Let's Do Away with Terms Like Gay and Straight and Assign Ourselves Numbers Instead

Comments

1

How do I get a job writing content free blog posts that are ham-handed attempts to start a fight?

2

Once you've finished describing what being a 7 means to you (out of 10? Is straight 0 or do we reverse the scale? What number is non-sexual?) it seems better to do our best to keep up with the shifting landscape of identity language.

3

If Hodges understands himself, in the present day, to not be 100% straight, I don't think that demands much analysis. While he may not, as a prepubescent, been able to differentiate his 'infatuation' with his male friends along the affinity vs attraction line, he seems to be saying that there was an element of sexual/romantic attraction that typical straight boys don't share, even if they all agree that girls have cooties.

4

"On a scale of 0 to 6, I'll take a 7."

And therein lays the problem.

No matter how you label something, the label is open to abuse, ridicule, etc.

Go ahead - use numbers. Instead of gay-bashing we'll have six-bashing.

5

Katie's suggestion, of course, is predicated on the binary inherent in Kinsey's scale, the same binary that irritates trans folks if you naively ask them "well what percentage Male are you, and what percentage Female?" Applying this dichotomy to a person's desires seems just as marginalizing as applying it to the person.

But then maybe Herzog isn't on board with all that to begin with, or doesn't quite "get it" as the trans kids say.

@1 Same way you get any other job where you don't have to do manual labor: be well-connected, be a part of the same social circles as people who already have the kind of job you want.

6

@5 is right; the Kinsey scale is binary and therefore not up to current standards.

We need at LEAST an x-axis and a y-axis, and preferably something with three dimensions.

7

@2:

That's exactly how the Kinsey Scale rates sexual preference, with 0 being exclusively heterosexual and 6 being exclusively homosexual. Anyone who falls in the 1-5 range would exhibit some degree of bisexual preference, with 1 being a preference mostly for members of the opposite sex, 3 being fully bi-sexual (equal preference), and 5 being a preference mostly for members of the same sex. Measuring asexuality on the KS is obviously somewhat problematic, especially if one wants to retain the numerical systematization. I guess they could just say, "I'm not on the scale" instead.

8

"I am aware that it's not my job (or anyone else's) to define or question anyone else's sexuality"

...but let me take three paragraphs and do just that.

I realize it's not my job to tell people what they can write about, buuuut let's just... give up journalism and skip a few steps and get spit out at the bottom of the multilevel marketing email industry already.

9

@5:

That's not entirely correct. The Kinsey Scale ranks sexual orientation, not gender identity. So, transexuals could still be easily ranked based on their hetero/homosexual attraction, but it wouldn't - and isn't designed to - rank them according to their degree of male- or femaleness.

10

0 is homophobes (ie those lying to themselves about themsleves), 7+ is for homopogos (off the charts cause they're so very very special). i'm a -1 (disappointed). -2 is hemisexual (into cars and stuff). etc.

11

@9

You've misunderstood my comment. Attraction on the Kinsey is based on a binary. This binary -- homosexual/heterosexual -- is itself predicated on the Male/Female binary. On the Kinsey scale, attraction is effectively on a scale between "attracted to men" and "attracted to women," with no other possiblities recognized. And that's as marginalizing as suggesting a person must exist somewhere on a scale between Male and Female.

And just to forestall anyone who might argue ahistorically that Kinsey's scale is strictly between "the same sex as me" and "the opposite sex of me," well, that still necessitates a specific "opposite sex" for whatever one's own identity might be-- that is, it requires a binary, a pair of sexes (or arbitrarily many such pairs, which is no better). ...and really, if you doubt Kinsey's scale is rooted in the Male vs. Female binary, go read up on the methodology used in experiments that have attempted to measure it.

12

@7 There's no sexual orientation that takes more words to describe than your applaudably succinct effort to describe the Kinsey scale to me. I understand the elegance of the visual that scale can generate, but even if it were widely socially adopted we're all so riddled with footnotes I can't imagine what purpose it would ultimately serve.

13

Drowned by all the ink - real and digital - spilled across an infinite number of column inches regarding how people gender and sexually identify are the plaintive cries of people like me who identify as existentially other, which is to say, I identify as Dead.

Laugh all you like, but stop for one moment and imagine my sorrow, for which even tears cause a crisis because the dead do not cry. My own body and its many functions, which should be decaying yet continues to grow with everyy Ranch Broavo taco, is a taunt.

I can't watch the news: "After the shooting at Chop Suey, the victim was in grave condition." How insulting! Grave is not a condition, even though a lazy, cis-live person uses it as a throwaway. It is an eternal comfort, a HOME. My home is not your condition. You cannot criminalize death!

I can't go out of the house beginning three months before Halloween, unless I want to be triggered by the endless micro-aggressions of candy corn, Scream masks and Dracula (who is a self-loathing undead - don't even get me started). Streets filled with zombies? Oh HAHAHA. So funny. Not. Whiteface with dried blood and a chunk bitten out is the new blackface, and it seems like it's all just fine, never mind MY feelings. Never mind embracing difference.

Even driving is a source of endless sorrow (which SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING because I am dead, damn it!). How would you feel if you drove up to a sign that said "Dead End?" You don't understand. You don't care. You just don't.

Sometimes it seems the only person who understands me at all is Peter Murphy, and that weird Goth girl down the hallway who dresses up like Wednesday Addams. But even she can take off the make-up and put on a pink sundress at the drop of a casket lid. I cannot. I am dead. And I deserve some fucking respect. What about MY identity? Huh? WHAT ABOUT IT?

14

Even the dead can wish for an edit button: *every *Bravo

15

*Rancho

16

@13

Eh, so you identify as a samurai. Yawn. So 18th-century. ( See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagakure )

There's a whole convention circuit and everything for you, and the thousands of people exactly like you.

17

Wear numbers on your clothing, like the star of David, so we know who you are.

18

@17 - harsh and gross. Think about your words, please.

19

Herzog explained in a single snarky comment why numbering wouldn't work: 7 on a 0-6 scale indicates we'll enjoy self-labeled uber-queers numbering themselves 1,000,000, uber-hets -1,000.000, and 2s-to-5s will still get their/our asses kicked.

What a time to be alive!

20

a -3 is a yarnactual, someone wholly embodied who likes to knit.

22

GUIDS are the answer.

23

There are two kinds of people: those who believe in binaries and

24

I disagree with this because I think anyone who would be well-served by the Kinsey scale is already pretty well-served by the current acceptable terms. I am not. I label myself gay, but I am attracted to genderqueer people, enbies, trans women, etc in addition to males. Without malice, cis women have never put my sexual fire. How would it be appropriate to label myself a 5 rather than a 6 on the scale when we're talking about a scale between two groups, one of which I'm not into, the other of which I am totally into but which does not in itself constitute the full range of my attractions?

The Kinsey scale is an improvement over the nuance-less straight-bi-gay trichotomy, but now, after genderqueering has become common or semi-common knowledge, the scale is outdated. Asexuals already added another dimension ages ago.

I get the impulse to want labels, more than most people, but we are past the point where easy answers will do.

25

*lit, excuse the autocorrect.

As for where I fall on the Kinsey scale, give me some time on Wolfram alpha and maybe I can come up with a graph which satisfies my terms. In the future we're all going to have to earn doctorates in topology to be able to communicate successfully. Might as well start now.

26

OK, we need everybody to take off all their clothes and step on the Herzog Scale.

The questions is one of protocol: Singly? In groups? Or en masse?

28

26

You guys are wearing clothes?!

29

-5 to -7 is the luminescent/rainbow body people. 4d beings are perhaps -8 or beyond. -4 is also a mystery. this is all according to kinsey btw, it's a fact get over it.

30

@29 it is written in the Diamond Sutra II: Sunyata Nights that the Sakyamuni Buddha was listed as a 108 on the Kinsey scale. So great was his homosexuality that upon seeing a monk, he would get so divinely hard that it would extend across the river of rebirth to the other shore, then double back and cross it again. In this manner, many monks were able to run across it to get to nirvana.

31

@30 yep, it's a well-established scientific scale, and why you read in for instance the avadānaśātaka:
Therefore, oh monks, is the fruit of wholly dark deeds wholly dark; that of wholly white deeds is wholly white; that of mixed deeds is mixed, wherefore, oh monks, you shall abandon the dark and the mixed deeds and take your pleasure only in fair acts.

in fact it's also why the buddha's wink is said to penetrate amd remove suffering through all the realms- "buddha is hella gay" as kinsey himself remarked.

32

I am prepared to consider Ms Herzog a consummate authority on the L, but ask her in exchange to leave the G alone.

33

@24/25:

Okay, I get where you're coming from, and yes, the KS isn't really designed to address this level of nuance, as you point out. Maybe we need something more along the lines of an x-y-z axis, with sexual attraction on one line, gender identity on another, and gender expression on a third, and refined to make a clearer distinction between progressions on each axis.

So, we'd all end up with three numbers - a little tricky to parse out on a first date, but not totally unmanageable.

34

There is also the possibility of not thrusting anybody's sexuality, gender, and/or expression into a code, a number, or a word. I suppose this would involve people actually getting to know one another, which I agree is highly problematical. Must be.

35

@33

Even then, you'd run afoul of those who object to any sort of classification of gender and/or sexuality to begin with. It's not an uncommon position, you'll encounter it frequently once you start listening more closely to trans activist community and the various arguments they're making.

36

@34 No, this label-free world will not do. I say this unironically and without sarcasm, desoite being someone for whom labels are not enough (like everyone), I champion labels. Labels are considerably important in people's identities. The act of taking on a label is important. It is important to remove them, absolutely! We should not consider labels more than total shorthands that cannot be all correct or even more than a very crude approximation. Nevertheless, it can lend a sense of belonging and understanding for people to accept labels they once rejected, especially sexually.

We will not be able to communicate well about these things without some common language. That means labels, sorry to say. Whether they fail at being complete is obvious, they fail hard. That isn't reason enough to throw them out completely, though.

37

@34
I disagree.

For a lot of people(I’d say almost everyone) they want to be able to figure out if someone is the type of person they want to get to know quickly and the boundaries for that association.

You don’t want to waste your time getting to know someone when they don’t fit what you are looking for, especially if what you are looking for is pretty specific.

Labels allow people to quickly weed out the people who don’t fit your criteria whether it be the label of straight, gay, cis, trans, socialist, or Trump republican.

38

@31 "Subhottie, I will declare a truth to you. If a good man filled over ten thousand galaxies of worlds with sex toys for each grain of sand in all those Ganges rivers, and stuffed them all away in a cute guy for the purpose of compassion, charity and giving it real good, would this man not gain great merit and spread much happenis?”

Subhottie replied, “Very much so, Most Homo-ed One.”

“Subhottie, if after studying and observing even a single stanza of my Grindr profile, another person were to explain it to others, the toe-curling climax that would result from this virtuous act would be far greater."

39

@36, @37 -- Yes, labels can be useful and they can save time. What bothers me about the labeling (besides its recent baroque efflorescence into absurdity) is that it's imposed on people, either by themselves or others, as some kind of permanent, inherent quality. Labels are not the person, and they can't possibly cover the organic, labile, ever-changing processes of sexuality (about which we don't seem to know much anyway), to say nothing of how more abstract dimensions of sexuality, like gender, are performed. I would say: if you want to wear a label today, fine; if not, fine; if it's a different label tomorrow, also fine. Don't push one on somebody else, or require them to assume one. Let's not fetishize our labels. They are not us; they're something we choose to wear.

40

@24, 25 I love the idea of mathematical complexity for clear communication, but never thought topology would be the medium.

41

@39 It may be the case that it is not my business how someone labels themselves, but it is certainly my business whether or not I'm going to interact with someone differently as a result. If I think a guy is also queer due to his labels, I may socialize with him differently than if I thought he was straight. If he claims to be straight after doing a very not-straight thing, I am well within my rights to adjust my views based on that information. Labels map behavior rather than vice-versa, but labeling is itself a behavior. If that behavior is particularly outside the bounds of honesty, am I being cruel by assuming that reflects on the person?

42

@38 "Then he, Wonderous Buttocks of Virtuous Nature, bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee on his lotus flower seat, and joined his palms. Intent upon facing the Turgidaka, he spoke in verse:

Great wisdom arising from the Virtue of true Turgidity, he arrives again and again on the opposite shore,
As equal of all Turgidaka past, present, and future.
Hence I now make reverent obeisance.

Having realized that dongas have no appearance,
He displays His wondrous uprightness in a sublime body.
He emits a thousand beams of taint-free light,
Entirely destroying the uncleaned troops.

Worlds in the ten directions are
Shaken without exception,
But not even one sentient being is turned off.
Such is the awesome power of the Evergoing.

Although the multitudes of sentient beings abide as bears, cubs, wolves, jocks, and twinks,
He enables them all to end their evils and afflictions.
This guiding teacher emits vast radiance.

After displaying immeasurable transcendental prowess,
His radiance returns and enters my head.

The huge multitude present in this assembly is pure,
Well able to deliver the world again and again and again,
With wisdom, boundless and untainted,
Such worthy elites have arrived to arrive and arrive.

This honored guiding teacher benefits the world,
His wisdom and vigor being immeasurable.
He now illuminates this engorged multitude with vast radiance,
Enabling me to ask for [teachings of] the unsurpassed Donga."

43

labeling is meant to be helpful but it almost always leads to hiearchies, or to extract or exclude, because they are usually made for those purposes, even if unconsciously. here herzog, following her essay against the "they" that misgenders her, lumps all homos as "gay" which is used for (buddha blessed) male homosexuals- the male is default, the female abberant.

44

This and the "They" article. You're really into putting other people (and yourself) into neat little boxes, huh?