Robyn Ochs, a bisexual activist, came to speak at [local university]. She talked quite a bit about the problems of trying to fit people into binary systems, when people are more complicated than that. She gave two presentations, one at the GLBT organization's meeting and one general one in the evening that a number of sorority girls attended. The sorority girls were either heavily encouraged to come or obligated to come. I think most of the rest of us were queer. Not that a certain percentage of the sorority girls wouldn't also be queer, but I don't think any were regular attendees at the GLBT organization's meetings.
Ms. Ochs had a page with three systems of categorization on the human sexuality continuum -- Kinsey's, of course, then also systems by Klein and Storm. I had not heard of the latter two, though I think I'd seen Storm's diagram before. On the other side was a simple zero to six scale for us to use in answering a number of questions. S. and I were sitting together, and he of course marked it mostly with sixes. I ranged between ones, twos, and threes. I don't think any of my answers were the same number twice in a row. Though I feel that I don't have a sexual orientation one way or another, I haven't had a really serious enmeshed sort of relationship with a woman. It often enough seems to me that I'm something of a cross between an ally and queer myself, though I identify as queer.
The next exercise was to mix up the worksheets, give them out again, and have a fourth of the group represent data points. S. and I both got worksheets marked almost entirely with sixes. I asked S. if I'd gotten his. There was a zero to six scale marked in the aisle, and the data point people were supposed to move along it according to the answers given by their people. There were a lot of people on the zero point, quite a number on the three, and three or four on the six, with a respectable spread beween zero and six. Depending on the question, some of the data point people moved around quite a lot. Someone did have mine. The first question was what number you felt you were, which was three for me. The last was what number you would ideally like to be, which I also responded to with a three, and commented, "I've accepted myself." The poor person who had my worksheet would have been moving constantly, with each question. A lot of my answers were ones and twos. Most of the data people who were pretty much at the five identified themselves as gay, and some at the four did. I think some who were ones and maybe even a few twos identified as straight.
S. was saying that he got along very well with women, and was friends with quite a few, so sometimes he wished he was more of a five. He said that what he wanted to do with women were things like going shopping, so really not so much with any spark of sexual interest in them there. When the data point people were reading the comments of why the people who had filled out the worksheets felt that way, a couple of people at the zero answered, "I like penis." We were giggling, and of course S. said that he did, too.
We talked about it more when I gave him a ride back to his apartment. S. said he'd like to be a three, but that he was a bottom. I almost crashed the car, I was laughing so hard. I had been wondering for quite some time. He'd asked me long ago if I knew if a historic figure in the gay rights movement was a top or bottom. I said that I didn't know, and added something about not forgetting about versatile, which kind of ended that conversation. I have the impression that most of the male students prefer one or the other. I also am quite convinced that it's rude to come out and ask. S. certainly doesn't act anything like submissive in public, and I rather doubt he acts submissive in private, either. I think he (along with a number of other people I know) kills the stereotype of preferred physical position necessarily matching with emotional behavior. I'll have to ask.
I enjoyed the presentations, though a good deal in the afternoon one was repeated in the evening one. I learned a few things. I expect the sorority girls learned quite a bit. I think it was quite a good educational event.