Tina Kakadelis
YA Author

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Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

Tales of Compulsive Heterosexuality: Vol. I

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Since I’m in charge here and there's nothing any of you can do about it, I'm adding a new theme to FriGAYS. I guess it's more of a sub-theme. Things will still be gay, but we'll be talking about all the times pop culture has let me down because of its compulsive heterosexuality. You may be asking, what exactly is compulsive heterosexuality? Well, dear reader, I'm about to drop some knowledge on ya. In simple terms, it's why the world sells onesies specifically for baby boys that say things like “Lady Killer.” Babies knows literally nothing. They're just cute li’l lumps that barely know which way's up or down, but somehow they know the gender of the person they want to date for the rest of their lives? It's why “boy” things are blue and “girl” things are pink; why trucks are a “boy's” toy, and dolls are for girls. Basically, gender is fake. Gender, as we know it, was created by our culture and there's literally no proof that boys are supposed to like trucks and girls are supposed to like dolls. Gender is a social construct. Plain and simple.

Fun, mind-bending stuff, yeah? Invite me to your family dinner parties and I'll tell your grandparents all about how time is fake, too.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Our perceptions of gender also segue into our perceptions of sexuality. We assume that boys will like girls and girls will like boys. Obviously, that's a lie. But think about it. When you see a little boy talking to a little girl, can't you just hear the parents whispering in the background about how much they like each other? Guys, kids are still crapping their pants and wetting their beds and you’re forcing sexuality on them? That's ridiculous.

How does this relate to pop culture? Well, have you ever watched a movie or a TV show or read a book where there are two characters of the same gender who just seem so close and you know that if they were a dude and a lady, they'd totally be married? Writers, producers, directors, etc., don't tend to see the chemistry that's there because they aren't used to looking for it. Yet you hear all the time about two straight characters starting an unplanned romantic relationship because their chemistry was off the charts. It's why gay people can use the “roommates” excuse as a cover for their relationships because people just don't think about gay relationships. The assumption is that most people are straight until proven otherwise, and most people aren't looking to be proven wrong.

This assumption is harmful to all kids. In a perfect world, we'd grow up without labels or coming out. We wouldn't assume anything about our kids. We wouldn't have expectations about the type of human they're going to bring home someday. People could just exist freely, without expectations of any kind. Some sort of utopia, huh? Alas, we’re so very far away from that.

In the grand spirit of oversharing on the Internet, my inherent narcissism, and to kick Tales of Compulsive Heterosexuality off right, let's talk about me.

I'm no stranger to this concept, since I was once an American teenager. Compulsive heterosexuality is a weird phenomenon to grow up with. I don't remember hearing the concept of being gay, in a non-vague sense, until like seventh grade. Do you know how many years my knee jerk reaction to the celebrity crush question was Nick Jonas? Nothing against the dude, JoBros4Ever, but don't you see how weird that is? I had an answer planned out in case someone ever asked me. Much of my young life was spent making sure I had an acceptable answer to questions that baffled me. Questions, it seemed, my friends knew without a problem. My friends would have crushes on boys and I'd just think that I had weirdly high standards for boys. Turns out I was right in a way.

Here's the thing; I did not have it bad by any stretch of the imagination. I had the ideal coming out experience. My family and friends were supportive, I had a roof over my head, and I still felt at ease. The reason for that, in large part I think, is because my parents allowed my sister and I to do and wear whatever we wanted. There was no "boys" part of the store that we weren't allowed to go in. If we wanted short hair and stereotypically "boy" things, my parents supported us.

Not everyone's that lucky and that's why we need to talk about it. We need representation in the media. Representation that isn't sad and depressing. (Have I mentioned that I wrote an LGBT book that has a happy ending yet?) Even though I was blessed with some of the hippest parents, there's still this disconnect from rarely seeing versions of ourselves in the pop culture we take in. Even people that aren't part of the LGBT umbrella need to see good representation to understand the people around them.

This is more of a call to action for present and future parents. Raise your kids without expectations of who they're going to marry. Let them know they're loved no matter who they love or what toys they like to play with or what colors they like or what clothes they wear.

I know that this was more of an educational post and I'm sorry about that. Learning is just the worst. Don't you worry though, next Friday we're going to talk about my first foray into media and the concept of compulsive heterosexuality. And, boy, is it a doozy. Any guesses?