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Straight but not Narrow

on . Posted in Commentary.

On 17 May 1990, the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. The fight for the recognition of equal rights for lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender people did not end there though.

That is why Sayoni is strongly committed to celebrating this second International Day Against Homophobia, launched one year ago by the International Day Against Homophobia Committee (IDAHO).

We embark on this long fight against homophobia with a post by a straight sympathiser for the cause – the best sort of people, in our opinion. We let Soo Mei tell us about being straight, but not narrow.

 Bizarro. From the Sunday Times, Singapore, 14 May 2006.

Hi, my name is Soo Mei, and I’m straight. To the bone. Not typical of the Sayoni crowd. So why write here, you might be thinking?

Well firstly because pleinelune asked me if I would. Something towards the idea of being a '(rare) straight sympathizer', to quote her. At which point she promptly tried to explain that she meant that I am straight but that I get along really well with GLBT (no T yet, though, actually) friends. Which meant that she really quite messed up her own explanation, because I don't think of my non-straight friends as non-straight. If anyone asked me how many non-straight friends I had, I would have to sit down, slowly run through the known sexual practices of my friends (something I don't normally think about, yeah), and count the number off very slowly. It always makes me feel funny. Like, for the people I'm not attracted to, I don't ever think about what sex or how much sex they have. My parents, for example. *gags*

Let's move on quickly to the next reason.



Secondly, I -am- straight. I know it. It’s terribly unlikely (more like, nearly impossible) that I would ever want to have intimate relations with a girl, unless I was stone-dead drunk and forcibly stripped naked and dumped into bed with a girl, and even then I'd just drop off to sleep. (For the record, I have gotten stone-drunk with a guy I didn't like that much, and nothing happened either.) Girls just smell different, you know? We walk different, we sound different, we have different sets of wiles. In a sexual context, that not only does nothing for me, it really turns me off. Completely off. So perhaps pleinelune has a point about the perceived rarity of straight sympathizers, because I don't think that there are enough straight people out there who can imagine that there are people out there who get turned off by sleeping with people of the opposite sex instead of the same sex. From what my gay friends say, it's very much similar to what I've described, just that their personal dreaded scenario involves someone of the opposite sex. We all freeze up when there's someone we don't like who touches us.

I've often tried to explain why other people's sexual preferences are none of my concern (except where I must make a mental note not to fall for them, i.e. the guys) to the hardcore homophobic people who are perverted enough to care about everybody's sexual preferences. So I say the following to them: 'Some people like red wine, some people like white. Some prefer roses, and others prefer cactus. So some men prefer men, and some prefer women. Some women prefer men, and some prefer other women.' Often they back off because they respect freedom of choice enough to encompass this under that principle.

But for those who follow the logic another way, they equate preference to choice, and ask, 'Doesn't that mean there is a choice? I never had to make a choice! Tsk!' They completely fail to extrapolate that to people who didn't have to make a 'choice' regarding their non-straight sexual orientation either.

It would be amusing if it weren't so destructive when that thought translates into action and policy-making.

As for whether it is a choice or not, I don't think it is a choice. To the straight and uncaring people, just try flipping it about: live your life, 24/7 waking and sleeping, pretending to be deeply interested in someone totally unappealing regardless of sexuality, whom you just can't bring yourself to love as a life partner. They should be feeling nauseated right about now.

It ain't that hard to be a 'straight sympathizer', you know. Just some common sense would do.


# xSpert 2010-02-02 03:15

xSpert said,

May 18, 2006 at 2:03 am

I belive that peoples sex orientation is none of MY busines……. I have friend that’s gay and that’s no reason I should be treat him diferent from the others……. I don’t care what people say…… Every people/friend needs to be respis individual for itself and needs to be respected and undersand…….. They are humans 2!!!! That’s why I don’t judge people, they should be axepted as they are……. and there’s nothing you can change about!!!! And you shouldn’t!!!! you can’t controll others lifes………..
# iimmoralfear 2010-02-02 03:15

immoralfear said,

May 18, 2006 at 11:12 pm

Hey dear, its AWESOME that you’re writing for us. :D
# iimmoralfear 2010-02-02 03:16

immoralfear said,

May 19, 2006 at 2:17 am

Hey dear, I’m so so so glad that you wrote this! :D
# Jjocenn 2010-02-02 03:16

jocenn said,

May 19, 2006 at 2:33 am

I totally agree with the it’s-NOT -a-choice issue. It’s something that just…well, happens. It’s like asking a straight why he/she is a straight. A natural feeling in us that makes us all human, under the different shades of skin colour & preferences.
# Shelly 2010-02-02 03:16

Shelly said,

May 23, 2006 at 4:39 am

I totally agree with the article, and I have slowly come to realise that it IS hard to find “straight but not narrow” people in Singapore. Some of them here are so homophobic that they ostracise those who are not straight. Some of my straight friends react so adversely when I mention my gay friends that I feel ashamed to have them as friends.

But I think in time to come, the straights will slowly accept GLBTs as part of our society. There’s no avoiding the inevitable. GLBTs are live amongst us, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
# jadeite 2010-02-02 03:16

jadeite said,

May 23, 2006 at 11:09 am

You can use my URL for the comic if you wish :) You can get it off my blog from here:
# Ssayoni 2010-02-02 03:16

sayoni said,

May 23, 2006 at 12:56 pm

Hey thanks! Did you draw that?!?!?! It’s fantastic!
# xSpert 2010-02-02 03:16

xSpert said,

May 23, 2006 at 4:42 pm

This comic is awsome, it fits here perfectly :-)
# Jjin 2010-02-02 03:17

jin said,

May 28, 2006 at 10:58 pm

Hi Soo Mei,
Thank you for writing. I think it gives gay people lots of hope because not many have had the fortune to meet friends as open-minded as you are.
Personally, most of my friends are straight, and they are all very accepting of my sexuality. I am very thankful that these people whom I choose to call my friends have been blessed with common sense.
I think the world IS changing, and when we stand together we can prove that it makes no difference whether you like girls or boys or both or neither.
# Soo Mei 2010-02-02 03:17

Soo Mei said,

June 1, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Thanks to all for their incredibly positive comments, and I’ll be around.

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