Ask the Gay Guy V! (The next generation)

The reason I’m asking some of these questions is that over the yearsI’ve been a lurker on the Staight Dope and the threads I’ve read on sexuality, being homosexual etc a fair few people (like panache45, esprix, someone from montreal who’s name escapes me) seem well informed and not given to fanaticism.

Which leads me to more questions from our lgbt members.

How long have you known you’re gay? I’m finding the older I’m getting the more I find men attractive for some reason and while I’m not sure if I really want a relationship with a man I’m very confused by where I am in life as far as sexuality and relationships and trying to sort myself.

How did you finally come to grips with being homosexual? how did your friends react? (I live in a very small city and “Fag” is a common insult, being a “fag” in my social circles is extremely bad in a social sense as far as most people are concerned, very judgemental etc. Which leads me to being pretty quiet as far as my interests go. Girls are fun yeah but there’s a few guys out there that are just … very attractive lets say.

These sort of questions tend to be better served in either the MPSIMS forum or the IMHO forum. They are not really debates, (and are not, generally, debatable).

I am moving this ti IMHO.

For me, I’ve always known. I can remember watching an Elvis movie and thinkin’ “yeah, I want some of that”. It’s always just been a known part of me like being left handed.

That said, I’ve known people who have come out late in life and never knew. These people, at least from those I’ve met, 1) come from smaller towns where it would be perceived as frowned upon or 2) from a religious upbringing or 3) a family where expectations of heterosexuality are repeatedly pronounced.

And it can go the other way too. I have a friend who was a lesbian when I met her, she grew up with lesbian parents. When she was about 22 years old, she started dating guys and discovered she was bisexual.

She and I were just talking about sexuality a couple days ago actually. We are a bit conditioned to think very binary about sexuality. Every one is either hetero or homo. We forget that there’s a huge middle ground of bisexuality and that that middle ground doesn’t make someone 50/50 attracted to both. It could be 90/10 or 75/25. (We also talked about the fact that there’s another axis missing from the equation re: asexuality vs “hypersexuality”, which shows a person’s sex drive which definitely can very from person to person too).

Even though I always knew, I never did anything about it until I was 20 years old. This was back in 1993 and was when I first came out. Before that, well, it was a bit of a struggle. In the 1980s there was a huge non-smoking campaign going on called “Smoke-Free Generation”. Concerts were held by pop stars like The Jets, t-shirts were worn, and it was a pre-cursor to the whole D.A.R.E. thing. My father was a smoker and I had been inculcated to this non-smoking group so much that my sister and I would repeated plead for him to stop. Since this was the 80s and Walkman technology was hot, he got a smoking cessation subliminal message tape set that he would listen to while he slept.

I remember still sneaking down late at night to read the back of the packaging as it offered other types of help from weight loss to learning foreign languages. What I was looking for was a tape set to stop being gay. “Wouldn’t that be just the easiest solution for my dilemma?” I thought. Needless to say, they didn’t offer one. Wasted opportunity in my opinion until I saw my dad light up again and again. At that point, it just kind of clicked for me that that might just be a part of myself I won’t be able to change either.

Define “fanaticism”, please?

I’ve known since I was about 5. I mean, I didn’t know what it MEANT, but I knew that watching Ron Ely as Tarzan walking around the jungle 4/5 naked on Saturday afternoons made me feel all funny and tight “down there”. I had crushes on male classmates that I kept clamped down so tight the lid squeaked. And at 14, I started hanging out in local public restrooms and doing things that could have gotten me in trouble, and the older men I was doing them with into even more.

But I didn’t actually say, out loud, the words “I’m gay” until I was 18. And even then, I did the “bisexual” hedge. I’m not bisexual, but that would go down easier than a straight-out “gay”.

Coming out is not an event. It’s an ongoing process. You can’t possibly come out to everyone in the world all at once. You come out to your friends in 1989. Then you come out to your coworkers in 1995. Then you come out to a different set of co-workers in a new job in 2000. You’re always coming out, as you acquire new sets of acquaintances.

It’s actually a lot easier if you’re partnered…you can just drop “my partner and I” into a conversation about what you were doing last weekend and people either widen their eyes or shrug and continue the conversation.

Since about 5th grade which would have been somewhere around 1998-9. I was very much out in online forums like here pretty much since 2006-7 but it wasn’t until about 2009-10 that people knew IRL. I don’t know how many people suspected. I’ve had people tell me they knew the moment they were introduced to me and others have said they never would have suspected a thing.

As it stands now, I don’t really ever come out. I don’t hide who I am or engage in pronoun games, but I don’t, you know, sit people down and have a whole “I have something to tell you” thing. Mostly at this point, they find my Cyndi Lauper CDs or something and say “I didn’t know you were gay!” and I say “Red letter day in your diary, then.” I don’t see why I need to come out to any more of an extent than a straight person ever needs to come out. If people assume I’m straight, that’s their bag.

Do you ever get annoyed with certain members of the gay community for being so in your face to straights about it or other behavior?

Never. It would be unthinkable to me to be so disrespectful to the Old Guard who sowed the fierceness I reap the benefit of. Straights can learn to like it or lump it.

As long as I can remember. My first crush was in kindergarten. To be honest, I never really had to ‘come to grips’ with it, because it always just was.

It makes it hard for me to relate to people who say they didn’t know and are finding out that they are interested in the same sex later in life. I’ve heard people say that sexuality is fluid, but since I’ve only experienced being and knowing that I’m gay I find it difficult to understand.

Please explain what you mean by that so I can properly answer.

Yea, I’m a little confused by that one too. Maybe that means I’m one of the fanatics.

I find this is usually confirmation bias. People remember the one time they see a same sex couple holding hands or something and remain oblivious to the other 1,000 times they’ve seen straights do the same thing over the same time period. Along with this is the majority’s (straights in this case) tendency to expect nonconformist minorities to “mind their place.” I say “fuck that.”

Same with TV. The networks put out a couple gay shows and next you hear complaints about how TV has gone completely gay all the time, everywhere. “You can’t even find a straight show anymore!” In fact, if you totalled up all the gay shows and episodes of shows with gay characters it would be a tiny fraction of TV programming.

I’m with antinor on this. Please explain what you mean by “in your face” so that I can answer properly.

One example I can think of is gay bars in general. Since all the mainstream acceptance there are a lot more girls showing up. Not just ones that are there with their gay friend, but groups of them. Then they start bringing their boyfriends. One of my favorite little gay dive bars ends up many nights being about 50/50 gay guys to straight girls and guys.

Sometimes I just want to be around a group of other gay people and it used to be that you could get that at a bar. I personally don’t find the ‘Gay bars are so fun, so lets all start going there!’ bit to be a good thing.

C’mon guys, you know how it goes:

Straight man displays photo of wife and children in office = how cute they are.
Gay man makes passing mention of his boyfriend = FLAUNTING HIS SEXUALITY

TV audience watches actors pretending to fuck in bedroom scene = how sexy!
TV audience is subjected to seeing gay footballer player kiss his boyfriend = LITERALLY (AND I MEAN LITERALLY) RUBBING THEIR SEX IN YOUR FACE.

Straight person wishes for right to marry who they choose = civil rights, man!
Gay person wishes the same = SO STRIDENT AND TIRESOME.

Straight person doesn’t want to be subject to discrimination in the workplace for their immutable characteristics = right on.
Gay person doesn’t want to get sacked for being gay = STOP GOING ON ABOUT YOUR SEXUALITY.

Well, yeah, that’s my default interpretation. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, though, because I don’t recall this poster posting things like that and it’s POSSIBLE that he means something different. Thus, a request for elaboration.

Not speaking for him, but I know several out LG folks who think the culture of pride parades and the like is bad for the gay community (my boss, for example, who goes to the local pride parade every year but wears regular clothes and tuts at the assless chaps types.) I tend to agree with them, but not to the point where I’d concern troll over it.

I tend to feel that it’s a pride parade. You know what you might see. Is Mardi Gras or Spring Break in Cancun bad for the straight community?

The reason he and I are able to be so blase now is because of that unabashed culture. It was not proper men in business suits and combovers rioting at Stonewall.

This is a terrible question but I was so frustrated with my inability to argue that I want to be better prepared.

What happened was this: I was out to lunch with a fairly younger group of coworkers (20s to 30s) and something came up about gay people, and nobody gasped or said anything disparaging or anything, just a “some people are gay” attitude.

And then, one of them said, “but it’s because they’ve been abused as children, that’s why they are gay.” I was fairly aghast, and said, “no that’s not true; I have heard and read from gay people I know who say they’ve had these feelings since they were children, since before they even knew what sexuality was.” And I got met with anecdotal evidence of a cousin who was gay, but he was molested as a child so that’s why he’s gay, the end.

So I ended up feeling like I was fighting anecdote vs. anecdote and mine was dismissed because I didn’t have facts to back it up. What could I say next time? I want to educate people, and as I said they weren’t homophobic, or judgmental, but at the same time I felt like I let them get away with thinking gay people are damaged. :mad:

Well, they were homophobic. As you said, the presumption is that trauma is the source of gay identity.

I would guess that the fundamental mistaken belief is that a non-gay person can become gay. That belief is scary for a homophobic straight person, so they devise a situation that reinforces the belief (abused children get turned gay) and sense of superiority (they’re damaged, I’m not) but also protects their own identity (I wasn’t abused, so I’m safe from becoming gay).

That’s a tough and deeply rooted belief. I don’t think it’s something you could have fought, other than disagreeing with it. Any argument is likely to reinforce it. The only way out is when they have someone they care about whom they know wasn’t abused come out to them as gay.

Homosexual men are somewhat more likely to have experienced child sex abuse. However, this isn’t really a correlation, much less anything resembling a causal relationship (the rate among the general population seems to be somewhere between 2 and 5%.)