If you think about how many moments in our daily lives are about ignoring or negotiating the sex lives of straight people — from jokes about dads with shotguns on the porch, or about what’s going to happen on your wedding night, or “I saw mommy kissing daddy’s [whatever],” to how you deal with your son-in-law, to what being a grandparent is really about — and think about just how much of etiquette, social interaction, communication are about getting around the sticky subject of straight people fucking, you can understand why straight people get so weird about gay people: There’s none of that social filter built in, the sexual aspect is not blurred out like it is with straight people.
Imagine if you didn’t have that filter with straight people: All you would think about is them fucking, all the time, because that’s mostly what straight people talk about. Dating, romance, sexy clothes, losing weight, marriage, weddings, their kids… It’s always Sex, sex, sex with you people. You’ve just normalized it to the point where you see it as a safe part of culture.
There’s no assumption that gay people are doing normal nonsexual things most of the day, like with straight people, because as far as straight privilege is concerned, gay people are just straight people who have gay sex: That’s the main thing that sets us apart.
It’s why the simple answer to the dumb question How do I explain this gay stuff to my kids never occurs to the people that ask it, because they can’t imagine leaving out the sex part in their own construct of what gay people are about: You can say “Some princes want a princess, some princes want a prince,” without blowjobs coming up a single time, just like when you’re explaining straight relationships.
“Coming out” is going to keep being everybody’s business until those things equalize, and I don’t know that they ever will. But especially here — and in Pride season, when so much is written online about “these gays aren’t as gay as they used to be” — I think it’s important to think about this distinction, between socially mediated sexuality vs. sexuality-as-identity.