But in all honesty I've found that even "gay" doesn't work very well as a descriptive. It took me another 27 years to figure out why, but last weekend it all came together for me. I was at the ADF gathering talking to a man who surprised me by saying that he considered gays and lesbians to be "family". Suddenly I felt miles away from this guy. Why? Because being gay doesn't make you a part of my family in any way. It's irrelevant unless you're wanting to date me. I was still mulling over this (not out loud, obviously) when this same man asked me if Scott was Pagan. And I thought that was an incredibly stupid question. That's when the epiphany crashed down on me.
There's a difference between being sexually gay and being culturally gay.
I used to think it was just a matter of priorities, but maybe I don't really have much in common at all with most of the people who describe themselves as "gay Pagans". Culturally I am not gay. I'm Pagan, pure and simple. That's how I define myself and how I define the people around me. And this makes sense to me because a person's beliefs are a large part of who he is. They're the source of his ethics and values. Of course Scott's a Pagan. I would never consider someone as a life partner if he weren't Pagan. Sure, I'll have sex with a gay cowan and enjoy it immensely, but that (to me) is essentially nothing more than a means of getting my nut off*. The person I actually share my life with has to be somebody who, well, I can share my life with. (I'm not trying to convince anyone of this. I realize that mixed marriages are very fashionable in Pittsburgh, and that's okay if it's your bag. It's just not something I could do.) When I'm at a Pagan event like the ADF gathering, everybody there is sort of like "family" because we share a polytheistic world view. I may not like some of them (hah!) but I recognize a shared kinship. Because culturally I'm a Pagan man.
I don't feel this way about gay people. Which is good because life would get very confusing, I think, when you toss in the bisexuals and the mostly-straight-but-like-to-plays and the various other possible manifestations of human sexuality.
When it comes to sex, though, I'm pretty much gay. I enjoy the smell of a man. The taste. But maybe "gay" isn't the right word for me. People assume things. Language can be so inadequate.