After my success with the word “cis by default“, I would like to coin a new gender/sexuality word: moen.
A moen– named after Erika Moen, perhaps the world’s most famous dyke with a boyfriend— is a person who is in a long-term relationship with someone who doesn’t match their sexual orientation.
There are two ways you can wind up a moen. First, you might have only passing attraction to people of one gender and round yourself to a particular sexual orientation. After all, if you’re a straight man with a crush on Hugh Jackman, there’s not much point to identifying as bi, because Hugh Jackman is not going to show up on your doorstep with flowers. But if Hugh Jackman does, in fact, show up on your doorstep with flowers, the straight man might find himself having something awkward to explain to his friends and family. In some cases, a moen may find that the only member of a particular gender they’ve ever been attracted to is the one they’re dating.
Second, you may date a trans person. From the woman who doesn’t stop loving her spouse when she comes out as a trans woman, to the lesbian who likes people with estrogen-dominant hormone systems and doesn’t much care what gender is attached to it, to the person who dates a nonbinary who doesn’t want to be rounded to “boy” or “girl”, many people find themselves attracted to trans people who don’t match their orientations.
Some people might ask why moens don’t identify as bisexual. While the term “bisexual” is usually defined to be inclusive of people with any degree of attraction to multiple genders, “bisexual” typically implies a substantial amount of attraction to both men and women, and moens, by definition, do not experience a substantial amount of attraction to both men and women. Polyamorous moens may find it inconvenient to identify as bisexual, because it leads on people of their non-preferred sex. Monogamous moens may find that “bisexual” feels dishonest, like they’re implying a level of attraction they simply do not experience. It’s not like their sexual orientation has changed since they identified as heterosexual, lesbian, or gay: they just found their one exception. And they might have signalling problems too– what happens when the other women expect you to be able to join in on a conversation about whom the sexiest Avenger is? (Of course, if you wish to identify as both bisexual and a moen, that’s fine! Like I said, “bisexual” is usually defined to be moen-inclusive.)
Other people might ask why moens don’t identify as “heteroflexible” or “homoflexible”. While “moen” is certainly under the heteroflexible/homoflexible umbrella, it is a reference to a particular subtype of homoflexible/heteroflexible, as opposed to (say) people who have sex with people of their non-preferred gender while drunk.
Still other people might ask why moens don’t identify as queer. This is an excellent strategy for lesbian and gay moens, which has been widely adopted. However, many heterosexual moens feel uncomfortable identifying as queer, which is– after all– a reclaimed slur. They may feel like they’re claiming they’ve experienced oppression that they’ve never experienced (particularly if their relationship is read as a heterosexual relationship). In addition, “queer” is often an explicitly politicized term: many people feel like identifying as queer implies political positions– such as a desire to overthrow the gender binary, anger at heterosexual people, sex positivity, or anti-assimilationism– that they do not share.