There has been a lot of controversy over a blog post I wrote on The Huffington Post two weeks ago entitled "Are Gay Men Scared of Monogamy?" Given the response, you'd think I'd written a post called "The Gay Apocalypse Is Coming, and If You Don't Pair Off, You're Going to Die!" It sparked not only a rebuttal blog post from HuffPost Gay Voices editor Noah Michelson but a segment on HuffPost Live dealing with the issue, not to mention a menagerie of mean tweets and angry comments that have just left me wondering what all the fuss is about.
I've written three books, two of which have been published and reviewed, and I have had wonderful success with them over the past few years. Having said that, I am no stranger to criticism -- this is 2013, after all -- and with the Internet being the way that it is, anyone with a computer and a thought has the right to voice his or her opinion, because we live in an age where we are told that every opinion matters no matter what that opinion may be. I understand this and have a relatively thick skin, so it never really bothers me when people attack my character after having read something that I've written and call me fat or stupid for no reason other than the fact that they don't like what I've said -- I honestly couldn't care less. What continues to bother me, however, is when people do not retain the information presented to them and feel the need to quote me out of context.
The original blog post that I wrote was called "Are Gay Men Scared of Monogamy?" not "Gay Men Are Scared of Monogamy!!!" In it, I believe I presented a relatively unbiased look at gay relationships. In fact, to quote myself, I said:
"I honestly don't care what people do behind closed doors."
"I know plenty of gay couples who are in happy, healthy relationships who don't cheat or partake in threesomes, but I also know many who do."
I even brought in a third party to give advice on what one should do, should the question "Do you want to sleep with other people?" come up.
None of these quotations was taken into consideration when Mr. Michelson wrote his rebuttal post, "Why I Never Want to Be Just Like Straight People (Any Why You Shouldn't Either)." In it, Noah describes his case for gay men doing whatever it is that they want to do in their relationships, although he himself has "never been in [an open relationship]" and has never engaged in sex with a third party outside his relationship. Essentially, he doesn't know what it's like to be in an open relationship, so to me, it seems as though he is making a case for something he really doesn't do himself. Posing the question "Should we or shouldn't we?" does not mean we should.
He continues: "[T]he lofty goal of queer liberation, for me at least, is that everyone gets to do whatever they want as long as they're not hurting anyone else." Which is awesome. And I wish we lived in a world where everyone got to do what they wanted to when they wanted to, but unfortunately, we would have mass hysteria on our hands. I know that that is not what Mr. Michelson meant, however; people get hurt from open relationships all the time. One could love someone so much that they agree to an open relationship solely because they don't want to let go of the person they're in love with. The lines in this debate are so very blurred that there is no right or wrong answer; it's up to you to decide what you want from your relationship (not a blog post you read on The Huffington Post), which was the message I was trying to get across in my original post but apparently didn't do so quite clearly enough. I'm not right, and Noah is not right, because there is no "right."
It was never my intention to "shame" anyone, so if readers took it that way, then I sincerely apologize. I love offending people, but I never use this platform to do so intentionally. (Believe me, you'd really know if I were trying to offend you.) I know that I, of all people, cannot tell gay men what they can and cannot do in their relationships, or anywhere else, for that matter. No one can. Relationships, whether they be gay or straight, open or monogamous, are the business of the people who are in them and no one else. (After all, isn't that what we tell straight people?) As a community, we are trying to adapt the law (not change completely and become heteronormative) for the right to get married legally. We couldn't before; we want to be able to now. The definition of "adapt" is "to change something so that it can be presented in another form." And we are attempting to do exactly that in changing marriage laws. We are not trying to become like straight people.
So put down your pitchforks and fiery torches! I couldn't care less what the hell anyone does in their relationship. I have been cheated on. I have been lied to. I have been broken up with because the person I dated wanted to "see what's out there," and I am sure many of you have as well. Hell, I've written books about dating and mating. Whether you're gay or straight, it can truly suck trying to find the love of your life. But remember, as much as the gay community likes to redefine what a relationship is, there are gay men everywhere who want a monogamous relationship with that special someone, and it can happen. Everyone has the right to strive for that as well, if they want it. So here's a quick shout-out to gay men who want to be in loving relationships with another man -- without offending our friends who don't want to do that, because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, of course!
I really never had much of an opinion on the subject of monogamy, which was why my original blog post posed a question instead of stating what I believed was a fact. I'm in a monogamous relationship, but good friends of mine aren't, and we chat about it without judgment. But it's hard to start a conversation when you don't fully comprehend the blog post presented to you. It's 2013, and everyone has the right to have an opinion about everything, but before you comment on what my "opinion" is, make sure you fully understand whether or not I actually had one in the first place. Of course, I mean no offense to anyone who has an opinion about something.
However, to the person who said I was trying to shove my "Christian" beliefs down your throat, know that "Rosenberg" is a very common Jewish last name. If you are a fact checker or work in an industry that requires you to research anything, you should be fired for that comment.