Identity limited

Photo taken by Colin Tomchick
Photo taken by Colin Tomchick
Photo: 

Sexuality doesn’t define a person.

When I came out to my best friend in first year, I was worried about how she’d take it. Six months later, I was surrounded by a group of friends who loved me.

However, every time I was introduced by one of my friends, it seemed to go like this: “This is my friend Vince. He’s gay.”

I didn’t even realize at that point how little my friends knew about me.

Today, our culture is more inclusive of sexual diversity than ever, but are we allowing our sexual identities to take over who we are?

Earlier this month, VICE Magazine ran an article that posed the question: is Canada being run by a gay mafia?

The article tried to support the claim by weeding out the “gay shenanigans of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet, which seems about as straight as an episode of Glee.” The author speculated about the sexuality of notable people in federal politics, even accusing Harper’s wife, Laureen, of being a lesbian based on her alleged nickname in Ottawa: the L-word.

The author, a gay man, isn’t just guilty of incredibly shoddy journalism. He’s actively perpetuating the stereotypes that most gay communities support: a one-dimensional framework of personhood based on what makes you sexually aroused.

A few gay friends that I know, as well as myself, have at one point completely disregarded themselves or their principles in order to conform to social expectations based on their sexual orientation — common stereotypes that most agree are unfounded.

But the idea of a “gay community” itself perpetuates the notion that we’re nothing more than our sexual orientations. The concept is purely sexual and, subsequently, one-dimensional.

I am not saying that LGBTQ communities are negative spaces in the least. In July, I attended Toronto Pride for my first time and I’ve never felt more accepted.

However, communities can’t be truly inclusive if they strip individuals of qualities aside from their sexual orientation, placing them in categories that range from “L”, “G”, “B”, “T” to “Q.”

Sexual identity is only one small facet of being a human. My sexual identity doesn’t define me.

Vince is the News Editor at the Journal. He’s a fourth-year philosophy major.

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