Friday, June 30, 2006

If I could, would I be straight?

Hello every one! I was asked this question in one of my earlier posts by Jay: "Wait. Really? You wouldn't change a thing? If you could, would you be straight? I'm not doubting you, I am just trying to work this stuff out for myself, as well. It just seems a hell of a lot easier to be straight. And I know this sounds bad, but, hell, if I could, I probably would be straight." I've been thinking of this question since it was asked. Not because I'm not sure, I just want the answer to come out right. I don't just want to answer with one word, because I think if it's expressed well, maybe more people will understand. To be honest, this question never even crossed my mind in all my 37 years. Like I said in the other post, I couldn't understand how the outside world saw IT before I did. It was that that confused me. But that IT was just part of me. Like, I think most of you, I had little crushes when I was younger, first kiss/peck on the mouth at 5 to a female classmate of mine. My first GF at 6, we would hold hands on the school playground. Then at camp, 9 or 10 years old, I asked a friend of mine who had just broken off with a moron, if I could kiss her. She said yes. I went in open mouthed and she came in with pursed lips. lol She then told me I kissed like the aforementioned ex. lol It's right after that that I started looking at guys. Not because of the kiss, I guess puberty kicked in. I started sneaking peeks here and there at guys. Finding a Playgirl that was missed placed on the shelf at the newsstand. Guys on TV were the best because it was easier to watch. Why did I sneak peeks? Because I knew I was different. Because I was entering the unknown alone. I was not told about this side of sexuality. Did I feel lost? No. Confused? To a certain degree yes. Not because I was questioning my preference, but because I didn't know what to do. Since it wasn't talked about, I didn't know if it was ok. Was I alone? I knew I wasn't, but at that age, you don't know how to go about it. So for a while you feel/are alone. Like I mentioned, in high school people were mean and it ended up alienating me. I just figured it was best for me to be as invisible as possible. I never lingered after school. Never asked anything of anybody. After high school society left me alone. From time to time some airheads would bug me on the street, but besides that I started relaxing. I lived, a loveless life, and let lived. One night my mom grabbed my arm as I was leaving for my night class. She was drunk and told me "I know what you're hiding under your bed" I told her now was not the time as I was late for an exam and she was drunk. We will discuss this another time. Once in class, all I could see were blank pages. I was thinking, my preference is known. My privacy violated. We never did talk about it after. I then met my best friend Sandra. It's funny because for the first month I didn't like her at all. We talked about that and we laugh about it now. But after that month and a pretty big event in my family life, we started hangin' out together. We were inseparable. We worked together, spent 5 nights a week together. She would keep Thursday nights for her BF. He would sometimes come out with us on Saturday. And she kept Sundays for school work, we usually spent more then half the day on the phone and then go out for some great alternative music in a gay club. I knew who I was, but never told a soul. One night we ended up sleeping in the same bed. The next day we both said, if you had I would have. I knew that if we had done something it was never going to be right/enough. I knew it would have taken our friendship to a higher level, an even closer level. But we didn't. It's ok. I love you Sandra. When I came out at 26, it was not to make me accept me, it was me saying to myself, stop caring what other people think. If they like me they like me. If not, it's ok, like men, their are plenty of fishes in the sea. They won't be my friend, I'll find others who will. I never struggled with myself. Why? Because that is how I am made, how my circuitry is. I guess also because I was never told that being gay was wrong, I was just never told. I've been seeing a therapist for the last 2 years, he was sure I was coming to him regarding my homosexuality. He was surprised that I wasn't. After a few months, he told me he knew I was comfortable with who I am. My reason for seeing him are family matters. So in the end, If I could, would I be straight? No! This is how I was made. This is who I am. I love men. Would I change a thing? I think SIX said it best: "I'd just want to be "me" sooner." Thank you Jay for your question. I hope it clears it out for you and others. If you have more questions, don't hesitate. That goes for anyone. You my great readers, if you could, would you be straight? J


Blogger tornwordo said...

No, but I remember a time in the teenage years when I wished I weren't attracted to men.

I think six's answer is excellent as well.

7/01/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

I appreciate the honest and thoughtful answer.

I hope that I arrive at the point where I can embrace my homosexuality as you do, and as so many others do. I confess that, at this point, I see it as a bit of a handicap. I know that that is not the politically correct thing to say, but it is how I feel.

I accept the fact that I am gay. I have known that since I was about 12 years old—perhaps earlier. For years, I tried to convince myself that I was bi, but in the past few years I have come to realize that that is not the case.

Perhaps I view this as a bit of a curse because I am not yet out. I am out solely to myself, and to one gay acquaintance. I have not built up the close ties with gay friends and lovers that out gays seem to enjoy. I do not have that emotional support group of gay friends. Of course, this is my own fault, because it is impossible to have this without being out.

It could just be the years of conservative upbringing in a Midwestern town have left me with some scars that will take a while to go away—or, at least fade. Sadly, however, I feel that I might feel like this forever.

It is simply that, at this point, I can’t see any real benefit to being gay. If I felt toward women what I feel toward men—my life would be a lot easier. Acceptance by society, by friends, by family. Kids if I wanted them. And the ability to walk hand-in-hand with the one I loved down any street in the country and not feel self-conscious. What is that worth? What an amazing feeling that must be—to not be self-conscious at all about the gender of your partner. And I think any gay person, no matter how “out” they are, is still going to feel self-conscious at times about being gay. And, perhaps, just a bit of shame. Maybe not if you are living in West Hollywood or South Beach, but just take a trip to America’s “heartland”, and I am sure it will all come back.

In the end, though, this is how I am. And, I accept that this is how God made me.

Thank you so much for the trouble of responding. You have given me a lot to think about.

With gratitude,


7/01/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gray said...

A thought provoking post, Joel. Thanks for your honesty!

The following might seem *brutal." I beg your forgiveness before I even begin to type it! But, for some reason (correct me if I'm wrong) I have drawn a picture of you in my mind: because the other kids made fun of you all through school, I get the feeling that you were "effeminate" in ways or mannerisms, right? Were you in a single parent home? Was religion low on the totem pole for you?

Please forgive the harsh questions; truly, I do *NOT* mean to offend. It's just that *that* is the picture I have and if my "picture" is correct then that helps me understand further.

You have been to my blog and have made some very nice comments. By reading it I am sure that you have noticed that Jay and I have similar views on this subject! I even think that I could have written what he just did (with a few changes here and there).

My Midwestern/Southern upbringing, the emphasis on religion, and the prevailing "be-a-man" attitude (together with loving, but distant, male role models) can really *grind* a guy down! There has to be a reason why it is so very, very hard for some of us to get through this!

If I could have (even 20 years ago) been straight I would have jumped at it! I probably still would. But, seeing as I have been "Half Out" for the last 23 years (only a "Quarter, or Less, Out" before that), now all I want is to be comfortable with myself more than I am. Like I said to you before, it's hell to be alone at 58 years of age.

Ok. That's all. Sorry to run on for so long.

7/01/2006 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

I don't blame religion, though, for my difficulty in embracing homosexuality. It is not the reason that I have had such a hard time coming out.
I did go the whole Sunday school route as a kid, and I continue to have faith. But, I don't think that the Bible condemns homosexuality--that's a long discussion, but I stand by it. I will even take the next step and say that I think I am perhaps being sinful by not embracing my homosexuality, because by staying in the closet, I am not permitting myself to fully love, and be loved. That's a long topic that I won't go into here.
I blame, though, the environment, the culture, that I was raised in. The, as you describe it, "be a man" attitude. And, as a gay man, I guess I feel, at times, that I am less than a man. I hate admitting that. I really do. I wish I could just shout out that I am so happy to be gay. And, maybe, that day will come.
Right now, I do view it as a burden. It is one that I accept. I think that we are all given burdens in life, and that we grow from them. Life is not supposed to be trouble-free. We are here, I believe, to grow spiritually, and we grow when we are tested, when we are burdenned.

7/01/2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Jeez, that comes off preachy, which wasn't the goal.

7/01/2006 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Sorted Lives said...

Probably not, because I wouldn't be the same person. I am neither proud nor embarrassed that I am gay. I am proud of what life has given me,the accomplishments I have made, and who I have become.

7/02/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I had similar questions asked of me on my blog during my Whadda ya Want mother asked if I had kids if I would want them not to be gay and another asked how my parents may have done things different to help my coming out...

Being gay is not a choice, it is who we are and I lived the str8 life...slept with many women, but at the same time I was messing around with men and eventually realized who I was (9/11 played a big part in my awakening)...I feel fortunate to be living in a time when things are a little more accepted and I think tides are turning to be even more accepting...having been on both sides of the fence...I am happy on the side that I am on now, and really haven't been happier in my life...

Have a great weekend

7/02/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Spider said...

I am not a gay man - just a man who happens to be gay... I am neither proud nor ashamed of who I am - I am a hard working, caring man who happens to be attracted to other men... I try not to let my sexuality define who I am. Do I like being gay - I guess so, I have never experienced the alternative...

7/02/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

I agree with Spiders out look on this. I came out 2 years ago to people who when I told them said "Finally!" They already knew. My family, on the other hand hadn't figured it out.

Thanks for sharing. I wouldn't chage who I am for the world.

7/04/2006 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Thanks for the shoutout. Yeah ... I just want to be me ... because really, the only people any of this affects ... are the people I'm gonna sleep with.

7/04/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger buddha_girl said...

I'm neither male nor gay but feel an undeniable urge to comment on this post.

What you wrote is one of the best examples of honest, gracious, loving writing; the very best because it's nonfiction. You spoke to my heart this morning.

One of my dearest friends is a man who just happens to be gay. If I had a twin, he would be my counterpart.

The people with whom you surround yourself on a daily basis are filled with luck and blessings. Thank you for such a heartfelt view into you.

7/16/2006 09:58:00 AM  

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