In defense of The Gay Agenda: Reimagining life without cis-heteros
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to live in a world without cisgender heterosexual people after all.
By J.R. Yussuf
I first heard about the gay agenda roughly 3 years ago, even though I have been a bisexual man for much longer. Apparently, the gay agenda is a mission led by the LGBTQ+ community to turn everyone gay (or trans)—especially children, who are most susceptible as they have no sense of right or wrong and their sexuality is a blank canvas. The long term goal of this agenda is to reduce population size worldwide and, eventually, extinction of the human race as we know it.
Upon first piecing this meaning together from the subtext of messages laced with fear (as I still haven’t received my briefing in the mail about the gay agenda, sigh), I thought, wow. I knew we were an ambitious bunch but I didn’t realize we were that ambitious. The end of the human race? Okay.
But after 3 years, many conversations and much processing of these hyperbolic ideas later, I am singing a different tune these days, the initial shock having worn off. I think back on all of the times I’ve entered barbershops with apprehension; or the jobs, networking opportunities and activities I’ve been barred from; or the first time I was rejected from donating blood; or the many moments at sleep-away camp where I was anxious to be around so many other boys for fear of rejection, a fear that was founded and a rejection that always eventually happened in one way or another.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this supposed gay agenda, and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to live in a world without cisgender heterosexual people after all. Even the “well-meaning allies.”
I fantasize often about how much more peace I would have in my life if cis-heteros were not in it and had never been a part of it. I would have never gone through the years of inner turmoil or torment for being attracted to more than one gender, the various forms of violence taken out on me for not being manly enough, the explosive reactions to me calling men “beautiful.” I think back on all of the movies, songs, TV shows, animations and programming I’ve had to sit through that celebrated some of the most mundane and often times toxic relationships while praising heterosexuality as the end all be all (and excluding couples where one or both partners are bi+ but appear to have different genders).
I think about the women, feminine-identified people and non-binary LGBTQ+ people who have and continue to experience things I will never be able to put into words at the hands of cis-heteros. I think back on past friendships with cis-hetero women who tolerated me because I was smart and funny, but thought of queer men overall as weaker, less than, not real men while romantically entertaining overtly homophobic partners.
I like to imagine who I would have been, the many interests I would have engaged and explored until I’d had my fill, what my style would have been like, the romantic relationships I would have had, the friends I would have made and sustained. Would my appetite for travel be insatiable if I didn’t have to thoroughly research and make sure that a new city, state, or country wasn’t overtly homophobic or had legislation that could land me in prison or dead for simply visiting? Would I have been genuinely interested in wearing makeup or skirts? Would depression ever have stalked me, had it not been for cis-heteros?
A significant aspect of the Academy award winning film Moonlight, that impacted me perhaps the most, is the theme pointing to queer based trauma as often having the power to transform someone into a person they hardly recognize themselves to be. A lopsided, bizarro analog figure they swore they’d never become. Who I am today as a Black, bisexual, feminine man has been heavily influenced by pivotal moments (not to mention societal conditioning) in my development that have left hollows behind.
Who would I have been if I were allowed the free-reign to explore and express myself without shame or violence taken out on me, and what can I do to get myself closer to a place where I feel free to explore without abandon?
I can imagine people saying there are plenty of cis-heteros who are accepting, supportive and compassionate toward LGBT+ people. But they are exceptions in a heteronormative construct that they still uphold, encourage with their other friends, and frame as normal and right when you’re not around. Most cis-heteros do not think of bisexuality as completely normal or as worthy of as much attention and respect as heterosexuality. Most cis-heteros do not see trans experiences as varied, worthwhile, complex, human and as deserving of protection as being cisgendered. Even fewer cis-heteros celebrate these things. Their unlearning happens at our expense.
Some might say there wouldn’t be many advances in the LGBT movement had it not been for cis-hetero allies who, so benevolently, come to our aide. But without the whole lot of them there would be no need for an LGBT movement in the first place. Others assume humanity’s existence would seriously be in peril under this imagined reality, but—once and for all—bisexual people exist, and are the single largest group within the LGBT community. Further, same and/or similar gender couples have and will continue to find ways to reproduce.
Given a fair chance and the resources and support that cis-heteros have hoarded from the world around them, LGBTQ+ people would have excelled in every field and done so without having to persevere through life-threatening struggles. Even much of the harm enacted by other LGBT people can be traced back to internalized trans/bi/homophobia or sexism, which is a result of the heteronormativity.
I know you can’t change the past, but it is important to imagine different scenarios for our lives from time to time. A significant part of what struck a chord among so many people who supported Marvel’s Black Panther worldwide is the way it imagined Blackness and all it could have become without the interference of whiteness and chattel slavery and colonialism. That reprieve of imagining, though it only existed for a few hours, was liberating and breathtaking and necessary and therapeutic.
It is healthy and important for me to imagine myself without trauma, without being treated like a freak, without being ignored and erased. And as an act of self-preservation and not a futile act of punishment or revenge, I have resolved to not only imagine the world around me had it not been for cis-heteros, but to eliminate them from my life altogether. I’d prefer to use my time and energy more constructively, trying to find community, instead of wasting precious moments convincing people that I, too, am human.
I realize this piece is dripping with privilege (me being in a body that has muscles and is often pegged as hetero and masculine – in part because of racist ideas around Black bodies – living in the U.S., having a job, having access to medical professionals, not living with family, being from & still living in NYC, being college educated and having more access to resources and having a larger safety net, not feeling the crushing and urgent weight of depression while I write this, being able-bodied, etc.). If you’re not in a place with an active LGBTQ+ community that is accessible to you, the amount you will have to deal with cis-heteros will be thusly increased and eliminating them from your life just won’t work for you. Though I make a conscious effort to avoid them, even I still live in a world where more than likely my bosses and people in power will most likely be white, male and cis-hetero (or people who strive to align as closely to those things as possible), whose language, references and sentiments often come with coding that is trans/bi/homophobic, or ignores us completely. I will always have to interact with cis-heteros at work, in government, at the store and at the doctor’s office or in therapy on some level, at least for now.
However, at the center of this is are the questions: Who I will allow into my circle when I’m away from these places of necessity? And, who will I allow to hold a stake in my perception of the world?
It’s become apparent to me that finding community, even if that be online or through another non-conventional medium, is vital. Seeing oneself as less than is a belief that does not end at one’s view of their sexuality, but touches every part of their being. I want to experience all of me, all of what life has to offer, and if I can’t immediately control the people in power in the world at this very moment, I can at least do so with the people I allow into my inner circle, the people who affect the way I see myself.
If the Gay Agenda includes putting on blinders to the bullshit so as to decenter heteronormativity, I’m here for it. As an act of self-preservation, I will eliminate interactions with any cis-hetero individual who is not in outright celebration of me and find community with people who have sense and are putting in the work to imagine themselves without the constraints of cisgender heteronormativity.
*Author’s note: the framework & inspiration for establishing boundaries with oppressive groups was directly influenced by “Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge, a cis-hetero Black British writer whom I think everyone should read.*
J.R. Yussuf is a Nigerian-American, New York native. J.R. deeply believes in the importance of personal power, and in addition to being an actor, is the 1st place winner of a 2016-2017 Reader Views Literary Award in the Self-Help category for The Other F Word: Forgiveness, a book for anyone who has ever struggled with forgiveness and letting things go. Yussuf maintains a YouTube channel devoted to self-improvement, emotional intelligence & forgiveness. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Best Bi Short Stories: Bisexual Fiction, finalist for a 2014 Lambda Literary Award and a 2014 Rainbow Award and Double Consciousness: An Autoethnographic Guide To My Black American Existence which soared to #1 Best-Seller in Kindle African American Poetry within it’s first week of being released, as well as Positively Positive, The Good Men Project, Escarp, Instigatorzine, and The CultureLP. Yussuf created the tag #bisexualmenspeak for bi+ men & masculine identified folks to have the space to speak for themselves & talk about how being bi+ impacts the way they move through the world. Learn more at www.JRYussuf.com