Why “Gay” and “Straight” are Social Constructs

The sexual identities of “gay” and “straight” are social constructs because different sexes have different standards for what these words mean. Males and females categorize themselves as “gay” or “straight” on a different set of subjective rather than objective or universal standards. Males tend to base their categorization on their more physical sexual orientation and females tend to base their categorization on their more mental romantic orientation. The “gay” and “straight” standards for males and females are very different, and this results in words that do not have broad or universally applicable meanings. These words are social constructs.

To prove this point for males, look at this couple: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/23/2020-spouses-presidential-candidates-1233092 . In the the United States a self-identified gay man, Pete Buttigieg, is running for President. He comes off as a straight man in terms of appearance. He has a masculine personality, he speaks in a masculine way, he served in the military, and he wears short hair and a clean shaven face. He identifies as “gay”, but he looks like a typical straight man.

That being said, his partner, Chasten is very visibly male (male physical form, suit and tie, etc) and I would assume that Pete is sexually attracted to Chasten. As I see it, Pete Buttigieg is homosexual because he is sexually attracted to males such as Chasten. That being said, when I look closely at the personality of his partner, Chasten comes off as more like a woman or as womanly in many ways, or at least to a greater extent than Pete does. His partner is a grade school teacher with more effeminate mannerisms and a more effeminate way of speaking. Me personally, I generally do not find effeminate mannerisms and an effeminate way of speaking attractive. My romantic partners tend to have masculine mannerisms and a masculine way of speaking. That being said, I am heterosexual and I am happy with physically female features. I am sexually attracted to that – the female sex – as well as things that I associate with the female sex. For example, I find a streak of the color purple to be attractive even though the color purple isn’t physically female because I associate the color purple with the female sex, but I still like it when my female partner has a more masculine personality (tomboyish, older woman, talks like a dude, offers for us to get drinks, etc).

I don’t know Pete or his partner personally, but perhaps Pete is a homo-sexual hetero-romantic if he loves those non-sexual female features (female mannerisms, way of talking, etc). Perhaps his partner, Chasten Buttigieg, is a homo-sexual homo-romantic because he is sexually attracted not only to the physical male body (suit and tie, male physical body, etc) but also to the masculine personality that Pete has (masculine personality, masculine way of talking, military service, etc).

Also, in terms of Pete and Chasten’s roles (who folds the laundry and who does some other typically male or female chores around the house), that is a separate thing. If I remember correctly, I think that Pete does more of the typically “womanly” chores in his household like folding the laundry. This might be more of a gender role than anything. I personally am not sexually or romantically attracted to gender roles like who folds clothes and who doesn’t fold clothes. But yeah, I would identify as a heterosexual homoromantic (or at least more homo-romantic than I am hetero-romantic) and when I see a couple of gay men where one of the men is feminine and the other is masculine, that makes me suspect that they are not both 100% homosexual and 100% homoromantic. This makes me suspect that perhaps one is slightly more heteroromantic than the other.

As I see it, these men (Pete and Chasten) both identify as “gay” because they are sexually attracted to males or things that they associate with the sex of male (say, a three piece suit and men’s dress shoes). The fact that one of them likes or loves the feminine characteristics in a partner doesn’t affect whether or not they identify as “gay” or “straight”. They identify as “gay” because they are physically, sexually attracted to men. That being said, let’s flip it and look at a lesbian couple and see what makes them identify as “gay”.

Imagine a couple of cis-sex, female, “lesbian” women. They are born female and wish to stay female. Now imagine that in this couple, one of them physically looks like a man with a suit, tie, and men’s dress shoes and the other looks like a woman with a curvy red dress, red lipstick, and makeup. Let’s say that both of these women identify as lesbians. That being said, one of those self-identified lesbians for some reason appears to have been sexually interested in males in some way. Let’s say it is the feminine looking one who was sexually interested in males. Let’s say that the feminine looking lesbian used to have no strings attached sex with men and enjoy it ( https://youtu.be/jtsqciPLwfU ). If a cis-sex male does this, he would probably self-identify as “gay”, but if a cis-sex female does this, she might also self-identify as “gay” or “lesbian” because she only enters into romantic relationships with women and she is only romantically attracted to women. This is a difference in the standards that cis-males and cis-females use with regards to their definition of “gay” and “straight” in terms of sexual identity. For example, the butch lesbian with the three piece suit and the men’s dress shoes might still have womanly personality characteristics that the femme lesbian finds attractive and desirable in a relationship partner. The femme lesbian (the one with the red dress and lipstick who dates butch lesbians) appears to identify as “lesbian” because of her romantic orientation, not because of what a cis-male might consider to be her sexual orientation.

I have seen this same phenomenon with an asexual woman who identified as “lesbian” because she entered into romantic relationships with other women. I would say that she is technically a homoromantic, asexual woman, not a “lesbian”. The category of “gay woman” or “lesbian” is subjective because cis females tend to put themselves in this category based on their romantic orientation (who they date or love or feel emotional attraction to) and cis males tend to put themselves in this category based on their sexual orientation (the sex that they are sexually attracted towards and physically aroused by).

Thus, the categories of “gay” and “straight” are not hard or universal. They vary based on the sex of who uses or identifies with these words. These words (“gay” and “straight”) are social constructs. These words should NEVER be used in a technical context (example: ) because technical terms should NEVER be subjective rather than objective. These words should NEVER be used in a scientific or technical context because these are not scientific or technical terms.

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