Savage Love Feb 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Savage Love


ANGST ~ This tidbit from RJ Aguiar's response says it all..."very few people wind up spending their lives with the person they were dating at 18... So, now and in the future, stop stressing out about hypothetical problems. Do the best you can with what you've got. Change the things you can, accept the things you can't change. Have the wisdom to know the difference. You can't prevent someone from leaving you if they are unhappy, and you shouldn't want to. All you can do is keep the lines of communication open and try to work out life's multiple twists and turns together.

BALK ~ See above comment. This relationship ended because the two of you were a bad fit. You more than gave it the old "college try". No fault on either side, though boyfriend is being a dick if he's blaming you in any way for not conforming to his expectations. Last I checked, both people have to be happy to make a successful relationship. Move on. Don't regret it, learn from it. Find a better fit.
BALK: Ask yourself something. If you forced yourself to keep going along with things you didn't like just to keep your boyfriend around, how long would it take before you started resenting him and hating yourself?

Also, kink is a very broad field. Nobody out there actually likes everything under the umbrella. Liking one kinky thing, or even a bunch of kinky things, does not obligate you to go along with everything. Being open to trying something and deciding you don't like it is not "misrepresenting yourself".
"I disappointed him because I "went along with it" only to decide I wasn't into it and that I unfairly represented my interest in his lifestyle."

Dude is an asshole. Or an idiot, your choice which.

He's basically saying you should have been more upfront about being unwilling to do something that you didn't even know you were unwilling to do until you tried it. In other words, you should have broken up with him long ago. Well, he's right about that, but not for the reasons he thinks. Consider that bullet well dodged.
Internalised biphobia against your boyfriend, or internalised Patriarchy, LW1. Sounds like you fear your bf will find a man and he'll be off because a woman hasn't got enough to keep a man, when a male lover is involved. Do you have the same fear re him going off with other women.
ANGST, please do your boyfriend the favour of breaking up with him. Then give me his number. ;)

Slightly more seriously, I'm wondering if ANGST fears her boyfriend will leave her for a man because he hasn't yet had the opportunity to explore sex with a man, like she has with a woman. If she sticks to an expectation of strict monogamy, he may grow to resent her for this. The obvious solution would be for them to explore his bisexuality together, but this particular young woman appears far too insecure to enjoy this sort of experience. (Again... please give him my number.)

ANGST reminds me of my future ex-husband at that age; he was so insecure that everything translated to "You're going to leave me." It was a total drag. ANGST may grow out of this, or she may need therapy. Either way, she may want to stay out of relationships until she can be in one without unfairly projecting her insecurities onto her partner.

BALK, this wasn't the guy for you. Be glad he showed you who he really was -- not just someone for whom kink was the price of admission, but an entitled jerk who punished you for giving it your best shot. There are better guys out there who'd be thrilled to find someone into light kink. You deserve better!
Ms Fan - You pinpoint a structural advantage of S/B relationships over G/B or L/B; the couple can explore the bi partner's bisexuality together. Does this type of B/B situation seems comparable to relationships in which the rakish partner fears letting the virgin "do what I did"? You're the expert.

At least this didn't go in the "it's okay when a woman does it" direction. Maybe she's less likely to become physically abusive than if it were flipped, but she still has a narrow window before it's DYA time.

The consultant pinpointed through omission another structural advantage of S/B over G/B or L/B, but in a way I particularly dislike. The consulted implied equivalency between all relationships with a bi partner. I don't quarrel with the projection-based psychology "I'm not good enough" part, but ding the consultant heavily for [maybe because the potential 'pool of applicants' is over twice as big for us Bi+ folk,]. It isn't. In an OS relationship, the PPA goes from slightly under 50% for a straight person to slightly over 50% for a bi person. This is significant in elections, but not so much in relationships. In an SS relationship, the increase in the PPA is massive.

My insticnt is to consider such a difference as comparable to relationships with a disparity in attractiveness, riches, success or age. It's something that ought to be taken into consideration; some relationships will even work better. I just strongly resent the consultant's appearing to invite the inference that the PPA increase is not a bigger leap in G/B or L/B than S/B.

I hope this did not come across as disrespectful. You seemed to get my point a couple of weeks back that OS consent and MM consent may look rather different if there are particular considerations needed for women in sexual encounters that would not apply to men; this post is largely along a parallel line.
Fan, he's eighteen. You wicked woman. I think that's a bit drastic, breaking up with him. She knows it's a shitty attitude, she's written into Dan to find help to change it.
My ex had had homosexual experiences as a young man, and men came onto him during our marriage. Such an erotic charge and I felt I couldn't compete. Straight away the weaknesses of being a woman shone in my mind. Yet I was fascinated by the dance.
Like you said, it's a drag and no one wants to hear such insecurities. The LW has to read what she's written about their fun and kinky sex and stop thinking about her bfs bi self. It's his business and freaking out about it is just going to make him really pissed off.
Great The Dr came on board to help with the medical issue. I think this young woman is very caring and self reflective. My youngest son, who is twenty, his gf is eighteen. She is such a gem of a young woman. I hope they break the mould.
Venn @7: "You pinpoint a structural advantage of S/B relationships over G/B or L/B; the couple can explore the bi partner's bisexuality together."

They can; but would most of them want to? With exceptions like our new-to-DC "gay man" fetishist from a few days ago, most het women would be less than keen to watch their boyfriends have sex with another guy. And the proportion of straight men who'd be cool with this -- in practice, as opposed to in theory -- is smaller that you might expect, too. It seems that pushing one's straight girlfriend into a reluctant MFF is a more common male fantasy than watching one's bi girlfriend indulge her own sapphic desires, which are prone to setting off insecurities like "she's really a lesbian / she'll leave me for a woman." I'd have said B/B was the ripest combination for joint exploration, though ANGST is proving an exception to this assumption.

Good catch re the fallacy of being bisexual "doubling" one's chances of a date on a Saturday night. The bi partner might have their head turned twice as often, but if one is threatened by the simple fact of one's partner finding others objectively attractive, that's an issue for them whatever their partner's orientation might be. (This points to another advantage of S/B: being able to mutually appreciate the beauty of third parties.) An attractiveness disparity is probably a good comparison, because the issue of course is not whom your partner finds attractive, but who is attracted back.
@BiDanFan: I responded to your last comment on last week's column.
If you read BALK's letter carefully, an alternate scenario emerges to the one in which her ex-BF is a complete jerk. Here are her own words: "I'm feeling a lot of guilt about how I handled our sex life...hard as I tried I just wasn't very interested in that lifestyle...I disappointed him because I 'went along with it' only to decide I wasn't into it...I unfairly represented my interest in his lifestyle." Then she asks for tips on how to do better next time. Dan, and many on this thread, interpreted this to mean that she was totally GGG to meet her lover's needs and she gave it the old college try, but her ex-BF shamed her and dumped her for not having what it takes to make his varsity team.

But if ex-BF told her right from the beginning that he was exclusively interested in BDSM and a kink lifestyle, and if she told him, "Wow, great, because that's exactly what I'm looking for, too!" despite having little or no prior experience with either - perhaps thinking to herself, "How bad can it be, if I'm with this gorgeous guy? Ya know, 'Fifty Shades' was pretty sexy reading..." - then IMHO she deserved to be dumped. I can totally understand why ex-BF would feel angry and resentful, after spending considerable time and money trying to develop the eagerness for kink that she had promised him.

Of course she had the absolute right to say "Sorry, this is as far as I can go." But since she asked for advice about how do better in her next relationship, just in case my interpretation is the correct one, I'd say "Don't promise him anything you're not sure you can deliver." She now knows that BDSM is definitely not for her - it sounds like even the light spanking was something she tolerated, rather than enjoyed. Too many straight young women are still culturally trained to express fake enthusiasm for a guy's interests in order to "reel him in," with the assumption that they can clarify their own needs and interests once the relationship solidifies. The way I read this letter, BALK has learned a hard and quite PAINFUL lesson about why that is not an ideal strategy.

Dude has a body that gets him hit on, and orgasms without ejaculation (less mess, less pregnancy fears). Sounds like he has it made! You're just scaring him away from doctors by telling him they'll help him lose that.
If I were the LW I would be stressed about bringing up the medical issue. How does one do that without putting the person on the defensive? Tricky, but probably necessary.

Points to Venn for noticing the basic mathematical issue in the letter.

And Lava, I just love your posts. Your level of emotional honesty is something I'm working on getting to myself. It's illuminating and wonderful to read.
@13 Why probably necessary? What are the downsides of leaving this untreated?
@14 @Blazn: I absolutely don't know, which is why it's good to talk to someone who does (i.e., a doctor) and possibly get a diagnosis. Note I do NOT mean to imply he should get the condition treated, even if he has it. But there may be known downsides, as well as upsides, and when it comes to medical things, I think it's good to have the data.

That said, I do think we often over-treat in this country--there are myriad reasons for this, but the unfathomable power and money of the pharmaceutical lobby comes to mind--so it's also good to make sure you have a doctor who is willing to listen to your concerns, and who doesn't think everything is solved with drugs.

At one point my (ex)-obgyn told me (in the course of other blood treatments) that I had unusually high levels of testosterone for a female, and offered to "fix" it. When I asked, she couldn't list any reasons it was a problem, apart from being abnormal. (Whereas I can think of a number of things that it might be positively affecting, for all I know.) At which point I pretty much told her to fuck off, and I got a new obgyn.
Blazn @12: Yeah, until he wants to have kids...

Ciods @13: Apparently, this is something the boyfriend himself has commented on ("He struggles a lot with feeling abnormal and un-masculine. I try to be as supportive as possible and tell him how attracted to him I am and how he'll get through whatever this is"). The next time Boyfriend comments about his hairless face or lack of ejaculate, ANGST can say "Actually, I was reading on the internet about something called Klinefelter Syndrome, which sounds like what you might have. Apparently it's pretty common. You might want to get yourself screened for that?" Agree with you @17: knowledge is power. Having a medical reason behind his "abnormalities" might lead Boyfriend to feel less self-conscious about them, even if he chooses not to "treat" it. (See last week's discussion re: the positive power of labels.)
Aguiar is 10,000% wrong about why ANGST would project her biphobic fears onto someone else despite the fact that she also is on the receiving end:

Because she isn't any different than any of us. Whatever bias/prejuidice/disdain/disgust she receives for her bi-ness has nothing to do with her acting shitty towards someone else. We have this funny sense that being a victim is currency for morality, but there isn't much evidence for that, as the cycle seems to reinforce itself rather than tear itself apart.
Klinefelter is 47 XXY if I remember correctly, so it's easy to diagnose (just needs a karyotype). And @12, it's got some further-reaching side effects that could be of serious concern later in life.
Unside down V; nice to see you.
Thanks Ciods. And I learn to be more considered from your comments. Win Win.
I thought her description of him was really pretty hot! If she's done, he could come to my house!
LW1 says that the boyfriend is bi but has never been with a man and she is worried he might actually be gay. He's a millennial; he is probably internet bi, not bi in everyday off-line life. If I had a nickel for every millennial who is bi on-line but never even come close to some form of sex off-line I would be so rich that a personal secretary would be posting this for me.

I agree with others in reference to LW2: the ex is an asshole. She should be lucky to be done with him. So your kinks don't match his, such is life. The fact that you are ggg means you will be a great partner for the next guy. You're open minded and that counts for a lot.
@20 Venomlash: I KNEW I recognized that upside down Hobbes-like smirk. Good to see you.
@BALK: I agree with many others here. You're better off done with this guy and on to the next lucky partner headed your way.
@1 DonnyKlicious: Congrats and a big "aack-oop!" for being first.
During the dick pic discussion couple of weeks ago DonnyKlicious referred us to this site:
I liked what I saw, contacted the owner (twice) and asked for permission to use the bride pic as my avatar on SL for a week or two.
No response so far, yet my attorney assured me it’s ok as she is likely to enjoy the exposure SL may bring her way. The notarized document also indicates that if the need ever arises Mr. Klicious, like many other kind and thoughtful US-based lawyers, will feel compelled to pay her a significant amount of hush money from his very own pocket.

As a bridal dick, again- for a week or two, I will at least pretend to be nice to others. Some recent experiences have shown that serial assholes are not likely to amend their ways; playing Simon Wiesenthal is not my thing as I’m not a returning-or-not hunter, and that despite best intentions tectonic layers still shift and boiling magma may spill as a result.

The site is fun and tasteful, there’s merchandise involved, and even a video of some photo sessions.
One additional aspect ANGST may consider is that from a subconscious biological imperative perspective her angst about BF leaving her is ramped up by his bi orientation. It may seem a distastefully classical standpoint, but imo it's a legit notion that a potential mother has an innate subconscious imperative to seek and keep a stable provider for her/their potential offspring. When that potential provider is bi, the compulsive insecurity over keeping that provider around is magnified tremendously merely by the fear that he may go over to the other side, a seemingly impossible competition.

Double fear deserves double attention and work. Meditation and perhaps some counseling for expression and feedback could be helpful in gaining equanimity and mind stability.
Interesting rockyboy @28; and, as you say, a perspective much debated about. That's why looking at the human mind is so fascinating, endless aspects, influences and possibilities.
I realised at some point I agreed with Freud, during my life I have suffered from penis envy. Is that because of its physical power, or as the signifier of cultural power.
Sporty @19: You're wrong; not all of us are insecure, hypocrites, or both. (And not all people who are insecure, hypocrites, or both recognise this and want to do something about it. At least she's ahead of some on that score, and at only 18. Good for her.)

Jenny @23: Oi! Get in the queue ;)

Surfrat @24: Biphobia award! It is possible to be bi, and to know one is bi, without having had both same-sex and opposite-sex experiences, just as it is possible to know for sure that one is straight or gay before one has sex for the first time. If I had a nickel for every eighteen-year-old virgin, all those eighteen-year-old virgins would still have a sexual orientation. I knew I liked both genders from puberty, but I didn't have the opportunity to have a same-sex encounter until age 26. Sure, the internet would have made that easier; but Mr ANGST is both insecure about his masculinity (which makes approaching anyone more difficult) and currently in a monogamous relationship with someone who is possibly his first lover. Not to mention EIGHTEEN, an age when it's typical for someone to not have had sex with anyone at all. Coming out as bi is hard, especially for men; it's great that young people have the opportunity to talk about this online. Cut him a damn break, you bitter GenXer.
Nocute: I've replied on last week's thread.
CMD @27, bridal wear looks good on you. Strike up the Lohengrin!

I hope that for tradition's sake, you've included in your ensemble something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
BDF @30, well-said in response to surfrat @24. Of course people can know (or at least strongly suspect) they are bisexual, long before they have ANY real-life sexual experience, OS or SS. I would like to know exactly how and why surfrat has so accumulated much personal experience with these "internet bi" millennials, considering the brag about amassing a small fortune at a nickel apiece.
Mx Wanna - "Tasteful" reminds me of Mrs Peacock in the novelization of Clue; her dress was "both tasteful and expensive without being either fashionable or flattering".
Surfrat may have a point. Many millenials are aware of their bi tendencies even if they don’t actually practice. It may have become a trend to state you are, and some who join may seem dishonest.
That said, I’d still take it over the other way around.
CMD @35: And I'd still take a possibly confused, but at least open-minded, millennial over a judgmental, condescending GenXer. If I had a bag of nickels, I'd throw them at Surfrat for the attitude alone. ("Are you sure you're really bi?" was used to browbeat me, both internally and externally, over the near decade between my realising I was bisexual and my first opportunity to "confirm" it. If Mr ANGST is confusing bisexuality with genderqueerness, he'll figure it out in his own time; the mocking of some older, patronising jerk is sure to be zero help.)
Wait, who has balls the size of (I'm assuming) chicken eggs? That shit has got to hurt!

Balls the size of grapes is normal.
Capri @ 32 Wide collection indeed.

Ven @ 34 I find the pic to be both tasteful and flattering. Expansive and fashionable are way secondary.

BD @ 36 We’re not in disagreement. While I’m aware of surfrat’s offensive style and the hurdles bi folks faced in the past and still do, the new bi-identified wave may seem pretentious to some.
Again, we both agree this is fairly harmless and much better than the other way around, yet should be recognized.

Biggie @ 37
Pigeons’ eggs or small apricots.
Looks like the bi chick does not have internalized anything, just misses being with a real man instead of a soyboy that her boyfriend is. Lol. Drop the cuck and get a good fuck! :)
@37: Given the potential size ranges of both grapes and eggs (even chicken eggs only - I'll note that quail eggs are generally the size of large grapes), I'm not sure ANGST's analogies are all that useful from a diagnostic perspective, even if they're technically accurate. Also, it's unlikely she has that much first-hand basis for comparison at 18, so this may be a case of porn-induced unrealistic expectations (she also seems to think that penis size and testicle size necessarily correlate, which they do not, and a larger-than-average penis will make average-sized testicles look smaller in comparison). Still, it may be worth checking out the medical side, since Boyfriend himself has expressed some insecurities about his embodiment.
@30 I forgot, you and those who you have blessed are a high class of human, fundamentally superior to everyone else. How dumb of me.
Sportlandia, be careful choosing generalizing words. You can only speak from your own experience, others respond differently to life.
And your voice for your life has power.

It's always baffled me when men have needed to make systems which are the whole story. We got Jesus/ God, we got Freud, we got Allah, we got Buddha, we got Jung, we got a million and one male theorists thru out the ages trying to cover the whole gamut.
I remember in first yr Uni, learning about phenomenology.. which is suspending judgement, and just observing. Or something like that. A simple mind attitude switch, a revolution for me and probably my first step towards Buddhism. Anyway, the theorist, Husserl,or similar name, he also believed phenomenology could explain everything. Evan as a young woman just learning to use her mind, this sounded way ambitious.

Sorry Sportlandia, I got a little diverted there. Simply: don't generalise round here or someone will pounce.
@42 Fuck that. It's on BDF to describe to us how she's avoided, in her lifetime, ever feeling insecure or hypocritical. You'd think a recovering addict would not only be very familiar with those feelings, but to have actively done the work to identify them, consciously. But I guess she's just immune to them, born with the perfect-thoughts gene. I guess she'll be the only one never whisked away to the cornfield. But the much more likely alternative is that she's never done any self-reflection and assumes she's right all the time; we've got no shortages of examples of that. But no examples of the types of people BDF imagines she is among.
BDF- I probably didn’t explain myself right. I never doubted the undecided/ hesitaters/waiting-to-find-out out there.
I think surfrat was alluding to people who feel motivated to declare their biness entirely for gaining some currently fashionable social recognition in some circles, regardless of their true inclinations. Again, this can be somewhat unavoidable as cultural trends come and go, and certainly not a negative, hateful one.
Surfrat assessment, which was delivered in a snarky manner, is likely to be harder to take for those who grew up growing up bi. I have my own history and my bi inclinations arrive when I’m in a far stronger place in my life. As our friend sporty rightfully suggests, I feel blessed.

Oh hi sporty, I promised to be nice for a week or two. I love “We have this funny sense that being a victim is currency for morality” @ 19.
LW2; your ex is a manipulative arsehole and you are well rid of him. Twisted logic givers are not about getting on with another and seeing the effort made, which by the sound of it you did. Make an effort. All they see is they didn't get what they wanted. Boo Hoo.
Do not wear one moment of guilt about this child-man, and be grateful it's over.
Correction; "LW2 your ex is a manipulative creep..".
Troll @39: Joke's on you: ANGST and her effeminate boyfriend "have a very engaged, kinky, and rewarding sex life!" Why would she go back to some hairy, selfish ape?

Sporty @43: It was "on you" to accept my truce; since you didn't, I get to be as snarky as I want to your overgeneralising posts. I don't owe you anything except what I feel like saying. I don't think I'm "better than everyone else"; I think you're worse. Because you don't even realise that your "[s]he's never done any self-reflection and assumes [s]he's right all the time; we've got no shortages of examples of that" applies not at all to me, but so perfectly to you. Gotta love irony.

CMD @44: I got surfrat's meaning; yes, with alternative sexualities and genders being more acceptable, there may be some proportion of young people who think their social currency will be increased or they'll be more interesting if they adopt one of these trendy new labels. And I agree that young people increasing the acceptance of sexual minorities, even via the medium of bandwagon jumping, is an improvement on the lack of acceptance and understanding that went before. People like Surfrat jump on the fact that some young people later change their identity to gay or to straight to justify biphobia, when some straight-identified 18-year-olds later come out as gay or bi, yet no one mocks a self-identified young hetero.
Hairy selfish ape Fan? That's a bit rough. And that poster was trolling..
Yeah, I thought to respond to the idiot, then I thought of Johnny out of Dirty Dancing telling that snotty Dr to be " you're not worth it, you're just not worth it.."
We all have our body type preferences, no good can come of seeing a hairy man as an ape when many of us see him as sexy. Pity Dan's stopped doing his armpit day..
Lava @48: You're right, the troll wasn't worth any collateral damage to decent, hairy men on the thread. Sure, some women like hairy men. (But few like selfish ones, am I right?) Calling someone a cuck is a great way to get an in-kind response. Particularly since it was so transparently obvious this "cuck" is actually getting way more sex than Troll there. Hairy men, please accept my apologies for conflating you with Mr Dickhead there.
This description by ANGST confused me:
... I think that because he appears more feminine than most men and is more often hit on by men than women, I worry that he would feel more comfortable or "normal" with a man.
This is one letter where knowing more about the writer (as was brought up last week) might have helped us understand ANGST better. Do they live in an urban, coastal, LGBTQ-friendly place? How many gay men do either of them know? Because I get the impression she believes that Mr. ANGST's young, hairless body, etc. would be a draw for all gay men ... while that's true only for a small but noticeable subset (especially if those physical traits are paired with being Asian).

Does Mr. ANGST constantly tell her how often he's hit on by men (possibly to bolster his own bi identity despite his inexperience there) and could that be a contributing factor to her anxiety? If so, then he's not helping her to feel more secure in their relationship. Though, really, I wasn't aware that being hit on would increase one's comfort level. Just ask any woman who's catcalled constantly whether she feels more comfortable for the recognition and validation of her presumed straightness.

Perhaps - going back to a letter several weeks ago - it's time for them to Use. Their. Words and actually communicate instead of shying away and worrying.
Regarding younger people (millennials are in their 30s now, let's stop calling teenagers millennials), I think it's true that more of them identify as bi despite having any same sex experience. That doesn't mean they are wrong or pretentious. I think what we are seeing is the result of a breaking open of gender and sexuality norms in a culture that is focused on individual identities including gender and sexuality. It's a conundrum. So it makes sense that more people would identify as bi as we still require people to identify as something. When I think probably in reality, most people will have whatever sex is acceptable in their society. In ours, especially among younger people, it's mostly acceptable now to explore, to be bi, to gay, etc. I've always thought that the number of people who really are absolutely exclusively attracted to one gender are probably the minority. So someone like BDF is very definitely bi and has stated before that she needs experiences with both genders. But someone like Harriet is mostly attracted to one gender but then under some circumstances is open to others. Someone like me is absolutely attracted to only one. I think most people, in a society that accepts it as a norm, are more like Harriet. Young people are going to understand all this differently in a society that is less imposing of sexuality norms in the first place, but yet they still feel the need to apply labels because that is what we do. In other cultures and in other times, people had same sex relationships without it being a part of their identity - and lots of times there were acceptable ways to pursue those encounters without declaring oneself bi. This didn't work for people who were absolutely gay- because they wouldn't manage under the required traditional relationship. But the more I read historical bios and social histories, the more I'm convinced that most people are somewhat bi and always have been. So now that we have a generation that has grown up with a more open attitude towards sexuality, they are more likely to call themselves bi. I think all the above is true in that context- what BDF says about questioning if he is REALLY bi, yes that is insulting. And I don't think it's about pretension, even though I agree it is trendy. A lot of things that are trendy are also true.

As for the LW herself, she is a teenager so let's cut her some slack. Obviously this relationship will not last forever and ever. She is right that her boyfriend will eventually want to have sex both with other men and other women, and she will also find that she does as well. It's hard to know how to handle that because if they are in love, it will seem different from the inside. BDF is right to say they could open up. Maybe they could explore these things together. And though I'm less sensitive to the biphobia than many of you who experience it, my gut response is that we could be generous enough to the LW to see that it's not really biphobia but rather just the fact that she feels she has solid ground to compete with other women but not with other men. This isn't logical from a broader perspective, but I can see where she's coming from. My husband has a thing for a certain type of woman that I can't be (certain physical features) and I'm not a particularly jealous type so it's fine, but I have in the past had the feeling that THIS is something I can never offer. It's just not a possibility. There is nothing I can do. It's part of growing up to learn that you can't be everything to a person.
Here for BDF's request for Millennial commenters. Ha.

I'm surprised at the comments that the first letter writer's bf has some kind of gift. He should DEFINITELY see the endocrinologist. I'm about a Kinsey 1.8 (name that show!) and definitely wanted to experiment with women, so if he is bi then I think it's reasonable to assume he would feel that even more so.

I was monogamous at 18 and now i'm like that was silly and maudlin haha. He was hot at least.

The second letter shows to me the limits of a sex-focused entitlement culture. I am starting to think from reading research that stuff like porn is making assholes like this dude think their assholery is normal. A five-day kink retreat makes this vanilla girl want to throw up.
Second @51, I'm a 30yo Millennial who teaches Gen Z. If you're born after 2000, you're a teenager and not a Millennial BY DEFINITION

They have very different experiences on gender expression and Tumblr type culture. Way more "aces" and "genderfluids" and some hearkening back to androgynous styles that are frankly nearly unheard of among my 30yo set
The air quotes are to show that for me, these terms still feel unnatural and weren't at all au courant when I was a teen, not to start a Tumblr-fueled comment thread that I am against anything that makes these teenagers feel comfortable and authentic.
I wish we had a better name for the younger generation. I hate Gen Z as it's just a follow up to Gen X. I understand that gender cohorts are largely a media fiction, but they are handy for discussion. Gen X worked to describe a certain kind of post-boomer angst and lack of place- the Boomers were at their height when my generation came of age, and I think the current generation- the kids now- are going to be the first generation since the Boomers to really seize the national stage so to speak and make a name for themselves. Millennials- that term is appropriate for obvious reasons- but I do wish older people would stop using it to describe anyone younger than them. Millennials are well into adulthood now, and if you are calling the current batch of high schoolers and college kids millennials, it does make you sound a little old- all those young folks including 37 year olds, ha ha.

The kids right now also have a distinctive perspective on the world. I rather like them for the most part. They seem pretty aware of current conflicts, locally and globally, and I think they are generally nicer than older generations. At the same time, there's a reactionary group among them that is scary. Any time you get a youth fascist movement, even a small one, I think we should worry. But the majority of them are just kids as usual except they are more open and flexible about gender and sexuality roles, and a whole lot of them are actually pretty politically active. Look at what is happening around the shootings. I think a lot of Americans are just waking up to the fact that this new generation is carving out a place for themselves. If they confound our sexuality and gender labels in ways that sometimes seem unnatural (to use a generous term) to us (re: Tumblr identities), well more power to them as far as I'm concerned. Our own rigid roles haven't exactly been without their problems, right? Plus they are facing head on issues around climate change and economic decline in ways that are personal to them. I don't know what to call them. I'm voting for "Generation That Hopefully Saves Humanity" but that seems like a lot more pressure than "Generation Z".

EL, DC 270
Thanks for your perspectives. The generational attitude gap is something I have noticed myself once I started going out en femme.
While trans and sexual fluidity will be fully accepted by friends my age, it is not that common to actually “practice” and openly discuss such matters in that age group.
Many younger folks have already been there to some degree or have friends who do, and conversations seem to be more open and personal when sexuality and gender are discussed.
Spending few years in couple 12-steps programs where people discussed their most intimate secrets helped me accept myself and others.

Bi-sexuality is way more accepted nowadays, yet still not fully recognized as “real” and comes with its own insecurities and misconceptions, as long time practitioners such as BDF often remind us.
Much of our biness, and I suspect most of us are to some degree or another, is likely to be suppressed due to fear of homosexuality. I remember two male crushes I had while in high school that I was very ashamed of and suppressed as quickly as I could. (The volleyball coach was pretty hot, and the boy a year younger turned out to be a celebrated choreographer.)

@55, @56:

Agreed that old-fashioned neuroses rarely seem to serve anyone. I think that the interaction between culture and identity is fascinating. I went to a cocktail party that was exclusively Millennials (Young Professionals) last night and everyone seemed very gender-conforming. I think of it as early Mad Men type styles. I have no doubt that a similar event in 15 years would not be nearly as formal. Style of course is something that for many is very changeable but for some such as CMD it is integral to identity.

I can't imagine presenting any other way than I do (conventionally feminine, could fit in in 1963 as well as 2018), but I know that my own views on, say, LGBT rights evolved a LOT over my twenties. I was raised in a hyper-conservative environment, so although my style has pretty much not changed my whole life, my views on sex, gender relations, and my own sexuality certainly have! I just don't think they're at all similar to how someone born 15 years later would feel. Same as the difference between someone born in 1933 vs 1948: I've seen the difference myself in the Silents and Boomers I know, now.

Millennials need to step up to the fucking plate politically. We're a large generation and there are too many that are like, eh. I understand having hit the worst of the Recession just out of college but we're real adults and our generational need for conformist niceness is going to get us steamrolled in the Trump era. Of course some Trump bros ARE Millennials but far more are just disengaged.
DC270 @52-54 and 57, EL @51 @55, and CMD @56, I'm a Boomer (albeit a rather untraditional one) and I have nothing original to add to your ongoing discussion, except to say that I'm happy to be able to eavesdrop and I can't stop nodding my head at everything the three of you have said so far. Thank you for your optimistic perspectives on the potential for real, positive societal CHANGE within our up-and-coming young adult generation, and party on! (PLEASE!)
DC270 @52-54 and @57, EmmaLiz @51 & @55, CMDwannabe @56, and Capricornius @58: Well said in your comment thread concerning millennials and our younger generations. I agree, and Emma Liz, I second your nomination for the "Generation That Hopefully Saves Humanity".
I'm among the last of the Boomers. It's refreshing to see an increase in enlightenment among younger generations that the Trump regime is screwing the majority of us big time and that so many of us can make a difference. "Meh" sayers out there take note--the future of this planet and all of us depends on it.
Mizz Liz - "Cutting a teenager a break" is essentially the same thing as assuming that an 18-year-old likely/plausibly won't present as bi ten years later, just in a more matronizing frame. Not necessarily wrong, except when it's not recognized or admitted.
I could agree with the last paragraph of either #47 or #51, but only if I were certain of how either Mizz Liz or Ms Fan is using the term. Biphobia, like homophobia, tends as a term to be used rather flexibly, which is a major reason why I dislike the H word and use it quite sparingly. Ms Fan uses the B word more often, but doesn't seem all that liberal in how often she finds that it applies. I could refer the assembled company to bi people who would take issue with Mizz Liz.
Ms Fan - Continuing from much earlier, there's an aspect of cheating avoidance that takes the form of avoiding temptation, though less problematically than Mr Pence as a rule. For those people who wouldn't seek out cheating, but would cheat if sought at a susceptible moment, temptation isn't hard to avoid for monosexuals, though it tends to play out in different ways. Homosocial straight people could easily have lives that just don't present them with temptation, which was probably even more true when fewer women had workplace careers. LG people can deliberately seek out heteronormative environs, which aren't hard to find.
As Rumpole warns us, particularly when observing the foibles of his junior, Mizz Probert, the young tend to be rather priggish. They pull down the old system of morality and erect a much stricter one in its place. I'm distrustful of all this new "openness" and see in much of just left-wing conversion therapy ought to Q the G and eradicate homosexuality from the other side. It seems highly plausible that this accounts for at least some of the massive jump in that somewhat recent survey in which 40% or 50% of young people surveyed identified as bi. It's not really a matter of having reached a point where all presentations are honoured equally, but a matter of having reached a point where bi is regarded as the "correct" presentation.

If it were not well past my bedtime, I'd continue to ruminate on the differences between deliberate and disinterested inaccuracies, but I'm sleeping too badly lately to sit up longer.
Emma @51 and DC270 @52: Thanks for your comments! My instinct was to further chide Surfrat for applying the oh-so-fashionable disdain towards "millennials" to someone who wasn't even a millennial, but I wasn't sure where the age cutoff was.

Emma @55: I'm sure the post-millennial generation will come up with its own name once enough of them are in the media. I agree with you: the kids are all right, from what I see of them. Open-mindedness and tolerance like we've never known before. And yeah, any time I see any snideness towards "millennials," all it says to me is that the speaker is bitter about their own ageing.

DC270 @57: Again, thanks for your perspective. From my GenX viewpoint, the observation seems to be that millennials have been handed a world whose odds are already stacked against their success in life; they're not deluded into believing the "if you work hard, you can achieve anything you want" myth, since it's so ridiculously unlikely anyone without a big inheritance will be able to own their home. Those who don't just accept that the world is unfixable and their generation is screwed, those who do try to do something about it, get brushed off as "entitled millennials" and mocked for things like liking avocados. (Let's face it -- avocados are delicious; you didn't discover them!) You've been shafted from both sides, which is one reason I try to slap down people I see engaging in smartass ageism against you.

Venn @60: I think you're choosing to interpret one data point -- "more young people are identifying as bi than ever before" -- as evidence of some sort of pressure being applied, rather than as evidence supporting EmmaLiz @51's theory that most people are, in fact, towards the centre of the Kinsey scale rather than at one of its poles, and that modern acceptance of queer sexualities means only that these Kinsey 1.8s and 4.2s are now putting themselves into the "bi" box instead of rounding themselves up or down, as previous generations used to. If someone is, say, 3/4 straight and 1/4 gay, isn't it more accurate for them to claim they're bi than straight? The fact that such a person is now comfortable identifying that way shouldn't be taken as an attack on the option to identify as 100% gay (or even 85% gay, rounded up) if that is, indeed, what you are. This resistance on your part smacks of "pulling up the ladder" -- cis white gay men have been so used to being the vanguard of the gay rights movement, it makes sense that they'd feel threatened if the numbers now show them not to be the majority of the LGBT community. But if we all have the same goals, surely that shouldn't make a difference?
And climate change Fan; the earth is not doing too well.
I agree re younger people being more fluid in how they present themselves gender wise. My twenty yr old son and his mates, and these are not sophisticated city kids, their maleness is very relaxed and mixed with their feminine.

I'm not following this at all:

"60 Mizz Liz - "Cutting a teenager a break" is essentially the same thing as assuming that an 18-year-old likely/plausibly won't present as bi ten years later, just in a more matronizing frame. Not necessarily wrong, except when it's not recognized or admitted."

I'm not sure if we are talking to the same point here, but are you refer to my attitude towards the LW or my attitude towards younger people's more fluid experience of sexuality? In either case, I do not recognize how your conclusion follows.

Emma @63: I was confused by that too; your "cut a teenager some slack" referred not to a potentially fluid identity, but to LW's feeling insecure due to having to compete against rival suitors of both genders. I could only conclude that Venn was confusing your post with others.

Venn @60: I use the term biphobia to mean prejudice against bisexuals, not literally fear of them. I use the terms homophobia and transphobia the same way.
It was in #51 - [As for the LW herself, she is a teenager so let's cut her some slack.]

Had Mizz Liz said that LW is inexperienced in this sort of relationship, I might have let that go. I was comparing the attitude that an 18-year-old is less likely to be able to handle a relationship tricky bit than her presumed 28-year-old self to the attitude of Mr Savage's bearing it in the back of his mind that an 18-year-old presenting as bi is less likely to have the same presentation ten years hence than a 28-year-old. I'm not stipulating equal amounts of truth in the two ideas, but was likely just getting mildly crabby to infer that Mizz Liz would cut slack for age but not inexperience; why should a forty-year-old who'd never had a bisexual partner not receive any sympathy for an entirely new alarm?
Ms Fan @64 - That is what I assumed, and I gave you credit for not labeling a variety of attitudes as "prejudiced" just because they weren't bi-positive. But I'll get pedantic again, because one of my recent kicks of the last half year or so has been annoyance over the inexact intended range of the H word. Do you apply it to the entire Alphabet Soup, all SS monosexuals, or gays only? I really want a new word that applies to gays only, as we are the only letter in the soup that has no clearly-understood specifier. Accordingly, the H word ought to apply either to L or G but no farther.
Ms Fan @61 - But we don't all have the same goals, or we'd have spaces that could be both binormative and homonormative at the same time. And the only way we could do that would be to have some sort of arrangement like the Masque of the Red Death.

You're welcome to be the face of the movement; it's nothing to be envied, though I can sympathize with any resentment anyone feels when the word "gay" is used as shorthand for the entire Alphabet Soup or at least multiple letters therein. The flip side is how something bad targeting only gays is called "homophobic", and then trumpeted as "an attack on the entire Alphabet Soup community" in a way that doesn't happen when another letter is targeted. I got out of activism back in the early 1990's when there were complaints it was too white and too male. I thought it made sense to let others hold the reins and see what happened. I wouldn't want to have to judge the ensuing performance.

I think it all began to go off when the old idea that gay is just as good as straight (from the old chants; that does rather take me back) somehow morphed into the idea that it doesn't matter WHOM (am I giving anyone a severe look? You may very well think so; I couldn't possibly comment) one loves but THAT (or HOW) one loves.

I think we could get into a seminar-length discussion that would play out rather like debating angels dancing on pinheads about exact definitions of bi; I doubt either of us has the time. You cite the good aspects, with which I don't quarrel. There is definitely a shift in certain quarters to more accurate presentation; that is a gain. I don't think, though, that we can attribute such a sudden leap solely or even overwhelmingly to a more accurate perception of the terms and boundaries. But gay is still under attack from the rest of the soup bowl, perhaps more than before, and frankly why any self-respecting gay or even lesbian for that matter would even want to hang around after the first instance of being scolded about how monosexuality is the highest form of discriminatory bigotry (though I don't think there's gender balance in the application) is beyond me.

Again, this is quite long enough without going into deliberate versus disinterested inaccuracies.
@65 Venn I'm still not sure that I'm understanding you. My point was that when we are young, our relationships are ultimately doomed to fail. This is natural and healthy so I shouldn't use such gloomy words. But it is extremely unlikely that the LW's boyfriend is going to still be the LW's boyfriend in just a short number of years. As we get older, a few things happen- first, we understand that most of the people we date will not be our forever partners, & second, we have a more realistic expectation that the person we fall in love with could become lifelong partners. That does not make the feelings any less significant when we are young- so it's a hard position to be in- my sympathy is for both the youth's lack of experience with these strong emotions plus the context that the relationship is almost certainly going to be short. On top of that is the fact that we have to learn, as we grow older, that we cannot be one thing to everyone. In this specific case, it's about the LW's bf's bisexuality (she will never be able to help him experience that) but my analogy had nothing to do with sexuality. If it weren't the fact that the bf was attracted to men as well, it would be something else. Again, my sympathies here are more with a young person who must learn to deal with that- especially in a culture that plays up fairy tales. An inexperienced 40 year old perhaps also deserves sympathy, but I'd expect that his or her additional 22 years of adulthood -during which time he/she must have interacted with humans and society- would have already knocked the idea out of his/her head that he/she could ever be the 100% end-all everything-another-person-ever-wanted-or-could-hope-to-want. There are all sorts of ways to deal with this reality, and jealousy is probably the most common manifestation. There are plenty of jealous 40 year olds just like there are plenty of jealous 18 year olds. The jealous 18 year old here is acknowledging her situaiton- likely among the first time she's ever dealt with these emotions- and she's asking an elder for advice and reflecting on her response. I think that is what a healthy young person should do. I'd like to think that if a 40 year old wrote in the same spirit, especially if he or she were inexperienced, that I'd be as sympathetic. But I would wonder what naivete or ideology prevented him/her from wondering those things earlier. The answer to that question for the LW is simple- she's only recently out of childhood.

In short, I think the misunderstanding here is that you are focusing on the LW's bf's bisexuality as a thing in and of itself that the LW is having trouble with and I'm focusing on the LW's bf's bisexuality as a cause of her jealousy not because she has some issue with him being bi, but rather b/c she feels she can't compete. It's likely that the two things are one in the same and that the LW needs some help to see that, which is why I said that I'm not going to be as sensitive to biphobia as someone who has to deal with it in relationships and in society. Nonetheless, some chiding and redirection from a mentor seems like it could help the LW get her feelings in order- her bf is as likely to want to fuck other women as other men, in fact it's unlikely that she will be his one - and only and we should all hope not anyway.

As for the rest of it, I really don't understand what this has to do with Dan or anyone saying someone will outgrow bisexuality. Certainly I never said such a thing. And just to be pedantic, nor did I say that an inexperienced 40 year old in a relationship with a bisexual partner should receive no sympathy. I do believe that the two situations should be treated differently, as I've explained above.
I was never suggesting that it is easy to be bi (in the past or now). Nor would I expect an 18-year-old to have a long list of sexual experiences (same sex or opposite sex). Rather, I was suggesting that it is easy to claim an identity, which happens more and more on-line for the current generation of high school and college-aged people rather than living that identity. It's a bit like saying you are a poet but never sharing your poetry through readings, trying to publish, working in a writing group with other poets, etc. Are you still a poet? Sure. But you're mostly a poet in name, which is fine. And in some sense, all of the teenagers claiming bisexuality helps expand a broader public sense of sex/gender/sexuality fluidity, which I think is a good thing otherwise I wouldn't be reading Dan's column each week.

But the gf is worried she can never compete with other men, which at this point seems crazy because the bf has not shown that he is interested in acting on his claims that he is bi. Maybe that will happen in the future, maybe not. But again, I'd take the nickel for every tumblr/FB/twitter poster who claims to be bi but will never actually act on that. And when I have all those nickels, I promise to invite everyone here to my mansion for a true bisexual party unless everyone is on their phones posting to their social media the whole time, which wouldn't be much of a party.
Mizz Liz - Don't worry; my thoughts rarely translate well into Human.

You're getting too specific; I was comparing two ways of thinking that led to certain pronouncements, not the pronouncements themselves. You present a case than an 18-year-old has very little chance to have learned life facts X/Y/Z that promote lasting relationships; Mr Savage's case amounts to people of that age being less likely to have learned life facts U/V/W that promote

[Nonetheless, some chiding and redirection from a mentor seems like it could help the LW get her feelings in order- her bf is as likely to want to fuck other women as other men, in fact it's unlikely that she will be his one - and only and we should all hope not anyway.]

I don't think I realized you were so firmly on the anti-monogamy train (which I'm sure will afford us many entertaining conflicts in future, as I am not only the gayest person here but the most monogamous), but you finally got to chiding, which is more or less enough. Your "cutting a break" could have been much more coddling than that, the, "It's okay, sweetie," approach which is distinctly matronizing.

As we seem to be in danger of reaching accord, I'll ask what your take is on the untold other side of the coin. The more I read the letter the more I feel almost inclined to give LW a Gertrude Award, or at least a sideways version of it. Could she be trying to push him into dumping her because she'd really rather be either open or with a woman? Is he secure about her bisexuality, and, if so, is that misogynistic of him not to have the corresponding fear to hers? Or should they break up immediately because the only kind of person who would stay with her for much longer would likely exploit her and play up her tendency to go heavily down the Female Socialization route?
Congrats, Venn!
Venn, I'm not anti-monogamy. Though I do think it's stupid for teenagers to pretend that they will be monogamous with one another forever and ever, and an arrangement where they do is undesirable and limiting. I know it happens sometimes without either partner feeling that they have sacrificed a lot (both sexually and otherwise) but I've never seen a case of that in real life outside of more traditional, less individualistic cultures which have their own structures to compensate for those sacrifices and to support the family. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, but it must be exceptionally rare. I don't know how you'd conclude from that that I'm anti-monogamy. I've been pretty consistent, I think, in defending monogamy here- at least I've never been one of these "cheating happens a lot so it's ok to do it" sorts. But I'm not pro-monogamy either. I'm pro-honesty. I've also been really consistent that young people should not strive to make dysfunctional relationships work, especially if they are monogamous. They are young- it's the time in life in which most people are least restricted.

Also, I understand that you are making a more general point, but since you keep pulling a specific sentence that I wrote to make that point and then generalize from that that I'm matronizing, I think it's unfair to take the sentence out of context. I love the term "matronizing" btw way. I've always used "patronizing" with both genders, but I think the two terms have different connotations and I'm going to start using it now.

I'm not going to speculate about the BF's feelings since we have zero evidence. I'm not sure what I'm missing here that is causing you to make the situation gendered and have no idea what you are talking about regarding going heavily down a Female Socialization route nor what a Gertrude Award is, straight or sideways, nor what securities or insecurities the bf happens to have as we known nothing at all about him other than he's bi but has never fucked men. Though I think I've already addressed those points. I think the LW, like most of us- men and women- is going through the process of learning to deal with jealousy and insecurity. In her case, as with most people- men and women- that jealousy and insecurity usually arises because you are afraid that someone else is going to take your lover away from you. There is all sorts of wrong-headed assumptions in jealousy and insecurity, but the possibility of your lover leaving you is not one of them. The healthier among us- men and women- figure out how to face that possibility without trying to control another person. This usually involves honesty, openness, acceptance and communication. The LW and her bf both- as young people in what is probably their first real relationship- will have to figure out what that means for them. Based on what we know about the LW, she is going to have to examine her insecurities that her BF will fuck other men and consider why they trouble her more than the possibility that the BF will fuck other women. Who knows what the bf needs to examine. Sufrat suggests he might need to examine the extent of his bisexuality. Maybe he needs to examine his own jealousies and insecurities as well. If he does not have them, maybe he can speak maturely to the LW's jealousies. I have no idea what misogyny has to do with this in your mind. As to whether or not they should break up, be monogamous, explore others together, or stay together and hold the sweet thing close for as long as they have it, will be up to them.
Venn @66: I'll decline to continue the conversation, as I don't want to be, as you say, the face of any movement; nor do I believe that "monosexuality is ... discriminatory bigotry," nor do I believe I have ever "scolded" anyone along those lines (please provide evidence if you are speaking about me specifically here). It is perfectly legitimate and OK to be monosexual -- gay or straight -- and/or monogamous. It is perfectly legitimate to be bisexual and/or poly. It is perfectly legitimate to be kinky, to be vanilla, to be asexual or demisexual. I think you've got a chip on your shoulder towards attitudes that aren't mine, so I'll decline to represent those attitudes in your fight to maintain gay male privilege.

Surfrat @68: Thanks for clarifying your comment wasn't as jerky as it first read. However, what would you have the alternative be? That young people who are experiencing attraction to both genders not have an online outlet to talk about it? That they have to stuff their feelings because that's "not normal"? Sexuality is defined by attraction, not by experience. One only needs oneself to put pen to paper (or pixel to tablet) to write some poetry; one needs at least one other person to have partnered sex, so you've made a false comparison. I'd much rather a dollar's worth of young people stated they were bi online and then later figured out they weren't than just one had to suffer in the closet because they didn't feel safe to come out.

Venn @69: Congrats on the lucky number; participation in the act it represents, as always, not required.
Ms Fan - Agreed that that is not your attitude, which is why I often agree with your point of view. It's possible that this is similar to something that came up with Ms Cute a while back, where we float in such different circles that what one of us sees as common the other sees not at all or as rare. I encounter plenty of anti-gay attitudes from the other Alphabet Soup letters; I accept that you may well see so little of it as to explain an assumption that it's not a problem.

If I wanted to maintain GMP, I wouldn't be advocating for the entire soup bowl to divorce so that you'd have a voice as distinct as mine, and a space as valid as mine, and so would all the other letters that are a good deal more marginalized than either of ours. I want to maintain gay existence, which we see under attack even here from the likes of Mx Harriet, who, however well-meaning, wants to eradicate the G identity. I also doubt I'd be half so scrupulous about not saying G when I mean SS.

I'll give you one supporting point in your conversation with M? Rat - identifying as bi and then re-aligning seems less likely to be harmful than a re-alignment from straight or LG. There was a letter to the new Prudence from a gay-bi man who'd moved and let new friends assume him gay now interested in dating a woman; the comments brought out the potential difficulties with women friends who'd assumed him not interested in women and who'd accordingly treated him differently.
Venn @73: I hope Harriet chimes in here, because I've never read them as "wanting to eradicate the gay identity," just as saying that they once identified as "gay" but have now come to embrace that this no longer fully describes them (and indeed, never did). I didn't interpret their "I don't fit into a box" as an "attack" on the box itself, just as a call for alternatives to the box. I have encountered what you may see as "anti-gay attitudes" among bi, trans and lesbian folk, in that cis gay white men are disproportionately wealthy, financially privileged, and accepted, and therefore able to set the agenda and shut out more marginalised groups. (Example:…)
I can see how, from your perspective, this might come across as an "anti-gay attitude," but from the other side it's a reaction to privilege within the alphabet soup hierarchy.
This might be totally off mark, if so then ignore or tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. But while I'm reading Venn and BDF's discussion, I'm thinking about other groups I know of that have shared strife and built community under oppression or attack. In these conditions, people develop a strong sense of identity and the community- which is literally what is keeping you alive- becomes its own thing, independent of the larger mainstream society. I've personally seen this in immigrant and refugee communities so that's different than LGBT groups, though sometimes when I hear older gay and lesbian people talking about struggles and community in prior decades, I think that it sounds very similar to my parents generation talking of struggles as new immigrants or my grandparents talking about struggles as war refugees. The thing that makes your conversation remind me of this is that the younger generation (myself, for example, in my analogy) cannot hold the same things dear or find the same sort of liberation within that community. The community becomes mainstream- the distinction isn't as great- the strife isn't the same and there are different battles and identities. You find this all the time with refugee and immigrant communities- the elder generations always feel that the younger are throwing away the things that they built up and that their community identities are disappearing as younger people embrace different things and hold different priorities. This is what some of your conversation makes me think of.

A totally different phenomenon is the current backlash right now from people who have always been in positions of privilege who are now losing it. I'm sure it feels like persecution to them. This is a larger topic, but I think it's the one that BDF is referring to here.

I don't know enough about LGBT communities to know what proportion is just the normal feelings of elders when an oppressed community moves into the mainstream and what proportion is the reaction to privilege or its loss. Probably a mixture.

Just as an aside, I did ask Harriet about his pronouns once, and if I remember correctly, he said he doesn't have a preference or else prefers male, but we could clarify with him. I hope to hear his thoughts on this conversation as well.
Emma @73: Both of your observations seem bang on the mark, to me. Yes, I'm sure it is a mixture. I remember how much more stigma gay people faced in the era when AIDS was just being discovered, when playing a gay character was the death knoll for a straight actor's career, etc. In 30+ years that stigma has mostly evaporated in all but hardcore homophobic communities. I imagine that people ANGST's age can't even envision the pre-Ellen, pre-RuPaul landscape, but it's good to be reminded that it once existed, and that the elders among us lived through it and retain the scars. Regarding your comparison with immigrants, I'm thinking of the (few) immigrants in the UK who voted for Brexit, signaling that while they deserved the chance to leave their countries and move here, other immigrants shouldn't have that same opportunity -- this seems analogous to, say, transphobic or biphobic gays and lesbians. It is useful to look beyond the apparent hypocrisy to see where these feelings stem from. Thanks for your thoughts on this topic, Emma and Venn!

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