Hello again dear readers. A few of you may know that I have become involved in a new vlogging collab channel with four other youtubers who's work I both respect and enjoy. Together with Dan (explorationB), Blair (Dirblair), Josh (joshrimer), and Paul(gaycomicgeek), we have combined our talents and differing perspectives to create one super powered channel called....wait for it....A Gay Collab! Yup, I know...it's catchy. This project is a huge departure from anything Jay and I have done in Gay Family Values. Here, we get to be a little more fun and perhaps a little more adult than may be appropriate for our family oriented channel. So far, I have made two videos for the collab and had great fun doing it. The only down side is that I only get four minutes to get my point across and anyone who has ever read this blog knows that I can't even say "hello" in under a 100 words. Additionally some topics are so multifaceted that I often don't get to say some very important things.
This weeks viewer question hit one of those very topics. We were asked if "there was any person or incident in our lives that helped us love being gay and/or what would be the biggest loss to your life if you were forced to be strait?"...a good question and one that takes the notion of self acceptance one step further. It's a topic that I have often thought about but never discussed online before. Yet...when I was thinking about making my video response to the topic I found that I couldn't fit it all into a two minute blurb. Did I love being gay?.....Hell yes!...but why?
There are a few personal traits that I grew up hating. Being a nerd and a social outcast was one, being so skinny I could walk through a closed door was another, and being sexually attracted to men was the cherry on the ice cream sundae of self hate I grew up with. Ironically, most of the things on this list that used to make me so ashamed of myself, completely turned around later in life. My body finally filled out. And even though I still feel very much smaller than the average guy I don't look in the mirror anymore and wish I was someone else...mostly. As for being a nerd....I suffered for that. Physically as well as emotionally. I was smart, hit puberty way late, and loved Star Wars just a little too much for most of my peers. As an adult I have learned not to cringe and retreat in shame when someone calls me a geek or a nerd. I have decided to wear it as a badge of honor. Also, I have since met many more people like me who survived their own years of torment and who have learned to appreciate their own geekiness. Its not an issue that anyone can ever make me feel ashamed of again. Which brings us to being gay...
I have talked before about the home environment I grew up in. It wasn't exactly homo friendly. Additionally, The 90's were a transition point for the visibility of gay people. I don't remember one positive image or message I received about being gay. My family condemned it and television made us into punchlines or villains. When I began to realize that my feelings weren't going to go away I had a mountain of bad stereotypes, religious indoctrination, and fear of rejection to overcome. I believed that being gay was a choice that people made and that was based in evil temptation. I believed that gay relationships did not last because two men could not possible love each other like a man and a woman could. I believed that catching AIDS was inevitable if you were gay. I believed that all gays were flamingly gay and/or sexually predatory to those younger than them. I believed that, since gay relationships could not last, that I would be alone...and as a consequence I would also be an alcoholic. So I prayed....alot. Yet no matter how far down I pushed my attraction to men, it returned tenfold.
And then something changed in me. It wasn't going away no matter how hard I pushed it away and pretended it wasn't a part of me. So I decided to explore it...and so with one trip to my local Barnes and Nobles, launched a chain of events that ends with the words I am typing to you today. Two major things really turned me around from hating myself...love, and real people.
I had so many negative images of what it meant to be gay that they became a fixed image in my mind of who I would become. "If I am gay, this will be my future", was my thinking. Yet taking my first steps into that dark and forbidden world of my local gay bar proved just how much I had to learn. I've written a nostalgic post about the Santa Rosa Inn before. To me it was quite possibly the most forbidden den of iniquity my closeted mind could have conjured up. I was so frightened to actually be there that I barely saw what was really there through my haze of fear and need. Yet little by little it dawned on my that the people I was seeing looked exactly like the patrons of any other bar I had ever been in. These were just people like any others...not scary monsters waiting to pounce on me the moment I walked in the door. My tragic image of my predestined life thankfully shattered to a million pieces. I came to understand over time that most people who I had looked to for answers all my life didn't know enough about gay people to know the truth...so why believe all that stereotype bullsh*te. I was now able to live my gayness and be myself on my own terms. In turn, this has let me learn to let others live it in their own way as well. The difference we bring to the community of gay(and trans) men and women has become something I treasure. The commonality of being gay has given me a connection to so many people that my live would be poorer without knowing.
The second watershed moment...and the clincher..was experiencing love with my very first boyfriend. Love is one of those things that Christianity holds as a hallmark of goodness. After all, we are taught that GOD is love and that anything that is loving must be from him. So I looked at the feelings I had for my then boyfriend and came to the realisation that this love was real so, how could he not be in that love as well? The last shreds of my doubts fell away in that moment. Perhaps this was who I was meant to be all along.
So I learned to let go of all the stereotypes..my thoughts about temptation..and my condemnation of myself and found a place of self acceptance. When I found that place it became easy to discover things to love about being gay...
On a shallow level that would be men of course. Men are exquisitely beautiful creatures. When ever I see a stocky man, or a cute red headed guy, hairy chests and legs, or that little peak of skin through an open sided sleavless workout shirt I am reminded about one reason that it's awesome to be gay. Being able to appreciate those things makes me thankful. That may sound weird to some...but its totally true. When I see pictures of my favorite crush...rugby player Ben Cohen, I am profoundly happy to be gay. And while men are nice to look at...they are even better to touch. the first time I was able to do that it felt like completing a part of myself that I hadn't known I was missing. The roughness of a beard on my cheek...the feel of belly fur...so many things that make me smile to think of even if I can't write them all down without giving some of my readers the vapors....(pardon me, I think I need a cold shower now...)
Being gay also set off a chain of events that led me to YouTube and a global community of GLBT people. Being a guy from a small northern California town..and from a xenophobic family..I doubt I would ever have left the border of my country....let alone make friends with gay people from around the nation and the world. With those friendships have some new learnings about what its like to be gay in those countries and expanded my world that much more...how can I be anything but amazed and thankful for that.
And most importantly, without being gay I would not know my husband and family. They are all my unexpected gifts and my moon and stars. My husband Jay and my kids bring so much to my life that I can not say would be there if I had married a woman. Jay keeps me in line, he grounds me, and he loves like he'll never run out of the stuff. My kids make me laugh, cry, and want to explode with love some days. I am eternally grateful for my family and If God hadn't put me on this earth as a gay man I would never have known any of this.