These several dozen dicks form a detail from a Keith Haring work, snapped at the Paris City Museum of Modern Art last July.
Coming out. Is that still a thing? Arguably, notwithstanding a rocky start, communities in the bourgeois West found diverse sexualities relatively easy to accept over the last half-century—easier, perhaps, than accepting the full implications of gender, race or economic equality.
In our highly connected age, when we fight to keep the details of our private lives private, a public declaration of what gets our rocks off feels a little risky. Maybe even déclassé.
Nice people don't talk about what goes on behind their bedroom doors. So much of gay politics has concerned itself with making sure that bedroom door opens into a highly mortgaged house protected from estate duties through marriage. Have we forgotten we have sex?
Over the last decades, coming out has focused on the social aspects of sexuality—marriage, money, personal safety, and community. We want to weave our parners into the fabric of our economic and family life, whatever form that takes. And for that to happen, revealing your orientation is a necessity. Nobody knows it better than my husband and me.
But coming out has a personal dimension. Part of that personal dimension is erotic.
When I came out, it meant more than just being able to bring a bloke to a dinner party. Someone had given me a licence to find the world an erotically-charged place. I ogled, I slobbered, I saw immense beauty in the men around me. I found it easier to keep all this arousal respectful if I could actually talk about it, in a relaxed way, with anybody in earshot. Still do.
If you find talking about sex tacky, tough. Jane Austen didn't write the queer script, pal.
Revealing a sexless sexuality is pointless. To stay schtum about the erotic side of our queerness doesn't make the world a freer, more open, more humane place. It just announces that we're willing to conform to Puritan expectations. It's just another closet.
All I can say is that coming out—even as late in life as me—did this bloke a power o' good. Dammit, I could be horny anyplace I damn well pleased. I loved talking about sex, and I loved hearing about sex. My repartee began to sound like a gay Carry-On movie, if that's not a tautology. The smutty banter was authentic. All that applies today, too.
To queers everywhere, enjoy mental health. Coming out is a Mood Gym.
If you're in a safe place to do so, today is the day to tell the world where your libido points you. Lots of people, in many parts of the world, don't have that luxury.