Wow — We’ve Already Got the “Post-Gay” Generation

Researchers find it shock­ing that 11 per­cent of Amer­i­can girls between 15 and 19 claim to have same-sex encoun­ters. Clear­ly they’ve nev­er observed the social rit­u­als of the pan­sex­u­al, bi-queer, metroflex­i­ble New York teen.

Ten years ago in the halls of Stuyvesant you might have found a few goth girls kiss­ing goth girls, kids on the fringes defi­ant­ly buck­ing the sys­tem. Now you find a group of vague­ly pro­gres­sive but gen­er­al­ly main­stream kids for whom same-sex inti­ma­cy is stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure. “It’s not like, Oh, I’m going to hit on her now. It’s just kind of like, you come up to a friend, you grab their ass,” Alair explains. “It’s just, like, our way of say­ing hel­lo.” These teenagers don’t feel as though their sex­u­al­i­ty has to define them, or that they have to define it, which has led some psy­chol­o­gists and child-devel­op­ment spe­cial­ists to label them the “post-gay” gen­er­a­tion. But kids like Alair and her friends are in the process of work­ing up their own lan­guage to describe their behav­ior. Along with gay, straight, and bisex­u­al, they’ll drop in new words, some of which they’ve coined them­selves: pol­y­sex­u­al, ambi­sex­u­al, pan­sex­u­al, pansen­su­al, poly­fide, bi-curi­ous, bi-queer, flu­id, metroflex­i­ble, het­eroflex­i­ble, het­ero­sex­u­al with les­bian tendencies—or, as Alair puts it, “just sex­u­al.” The terms are designed less to achieve speci­fici­ty than to leave all options open.

That’s my kid they’re talk­ing about. Okay, her peers. But they might as well be describ­ing her friends. I know that some of you will rec­og­nize your kids. Some of you will see your­selves. And some of you are think­ing, “They’re high, or watch­ing television.”

The author does make it clear that “the cud­dle pud­dle” is a dozen kids out of 3,000, but they aren’t alone in their same-sex explo­rations. They are, how­ev­er, the “bi clique,” and are pop­u­lar students.

I would not have imag­ined a queer clique of any sort when I grad­u­at­ed from high school in 1984. Safe­ty in num­bers? More like clump­ing togeth­er cre­ates a tar­get-rich environment!

One thing I would have thought of as a result.

These girls have oblit­er­at­ed the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” stran­gle­hold that has tra­di­tion­al­ly plagued high-school females. They set the sex­u­al agen­da for their group. And they expect rec­i­p­ro­ca­tion. “I’ve made it my own per­son­al pol­i­cy that if I’m going to give oral sex, I’m going to receive oral sex,” says Jane. “Jane wears the pants in any rela­tion­ship,” Ilia says with a grin. “She wears the pants in my rela­tion­ship, even though she’s not part of it.”

I was­n’t real­ly sur­prised to read that even lib­er­al New York kids have some issues with their par­ents affirm­ing their sex­u­al pref­er­ences. Sad­dened, but not surprised.

This part shows some progress:

To these kids, homo­pho­bia is as social­ly shunned as racism was to the gen­er­a­tion before them. They say it’s prac­ti­cal­ly the one thing that’s not tol­er­at­ed at their school. One boy who made dis­parag­ing remarks about gay peo­ple has been ridiculed and taunt­ed, his belong­ings hid­den around the school. “We’re a cre­ative bunch when we hate some­one,” says Nathan. Once the tor­menters, now the tormented.

I can only hope that some­day “dis­parag­ing remarks about peo­ple” would be an issue, but for now, I’ll take each bit of progress as a good sign.

(I’ve only been mean­ing to post this for what feels like a month.)

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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