortunately, those labels also very often define how far a person can get with their career.
Being a woman in a man’s job is bad enough. Don’t mention you are also lesbian. You want to be a successful athlete? That’s a macho domain. And gay men can’t be macho. You are trans? There’s no way you can be successful, no matter what you want to do.
We’ve all come across prejudices like the ones above. They seem to happen naturally, linked to the way we view gender and sexual orientation. As if the choice of your bed partner has any influence on your capability to do your job.
So what if we all were bisexual and same-sex couples were part of the norm? Would our society run differently? Would we be more open? More understanding of different ways of living? Or would we find other ways to label, to keep people out? Where would our focus be?
This is a huge topic and I think I’m going to write more about it in the future. I would also appreciate your thoughts and ideas. Scientific background is also welcome.
Have a great July!
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