It is Not Good to Be Gay Today

A few weeks ago while I was walking down Market street, a main thoroughfare in Philadelphia, I happened upon a group of twelve large black Muslim men, all dressed in crusader garb, who had erected a makeshift stage on the sidewalk and were loudly preaching their version of Islam to a small following.  Talking to my sister on my cell phone, I paid no attention to the group until the man with the microphone yelled “Faggot” loud enough to scare my sister on the other line.  Stopping dead in my tracks, I heard him then accuse me of “being responsible for all the ills of the black man.”  Telling my sister I would call her back, I hung up the phone and faced my accuser, who only looked me in the eye for only  a second before turning and going on a diatribe about Jesus Christ and how he was a false prophet because he preached to women.  Somewhat humiliated but still curious, I listened to his anger at the plight of his race while I scanned the crowd, catching glances my way from people whispering.  Paranoid that the conversations might be about me, I left a few minutes later, disheartened that a stranger would publically berate me for my homosexuality. 

It isn’t  that I am flamboyant, nor do I swish when I walk.  Casually dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans that day, the only thing I can guess is that he singled me out because of a visor that I was wearing with the word “crazy” embroidered on it, but still the event stuck with me for days afterward.  I wasn’t  embarrassed by the situation so much as shocked that someone could be so blatantly ignorant and hateful and yet attract so many listeners. Some would argue that it was about the man and his religion, and they would be right probably, but for me, the issue was the crowd.  How they just went along with someone singling out a stranger on the street.   In many ways, I have come to realize that it is not good to be gay today, and I never thought I would ever once say that in my life. 

For me, being gay was really the only sense of identity that I had growing up, and never knowing  a time when I wasn’t gay, it wasn’t like I had much choice about it.  It is true, I come from a background of crazy abuse, and so whether that had a part in it I couldn’t say, (although my guess would be yes), but I have met gay men who were not  survivors of any kind of abuse and so I don’t know.  Born this way or made this way through experience, the fact is that as a middle aged man I have never willingly been with a woman nor do I ever see myself doing such. Whether it be nature or nurture, I am still homosexual, so what difference does it really make?  But that is the whole point of the matter really; what difference does it make? 

It is my impression that we have really grown into a tabloid nation, and the fact that we are so preoccupied with who is sleeping with who that we are losing sight of the things that really matter.  Who you have sex with isn’t anyone’s business, just like who I have sex with isn’t anyone’s business, and as long as everyone are consenting adults, I don’t see what difference it makes.  A friend of mine used to say- “unless they are paying your bills or sleeping in your bed, they shouldn’t have a say in what you do”, and I agree with this statement.  If you don’t want to have sex with someone of the same sex, then don’t, but dictating to someone else who they should or should not sleep with is a distraction from the things that really matter, such as bettering yourself and those around you.  We all walk different paths, and it is not our place to judge each other. 

Being gay helped  me develop a strength of individuality that I may not have achieved had I not been different.  In my father’s house, it was the only part of me that he couldn’t control, and although it separated me from my peers and family alike, it also helped me explore that side of myself that, if I could have, would have at any moment exchanged for a chance at being “normal.”  I often tell  people I “burned down my closet when I was three.”   I was never able to hide my feminine nature from others, and so I was forced, as a teenager, to embrace it – having no other choice.  In doing so, I discovered a part of me that I have really come to appreciate now that I am older. 

In the small town I grew up in, I was one of the first boys  to take all four years of home economics.  I learned the fine art of using a sewing machine, discovered what it was like to baby an egg pretending to be a baby, as well as exploring the kitchen in a way that I wasn’t allowed to do at home. These skills are now are taught to both boys and girls, but at the time were primarily considered  female endeavors.    My sexuality made shop class unbearable, especially in the early 80’s in rural Iowa, but as I told my former classmates at my last reunion, I don’t really remember being bullied in school as much as ignored and laughed at.  It wasn’t like it is today, but (for the record, more than one person at the reunion came up and apologized for anything they might  have said or done growing up.  For those who are experiencing bullying today, keep in mind that everyone grows up, and generally get wiser as they age).  I was always preoccupied  with what was happening at home to be very concerned about what was happening at school, which actually served as a safe haven for me growing up.  I don’t remember really hating any of my classmates growing up, but I did feel a burning desire to be more normal so that I could fit in better.   But no one can thwart the will of God, and it was my fate to be different this time around. 

With a background of  extreme ritual abuse, which included sexual abuse, as an adult I spent a good part of my twenties  sexually acting out until I was able to calm it down through therapy and with age.  Had I been heterosexual, there is no telling how many children I would have produced, and not being psychologically stable at the time, (for no one can go through ritual abuse of any kind, much less at the intensity of what occurred in my family, and not come away from it scarred), there is no telling the damage that I would have inflicted on untold numbers of members of the future generation.  The rage I felt at the world because of the things that I have suffered lasted well into my thirties, and the fear and paranoia from the resulting  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  are still part of my everyday life.  I see people every day like my parents; people who shouldn’t have had children, and I have thanked God more than once for giving me the opportunity to avoid that.  In this way, being gay has been a blessing for me. 

I think there is a huge difference between being homosexual and living in the gay lifestyle.  I know that I might take some heat for saying this, but it has been my experience that, although being homosexual is natural, there is very little that is natural about the gay lifestyle.  Based on sex, the gay lifestyle is one that is oftentimes extremely shallow, narcissistic, and hedonistic.  Obsessed with youth, beauty, and the pursuit of getting laid, the gay lifestyle breeds contemptuous, negative, and selfish individuals, overly egocentric and often oblivious to the effects their behavior has on their lives and others.  A perfect example would be Jack of  “Will and Grace”.  Although his actions were presented humorously, in real life, his character isn’t really all that much fun. 

The gay lifestyle is incredibly lonely, and anyone who tells you different is either lying to you or to themselves.  Relationships are transient and fleeting, and the older you get, the harder it is to find a partner.  In many ways, it is harder to be a homosexual male than it is to be a woman, and there is just as much involved with regards to looks, age, and beauty.  Of course, these are my impressions about Omaha, but traveling around, and having other gay friends throughout the nation, the same kind of situations  ring  true.  I speak solely through observation, being one of the lucky few who has found himself in a long term relationship.  Asked how we did it, the answer is simple; we removed ourselves from the gay lifestyle.  However, countless others are not so lucky, and let me assure those of you who may not know this- being gay is difficult, and dating is even more so, especially today, where so many people seem to be struggling.  Years ago, Omaha passed the most comprehensive anti gay bill at its time called prop 416, showing the general consensus of what the general Nebraskan population thinks of its gay citizens, and as such, the gay life has adjusted accordingly, disbanding even further what little “community” there is here. 

Living in Council Bluffs, it has been my experience that it is best not to mention your sexuality to anyone, since you never really know how they will react.  Our neighbors have been great, but for the most part, it isn’t all that cool  to wear bright colors, to act too flamboyant, nor to set yourself too much apart from the crowd.  Unfortunately, as it has been since  I was a child, the moment I talk people can generally tell though, and from personal experience, there are many individuals here who are not as accepting as others. 

Uncontestedably, homosexuality is primarily  a religious issue for most who have a problem with it.  It is wrong because the bible tells us so.  Of course, other than Muhammad, no prophet of God even brings up the subject, and that especially goes for the main guy in America, Jesus Christ.  Sharing a prophetic vision that  love is the first commandment, I personally think it would have behooved Jesus  to talk about it if it was really an issue.  However, it has given many groups an excuse to despise and hate under a guise of protecting the sanctity of religion. 

Personally, I think homosexuality  scares people on a subconscious level because when a species overpopulates, there is a higher incidence of homosexual activity, and we are reaching epidemic proportions of people in a world with dwindling resources.  I also believe that since most of the backlash has been against homosexual men,  there is a fear associated with the feminization of the masculine that has a tendency to antagonize people.  In other words, there is more happening with this issue than what meets the eye.  Though the media has reported several incidences of individuals making inappropriate comments concerning their distaste for homosexual males, I believe that it doesn’t begin to explore the depths of resentment people are beginning to feel concerning  this issue.    More importantly, the issue is being used to polarize the population, generating hatred against gay men and making life even more difficult  than it already is. 

My  sister called me back to see if I was okay, and she told me that she had thought about it and was reminded of the 60’s when the government sent out people to give rallies that were more to divide the people rather than join them by feeding them a rhetoric of hate.  Not to be deterred from exploring the city, I passed the group several more  times that day, always curious as to why they seemed to have the crowds they did. I wondered  if these men realized what effect their words might be having on their listeners, or if they cared if it hurt or offended.   There were different speakers each time I walked by and I was not singled out again, however the message from each man was always some hateful rant, with the crowd quietly listening.  I walked away with the impression that love might move mountains,  but hate draws an audience,  and that  and it is not good to be gay today.

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