Dear Meg

As a sexually active activist

We see that notions of promiscuity are socially determined, and my hope is that you don’t doubly victimize yourself with standards created for another time and place.

Dear Meg
Custom artwork by Kenikenken

Dear Meg,

I’m a “semi-closeted” gay activist who has a quite active but very discreet sexual activities with other men, and sometimes I get lost in thoughts on how to make sense of these aspects of my life.

I feel a bit guilty for being a bit too active and promiscuous. Parang yung sexual life ko ay nakakaapekto sa political life ko. People might not take my political beliefs/being as an activist seriously kasi malandi ako. What does it mean to be sexually active in a politically correct way?


Dear J,

Thank you for sharing your predicament. I can’t begin to imagine how tough it is to live life semi-closeted, and then be an activist, too. By being both, you’re battling widely held views – about how you should act, how you should live, and whom you should love, among others. I’m not sure how far along you are in the journey of discovering yourself, but whatever you find, I wish you the courage and strength to be who that person is.

You’ve probably encountered this awful contradiction many times in your life: a society telling you to be yourself, but in the same breath asking you to conform to its idea of normal, which is often so limiting, so contradictory to the nature of the human experience. I think the way our species has evolved makes us boundless creatures, in that we have the capacity to imagine every possibility, to negotiate the terms of our relations with others.

As I hope you’ve realized more than most people, humans are too complex to be put in boxes. The same goes for our sexuality. But instead, we got raised under heteronormativity, or the idea that one is only either a man or a woman, and to be anything but is inferior. It’s always good to be reminded of how this and many other societal norms came to be, especially when they cause us distress.

Within communities, humans build tradition based on shared experience. We learn to dress, cook food, and build homes, in a way that speaks to our environment. Similarly, we develop moral codes that respond to collective needs. Fashion, cuisines, architecture, and social mores all must evolve to suit changing demands of survival. But they’re not always fast enough to catch up.

There is a theory that proffers homophobia – which did not actually exist in all cultures – to have been the result of a need to drastically increase a population in the context of warring tribes. They thought men must sire more children who can help fight for their village, that procreation should be the sole purpose of sexual intercourse. We know better now.

From this perspective, we see that notions of promiscuity are socially determined, and my hope is that you don’t doubly victimize yourself with standards created for another time and place.

I wish you acceptance, which is most powerful when it comes from within. I say this because in your letter, what stood out to me was not other people’s judgment, but your own. If we were in a counseling session I would ask, what makes you think you are promiscuous? What do you mean by it?

And then I’d say, if you’re not hurting anyone, and there is consent, please carry on and do what makes you happy. More importantly, do what makes you grow as a person, as an activist, and whatever else you would like to be. I would also add, from someone who is queer and dear to me, that being visible as LGBT and maintaining activism will help a greater battle against prejudice.

You ask about a “politically correct” way to be sexual. I know I’ve said so many things already, but I’m afraid I don’t have a straight answer. I am not sure that it exists, or that we should subject sexuality to standards of “political correctness,” the way the term is commonly used.

But if you mean the right way to be a sexually active activist, here’s what I believe: the ultimate measure of our lives is whether we tried to do good. In the context of a class struggle, it simply means standing up for the poor and the oppressed. If you’re already doing that, then all’s well. You’re a cool person and I’m mighty proud of you.

I hope that in time, you will become your strongest ally. That you’d be the first to believe that being sexual and true to your needs should not result in diminished respect or lessened credibility for your person. May you embrace yourself in all its glory: Your body, your ways of thinking, your passions and desires, whether or not they conform to society’s standards.

Wishing you the best of luck in your journey of self-discovery, and of learning to love yourself. 


Header photo: Kenikenken