In celebration of the beginning of Gay Pride festivities around the world and Gay Pride month, I thought I would reflect on how society viewed me as a gay male and how I felt I had to oppress my feelings towards other men – ultimately oppressing my true authentic self. First – let me say this: I don’t remember choosing my sexuality, I just remember always being attracted to the same-sex.
Here are some questions that people have asked me about my sexuality or comments people have made after I revealed that I was gay:
When did you realized you were gay?
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I knew that I was attracted to the same-sex. I always knew that I was. I enjoyed being around girls – but I didn’t feel the same way as I did when I was around the same-sex.
If you knew you were gay, why did you date girls?
Wanting to be accepted is very difficult. Today – that concept doesn’t even matter to me but as a child, teenager and young adult, who didn’t want to be accepted and fit in? I dated girls because I witnessed first hand how our society treated homosexuals – they were teased, bullied, mocked, threatened with violence and even threatened with death. I didn’t want any of that to happen to me – so I thought, my best choice would be to blend in and do what everyone else was doing. I didn’t have the strength and self-confidence I needed to be myself. I dated girls in hopes to suppress who I truly was because society was telling me that what I was feeling was against everything.
Why didn’t you ‘come out’?
See above. Also – coming out meant possibly losing your friends and family. What would I do? Where would I go? How would I take care of myself?
When did you decide to ‘come out’?
High school was tough. I wasn’t unpopular but I wasn’t exactly the football jock either. There were many guys who called me “faggot”, “homo”, “cocksucker”, “butt muncher” and “fairy” – just to name a few. They didn’t call me those names because I was ‘out’ but because the majority of my friends consisted of girls. I was envious of the kids who were comfortable enough to be ‘out’ and took my frustrations out on them by doing the exact same thing to them as what others were doing to me.
I suppressed my feelings and turned to alcohol – I was meeting guys secretly and became very withdrawn. I discovered our gay community and started frequenting gay bars and began to meet other gay people. I dated a few guys (secretly) and had “boyfriends” but I would always go back to my ‘straight’ and ‘fake’ lifestyle so that people would not discover my truth.
I was at a bar one night and ran into a girl I used to date – I girl I thought I loved for all the wrong reasons only to realized that I love her for all the right reasons. (It wasn’t a sexual thing but a very emotional one). I ran into her at a very popular bar – I saw her throughout the night but didn’t want to approach her. What would she think? How will she react to seeing me at a gay bar? We eventually connected and the issue wasn’t as difficult as I believed it to be. Being truthful to someone else was great but it was even more exhilarating being truthful to myself. This was the push I needed to begin living my true authentic life.
I met my first real boyfriend and decided to leave home and moved in with him at 21. I never looked back.
How does it feel to be gay?
The same way it feels to be straight – I have to wake-up, go to work, pay bills, etc. I sometimes fight with my significant other about the struggles of daily life. I go to the bathroom the same way straight people do, I bleed the same way, I have the same feelings, dreams and goals.
Homosexuality is a sin and an abomination.
I guess that I will wait to be judged by God. That was my old answer. Today, I simply allow people to believe what they want. They can hide their ignorance behind religion and what men wrote in the Bible. To me – God isn’t judgemental, He/She/It – isn’t hateful. He/She/It encourages love and compassion. I don’t answer to ‘heresay’ – I answer to how I want to live and how I want to treat others – to me that is God therefore I AM GOD, YOU ARE GOD, WE ARE ALL GOD. So don’t hate yourself – embrace and love yourself because, loving yourself ensures you love everyone.
Why does there have to be a Gay Pride Parade – there isn’t straight pride?
Gay people – like African-Americans, didn’t have the same civil liberties as their peers. Homosexuality is continues to be a death sentence in many countries. Gays, lesbians, transgendered and bisexual individuals are still fighting for the right not to be discriminated against in the place they work, the right to benefit from marriage and to be deemed equals in the eyes of the law as to their straight counter-parts. We don’t want to continue to be suppressed and oppressed – we want the right to live and to love, just like everyone else.
Gay Pride has become a corporate event. It gives businesses the opportunity to make money and boost the local economy. It increases tourism. It is fun and is a party. Gay Pride is also an opportunity to remember all those who have paved the way for those of us who are benefiting from their activism. A time to reflect on the bath house raids of Stonewall in New York City and Toronto. It is a time to reflect on the politicians who wanted equality and paid the price with their lives (thank you Harvey Milk). It is a time to see mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and friends unite and celebrate each others diversity. Gay Pride is a time of year to celebrate your sexuality and not be ashamed of it or your body. It is a time to celebrate gay fathers, policemen, politicians, teachers, bus drivers, business men and women, and so many others living their authentic lives.
GAY PRIDE is inclusive and inspiring. It allows others to see that we are the same as everyone else. GAY PRIDE also gives those who are living a life that I previous lived – a life of oppression, suppression, hurt and pain and make them realize that they are not alone.
HAPPY GAY PRIDE MONTH!
Together, we can make the world a more positive one!