I have known that there was something wonderful and different about me. This wonderful thing wasn’t something I reacted to – it was something that was embedded within me. I didn’t learn it because it was something I just didn’t turn on – it was always there since my birth. The only time I started doubting my authenticity was when I realized how others viewed those who were born with this ‘uniqueness’. I was gay, I was me, I was authentic but I now had to deny my authenticity because others were uncomfortable with it. So I did, until I was 21 and tired of living a lie and trying to please and garner respect from others who had no respect for me.
So what was it like to be gay? I can answer this question based on various stages and ages:
From my birth to the age of 12: Like I mentioned above, it wasn’t until I understood how people felt about those who were different, that I decided to keep my authenticity to myself. I remember how ridiculed, belittled, verbally and physically abused and harassed gay people were by those who didn’t tolerate it and only because of this, I decided to live a closeted life.
Between the ages of 13 and 20: I understood I was different, I understood I wasn’t really interested in a sexual relationship with those of the opposite sex but alas, society, peers, religion and family enforced their distaste for homosexuals. I wasn’t encouraged to live an authentic life, so I continued living a life for others and not for myself. This lie caused much inner-turmoil and created self-hatred and internal homophobia.
Between the ages of 21 and 30: I was finally free. I was in my first long-term relationship and felt I couldn’t live my life filled with lies, deception and without being true to myself. I came to terms with the fact that I couldn’t change who I was – I was born like this. I was happy with who I was and the problem didn’t lie with me, it lied with those who were ignorant and biased against me and others who were born like me. These people justified their hate and ignorance behind their religious beliefs and the stereotypes they knew to be true about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered community. I had enough.
Between the ages of 31 and now: I became more and more comfortable in living my authentic life. The weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders. If any of my friends of family had issues with who I was, I was comfortable enough to remove them from my life and allow them to deal with their own prejudices. Mostly, there weren’t any issues about my sexuality amongst my friends or family that became evident. If anyone had issues, they were never brought to my attention. I am who I am. For those who believe in religious doctrine – I am who God made me to be and if we are all products of The Maker, than the maker is gay, straight, bisexual, black or white. We DO NOT choose the colour of our skin or our eyes but we do choose what we believe.
So, what is it like to be gay? Simply, the same as it is to be straight. If being gay is a choice, then being straight must also be a choice. I am not defined by my “gayness”, I am defined by my character. I believe that my character CHOOSES to create positive change in the world, to help people who are down, to encourage people to be kind, loving, compassionate and caring – those are choices, and I would rather choose love and kindness over hate and ignorance.
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!