September 11, 2017 at 3:28 pm EST | by Mariah Cooper
Tom Ford doesn’t think sleeping with men makes someone gay

(Screenshot via YouTube.)

Tom Ford thinks gender and sexuality are more complex than people think.

The 56-year-old fashion designer spoke with The Telegraph about his new fragrances, F*cking Fabulous and Noir Anthracite, and said he “hates” when things are described as “masculine.”

“If you love something and it smells great, why shouldn’t you wear it? Why can’t a man wear a beautiful peony-based fragrance?” Ford says.

He went on to share that he admires the younger generation for being more open about the fluidity of gender and sexuality.

“What’s great about this new generation is that they’re growing up in a culture where anything goes,” Ford explains. “If you’re a guy who paints his nails, that doesn’t mean anything. You’re a man sleeping with a man? So what, that doesn’t mean you’re gay.”

  • Lawrence Esser

    Wow, someone finally said it! I have had trouble for years identifying as “gay” even though I like men. I want to be able to be with a woman if that is what both she and I want. I resist being told I can never be with a woman because I’m “gay.” That just seems immature to me, somehow.

    • NORMAN DOSTAL

      Youre in your 20s right? when you fall in love with a man for the first time, youll never be able to be with a woman again-its very typical of most guys who identify as “bi” because they don’t think “gay” life is them. But rest assured, you can have everything you want as a gay man-picket fence, etc.
      Ford is very very very gay-hes just an artist who likes to stay on top of whats cool and “now”. The fluid gender stuff is silly-its great that more people are experimenting but gay is still gay and straight is still straight.

      • Lawrence Esser

        I totally disagree with you and moreover you have got me quite wrong. I’m in my sixties and had a wonderful 29-year relationship with a man who died five years ago. I still love him and always will. I think Ford is quite right about fluidity–I know what that means and I feel it myself. I do not at all identify as “bi” but I do not want to be limited to having relationships with men by being called “gay” either. I want freedom, the freedom to be with whoever I want to be, no matter the gender. Peter Tatchell has written some superb articles on this, they are worth looking up and reading.

        • NORMAN DOSTAL

          Pegged you wrong! Good job on living your life openly as a “gay” man for so much longer than most of us :-)

    • DougD53

      Then you have a warped definition of what gay means. Also, you should read up on the topic of mixed orientation marriages. You might be able to make it work for a few years but the vast majority (84%) of them end in divorce, usually between the age of 45-55. I know a bit about this because I felt the same way you’re talking right now and went through it. I’ve since mentored hundreds of men all over the country who were attracted to men but married a woman, and the lives of both the husband and wife were badly damaged. I encourage you to read “Over the Cliff: Gay Husbands in Straight Marriages” which I co-authored with Bonnie Kaye who has spent her life helping wives pick up the pieces of their destroyed self esteem after having married a gay man.

      • Milton

        Mr. Dittmer, a few points.

        1) I have read your book and appreciate your efforts to make contributions to the scholarship in this area. There is still far too little actual research and scholarship on mixed orientation relationships/marriages and LGBT and Heterosexual Spouses (or “gay/bi husbands” and “straight wives” as is most often referenced). As a person whose professional background is not in these areas or research you made a valiant effort. Thank you for that.

        2) I was a little taken aback at your response to Mr. Esser that he has a “warped” definition of what it means to be gay. Within your own text you make room for people like Mr. Esser (and myself, and others).. you wrote:

        “It is possible to be emotionally attached to someone whose gender is incongruent with the person’s sexual orientation” and “A person’s self-concept may, or may not be congruent with their sexual orientation.”

        In my reading of it, that’s what Mr. Esser is essentially saying about himself.. and it applies to me as well. You appear to be rejecting your own words unless I’m misunderstanding what you intended.

        You clearly understand the concept that many children in their youth go through sexual experimentation phases where there may be sexual play, interaction, fantasy or something where they interact with a gender/orientation in way that is left behind or rejected as their identity solidifies through maturation. Is it so difficult to believe that for some of these youth the fluidity of their emotional and sexual interactions remains a constant throughout their lifetime?

        It seems perhaps that Mr. Esser is an example of that. I can attest that I am an example of that. So perhaps it is your definition or understanding that is rigid rather than his being warped.

        2) Divorce Rates: I’m well up to speed on the the body of scholarship related to MOM, sexual orientation, identity development, and related areas.. you note an 84% divorce rate for MOMs. I am presuming you are using that statistic as noted, I think, by Amity Buxton from 1984ish. More recent studies have found a much broader range between 45% – 85%.. most of the studies have small sample sizes and weak methodology. Regardless, those are the numbers we have to work with, but, 85% appears to be the upper bound of the range.

        But, even if it were only 1% that remained in their marriages, why offer the cynicism of “You might be able to make it work for a few years but..” How about, if that’s what you both want and it works for you, more power to ya. We should make decisions about our relationships based on our own interests, desires, attractions, etc.. and that of the person we commit to. No one has ever decided to get married or not get married based on a statistic.

        3) I’m curious where you stand on bisexuality. I know you wrote that for the “majority” of people in MOMs who identify as bisexual it was a “transitional” identity. Two points on that..

        a) Just because it is transitional for those people doesn’t negate that it may have been a valid identity for them for a period of time even if transitional for some. You would have to ask follow up questions to determine if it was a valid/stable identity for them at the time or was there another reason (i.e., fear of identifying as gay, etc..). Here too, I encourage an affirmative response instead of a cynical one. Instead of “he’s just saying that because.. “, how about “that may be valid for him, the only way to know is to ask or for him to tell you..””? Research says… but each individual case is different and you have to talk to the person to know for sure.

        b) More recent studies from the CDC found that 5.5% of women and 2% of men identified as bisexual and due to reporting bias those numbers are likely higher in the real world. For those people that is a stable identity and can have serious implications within a MOM. For example, research related to MOMs has found that the divorce rate is far higher for people who identify as gay/lesbian partners. Those who identify as bisexual have much higher success rates staying in their marriage. Just thought you might want to read up on that.

        Again, I appreciate your contributions to the conversation and to generating more information. I hope you can appreciate my hoping for a more affirmative approach to all the complexities of mixed orientation relationships and especially to the individuals who uniquely experience their own identity development within their marriage and that each person should be treated as a unique individual and not as a probability against the statistics.

        Thanks much, Milt.

      • InsideGuy

        I have read your book and appreciate your efforts to make contributions to the scholarship in this area. There is still far too little actual research and scholarship on mixed orientation relationships/ marriages and LGBT and
        Heterosexual Spouses (or “gay/bi husbands” and “straight wives” as is most often referenced). As a person whose professional background is not in these areas or research you made a valiant effort. Thank you for that.

        I was a little taken aback at your response to Mr. Esser that he has a
        “warped” definition of what it means to be gay. Within your own text you make room for people like Mr. Esser (and myself, and others).. you wrote:

        “It is possible to be emotionally attached to someone whose gender is incongruent with the person’s sexual orientation” and “A person’s
        self-concept may, or may not be congruent with their sexual orientation.”

        In my reading of it, that’s what Mr. Esser is essentially saying about
        himself.. and it applies to me as well. You appear to be rejecting your own
        words unless I’m misunderstanding what you intended.

        You clearly understand the concept that many children in their youth go
        through sexual experimentation phases where there may be sexual play, interaction, fantasy or something where they interact with a gender/orientation in way that is left behind or rejected as their identity solidifies through maturation. Is it so difficult to believe that for some of these youth the fluidity of their emotional and sexual interactions remains a constant throughout their
        lifetime?

        It seems perhaps that Mr. Esser is an example of that. I can attest that I
        am an example of that. Maybe yuor definition is a bit rigid instead of Mr. Esser’s being warped?

        My last question.. I’m curious where you stand on bisexuality. I know you wrote that for the”majority” of people in MOMs who identify as bisexual it was a “transitional” identity.

        What do you make of more recent research showing a generational shift with higher rates of bisexuality being reported with each next generation (for women and men)? They are also finding higher rates of stable/consistent bisexual identity over people’s lifetime even if they were in a monogamous marriage for their entire adulthood.

    • Milton

      Amen Lawrence. There is no rule book that dictates that our various identities must be congruent with our evolving interests, attractions, explorations, etc. I have enjoyed a full life of being able to appreciate the inner and outer beauty of both men and women. How I verbally identify myself in terms of my identity for the sake of other people so they can try to understand, categorize, or classify me is merely for their understanding it is not a commitment, promise, oath, or anything else.. heck, it doesnt even mean that we agree on what the definition of gay, lesbian, straight, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender or whatever aspect of our identity we are talking about. These are merely words through which we try to understand and relate to each other. They are not a commitment to abide by any unstated expectations or rules. If those are needed because we enter into a relationship.. then we talk details. Grin.

    • Mark1115

      Ever hear of bisexuality?

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