An excerpt from Gay Men and The New Way Forward
Up to this point, and for better or worse, our shared narrative has advanced the notion that gay men’s defining characteristic is that of homosexuality. We took a term that once pathologized us and turned it into gay pride. We created an entire culture and movement centered around this notion. And we are discovering that, while this idea may have once fit us, it has become as constricting as a pair of shoes that our teenage selves have outgrown.
Of all the ways that gay men differ, we come pre-wired with one core competency, which serves as the basis for and manifests within most of the other distinct gay male gifts—masculine-feminine intelligence. This refers to:
- The balance of masculine and feminine that we innately possess
- The seamless ability to invoke each as the need arises
Many gay thinkers have recognized this foundational gift. Harry Hay proposed that gay people, “May be a combination of both hetero masculine and hetero feminine, but mostly we are a combination of neither.” He termed this “spiritual neitherness.” Andrew Harvey proposed that, “In a sacred world...gay men and women would be clearly seen for what they are from birth...as people who point to an inner fusion of male and female, a holy androgyny, that all beings could aspire to.” Contemporary Native Americans’ two-spirit identity, which modernizes and reclaims the special roles played by gender-variant men and women prior to and during white conquest, honors the integration of the masculine and feminine. While masculine-feminine intelligence is an innate gift, once we become aware of it, we can consciousness employ it for greater human benefit.
Masculine-feminine intelligence usually appears at a young age. People notice it first as a tendency for gay boys to gravitate to activities more closely associated with girls. On a deeper level, however, people are responding to the more feminine energy that gay boys and men, on the whole, tend to have. Parents notice this energy, and so does the schoolyard bully. What most people don’t discern—gay men included—is that we masterfully embody both masculine and feminine traits. Because males in our culture are supposed to be only masculine, the presence of any feminine sets off all kinds of alarms, obfuscating deeper truths about us. No one notices the inherent balance we possess.
Ray is leading a retreat, Celebrating Gay Manhood, October 13-15, 2015, at Easton Mountain.