Friday, February 15, 2008

The Way We Raise Our Gays

Here in America we accept that homosexuality exists but nobody wants to talk about it. If you're gay, it's a "figure it out for yourself" type of thing because there still, even in 2008, seems to be a fear that if you talk about homosexuality you might cause a younger person to be gay. Is anyone willing to admit that this silence might be damaging? Is this really how we want to raise our kids -- in a world of denial and make-believe where questions disappear if you ignore them?

For instance: Kids are coming out at younger and younger ages these days. However, in this country by the time a child has the ability to look, listen and learn they've already discovered how our nation treats and accepts those who are gay: not well. I am sure there are many parents out there who are supportive of their child and the lifestyles they lead- wonderful, but a far greater majority casually sling around the word fag, trickling down to kids on the playground, teach boys that to be a "man" you play sports, know what competition is and certainly don't cry. There is no room for sensitivity for the American male child.

We all know how the religious right and conservatives feel about homosexuality. That it's an indecent, immoral and sinful way to be or live. There's no room for fags in sports and if you are gay, you better keep your mouth shut about it! Hell, one of our stay at home moms just said, in response to gay-marriage, "This lifestyle is devastating to those in it and devastating to those around them. In every other area, we work to prevent unhealthy behavior, not sanction it with the force of law.”

Great- so let's apply this to the 12, 13, 14, or 15 year old kid who is realizing they have same-sex attraction. Not only do they have to battle themselves and the realization they are not like the majority of their peers but then they battle the idea of identity themselves. We have authority figures telling us that what we're feeling is wrong, bad and sinful. By the time this youth comes out and forms an identity he/she already has a tremendous amount of baggage when all the other youths are simply living their lives to no abandon.

If a child is particularly beaten down- by their church, their parents, their school or their peers when they come out the baggage is that much heavier. As they approach adulthood it would be common and understandable if they carry feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing and general depression. Is this what we want? All you Christians who believe you're speaking FOR Jesus- do you really think Jesus himself would want this? Whole populations of unhealthy, unhappy kids who go on to lead unhappy and unhealthy lives. This is not because we're gay. It's because YOU can't accept it. Wouldn't you suppose this world would be a better place if children were to feel comfortable with who they are and then approach adulthood in that way?

Then, while living adulthood, the gay male and female are regarded as having socially irresponsible lives. All we do is drink, drug, party and have sex, right? We've all heard the rhetoric before. But let's take a look at where gay men and women are allowed to exercise their freedom. There's certainly no public atmosphere where gays and lesbians can congregate out and open, instead there are only nightclubs, bars and other venues which mix booze with our much needed liberation and socialization. Is this OUR fault? Or is it a product of how this nation accepts and treats gay people? Out of sight, out of mind. The drinking age in this nation is 21. In order for a gay youth to meet, mingle and socialize legally he/she would have to wait until they are 21 in order to feel this liberation when their straight peers have been socializing in appropriate and healthy atmospheres all along.

Yes, of course there are organizations and non-profits everywhere allowing safe havens and healthy meeting areas but I'll be honest in saying that when I was a closeted gay teen trying to make my way through the halls of my high school and desperately awaiting the freedom that graduation would offer, going to my local community center to meet other gay and lesbian youths was about as appealing as going to a Hebrew school dance. Lame, cheesy and just not me. Is it any wonder that the Christopher St. kids are hanging on the street, outside of the bars and clubs and not in the "community center?"

If you're straight, religious and/or conservative and think that gay people or the gay community is a mess understand this is YOUR fault, your doing, your upbringing and not ours. We're just trying to be ourselves, getting through life just as you would- yet we have to lug YOUR baggage around as if it were our own. If you keep it up, certain trends are bound to continue, certain trends like...oh, let's just say High School Shootings.


Anonymous said...

Damned infuriating, but unless you're gay you don't get it, nor do you care. Our society is full of well-kept secrets, and we're one of 'em.

John in CA

Lacey said...

Interesting. I remember being really really young...maybe four or five, and KNOWING that there was something about me...and not long after, I remember, distinctly, realizing that it wasn't "good", and I needed to keep it a secret.

And then the secret becomes so much a part of your life, that it becomes you, or you become it. What does one do with that? So much energy, wasted on THE SECRET. I find it amazing that I even survived intact. Ironicaly, I owe much of my survival to my wife. Funny, eh? She's the only one who really accepted me and loved me unconditionally.

Anonymous said...

Do you think we are getting more simple-minded? I'm 48, and remember in the 70s we seemed less bufoonish about sex, race, religion, class warfare, you name it. People were as parochial as they still are, but there was a higher level of common sense on display, less of a public willingness to indulge this ineradicable need to have an outcast--a n*gger, if you will--gays are today's n*ggers, even with all the legislation to protect us against the monsters. Is there any figure more repulsive than a committed idealogue whose mind is sealed shut? Maybe one running at you with a sword, shouting "Allah Akhbar." Freud was right, whatever people repress they will become compulsive about--which suggests the average bigot has more than a casual interest in homosexuality, no? I blame religion for most of this nonsense, and tell any young one who asks about it all to be very very careful about what they accept as "correct" labels and values, even if they come from mommy or the church.

BTW, the b&w pic of you up top is excellent, what a handsome dude you are! (And the blog is A+++ too)

Tim in CA

Aaron said...

If you are a straight person, you are told a story from childhood that lays out your whole life ahead of you.

The story is about a road that goes from where you are now to the horizon. There is childhood. Being a teenager. Dating. Your "first time." Relationships. Marriage. Children. Grandchildren. Retirement. Death.

For us, the story is a lie.

I think that every gay man of our generation has had the "oh, shit" moment when you are twelve years old or so and you realize that that story does not apply to you.

So, we have to make it up as we go along.

"Making it up" is a very confusing, insecure and even dangerous way to live.

But this process -- it really is self-creation -- can also be intensely rewarding, both for ourselves and for the community generally.

We are missing something when it comes to "life rituals" and the like. And yes, the bars do fill a role that might be better filled with something else. (Nice to see you at The Eagle last night, by the way, although we did not get to talk.)

But if our life rituals and the expectations that go along with them became as stifling and restrictive as those that exist for straight people, I would really be sad.

In the mean time, lacking things that other people in society can take for granted, we simply have to open our hearts to each other more.

Anonymous said...

excellent post, excellent comments. that's all.

Blogger said...

Just received my payment for $500.

Sometimes people don't believe me when I tell them about how much you can make by taking paid surveys from home...

So I took a video of myself actually getting paid over $500 for taking paid surveys.

Blogger said...

Sports betting system makes +$3,624 PROFIT last week!

Z-Code System winning picks and predictions for NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL...