ImageWhat I’ve Noticed and Felt Since Coming Out of the Closet

The first thing I felt was hurt that my mother reacted in a negative way to me telling her that I like guys. She said a number of things that hurt me greatly. One thing she said was that I was now a woman. She said something like, “Well, I always wanted to have a daughter.” Then she kept saying how she didn’t want to talk about. “Keep it to yourself; I don’t want to know,” was basically what she said.

It hurt me because I was sharing with her one of my deepest and most personal secrets. Growing up, she used to lament continuously about how I was always so secretive. Try and try, I used to always set up so many barriers. I never wanted my parents to know me. So, the truth is, they really don’t know me, and I like it that way. But I felt compelled to tell my mom this one very personal and very important part of who I am, and I guess she wasn’t ready for that.

I don’t know why I have been so secretive about almost all areas of my life but then I wanted to tell her about how I like guys. Maybe, and I can only guess, it was because I was so proud of myself for finally coming to accept the fact that I am definitely not heterosexual.  I think part of it is also that I have often been afraid in life. I have a tendency to withdraw and hide when I am scared. So coming out and saying, “I am gay” is something that took all of my courage. I just wish she could have been more supportive.

Then there is the intriguing question of why? Why on earth am I sexually and emotionally attracted to men mainly, with only a very minor attraction to females? I am speaking about my attractions across the entire course of my life. On the Kinsey Scale I score a 4 or a 5.

ImageMy answer is, I don’t know exactly why I am like this. I don’t know if I was “born this way” or not. The reason I say that is because I first started noticing that I had same sex attractions about about the age of 10. It was definitely in elementary school. There were 2 boys in particular with whom I became totally enamored. In fact, in Grade 8 I suspected that some of the other boys had figured it out because they teased me about my boyfriend “Lamar.” Now of course, Lamar wasn’t real; however, they were right in saying that I had become extremely attracted to one of the boys in the grade just beneath me. I was so terrified that people would find out and tease me.

So for me, I first started to notice these same-sex feelings at around 10. I don’t really recall what was going on with me before that age very well. So does that mean I became gay at the age of 10 through some sort of environmental factors? I don’t really know. All I know is that one day I was sitting in the school’s office, not because I was a bad boy but because I had volunteered to help out. So I would answer the phones if the secretary was not around. And then I saw one student from the grade below me in the newspaper. They had a fairly large black and white picture of him in there. And I got all super excited. I was turned on! I loved his face; he was so beautiful. I felt guilty about it, but I then sneaked the newspaper out of the school’s office and took it home. When I got home, I cut out his picture and kept it furtively hidden in my upper left desk drawn. I felt ashamed. I don’t know why but I certainly didn’t want my good Christian parents to find out that I was aroused by the picture of a boy from the grade beneath me.

But it certainly felt good! I loved it. His face was so smooth and silky looking. He was so adorably cute. I couldn’t get enough of looking at his picture.

Then when we had school swimming lessons, I used to have such terribly prurient thoughts about these two boys from the grade beneath me.  I think I was in Grade 8 at the time and they were both in Grade 7. All I could think about was how much I wanted to see their penises, and how I hope I didn’t caught!

It seems to be something that developed in me at an early age, and it most certainly has been with me all of my life. In fact, for me it is something very important because my homosexuality seems to be one of the few constant things about me. I have changed so much over time in all the other areas. In almost all areas of my life, I am totally and completely mercurial. My political views have changed a few times. Although I was born and raised a Christian, I eventually decided to be an agnostic. Later I gave up the pretense and said that I am an atheist. I don’t believe in Jesus Christ. I do like the cult of Antinous–the gay god cult–but I treat it as a bunch of beautiful and inspiring myths. I don’t treat the Antinous cult as historical fact. But when it comes to homosexuality, I just see that as one of my few immutable properties.

This is why if for some reason there were some sort of “cure” for homosexuality–some sort of way for turning homosexuals into heterosexuals, I would not do it. If you were to somehow erase my homosexuality, I wouldn’t know who I am anymore. It is who I am. It is what gives my life a sense of constant identity. So I find the idea of “curing” homosexuals to be absolutely frightening.

Then there is homosexuality and the law. I’ve been doing some research on the nature of homosexual relationships. There is this fascinating PhD dissertation on this topic. What this investigator has found is that the relationships that gay men form are substantially different from those formed by heterosexuals. Now, this does not negate, in my opinion, the importance of treating all relationships based on love and commitment between two people as worthy of our respect. I don’t think that these differences constitute evidence for denying marriage equality to LGBTQ people. But what I am saying is that there is empirical evidence that gay male relationships are quite different from what most people on the street would expect. And I fear that the laws pertaining to sex have been written under the assumption that one-size-fits all will work.

Let me give you one example. Take for example who initiates the relationship. I fear that a lot of people would just assume that there is some “dirty old man” hitting on some “younger gay guy,” because of course the presumption is that the older partner is the “bad” perpetrator while the younger partner is the “victim.” But this isn’t the case.

In his PhD dissertation titled Male age-discrepant intergenerational sexualities and relationships, Richard Alexander Yuill collects lots of shocking data about the gay male lifestyle–shocking to heterosexuals, but quite normal to me. In fact, some of it seems to be consistent with what I have experienced with my own homosexual relationship with Zack.

Take for instance age gaps. My heterosexual parents have only one year of age separating them, i.e., my dad is one year older than my mom. But when you look into these male gay relationships it is certainly possible to find gaps of 10, 20, 30 or more years. This seems to be there. I am not saying that all homosexual relationships are like this. But what I am saying is that this certainly seems to be a component of some of them.

A large number of younger people actually go for older people as well…They just hang round the toilet area, and it’s true what M2 says, they’re mainly dirty younger men! (275-6)

 Now could you imagine if this were taken to a court of law. The older partner would obviously be seen as the “seducer” and the younger partner would be seen as the “victim.” But again, the empirical evidence seems to be picking up on the opposite happening, at least some of the time:

Rather than viewing these as initiated by older men, he identifies the practice of “chasing” whereby gay male youths take the initiative in seducing older men….A lot of people say that dirty old men but there’s a lot of dirty young men fourteen or fifteen year-old coming on to a forty year old. (275)

Of course you know and I know that the forty year old will be blamed as the seducer and charged with statutory rape if he does anything with these 14 or 15 year olds.  Now of course I would never advise that one should violate these age of consent laws. And I am quite adamant that they be followed just because of the severe legal penalties for not doing so.

Then I suspect that there is this unjustified assumption that the older gay male has all the power. I suspect there would be this assumption that in this relationships with their rather large age gaps there must be large power imbalances as well. Well, it turns out that, yes, there are power issues; however, the balance of power tends to favor the younger partner.

Res: For you as a younger gay man, was there a fear of predatory men?

Madis 7Y: Well, I never felt it! Again, it’s a balance of power thing isn’t it? The older person’s meant to have the power but I’d say in that instant the younger person definitely does, because all he needs to do is tell someone and he’s in for statutory rape and a minimum sentence of ten years! (306)

What I am trying to say, is it seems as though these sex laws were written under the assumption of “younger vulnerable female” being taken advantage of by “older abuser male.” I get this perspective from reading about why they went nuts in the last maybe 20 years with all of these sex laws. The fear was pregnant girls being a welfare burden on the state, and I guess the lawmakers feared dead-beat dads as fathers. But when it comes to homosexual relationships, I don’t see how any of this applies. There is no risk of pregnancies creating welfare costs. There is also some evidence suggesting that the the power balance (assuming again that this relationship for heterosexual sex is true, which I am not sure of) goes in the opposite direction with homosexual relationships.  Instead of the younger partner as the passive partner he seems to be the more aggressive partner because he is the one usually initiating and seducing.

In seems as though we have two related issues with age. The first is that age gaps do exist and seem to have some regularity of existing. The second is that the whole idea of “age” seems to be something that is kind of ignored. It is viewed as an irrelevant variable in this gay relationship PhD study among some of the respondents:

Madis 5X: Age for me is something I don’t really consider. (332)

Madis 2Y: I do like younger guys anyway…One relationship a year or two with a guy who was a student. He would have been twenty and I’d be about forty. I suppose it’s partly…you don’t let go of your own youth. That’s part of the attraction. What matters is personality! (334)

However, some of the respondents make it explicitly clear that when age is considered, these age gaps are wanted. The younger gay men want the older gay guys:

Madix 6X: The thing that attracts me is probably 20% their looks and 80% how men think…Very different than mine. I don’t know, their logic and all that! And I found that very attractive…is very masculine. That’s what I find most attractive about him. Most younger men are just boys really—they’re not masculine enough for me. (336)

My working hypothesis at this time is that most of these sex laws were probably meant for heterosexuals. Small age gaps are expected, as one example. Sometimes they will have “wiggle room” on these age of consent laws. But they are usually 3 year age gaps, so maybe a 16 and a 19 year old would be okay. But of course these are useless for homosexual men when we are talking 10 or 20 year age gaps as being somewhat common. Sometimes I have seen even more, 25+ years. I think the most I’ve read about was 56 years. I don’t know how common these age gaps are for sure, although from this PhD study they certainly happen many times. That’s why the investigator was able to do so many interviews!

I just get the feeling that these current sex laws are based on the assumption of “younger innocent naive passive female”–probably expected to be a virgin–versus “older aggressive super horny males.”  They seem to assume that the balance of power is with the older male and that the older male is the initiator of aggression against the “weak” female. But with gay relationships, we seem to be seeing the opposite. The younger male has all the power and he seems to be the more aggressive initiator. So it seems as though the assumptions of the laws don’t apply to homosexual gay male relationships.

Our PhD thesis picked up on this “flip flopping” when it was observed that

IND3: He was quite a mature eighteen year-old and I was quite an immature thirty-four year-old (330).

And of course, I could be wrong. That is why I said, this is my temporary hypothesis, my best guess at the moment. In other words, based on what I’ve read so far and what I have experienced in my own homosexual relationship, this seems to be a credible thesis.  So maybe gay men are being held to an unrealistic heterosexual based legal system.

I think I will stop here, go read some more and maybe write another blog some other time based on what I learn!