My sister made out with one of her female friends in a club bathroom because she thought “she looked fit.” I once had a sex dream about my friend Charlotte. My ex-boyfriend told me he is attracted to young black men. Is no one straight anymore?
Part of being included in the ‘millennial’ bracket seems to be the constant questioning of all the ‘norms’ of society. One of these questions is definitely to do with gender and sexuality. Henry, a typically ‘straight’ friend of mine who works in the city told me, “I think to some extent that everyone is somewhere on the queer spectrum. I would say I’m probably leaning more towards straight, but there have been times when I’ve been attracted to men.”
I’m pretty sure it used to be a taboo for straight men to let go of their uptight masculine roles and acknowledge that sexuality isn’t as simple as all that. When my ex told me that he had been questioning things and had realised he was attracted to young black men, it was a bit of a shock. It was pretty hard to process, but none of my friends seemed to understand why. One of them even said to me, “Why are you being so Victorian?” Although I felt weird about it, it didn’t stop me finding him attractive, and I realised that sexuality really isn’t binary or straightforward.
Recently, it has become more common for celebrities to act and talk openly about their sexuality, and recognise its fluidity. Prime examples are model Cara Delevingne kissing her then-girlfriend, singer St Vincent, on the front row of a catwalk show in London in 2016 and Lily-Rose Depp admitting that “she’s somewhere on the queer spectrum”, as part of an LGBTQ+ campaign. Ruby Rose, Orange is the New Black actress says that “I feel like I wake up every day sort of gender neutral.”
When celebrities, and others in the public eye behave in a certain way, it tends to make it easier for people in general to act that way too. Seeing celebrities encouraging tolerance and acceptance is likely a contributing factor to the changing perceptions of millennials. In May 2016, a survey published in the journal, Archives of Sexual Behaviour, explained that there had been an increase in reports of non-heterosexual experiences, and a greater acceptance of people’s sexuality. According to the study, 49% of all adults and 63% of millennials “expressed tolerance of these relationships.”
John, a graphic design student and part-time drag queen said, “I’m a pan-sexual. Basically, I want to fuck everyone.” This carefree attitude is prevalent amongst millennials. In a survey from LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation GLAAD, completed at the beginning of 2017, numbers proved that our minds really are open. 7% of boomers said they were something other than straight and cisgender, while 20% of millennials say the same thing.
The generation above us does seem to have a hard time with so much talk about gender fluidity – for them, it just wasn’t as commonplace. It is an important issue for our generation, and the people of many countries have gone to great lengths to change laws, including the recent ‘yes’ vote to same sex-marriage in Australia.
Maybe it does all seem like millennial bullshit, especially when Miley Cyrus’ rainbow-filled LGBTQ+ life (and hot, white male boyfriend), is plastered across the front pages of magazines, and people are dividing their sexuality into numerical ratios (I’d say I’m an 80:20), but encouraging tolerance in every form is surely a positive. For too long, people have been faced with bigotry and prejudice, and it’s time for that to change.
*All names have been changed for the purpose of this article.