Friday, January 10, 2020

That other Steven.


 I was texting with one of my straight buddies and we were talking about us growing up etc, etc and about the people we have become. The odd thing is that our personalities are not really different as adults, it's just that we have more life experience that shapes how we react to certain situations.

 I said to my friend, that I often wonder what I would be like if I were straight. The reason I say that is because I was very much a believer in the establishment. I never questioned authority and did what I was told. People who protested, let their looks run wild or listened to crazy music were bad people. Anyone outside of the norm was a bad person in my eyes.

 When I finally admitted to myself that there was something VERY different about me, I began to question everything I was trained to believe. When my friend asked me to elaborate, I said being gay gave me an open mind towards other marginalised groups, I was interested to learn if I was missing something about them, I began to try and see issues from their point of view. Luckily I began to see many were not "bad" they were just misunderstood.

 If I was straight, I wouldn't have to think about these things. I wouldn't be able to relate to the non heterosexual white christian male, I wouldn't wonder about them or how they fit in. I probably wouldn't care that they didn't fit in, I would think that they just needed to try harder. I know that I probably would still be a nice guy, sadly however I think I would only be nice to certain groups. I would like to think that I would be a social justice warrior but the truth is I don't like confrontation and I was a people pleaser, I probably would go along to get along.

 The other thing that I fear is I would have been a complete monster towards my sister. We were like fire and gasoline growing up, I was also very envious of her, she did everything right, I did everything wrong. I imagine myself starting a little family like I was expected to, I imagine out of hatred and immaturity in my early days, driving a wedge between my parents and sister so that I could monopolize their attention. Grandma and grandpa would be happy with the grandchildren and daughter in law; however out of embarrassment, not speak of their lesbian daughter. The thought makes me sick.

 I have read in the last couple of weeks, ( including Bob's blog this morning) the statement that being gay is partly what shapes us as a person. At one time I wouldn't want to admit that but now I know that to be true. Maybe I'm a better person because I'm gay, maybe I'm being too hard on my hypothetical straight self, I will never know. My friend made an interesting point, he's straight and reached the same conclusions without being gay, he asked if that makes him a better person than if he was gay.

22 comments:

Deedles said...

Very profound (my word of the week), Steve. I've been in way too much of a perversely silly mood the past few days to comment more on this.

Mildred Ratched said...

Wow! That's a lot to think about! I too have always felt very different but have never been able to put my finger on what that difference is. At a young age I just said "FUCK IT" and lived life and I'm me... Good old weird Mildred! lol I've always hated labels. They seem so restrictive to growth. That's just my opinion for all it's worth.

Bob said...

The fact is, whatever your life experience, is what shapes you. But being gay, and trying to fit into the world before coming out, really changed the way gay folks look at themselves. And then, when we do come out, we get to bring out our real selves, something, perhaps, straight people might not have an easy time doing.
I think I am extra polite because as a closeted gay person, lo those many years ago, I didn't want to attract attention to myself, so I was polite and kind and soft spoken. Coming out I held onto the politeness, but found my loudest voice, too.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

WHATEVER prompts people to question the status quo and make up their own minds about things is a good development in a person's life. This prompt will be different for different people, that's all. For a lot of gay people, it's the simple fact of being "an outsider." This doesn't make us special or better than others who also grow and develop, however. The saddest people of all are the ones who never question anything.

Leanna said...

Very profound thinking for such a young kid. Actually, I never thought of that. I was really living my dreams up until I got married. I always thought of myself as never getting married but then David happened and I gave up my independence. Many kids don't think about their lives later on when they got big, they just think about what flavor ice cream to get at Baskins with the money they made mowing the neighbor's lawn.

Dave R said...

You are who you let yourself be. There is nothing deep or profound about it. Times are changing rapidly. A lot of older gays have difficulty reconciling that in today's world younger gays don't face the same difficulties. The Other Steven never existed to raising questions is pointless. A lot of people feel different because they are, not one of us is exactly the same. This is one of the reasons why we're successful as a species.

Old Lurker said...

What are your opinions about aboriginal issues? Towards refugee issues? Towards women's equality? Towards Muslims? Your experience as a gay has probably shaped some of your sympathies, but there are many groups with whom you do not have such direct experience.

Note that these sympathies are a two-edged sword. One common criticism of cisgendered gay men is that they abandon other groups when they win their own rights. It's okay for cis gay men to be politicians/lawyers/businesspeople now? We have HIV treatments for cis white men in first world countries? Screw everyone else! We don't want to pay more taxes for them brown people.

I have suspicions of how you might have turned out as a straight guy, but this is not the appropriate forum.

HuntleyBiGuy said...

I think when we view life through the lens of our experiences it colors the opinions we have. For some in marginalized segments we may be hypersensitive to the plight of others. But like lurker said, there is a segment with the mindset, “I’ve got mine, to hell with the rest!”

But straight or not, there’s good and bad on both sides. And how you would have turned out had you been straight is hard to determine. The paths we follow can sometimes include some sharp turns. You could be influenced by someone you met that would have had a profound (Deedles’ word of the week 😉) impact on you and changed your course. So it’s hard to say how things would have been.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Deedles, actually I really appreciate what you just did there, thank you.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Mildred, "I'm me" is a healthy way to live your life, unfortunately it took me years to realize that one.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Bob, all good points you mention. I also can relate to not wanting to draw attention to myself, that was me for years.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Debra, yes being an outsider doesn't make us special but I think it teaches many of us empathy for other people on the outside.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Leanna, I did think about a lot of things growing up, actually worry might be a better way of describing it. On the serious side I felt if people say that gay people are all bad.. and they are not, then what about xyz people when they say that they are all bad as well, it naturally makes you question that.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Dave, I don't see the harm in wondering about the hypothetical. I have to disagree with you buddy, if feeling like an outcast gives me empathy for other society outcasts, then what would happen if I didn't have those feelings. Being gay, especially for the older generations, certainly gave us a very different view of society.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Lurker, what set you off here? What part of other marginalised groups that I have empathy for did you not understand? I didn't identify any groups because it includes all groups. One thing however is no group should sit back and expect another group to do their dirty work for them, the passion for the cause won't be there. You have your own strong biases so you definitely would not be able to predict how I would have turned out.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

HuntleyBiGuy, for example I find that I am quick to feel empathy for people in other segments of the LGBTQ community, it's an experience that I can relate to. I wouldn't have that experience if I was straight. On the other hand, if I was straight then I wouldn't have been so sensitive about fitting in. Oooh, that's a "profound" thought right there.

Anonymous said...

So... you said to me that the vegan movement has a "agenda" implying that is somthing bad! The same that once was said of gay rights movement, anti slavery movement!
Nick

Deedles said...

Steve, hon, I'm beginning to think that if you write about fluffy bunnies, kittens, puppies and of course chickens, somebody's going to be disgruntled. Of course, I've had my revenge against that frickin' fluffy bunny that bit me as a child. I got bedroom slippers that looked just like that little bastid! Extra hugs, sweetie. I've never wanted to turn you into slippers :)

Old Lurker said...

Nothing set me off. I was not even being hostile. The point is that it is MUCH easier to alter one's sympathies when one is directly connected to an oppressed group in question. As I have written before, Dick Cheney had a difficult time being a homophobe because of his daughter. But the way you view foreign groups probably reveals your tendencies to have sympathy for how Straight Steven would have viewed those groups then, unless you were so isolated you had no contact with those groups whatsoever.

Thinking about Straight Steven some more, I think it unlikely that you would have been a homophobic jerk for long provided that Straight Steven's sister continued to be lesbian. At first you may have been a jerkish sibling, but he would not have been able to hear about the mistreatment of LGBTQ+ people for long without his sister coming to mind. If Straight Steven had family bonds as strong as Straight-Acting Steven does, then I would bet his attitudes would have softened pretty quickly.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Hello Nick, yes they do have the agenda of getting people to stop eating meat. Is that a bad thing or a good thing, depends on your point of view. I still understand them, I understand where they are coming from, I just disagree with them but I don't think they are "bad"... I don't think "you" are bad for not wanting to eat meat, it's healthier for you! Plus this may shock you Nick... but I'm not perfect. I'm just saying that I wondered what I would be like with different life experiences.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Lurker, I was thinking about a lot of that today. If I was straight, I wouldn't have had the anxiety of being worried if people thought I was gay. Plus I made friends with non wasp people because they were fun people and not because I am gay. I noticed that years ago, the best defense against racism is being friends with people of different races. If someone says something against people from India, then they have just insulted your best friend from India and you are insulted as well!

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Deedles, bunnies do bite, actually the females are little bi... well anyway you have to be careful. You probably should have stopped at the first comment sweetie but I get it, you got lonely and plus I'm so adorable.