2 min

Get over your gold stars

Didn't most of us come out in order to escape being boxed in?

I have a bone to pick and it’s really old. I’m talking several years old, which in “gay time” is prehistoric.

Back when I was just coming out, I went on a date with a woman who bragged about being a Gold Star Lesbian.

Being green, I asked what she meant. She told me she’d never been with a man before; only women. Being insecure, I think I actually complimented her. Being smart, I didn’t go on a second date.

Now that I’ve stewed on it for years and years, I’m ready to respond.

The whole Gold Star thing is pretentious. It says: “I made up my mind eons ago and I’ll be damned if I ever change it.” I understand hardwiring. I don’t believe sexual attraction is a choice. But I do believe that sexual attraction is complex and that bragging about limitations one has put on oneself is sort of like bragging about getting a DUI.

I’m not judging her for having a type. I have a type… a rather specific one at that. It seems I have an affinity for highly opinionated, award-winning butch-identified (or at least gender-complex) authors who either currently reside in a rural setting or once resided in a rural setting.

But I don’t brag about this. I don’t want an award for this. I chuckle at myself whenever I think about it.

The Gold Star concept buys into the idea that there are men and there are women and that’s that. The Gold Star is a line drawn in the sand, a foregone conclusion and, frankly, a myth.

Too much good stuff gets glossed over and denied when the focus is on the destination rather than the journey. The idea that once one comes out one must somehow erase, deny, negate or pretend to be completely over heterosexuality is just silly. Sexuality is sexuality; it’s as complex as we are.

Romantic connections, physical explorations and respectful mutually consensual trysts are the foundations of sexual diversity and that diversity includes random acts of heterosexuality (or great big periods thereof).

Didn’t most of us come out in order to escape being boxed in?

Sure, the Gold Star is, for most lesbians who use the term, probably meant in good fun. It’s cheerfully territorial. It speaks to layers upon layers of invisibility.

But, for me, for most trans folks, bi folks and anyone with an imagination, really, it’s a bit too narrow.

It took me a long time to figure out what bothered me about that date and where I stand on the whole Gold Star matter and I’m cool with that.

Thoughts are like sexualities: they are journeys and you can take as long as you want.