Sunday, September 30, 2007

Come Here Often?

Well coming out to my friends is one step in the direction I want to keep moving towards. The next one is the hard one for me, that would be meeting other gay people. My trouble is that I don't fit into the gay culture really, I am not into the bar scene and I prefer to fly under the radar, I hate attention, well not here in blog land that is, I love hearing from and meeting new people through my blog. I am too intimidated to go into a gay bar, I think I would be laughed out of there, or run like hell if someone looking similar to a member of the Village People started hitting on me. I don't see myself going up to strangers and saying lines like "come here often" or "did it hurt when you fell from heaven", I think cheese should just stay on pizza. Since all my friends are straight, there is no help there. I ask them where is their obligatory gay friend in their circle of contacts, they grin and say "that would be you Steve", well d'oh! Sometimes I wonder if I am the only gay guy around, it feels like that most days. Nobody in my group of friends, nobody at work and no one in my family seems to be a brother! The problem is I keep hearing whether true or not, that most places are a meat market. That is just not who I am, I could never meet a stranger and go home with them, If that is your thing, I am not judging and I can understand the excitement to it, I am just saying it is not for me. I really am just looking for a friend at the moment, I also don't think it would be fair to any guy around here, to mislead him as I am not ready for a relationship, due to still dealing with a 'me' so an 'us' would be out of the question. My fear is also that most gay people would find me boring, sort of the go to work, come home, lead mostly a quiet life kind of person. I do however like to dance, I would really love to be able to go out with a group of gay guys and just dance in a gay bar, that is one wish I will work on to become real. Again though I worry, stuck in the middle with the dancing issue. I dance better than most white straight guys my age and lets face it, most white straight Canadian guys over thirty dance like the hockey stick was shoved up there! The worry comes when I see clips of gay guys dancing, I'm hoping they are only showing the best and the rest are average. I do enjoy reading other gay people's blogs and see them doing exciting gay things like mowing the grass, pruning the flowers, getting the groceries and painting the kitchen. I get so excited when I realize that all these years I have been leading a gay lifestyle and just did not know it!

A blog friend of mine was saying how he went to a gay friendly church, there he was able to meet other gay Christians and I assume a lot of them would lead a low key life. Seems to be only the devout Christians that are deeply in denial that lead the wild bathroom stall, sex filled lives, sorry my bad but I had to get that shot in there! Seriously I think if I could find a group like that it would be a start. I am open to suggestions on how to meet other gay people so feel free to comment on ideas or if you want to tell me how you met other people, good or bad experiences are welcome as I can learn from both. Even putting up my picture today was huge to me, my hands were shaking, well OK so I cheated a little and wore sunglasses and a cap but it is a big step for me. Part of the coming out process I guess, plus most of the bloggers have a picture up and I felt a little guilty not having some sort of representation of me, who knows maybe in a couple of days I will panic and take it down!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Out, for the evening.

Well we had planned to go out for the evening Friday but two of us had to cancel, so we scrapped the night until we could all get together. I was so ready to tell my friends that I did not want to wait. I figured, start with the hard one first. So I told Bea that her friendship was really important to me and then told her I was gay, I also said I hoped she would not feel deceived by me pretending to her that I was straight. She said that I had not deceived her and that she was glad for me to be able to tell her and feel comfortable enough with myself to say it out loud. She also said who I pick as a partner has no bearing on our friendship what so ever, then she joked and said unless she hates the guy! She said she feels privileged to be my friend and that nothing will change between us except that now she knows me and understands me better and plus she thinks I'm a sweetie. I had to ask the question, you know the one where I ask if she sort of knew. She said yes that she sort of always knew, she said that it was not a question that she was ever going to ask and if I wanted to keep it to myself, she felt it was my right. I want to kick myself about the hiding thing but I am learning to let it go. As a side note, how can people say we are not born gay, when people can 'tell' we are gay sometimes even before we fully understand ourselves that we are gay. The last thing I heard from her was last night, she sent me an email saying "we love you just the way you are Steve, you're perfect" (sigh) - makes a person feel so mushy and warm inside!

I was not able to get a hold of Elly, I don't feel the pressure to tell her, I know she may be a little surprised - or maybe not but she is cool with the whole gay culture. I worry that she will blab, actually it is her husband that I worry who will blab most. Elly is like my little sister but the guy she married is a bit of a (blank), you fill in the blank. He would not feel loyal to me and I still want some control over who knows and who does not. Bea and Eric said if I am going to be worried then why not hold off until I am a little more comfortable. I think I will do that for now. Eric joked and said that he knows Elly will be OK with it but the only problem is that she is really going to be "pissed" (sorry his word not mine) that she was the last to find out! I had to laugh, that will be so true, I used to be closest to her out of all our friends. The thing with Eric and Barb is that what I say to them in confidence will always stay with them. I knew even if Barb had a bad reaction that she would still hold my secret.

There is another friend that I will try to see this weekend, we are not as close as we used to be but she is also cool having gay friends. she is another person I can trust. It feels so good to just be myself around my sister and friends, I should have done this years ago but better late than never. I am still thinking over the situation with my parents, that will be a hard one and honestly I don't have the answer yet. At least now if I start dating I don't have to worry about bumping into my friends, in fact it would be a good thing because we could ask them to join us. Opening the closet door seems to also open a lot of other doors as well.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why Now - Why Not?

Lately I have been asked by a few people, since I had hidden being gay for so long, why now. They wonder why I finally decided to come out now. Like I had mentioned before there were a number of reasons that seemed to converge to get me to this point. My friends were starting to suspect, I was tired of being alone, I felt time was slipping away, I felt dead inside, I did not want to die without the feeling of being in love, I was growing tired of trying to keep the straight act from flying apart. These and other reasons came together to finally make me feel that enough was enough. There was another reason I started to come out, one important reason, it was a change in my attitude about me being gay. For years I felt that being gay was like having some type of shameful weakness to be embarrassed by. Like a mental illness in a family that nobody talks about and everyone hides from society. I believed that I needed to keep it hidden, that people might use it against me as flaw to exploit. I feared that if people found out, being gay would invalidate everything about me, my views and opinions would no longer be taken seriously, I would become the cliche gay character in a sitcom, only good for a laugh. I was obsessed with hiding my homosexuality, it was just part of my every day life.

I began to see it differently, I remember hearing the line 'gay people are normal, just their sexuality is different' I thought to myself that if I really looked deep inward, I always felt normal, I just could not figure out how to get everyone else to see that as well. Quickly it was easy to see that the world is geared towards the straight male, it is the reason that young women sell everything from cars to - well almost everything! We just don't fit in to that view of society, so now we have to make room. I used to worry about the people that would not accept me, reject me and laugh at me. Looking around however I could see that to this day there are people that will reject someone because of the colour of their skin, that will laugh at someone that is mentally challenged. It became clear to me that I would not have every ones approval, that I did not need their approval and that these people held no power over me anymore, in fact I have a slight sense of pity for the embarrassing way they show their ignorance. I began to understand it is just a sexuality and don't see what all the fuss is about. I don't feel the need to hide , because to me now there is nothing to hide.

I stalled a bit in the coming out department and felt the need to shake things up again. Last week I made plans with my friends to go out tomorrow. I plan on telling the last two of my really close friends. One of them, Elly I think will be OK with it, she loved watching Queer as Folk and was always trying to get me to watch it. She is the one that I think will try to use me as her fag-bangle, not a chance, my only worry with her is she can't keep anything quiet but I will let the chips fall where they will. The other person Bea, I am really worried about, she never said anything bigoted about gay people but she was set against the gay marriage issue that was brought into law in Canada. She is very big on honesty and may feel betrayed by me deceiving her into thinking I am straight. I really respect her and she is a very important friend to me so I would be greatly saddened if she reacts badly and becomes distant, I will not however change my mind, this is who I am, always was and people can't expect me to be someone else.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Meet The Parents

Hey Mom, Dad, this is my boyfriend, that is a sentence which I don't think I will ever be able to say in my life. It has nothing to do with the fact of not having anyone at the moment, but over the fact of the situation I have put myself in by waiting so long to come out. I know hiding from my parents was wrong and that I should have told them but took the cowards way out instead. Now I have put myself in a corner due to time and age. My parents had me in their thirties so now they are well into their senior years. I know if I only had the courage to have told them in their fifties, they would have been upset, angry, there would have been yelling and probably a lot of tears from me and my Mom but I know they would have come round and we would have worked something out. My parents grew up and stayed in a small farming community in a remote part of Canada. They missed the wild sixties and disco seventies, nothing changed much for them until the eighties. Their view on life is very different from most people and yet a lot of times that is one of the things I am proud of them for. They have always been old fashioned in their thinking and in their younger days they were strict with us but not totally narrow minded. If I had told them back then, they would have gotten angry but they are not the type to say "get out and don't come back". They are reasonable enough that if a doctor or counsellor told them there was nothing wrong with me and being gay can not be cured, they would accept that. They would still expect me to be decent and lead a respectable life and you can't beat that guidance. I don't think they would ever have gotten comfortable enough to accept a boyfriend as just that, my partner and lover but they would accept him, if they could see that he was good to me, as someone important to me.

I am close to my parents, they are a big part of my life, in fact they are my life. I try to see them at least once a week or call them, they are less than a two hour drive from me. While driving up to see them this weekend, all I could think of was that I have that barrier feeling between them and myself. The one similar to the feeling that I used to have between my friends and I before I told them. I hate that feeling that they might find out, that I have to hide things from them, I feel dishonest, like I am lying to them and it weighs on my mind. The corner that I have backed myself into as I said earlier is one of age. When I visit them, it now feels like I am visiting my grandparents, because of time they have become their parents. I miss the strong people they once were, don't get me wrong they are still active but a person in their seventies does not handle life like a person in their fifties. More and more I see the rolls reversing, where I have to watch out for them and this brings me to my dilemma. I don't think I can now tell them I am gay, that would be such a blow I really fear how it would affect their health. They are at the point where small things to us are huge to them and I can see them not being able to understand and process what it means for me to be gay. The stress would play on them for weeks and the results of that scare me. They kept the monsters away from me so I could sleep in peace at night, now I feel it is my turn to do the same for them.

The other side is that it will affect me getting out and dating, starting my own life. I can't ask a boyfriend to live the life of a bad sitcom where the parents come to town and everyone scrambles to make things appear not out of ordinary according to straight people. I told a friend of a situation that happened recently with this being a small city. One day while off work, I took a wrong turn that lead me to an old mall I had not been to in some time. I thought I would go in and grab something to eat. I saw a gay couple, you could tell they were in love and I wondered what it would be like to be able to just walk around and "be" with someone you loved, as I rounded the corner there was my Mom, and she pointed over to my Dad eating ice cream with a big grin on his face. All I could think of was, if I had a boyfriend with me then "busted"! I asked my sister what she thought about me telling them, her reply was "nooooooo"! She reminded me about their deep denial of gay couples that we sort of know. Somewhere in their mind they know certain couples are gay but always pretend that the people are just really good friends.

I am really torn over this subject but I can't do anything that could cause them harm. Part of me also wonders how they would see a gay son, they have made anti gay remarks and it does hurt. It could put up a bigger barrier in that they would feel they don't know me anymore or never really knew me. If I never tell, I will come away with one incident last year that does give me some peace of mind. I was with my Dad and a man that I knew since we were boys drove by. My Dad said "that is Lou" I said the last time I saw him we were teens and asked what was he up to now, Dad replied "he has a good job with the government and he bought a house in the next town with Rod, they are partners, they live together". Shocked I asked "you mean they are gay" and he said "yes but you know they both are hard workers and never bother anyone so who is to judge them". It may not be fair that I never gave them the chance to really know me, and the opportunity to show me how they would have coped with it, but I can't change the past. For now I will have to take my Dad's words as a stand in for what I hoped he would say if I had of told him, "who is to judge".

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Woohoo, Fame!

Oh the pressure! There I was, writing in my little blog, happy with my two or three readers a day when suddenly I received more comments and emails yesterday than I usually get in a week. Matt this is all your fault! That would of course be Matt over at Matterdays, sorry I have not played with the links yet but you guys all know and love him. Seriously, the only new people I get usually stumbled on here while searching for porn, "naked web cam girls" I still can't understand how Google brought that search to a blog about a gay guy coming out, man that guy must have been disappointed or really confused. Now I know how Chris Crocker must have felt with his sudden new found fame, only difference being that I cry like that every time Britney Spears does release a new cd.

Actually I have been a lurker for some time now, so I have read most of the blogs of people who are showing up here. I really appreciate the encouraging comments being left and want to give out a general thank you, as you have unknowingly help me get to this place where I am starting to feel comfortable with myself and accepting the fact that I'm gay. Sunday, the day of rest so it is back to my coffee and relaxing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

On the lighter side.

Wow , was I ever a wind bag yesterday! Sorry about that folks, I will try not to do that anymore. Sometimes I have stuff in my head that just needs to come out, I'll try to keep them shorter. Today I will make it lighter, I want to mention a few things that make me laugh regarding being gay and also when I talk with my closest blog buddy, who is actually travelling this weekend - safe trip buddy.

"Fag-bangle", this cracks me up! It is opposite to fag-hag as where a fag-hag is sort of a boring woman who hangs out with gay guys to make her life interesting, fag-bangle is the gay guy that the popular girls have in their group as an accessory to look cool to society. I think if my friend Elly knew years ago I was gay, I would have totally been the fag-bangle to her and her little group. Only maybe I dress too conservatively for that roll.

"Gay it forward", as in pay it forward, my buddy told me this one, from W&G. When I told him that part of the reason I wanted to blog was to give gay people coming out a place to come so as not to feel alone like other bloggers had done for me, he said when we help other gay people new to the scene, we "gay it forward".

The name "Steven", what is it with every second gay blogger being named Steve, Steven or Stephen, I now know why I am gay, it is because my parents named me Steven, I was doomed from that moment on, why could I have not been named Mike, Troy or George at least the odds would have been in my favour then. If a showdown comes between my parents and I over being gay, I will tell them what every parent does not want to hear from a gay son, that it is their fault!

In the days when I use to try to convince myself that I was not gay, I would grasp at any straws. One of my arguments in my head would go as follows, I can't be gay because, I like to listen to Led Zeppelin, I like to watch rodeos and when I was young I was in love with the bionic woman. Feeling good about my new found heterosexuality the little voice in the back of my mind would always counter with, "yes but you can name every song that ABBA ever wrote, you like to watch figure skating and it was Tarzan that you wanted to swim naked with when you were a boy, not the bionic woman", d'oh! I would try to fight back with the fact that I used to watch westerns but would only be reminded that I know the words to all the songs in The Sound of Music, not to mention Singing in the Rain.

I think it is healthy to laugh at ourselves and is probably one of the signs that a person is getting comfortable with being gay. If anyone has heard of other funny sayings feel free to comment or email them to me, just nothing vulgar or gross please. OK everyone have a good weekend.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Miss God

When I was a child I was raised Catholic, everyone around me was Catholic and I went to a Catholic school. Needless to say God was a huge part of who I was. The only other religion I heard of was Anglican and I never even heard of an atheist until I was almost eleven, I can recall thinking, how could someone be so dumb as to not believe in God. My relationship with him was very real, similar to a member of my family. To the point of being afraid to look up if I had done something wrong. It was not only fear, there was joy and beauty there as well, we were always told of his unending love, about angels who we felt were always just out of sight, ready to do God's bidding and Mary, so pure to be chosen to carry God's only son. Like a second mother figure, when times turn rough, we could ask her to pray with us, intercede for us and like all loving mothers who look after their children, she would ask God to grant our prayers. I loved going to church, being part of a community, the smell of the wooden pews, ringing of the bells, singing, lighting candles. After there was a whole sub-event where the children played outside while the parents caught up on the latest news. It was also a time where the elderly people were still looked up to as if all of them were some how our grandparents and it was fun the way they teased and picked at the little kids. I use to think nothing would break that bond but a little child who was about to grow up gay, could not know the test that would come crashing down on him.

Through my teen years I did not see a problem with being gay and being Christian, more because of the fact that people did not acknowledge the existence of gay people. They knew that there were some out there but no one talked about it, certainly not in church. The conflict started in my twenties, fundamentalists began having more shows on TV and becoming very vocal against the gay community. I began to hear that I was against God, that the gates of Heaven were closed to me and the punishment that I would get was because I had chosen to sin, so even though God loved me, I had chosen to turn away from him. I also kept hearing that God would never make gay people, that what he creates is perfect, what about blind and deaf people etc, will they be punished for not using their eyes and ears. The main stream churches were silent on this issue for quite a while but when they realized they could fill the seats faster by using a scapegoat that everyone could hate, they began doing the same thing as well. The thing that ministers don't understand is that by saying this, it does not make me less gay, it makes me question religion and even the bible. The end result is not me turning straight but me now sometimes doubting the existence of God. The shear hypocrisy we see on TV, I think is one of the main reasons that so many gay people turn away from faith.

We used to be told the bible was inspired by God but written by man, now people go around saying that it is the direct word of God. If we read the bible literally that just does not hold true. I am really frightened by the new push to "dumb down" the followers. Science is the new devil and must not be listened to. Today it really hit home as I watched in total disbelief, a clip on YouTube where a christian woman argued with the hostesses of The View that she did not really believe the earth was round because the bible says other wise. Well wingnuts I did not choose to be gay but you certainly chose to be dumb. I had an argument at work with an evangelical christian, I tried to avoid it but he kept bringing up the subject until he finally made me angry. Keep in mind that he does not know I am gay. I told him I do believe Jesus was sent by God and since I don't see him as a someone who would lie, I accept that he said he is son of God. I said since he never was afraid to confront a subject, is it not strange that he never once mentioned gay people as sinners. He said it is in Corinthians (we all know the verse). I said it was written after Jesus was dead and it was written by a man. He said it did not matter because the men who wrote the bible were told by God what to say and you can not pick and choose. To be honest I was hoping he would say this because I had set a bit of a trap for that way of thinking. I asked him about the part in revelations (yes I quoted) where it says that the angels stood at the four corners of the earth and the part where the stars fell out of the sky upon earth. I asked him if God was telling him what to write, would God not already know that the earth was round without corners and that most stars were bigger than our sun and we would be fried long before they reached us. He thought for a minute and then said he was speaking only in allegory terms and that was not what was meant. I asked him, so we are not allowed to pick and choose what to believe unless we have to pick and choose?

The truth is behind us because we hold to the same story but I find they keep changing what they say. They at first said we chose this, we had to prove that was not the case. Then they said we can change, again now we know that is not true either. They kept throwing the against nature argument at us until science showed that homosexuality shows up a lot in nature, now they say who wants to act like an animal. I could go on and vent for ten pages more about this whole topic but for me personally my faith is forever damaged I can't get back that devotion I had as a child and some days, well.....I miss God.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Progress Report.

Today I was thinking back over the last two years, with how far or not how far I have come on this journey. I had planned to write about spirituality and the conflict I feel between it and being gay but something else surprised me today while I was thinking of what to write. One of my friends that is evangelical came to mind and how strict his beliefs are. I used to always think to myself, how easy it is for him, to be born straight, tall, blond, blue eyes, smart and it is so easy to dismiss anyone else who is a little different. That was the one thing that caught my attention today. I had no feelings of envy towards him as usual, no wishing that I was straight and had a perfect family also. I had finally let that go, the wanting to be straight. Normally thinking about someone like him would send me into thoughts of regret, a missed straight life but it did not happen. I just feel he is one type of man and I am another that has to lead a different life. When I began to accept being gay I'm not sure, so I wanted to take stock of where I am. Two years ago I knew something had to change, I just could not go on living a lie like I was, two years ago I would not have said the sentence "I am gay" out loud.

I guess this is my gay report card! Well I still can't believe that I told people, that I came out, only five people so far but I am trying to add to that list. If you asked me even six months ago if I would come out sometime this year, I'd probably answer no. I guess then I should get an "A" for that but part of me feels I should get a "D+" for waiting too long! I feel good about the fact that I do not regret telling them, more like I feel I should have told them sooner. That was one of my worries, that the next day I would want to take the words back and could not, so I think an "A+" for that one. I'm starting to "like" being gay, it is kind of cool at times to be in this club, to get the jokes that go by straight people completely unnoticed, to look at pictures of men and not feel guilt and to meet people in gay blogland. I have started a few friendships and it is awesome to be able to talk about guys, what I want from a relationship, to go to your blogs and see who you think is cute, read about your dates, see what you are up to etc. Even the fact that I started this blog is so different from the guy who nearly had a heart attack from contacting his first blog friend almost two years ago. I'm thinking a "B-" because there is still a lot of work for me accepting being gay.

My close straight friend always brings me back to earth though. He points out that while I am playing on the net, I am not actually going out to meet other real gay people here. He says I am probably using the blogs as an excuse to avoid putting myself in the uncomfortable position of meeting people. Dang! He knows me so well I can't really hide anything from him, so it is an "F". I remind him that I am coming out and that I have made close friends on the net. He reminds me that the people I am coming out to are mostly straight friends and that how can I network to meet someone from all straight groups, also he asks where my blog friends are from and then tells me that one of the reasons I have friends hundreds of miles away is so that I can avoid actually having to meet and go out. Double dang! Another "F" why did I have to get the straight guy friend with so much insight! I am at the point where I would like to go out to a bar or restaurant with a group of gay friends but to be honest I would be very uncomfortable if one of those friends was really effeminate, I hate that I have that prejudice towards another gay man but I would be lying if I said other wise. For that another "F" until I can work it out. Some people are afraid of clowns, well for me drag queens scare the crap out of me, partly because there is the feeling of the wolf under the sheep's clothing and partly because of the fear that maybe if I were to try it , I might like wearing a dress to, so another "F".

It would be misleading for me to let people think that I have accepted being gay, I still struggle with it. Almost everyday there are still the old feelings of "why me" but they don't have the tortured power over me that they once did. I no longer feel that I will just be gay until the change over comes, now I work towards how can I be happy while being gay. Like I often say, it is not that I found strength and will charge into this like a hero, it is more like I have become tired of fighting against who I am and in order to find peace, I need to lay down my sword and shield.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

David, My First Fantasy.

Over the last few weeks as I came out to some people, one of the questions they often ask is when I realized that I was gay. I tell them there are multiple answers to that question, as I don't think many of us woke up one day and said to ourselves "hey I'm gay, didn't see that coming"! One of the earliest memories I have is when I was around ten years old, I was in a mall and while my parents were shopping I came upon a replica of Michelangelo's statue of David. I remember being totally fascinated by it, the handsome male body, smooth muscles, genitals and it seemed so life like that it drew me in. I remember being so hypnotized by it that my sister had to take me by the arm and peel me away from it. Later that week while at school we were in the library, one boy found an art book with nudes and when the teacher was not looking, the rest of us boys circled round to get a look. I remember feeling annoyed that almost all the pictures were of women and the other guys kept staring at the pages forever. As they turned the page there he was again, David and I felt a slight tingle in my stomach. There were a few other nudes of men and I absolutely stared at them. The bell rang and out we went to play, while outside we were talking about the pictures and I was frustrated at why my friends would not talk about the pictures of men. I thought I would start the conversation and said "I liked the men pictures better" after that statement you could have heard a pin drop! One friend said he liked the pictures of women better, I did not understand I thought they were boring. I said to him "don't you find there is more to look at with the men's pictures" some of the guys started laughing, one said "you are not suppose to look at the pictures of men" in that instant I knew that what I had been feeling all along was real, that somehow in someway I was different from my friends and I had better keep it quiet from that day forward. When people say that little kids are not gay and that they turn gay later, I have always known that was not true, kids are smart, they see everything in black and white, know how to manipulate adults and learn what they need to do, to survive. I happen to see the picture of David on the net the other day, and this childhood memory always comes back to me when ever I come across it.
I think most of us probably go through steps of starting to realize that we might be gay and then trying to reassure ourselves that we are not. I think the next light bulb moment came to me around fourteen years old. I remember lying in bed, fantasizing about my friends like I always did every night, but for the last couple of nights, I had wanted to stop. I had been trying to think of girls instead but after a few minutes guys would make their way back in. I felt it was not right, it scared me, I thought I had better try to change it now before it was too late. Every time I tried to only think of girls I failed, I was really wondering what was wrong with me. I remember that little voice in the back of my mind clearly saying "Steve, you're gay". I sat bolt upright, I was so frightened, I wanted to call out to Mom and Dad but then I thought what could I say. I felt sick, I could not sleep, I had finally admitted to myself what I had known for a long time. The next day at school I remember feeling like I was in one of those sci-fi movies where the alien was disguised as a human and was always worried that people would find out his true identity. From that day on I felt every gay joke and slur, I knew they were making fun of who I was even though they did not. I often wonder, after years of that bigoted second hand mental abuse, if that is why so many gay people suffer from addiction problems and self abusive types of behaviours.
I have heard of some people who did not understand until they were twenty that they were gay. Basically I say I admitted it to myself at fourteen but had known something was different about me for years before that. Telling people that, seems to help them understand, it reassures them that I was not straight and one day switched over. Maybe they need to hear that, maybe deep down they are afraid that one day they will wake up gay, but really I think it is because the people who support us believe we were born that way and that answer helps to affirm their belief.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Me, The Frog Prince

My closest blog buddy and I were joking once about having a life theme song. I think if I had to pick a theme song for my life, right now it would have to be "The Frog Prince" by Keane. Not all, but some of the lyrics in the song speak to me when I listen to it. The story runs alone the lines of a guy trying to pretend everything is running smooth but you can only pretend for so long. I fought against being gay, coming out for so long. I was too worried what others would think. I so wanted to be the "good son", the "nice guy" and being gay just did not fit into that image for me. I really like the following lyrics.

Your prince's crown
Cracks and falls down
Your castle hollow and cold
You've wandered so far
From the person you are
Let go brother, let go
Cos now we all know

Like a false crown, playing a role of someone that I am not, would eventually crumble and become too hard to hold together. Always having a wall around me made people think I was cold or aloof. That was far from the truth, more due to the fact of being self conscious. I never let anyone get too close to me, I always use to think that way if they found out I was gay, it would not hurt so much if they no longer wanted to be friends. Until one day I realized that yes my "castle" or life was hollow. I was alone and continuing on this way did not make sense anymore. I finally understood that I would be better off telling my friends, if they accepted me then I could take down this crazy wall and let someone in for a change. If they rejected me, there would really be no loss because the friendship was built on a lie in the first place, plus since we were not close it was only superficial anyway. I figured out it would be better to have three or four close friends who accepted me, all of me, than to have a group where I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. I am a gay man, I had really wandered too far from the person that I am. Who this other guy was I tried to be, is someone that I don't know. " Let go brother, let go" alright I know it is time, I can't keep this false story together any more. It had started to unravel for the last couple of years and I'm just too tired to keep it up. As I tell people I get a relaxed feeling come over me and it stays with me whenever I talk to those people again later on. "Cos now we all know" that speaks volumes to me, so far most people I have told said they either were starting to suspect or almost knew I was gay. Now I see that even though they suspected me a gay man, none of them ran away screaming.

I mentioned that I was thinking of being selectively out to some friends, however I changed my mind, I just don't have the energy to put it into always worrying about who over hears what so I will tell all my friends and be happy with the ones that stick with me. There are going to be some awkward moments coming up soon. Lately I have been hanging out with two guys from time to time, we have a lot of fun together. They use to work with me, I was not going to tell them because I thought we would just drift apart but they want to continue a friendship. One actually said to me once "I used to think that you might be gay, it would be OK with me as long as you don't hit on me" well straight guy ego aside, I think he would probably be OK with it. The other guy is very Christian and he is a "don't tell and all will be well" sort of person but that does not work for me anymore. I want to make it clear to him from the beginning. I just don't feel like investing a lot of energy into building a friendship with someone that could turn on me later. It is getting easier to tell people because now I understand that I can be "the good son" and "the nice guy" just that I'm gay as well.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Creep, not the song.

Reading through other blogs, I see where people have been put into uncomfortable situations or someone tried to drag them out. Even though coming out has been going well so far, I did have someone try to drag me out at work and it was not meant in a positive way either. I used to work closely with a small group of five people. One of the guys in the group I greatly dislike. He is a loose cannon and you can never trust him, he has also been in affairs with married women and could care less about the families that he harms. He took notice that I never seemed to date or mention women and he started to make comments to me, hinting that he knew I was gay. If he had of been someone that I trusted, I probably would have been ready to tell the truth but not to him. I considered him to be a socially dangerous person in and out of work. One day I had to show him a new procedure so he pulled his chair over beside me to learn. While I was showing the procedures, he looked around and then put his hand on my knee and said "you like that". I just laughed and thinking nothing of it, an attempt at a bad joke, brushed it off. He looked around again and put his hand back but higher up on my leg, he said "feels nice uh, I know you want it", I was still thinking this had to be a joke and brushed his hand off. He put it back only this time even higher. He was staring at me and he said "its OK, I won't tell anybody, I know you are", I hit his hand off and told him to just pay attention to what we were doing. This time he placed his hand high enough on my thigh that he was covering my car keys and said, "don't be like that, you live alone, we could go back to your place, no one would know, there is nothing wrong with it, I know you want to". By now I was really creeped out and said out loud to embarrass him "no, I don't want to and you better back off"!

Bringing attention to what he was doing seemed to stop him in his tracks, he quit after I said that out loud. The strange thing is that I am still not sure if that was an attempt to trick me into coming out to him or if he was trying to sample the grass on the other side of the fence. His personality could make it go either way, he is sexual enough that I would not be surprised if he wanted to try it with a guy. He could never go more than twenty minutes without making a sexual comment and they were always very vulgar, it never bothered him who was around, whether there were women, company guests, etc. It could have also been the other, in that he has a very cruel sense of humour and he would have taken great delight in outing me to everyone at work, it would have given him a feeling of power over me. Of all the people at my place of work, he would have been the last one that I would ever have thought of telling. I realized I had let my guard down around this person and from now on if I had to work close with him it would be "straight shields up Captain" to try and throw him off. I hate to think what would have happened if I went through this two years ago, I think I would have been really thrown off. I was starting to think of telling people when this happened so I was in a better state of mind and could cope. I figured if I kept it quiet it would look like I was hiding something so I told my coworkers. They agreed with me, they were not sure if he was joking or if he was really coming on to me, he is just that sort of a strange person, no one can tell with him. He insisted to them that he was only joking and never tried it again. If he was only joking, then what was his plan if I had of said yes! I would never go with a married man anyway since I am respectful of any relationship but I could not help think, of all the guys that I work with, I was hit on by the one guy that I can't stand!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Coming out, the sequel!

Encouraged by how well my first coming out went with my friend Eric, I decided to keep the ball rolling. With Eric I knew he would not turn on me but I was afraid that he would become quiet and that would have been very uncomfortable. What I did not mention was that not only did he not go silent, he could see that I wanted to talk so he brought me back to his place where we talked and laughed for hours. It felt awesome to be fully myself with him and in some way it was like we were meeting for the first time again. He was worried that I had kept this hidden so long, he thought it was too stressful and strongly encouraged me to meet other gay people to have someone to talk to. He also said to pick up the phone if I ever needed an ear. This certainly was not the reaction I was expecting from a straight male friend! The next day I had zero regrets about telling Eric and it made me excited like a kid on Christmas morning.

I knew who I was going to tell next, someone who although I am not really close to, I know always has my back, always keeps my secrets and has been at times my greatest Allie in life, my older sister. I put it off for a few days but I figured I should just get it over with. I made an excuse to come over and see something new at the house, we chatted for a while and I suddenly felt it was taking too long and the conversation was not going where I wanted it to. I just turned and said I'm gay, when I said it there was a split second where I almost cried, my bottom lip did that trembling thing and my brows furrowed, it was not from stress but more from relief. I guess feeling sorry for me she said softly "yeah, I know". Shocked I said "you know, for how long", she said "probably for the last ten or more years" I could not believe what I was hearing. I said "crap you mean I put all the energy into hiding from you all these years for nothing" she had a big grin on her face now and said "yup"! I asked why she never said anything and she told me that she was waiting until I felt comfortable enough to come to her, she said that she knew one day I would come and tell her in my own time. Now I just feel so rotten about all the things I did as a kid to get her into trouble, even though she was already good at that herself. A good friend of my sister's that I have known and respected for years was there, so I figured what the heck and told her as well. She was surprised but went behind my chair and put her arms around me and said congratulations, she said that she never suspected I was gay but was happy that I felt comfortable enough to tell her. They both said that they know some gay people and will arrange for me to meet them so that I will have people to talk to. My sister and I talked for hours, I asked her how she knew. She said it was because I never dated or showed any interest in women, relationships, marriage, etc. I thought great, two more in my corner.

I had asked Eric if he knew I was gay, he said no but was starting to suspect for the same reason as my sister did regarding never dating. Eric's wife knows as well but she has gay family members, so she is cool with it. My last big test was last weekend, I used to worry that once I told Eric we would drift apart because he would not feel connected to a gay friend. I went over to his place and I was curious to see if he would act any different. He did not, he was same as ever. He even teased me that he rented Broke Back Mountain, I was glad he did not, that would have been too strange to watch that with him. He even gave me a little crap for only talking to gay people on the net and told me to get out and meet people, not to use the net as an excuse to shy away from meeting other gay people. Of all the scenarios that I played over and over in my head about coming out, none of them came close to how good it was, even at some points it was actually, - well kind of fun.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Your humour, is lacking humour.

This past weekend I was over at my friend's place, something we do about once a month, dinner, beer, chips and rent videos. One of the movies we watched was Wild Hogs ( Tim Allen, John Travolta etc). First I have to say I knew it was not going to be the best movie I would watch this year, there are a few funny moments but I do not suggest you run out and rent it. What I want to comment on is the humour at the beginning of the movie. I am not so sensitive to gay issues that I can not see the humour in some situations that come up. At the beginning there are some awkward moments between Travolta and William H Macy played out as Macy coming on to Travolta, I did not find it funny but did not give it much thought. I became uncomfortable and offended when they brought in a character playing a lonely gay highway patrolman. They kept playing on gay innuendo and the awkwardness of the main characters trying to avoid being hit on by the gay patrolman. Even after this lame scene was played out, they brought him back to play this out for a second time. I was thinking who wrote this, a bunch of twelve-year-olds. I thought that sort of humour went out back in the eighties. It really irritated me because the message I received from those scenes was that gay relationships, feelings, people are still something to laugh at. I don't mind a joke if someone is laughing with us but not at us, is this not the same kind of humour as when people used to make fun of bearded ladies, conjoined twins and mentally handicapped people. We can compare the patrolman scenes to the main character Macy plays. A straight man who is also lonely and single, here however when he finds someone it is played out as romantic and we are suppose to get the happily ever after feeling from it. I wonder if I am just being over sensitive, it would be interesting to hear from anyone else who saw the film and let me know if you felt a little offended by those scenes.

Are there any really funny gay jokes out there. I don't mean as in tell me one (well you can if you want) I mean as in truly funny. I say this because most of the gay jokes I have ever heard always end up with the gay person either dead or with AIDS and I never saw the humour in that. I always think what if you change the word gay into a race or religion in some of these jokes, would people find them as funny? The real funny thing is that now when I hear someone tell these kind of jokes, I always think, "oh I feel sorry for you, I did not realize how ignorant you are".

Friday, September 7, 2007

Coming out, at last, home.

My intention when starting this blog was to write about my fears of coming out as I built up enough courage to crack open the closet door and take a peek out. Hugely surprising to myself I suddenly jumped the gun and did it before I started writing. August 11, 2007 was the day I finally came out to someone for the first time. I had been wanting to tell my friend Eric for weeks, he seemed pretty open minded about things and I was hoping he would be ok with having a gay friend. There were many evenings while over at his place, sitting in the dark watching a movie, where I would go to say something, open my mouth but the words failed me. The movie "Beautiful Thing" has a great line, a mother is angry with her son because he won't talk to her about whether he is gay or not, he responds "some things are just hard to say" and when in the moment, it is one of the hardest sentences to get out. I have know Eric almost seven years, we met through work and I will always remember the first day we met. While trying to get to know me he asked if I had a wife or girlfriend, when I said "no" he very casually asked if I had a boyfriend. I faked being insulted by the question but in my mind I remember thinking "wow is this guy cool, I know we are going to be friends". My worry was that some straight guys say they could have a gay friend but things change when confronted with the real thing.

One evening he was given tickets for a show plus supper after and since his wife could not go, he asked me instead. I planned on telling him that night but I was going to wait until the end of the night in case it did not go well. I was worried all night how to start off and the evening was drawing to a close which was making me frustrated. Then the funniest thing happened, we bumped into a woman I know, she is a lesbian and she was with her partner, however she did not know that I am gay. We talked for a bit and after she left, Eric said to me that they seem like a nice couple and he sees nothing wrong with gay couples. We were walking and then he turned to me and said "what about you" pause, "you gay"? Wow my brain exploded into a thousand thoughts, I felt this is it, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and said "yeah, yeah I am" and that was it, I was out. He asked twice more because he thought I might be playing a trick on him. He said he did not care and that nothing would change between us regarding our friendship, so far it has not, if anything we are probably more open with each other now than before. It is true when people say there is a freedom to be gained by it and that a weight is lifted from your shoulders. Oddly it does not feel awkward to begin coming out but more like this is where I am suppose to be, sort of like finally coming home.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

It only hurts when I answer.

A couple of months ago while at work, we were having a slow day. Everyone was in a dazed lull at their desks and to pass the time someone started to ask that dreaded question, "if you could go back in time, would you do anything different and change the life you have now"? Most people will say no, some in hindsight will add in something small like devoting more time to their studies or maybe saving better for a rainy day; however all said they were content with what they had. I remember thinking please don't ask me, pass me by, I already know the answer and it stings to say it out loud. Too late, it was my turn! They asked "Steve would you"? I took a deep breath, turned to them and told them the truth as I felt is was the truth for me. I told them I would change everything, that I wasted my life, that I was not true to myself, that I let time slip away which I can never reclaim. I told them there were people I let go that given a second chance I would hold onto tightly, that there were other people which I would not worry so much about their opinion of me. I said that I feel I missed out on life and somewhere along the way I gave myself permission to take a back seat while others around me experienced living.

Sometimes I think of what I want out of this blog, it is therapeutic to put one's thoughts down. I have heard from people that it can help you sort out stuff running through your mind. I also noticed a lot of the blogs that I used to read almost daily, are starting to fade away. I assume people post, work it out after a year or so and then life kicks in and the blogger has less and less time to post. I thought I would give this a try, sort of a pass the torch situation. It was nice to know I was not the only one out there who found coming out so confusing and frightening at times and I hope I can gives others a place to bang thoughts around. I am so amazed at the large number of people in their late teens and early twenties coming out, men and women, I am in total awe of them and so proud of them. Keep going guys you are doing the right thing, I only wish I had your courage when I was your age. I guess that would be the one important thing I could hope someone would take away from this blog. Younger gay people in big cities will have a little easier time coming out but for someone out in the small towns or country side, remote and feeling alone, I would like to say, work at getting to a place where you will be safe and welcomed and then be who you are. Take it from someone who made the mistake of taking the other path and hiding in the closet, you will regret it. A lot of you would be able to hide being gay from most people but you can never hide from yourself. I just hope for a lot of gay people out there, that if someone were to ask "if you could go back in time, would you do anything different and change the life you have now" their answer would be a clear "no, I'm happy with the way it turned out". I say this because whenever someone asks me that question, I have never even once thought to myself "I would have hidden better".

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Homophobia, my own prejudice.

I have known and understood that I am gay for many years, probably as young as twelve or thirteen. That may be surprising considering I waited so long to come out. Even though I have known for that long of a period I let myself build prejudices towards people in the gay community. I used to dread the pride parades, men in dresses, glitter and leather harness on the evening news, I cringed at the sight of them. I felt it only made it so much harder on people like me to come out. I lamented to myself that if they wanted people to respect us, why would they have to act like freaks in a side show. I did everything that I could never to give even a hint to anyone that I might be gay. Remember for me as a teen, growing up in the eighties being gay was considered so bad that even Boy George and Wham absolutely denied they were gay (no I'm serious). Aside from being awkward I made sure that I did not sound gay, dress gay, look gay. I lived the life of beige, khaki, plain and flew under the radar. When the show Will and Grace came on TV, I despised the character Jack, he was so stereo typical of everything I hated about gay culture. I was terrified of other gay people, I would never be friends with a gay person, especially if they were effeminate. I was afraid of guilt by association and also afraid of them announcing to everyone that their gay-dar went off every time I came near them. I remember when I first started hearing about gay people demanding the right to marry and a gay student who sued his school for the right to take his boyfriend to the prom, I wanted to hide. I did not understand why these gay people want to "cause trouble" and have people angry with us.

I started to understand that the problem was with me and not them. Hypocritical of me to expect people to understand and accept me as a gay person, if I was not willing to understand other gay people that go about life in a different way from me. I realized I was trying to convince myself that I was better than "them". I understand now that a gay man is a gay man, either in pants or a dress, truck driver or hair stylists. These days I have a deep respect for those first gay people to stand up. Not for the fact that some wore a dress but for the fact they said here we are, we are not going anywhere, get use to it. I understand now it took the loud and proud people to hammer it into the straight world we are human, we are not second class to them and we deserve rights. The scary thing is we can't forget that before the seventies a person could go to jail for years for being gay if they admitted any sexual contact. The Pride Parades made it easier for me to come out and not harder. I am thankful to the people that fought for gay marriage and did not stay quiet (as we have it in Canada) and I am so proud of the kid who fought to have his boyfriend at the prom. I realize that nothing is ever going to be handed to us and sometimes we have to make the briefcase crowd uncomfortable to get their attention when we are being shafted in life. As for when asked about why some gay people act a certain way I will say I am just one individual gay man and I am not responsible for the actions of any other gay person, just as every straight person is an individual.

I have not reached a point where I am totally comfortable with the gay culture, most of it I still do not want to be a part of. I still have to work on accepting people for who they are and not how they look or sound. When I started to come out the first thing I asked is could the people tell I was gay and I am always happy when they say no and upset if they say yes, so I take this to mean that deep inside me I still have not accepted being gay, another thing to work on. I just find it odd that homophobia can be so ingrained into our culture that it is even in gay people, that would be gay people like me.