I need to talk about something that has been bothering me for weeks.
Back in May, this article came out about women in the Hamptons who are “gay until Labor Day.” Now this isn’t a new concept. You may have heard of “gay for the stay” or “Lesbians until graduation” or any of the many terms that all mean the same thing: having queer sex and/or relationships for a period of time while continuing to hold tight to identifying as heterosexual. Now, I don’t want to tell people how or how not to label themselves, but these terms are playing an active role in perpetuating the “phase” mentality and erasing queer identities, especially bi/pansexuality.
This newest iteration has upper class straight women sleeping with their female trainers (called “pussy whisperers”) while they spend their summers in the Hamptons. Now, I’m all for good consensual pussy whispering between friends, but what irks me is that these women are perpetuating the terrible assumption that being queer is a phase. They’re trying on homosexuality like it’s the latest trend, like the LGBTQ+ community is not an oppressed group, like homophobia does not murder innocent people.
In the wake of the recent tragedy in Orlando, I can’t help but wonder when queerness will stop being a sexy experiment for bored rich people and instead will be recognized as a very real and hurting community. By identifying themselves as “gay until Labor Day” they are reminding us that we are still very much an other. They get to dip their toes in our world, but they don’t have to live our reality.
It would be incorrect of me to ignore the fact that sexuality is, in fact, fluid. It is so incredibly okay for these women to be attracted to other women, so my issue isn’t with how they identify, but with the expiration date they’ve placed on it. By defining what they’re feeling as a phase that will end with summer, they are erasing sexualities that fall in the middle of the spectrum. Bisexuality (attraction to two genders, usually men and women) and pansexuality (attraction to all genders) are two very real identities. I am not asking these women to force labels upon themselves, but I am asking that they acknowledge the existence of attraction to more than one gender.
The Observer’s article goes on to describe “female flexuality” as having a zeitgeist moment, stating queer celebrities as the catalyst for this new trend. I have to firmly disagree. Maybe we are finally beginning to live in a world that allows to discuss sexuality, but Cara Delevingne being bisexual is not suddenly making women like other women. In fact, it is this idea that it is “cool to be queer” that is directly belittling the LGBTQ+ community.
I urge you to read this article and really think about the damage “gay until Labor Day” is doing to a community that is really hurting. Being gay isn’t cool or trendy or a fun piece of gossip for your Hamptons cocktail party; it is a very real identity that is facing very real tragedy. So please, stop belittling queerness, stop erasing bisexuality, and start speaking up. That is the only way we create real change.