A lot of people – whether young, old, or (like me) in between – had fun taking BuzzFeed’s “What Percent Millennial Stereotype Are You?” quiz this week. (I got 14%.)
The questions were mostly fun/funny, jabbing Millennials for supposedly living at home with their parents, freeloading off other peoples’ Netflix accounts, and being averse to talking on the phone. But the quiz raised serious questions, too: Is it over-sharing to talk about your mental health issues? How much of your experience of sexuality is mediated through mobile devices?
I was born in 1980. The quiz referred to music and apps I have heard about, but have no real knowledge of. I did have to google Molly and cosplay.
One of the sex questions was especially intriguing: Do you feel like your sexuality is a fluid thing?
As a cis male who came of age just before the revolution in sexual orientation and gender identity was in full swing, the “fluid thing” really struck me.
I grew up believing the answer was no, for me and for just about everyone – regardless of age. To the extent that people’s perceptions of their sexuality changed, I thought it was due to repression brought on by a cultural and religious forces. Once those forces were overcome, people could be who they are, and so their expression of their sexuality might change. But their sexuality wasn’t fluid.
In the early- and mid-2000s, I thought being a good ally meant insisting that sexual minorities were born this way: They were created gay or transgender just like I was created straight and cisgender. It wasn’t an issue of becoming gay or bi or trans. The aim, so I thought, was to create space in church and society for people to be who they always were but had not felt free to be.
Later, I noticed a number of LGBT people and allies explicitly using “born this way” language. (The phrase which can refer to a 2011 Lady Gaga album, a 2011 Glee episode, or a 2015 TV series).