Gay doesn’t quite cover it

I should have known I wasn’t straight decades ago. I didn’t consider the thoughts and experiences that made it obvious until recently. For example, I’d always obsessed over guys I liked, but I thought I was just being friendly. Now I know those were one-way crushes.

I have some physical attraction to women, but I rarely feel romantic attraction. This was confusing until I started thinking about it last year. My romantic attraction tended to point toward homo- instead of hetero-.

Since coming out and talking to friends about it, I’ve learned this is common. Most of my gay friends say they have some sexual and romantic attraction to women. Except for them, it’s slight to the point of irrelevance. For me, both can be intense, though they rarely happen at the same time.

It’s also not really tied to gender expression. I’ve been attracted to people of all gender and non-gender identities. There’s no real pattern aside from a strong preference for traditionally male features. So is it possible I’ll fall for a woman the way I do for guys? It’s possible, and I’m open to the idea. It’s just not likely.

So that leaves me with trying to decide what to identify as. Although I could comfortably identify as bi, I go with gay most of the time since it’s a political lightning rod. Since my attractions usually fall into what most people call gay, I’m most likely to fall in love with another man than a woman. So I’d really like to get rid of homophobia and legal discrimination for when it happens. For me, gay is a social and political identity:

  • It lets people know that, yes, same-sex attraction is totally real and not something made up by “liberal elites.”
  • It lets friends feeling the same thing know it’s real.

So you’re probably thinking: “why not bi or pansexual?” That comes with its own set of challenges. Aside from bi erasure, most people assume bisexuality is a 50/50 thing, and I could just choose to not chase after men and find a nice woman to settle down with. But like I said further up, that’s very unlikely because I’m closer to 5/95.

How to write a good story

Most writers: “Everyone would believe me if they just understood! I’ll write a novel to explain it.”

(this is how you get the preachiness of The Outer Limits)

Smart writers: “Why doesn’t everyone believe in my ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong? Maybe I should write a novel to figure it out.”

(this is how you get the careful examination of the human condition in The Twilight Zone)

My Facebook coming out post

I posted this last year and was unanimously and unflinchingly accepted by friends and family. Since posting it, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with my sexuality.

You may have noticed a large volume of posts regarding gay rights and equality. This was to gauge reactions. I’ve never said it directly, so not everyone will have picked up on it, but I’m gay.

The Gayest FAQ

Q: “Why do you feel the need to tell people?”

A: In general, people become more accepting of gay people once they know one. The more open people are about it, the safer the world is for people like me. It’s also really hard to date in a small town if people don’t know you’re gay. I’m left with few options: risk assault or death in the straight dating scene (bars), hope one of these guys on Grindr wants more than a hookup (unlikely), or look for referrals from friends and family (see the last question).

Q: “Why so late in life?”

A: It was easy to coast through the years telling myself it was just a phase while immersing myself in obsessive internetting to avoid having to deal with it.

Q: “So you aren’t into women at all?”

A: Nope! I tried everything I could think of to force myself to be attracted to women. Didn’t work. (note: I’ve since come to understand the difference between romantic and sexual attraction. Technically, I’m bisexual homoromantic, but gay is the closest to a descriptor I’ve found)

Q: “Is there a gay agenda?”

A: All 600 million of us meet on the first Tuesday of every month in Reno to decide on an agenda. Call ahead if you want something vegetarian at the buffet.

Q: “Is there a ‘gay lifestyle?'”

A: There are gay cultures and communities, but they run alongside hetero versions. I mostly hang out with other gay geeks and talk about games, technology, and which supehero’s secret identity is hottest. The gay bar, gay club, and gay bible study scenes are not for me.

Q: “Maybe you just haven’t found the right girl…”

A: All the things society tells me I’m supposed to feel for women are things I feel for guys. Always have. This is the real deal.

Q: “I know a cute single gay guy. Can I introduce you?”

A: Sure!

How does an electronic musician benefit from studying music theory?

Someone who learns Latin and gets to know Shakespeare might never need to speak to an ancient Roman or an oldeguy, but knowing the foundation of your culture’s language gives you tools and helps when you’re stuck.

Music theory is the Latin of music.

Knowing how chords are constructed helps you vary your sound because you know what an inversion is, or how to 7th a triad, or suspend a 7th.

That nice tune might sound better if you know wind instruments are monophonic and play a fast implied chord instead of a single note or a flat chord.

And wouldn’t you like to know how good it can sound to take the tonic from the chords on one instrument and play it with another?

You’d also like to know how counterintuitively liberating scales can be by giving you a note palette to work within and break out of.

And don’t get me started on the way mixing chord types makes it effortless to drive the listener’s emotions exactly where you want them to be. Ever heard of diabolus in musica? That’s not a band.

Et cetera.

This is how we date now, and it’s about time

The only thing worse than millennial trend pieces from older people is millennial trend pieces from millennials.

Committed, monogamous relationships were always overvalued. It just took us this long to realize it. I know plenty of people in committed mono and poly relationships, and they seem quite happy. The people who meet up with friends and have sexytimes also seem happy.

There is no problem here. The author is pining for a time that sucked. We’re better off without the pressure to throw ourselves into meaningless relationships just to fill some societal obligation.

Some screenshots from my TERA adventures

TERA (The Exiled Realm of Arborea) is an interesting little MMORPG that launched a few years ago. I just started in it recently, but I’ve noticed some interesting things. My comments are below the images, but you’ll probably have to scroll. You can middle click the images to open them in a new tab instead of the viewer.

How the United States avoids tyranny of the majority

Obviously, we have some tyranny of the majority. Voters across the nation decided I shouldn’t be able to get married, for example. But in the long run, we’re moving back to the founding principle of equal treatment under the law.

So how did that happen? It’s fairly simple in concept. The US is founded on a post-Enlightenment secular humanism that respects and tries to integrate all beliefs. All this is formalized in the constitution and bill of rights. The founders realized that they were only human and ultimately the product of their upbringing. A lot was left undone: emancipation, voting rights, marriage equality. The list goes on.

Our constitution provides three systems to help move us closer to our founding ideals:

Representative bodies. The Senate and House represent the interests of the states and of the people (respectively).

A constitutional court. The Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) is the final word when controversies aren’t settled in lower courts and state legislatures.

An executive with veto power and control over the armed forces. The president’s power is limited, but those powers they have are substantial. When majorities try to limit minority rights, the executive can step in with either a pen or a gun depending on the severity (and source) of the violation.

And by design, they’re all answerable to each other. The SCOTUS can be overruled with a constitutional amendment. The president can be overruled by a court ruling or a sufficiently large majority. The courts are jointly assembled by congress and the executive over the course of too many elections for one person to have too much control in the decision-making process.

So it’s not perfect, but it does seem to move in a progressive direction over the long term. More people in minority groups have rights today than when the country was founded.

I mentioned at the opening that it’s simple in concept. In reality, it gets complicated. There’s an enormous body of case law that informs the decisions of the SCOTUS and lower federal courts. The president can issue executive orders and the courts can’t always settle on the legality in time to matter. The House and Senate go on vacation a lot.

It’s an awful mess, but we’ve had centuries of one form of government. Somehow, it works in the long run.