Friday, September 02, 2011

On Being Gay

I don't think anyone who has ever read one of my books or blogs is unaware that I'm gay. But heterosexuals probably cannot appreciate how wonderful it is to be able to say it. I was raised in a world in which to be who I am was to walk through a minefield: any wrong step on my part which might make my being gay public knowledge could have had serious--and possibly physical--repercussions. I could have lost my job, been thrown out of my apartment. I could be--and was--arrested and thrown in jail (albeit very briefly) for "lewd and lascivious conduct" in a classic and all-too-common case of police entrapment. And as a homosexual, I had absolutely no protection or recourse under the law. And I was not alone; there were then, as there are now, millions like me.

But the purpose of this blog is not to be a broad overview of being gay, or an attempt to speak for anyone but myself, but rather to examine, as I am so wont to do, just what factors contributed to/resulted in my becoming a homosexual rather than a heterosexual. To me, the answer is simple: just as I was born, as are all babies, with blue eyes but predisposed to have them turn brown, I was born predisposed to be gay. While I could not define the word "gay" when I was five years old, I knew instinctively even then exactly what and who I was. And I have never, for one second of my entire life, ever doubted who I was, or wanted to be anything else, or doubted that I had the right to be who I was and am.

From infancy, the world has always overwhelmed me with its complexity, its contradictions, its infinite frustrations, and its lack of what I consider to be the most basic logic. Though I had the unconditional love and support of my family, I always felt like an outcast, and I early on fixated on those I wanted so desperately to be. Since after discovering, to my abject horror, that girls were physically different than boys, my fixation was naturally upon other boys (and later, I should emphasize for those who see pedophilia lurking behind every tree, my attraction changed to men). I've always been attracted to those I wanted to be like, who had grace and, in my eyes, beauty, and all those things I felt I lacked--but mostly those I wished I looked like.

From the time I discovered sex I, always insecure and self-deprecatory, would find a euphoric validation when someone to whom I was attracted would for whatever reason also be attracted to me. Always a believer in fairy tales and good things, I yearned for romantic love and was fortunate enough to find it a few times, a year or two here, six years there, nine years somewhere else. But romantic love requires two individuals, and it is difficult for any human being raised in a society which considers them perverts and abominations in the eyes of God to maintain a relationship, as much as they may want it.

Being gay is an integral part of who I am as a human being...perhaps a more important part than being straight might be to a heterosexual. I am proud of being gay in that it has allowed me to withstand the pressures and idiocies of the world in which I live. I simply cannot comprehend not being gay, a fact which, living in a heterosexual world, only increases my sense of alienation and not belonging.

The passage of years first robs us all of youth and any physical attractiveness we may have had, then slowly edges us out of the mainstream. This is particularly true of the gay culture, where youth and beauty are a premium. I, though never as beautiful as Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray, have found my body, if not my mind, becoming the portrait in the attic.

Yet I still, in my mind and heart, am who I was so many years ago. I still ache to be like the beautiful young men who pass me on the street without so much as a glance. It's not a matter of self-pity, merely of fact.

But unlike so many gays who find--or will find--themselves in the same position as I am now, I have the ability, as mentioned in a recent blog, to step into other worlds I have created, where I can be, and am, all those things I have always wanted to be: where I am forever young, and forever gay.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back. And please take a moment to check out for information on Dorien's  Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs.


C. Zampa said...

You are so right that heterosexuals cannot comprehend life in a gay world. We cannot. For those like myself, it's not because of a prejudice, but simply because I'm not in those shoes and it's impossible to understnad anything completely when only seeing it but not experiencing it.

As far as beauty passing...well, that's something that's just universal. And seems that whenever you mention it, I FEEL your words because you speak what's in my heart as well.

Wonderul post, Dorien. I keep telling you, and I always will. You're a beautiful man.

Kage Alan said...

Thoughtful and deliciously stated, D. I liked it so well that I submitted it to Reddit. =)