“In what way is being gay a Good thing?”
Being gay is HARD make no mistake about it. Is there even anything good about being gay to begin with? Not much in my opinion. Which is why it still baffles me that in 2012 some people still believe anyone would ‘choose’ to be gay. Looking back on my relatively short life however, it seems my answer lies in how being gay has affected my life positively.
One of the earliest things a gay boy has to learn is how to blend in, pretend to like sports, girls and other such things ‘normal’ boys are supposed to like. If you decide you’d rather be fabulous, then get ready to be bullied to no end at the playground (I had my share of fabulous days and indeed got smacked around a few times too). I couldn’t even tell my parents after the first few times since their answer invariably was ‘So you let somebody beat you up? Do you not have hands?’ Eventually though I had to fight one of the bullies and he was so surprised he never came after me again. Sometimes it pays to just stand up for yourself because sometimes no one will do it for you.
Going through puberty was challenging in some aspects. For example, I would shower early in the morning or late as night in the dorms because I was so afraid all the boys would see just how much I appreciated their physical attributes. Even now, there is always this feeling at the back of my mind that I could get outed and possibly fired – these happen to people everyday. It’s one of the things that always pushes me to do my best: even if people do find out, let it never be said that my performance was less than stellar. I don’t even know if this feeling is a good thing or bad thing but glowing recommendations have not hurt my career so far.
Being gay opens your mind to the how much prejudice or discrimination really is present in the world and it pushes you to try and understand people in the context of who they are and think before rushing to judge them for being themselves or doing something that may be considered unusual. I cannot and shouldn’t try to force another person to live according to my beliefs and I shouldn’t live my life based on another person’s beliefs. I know what the heat of prejudice feels like and I would not wish for anyone else to experience this sensation through my actions. In coming to terms with homosexuality I have had to question what the Bible says (or more accurately how religious leaders interpret the Bible) and what society really says and stop accepting whatever the loudest voices around are shouting as fact.
I have gotten to meet a lot of people in my occupational and private life and it’s quite interesting that most of the people I feel who have lived and are truly living are gay. The saying that friends are the family that we choose for ourselves is so true but a lot of these guys are more than family, they are a part of me and they are the only people with whom no subject is ever taboo. I have very straight friends who know I’m gay and while they are accepting, it is just not the same thing as someone who is in this life with me, who faces the same risks that I face and who knows exactly how heavy my burdens are, who says they understand what I’m going through because they do and not because they are trying to make me feel better. There are a ton of amazing people who have changed my life (mostly for better but some for worse) and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything and I’m not just saying that. Their experiences have also given me a thirst to live fully without holding myself back.
Friends come and ago and I have lost some friends over the years, not because they knew I was gay and stopped talking to me but because they were so homophobic that I couldn’t deal with them any more and frankly speaking, my sanity was worth a lot more. Some of these people were very close to me and it hurt a lot when I realised that there was no way we could remain friends and it was frustrating to be unable to explain why. I have also lost some gay friends such as the ones that decided they didn’t want to be gay any longer and cut a lot of people off including me. In the end no one is indispensable, not even me.
Even though dating girls was fun, none of my heterosexual relationship were as amazing as what I found with another man. The thing is that gay relationships here rarely last since both one or both parties usually have it in the back of their minds that they will eventually leave to get married. So you enjoy these short periods and live in the moment for tomorrow it could be all over and you have to move on – there is rarely ever a ‘forever after’. But now I have met this beautiful soul who I am crazy about and who is interested in building a life with me, however we can do it. I know how rare and special he and what we have is and I cherish both dearly.
Ten years ago if someone had told me there was an ongoing experiment for an anti-gay pill which tasted like rancid milk mixed with bad eggs and could turn me straight if I chewed it (not just swallowed) everyday for a year, I would have run to the laboratory and begged till they used me as a test subject in the experiment. Today though I don’t hate being gay, I just hate that I cannot live how I would wish to. In accepting being gay as something normal, something I cannot change, I have also learned to accept the rest of myself, faults and all and I’m learning to love myself more and more each day for my sake. Not everyone, gay or straight, can say that.
So Clare I hope you find this (long and winding) answer interesting..