Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Love Being Gay


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...)

My supercrush, Ben Cohen...*sigh*...


In addition, I have learned to have a certain perspective on life that only being an outsider to my culture could have taught me. Being hated by society teaches you many things....an inner strength in the face of overwhelming adversity and hopefully, a sensitivity to others who are looked down on. It blows my mind that anyone gay can discriminate...it happens...but it seems as if we are ignoring the lesson of our own lives when we do. You also learn alot about family...how to trust those you love with the deepest part of you even though it may mean utter rejection. And sometimes...how to build a family when the one you were born into can't accept you for who you are.

I like being able be outside of the strict gender rolls that many of us try so hard to live up to in order to be considered a "real man" or a "real women". When you blur or cross the lines you discover that they only have the meaning that we give them and that sometimes those lines are keeping us separated from other human beings. For example, while I don't like being considered "one of the girls" by my female friends, I DO like being able to talk and joke about things that straight guys would touch with a ten foot pole...literally. It has helped me learn alot about how women feel that I don't think I would have ever learned otherwise.

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.

So there are many reasons for me to love being gay and so much would have been lost had I not had this experience. I'm sure that if I thought about it further I could come with enough to fill a book but I have strained your patience enough. So I turn the question over to you....What makes you grateful for your sexuality?..and how has it influenced the person you are today? What would you lose had you not had that experience?

Until next time dear readers...

9 comments:

  1. As always, a pleasure to read your perspective on things, Bryan. As for your question; I am grateful for my sexuality because it has forced me to question what I thought I knew. I thought people were straight, or they were gay - no in between. I was fine with both, but I knew I wasn't gay, because I liked boys, so by the process of elimination, I had to be straight, right?.... Well. No.

    The first time I looked at another girl in high school and just lost my breath with how much I wanted to *touch*, I went through a period of intense self-hatred. I clung to my male best friend, hating that I was attracted to both him and the young woman in my class. My inner voice was really nasty. Like, REALLY. It called me a slut (though I was the furthest thing from it!), a sinner, disgusting, untrustworthy... I've been called all the usual bi things - greedy, undecided, closeted, hiding my gayness through straight relationships - but I've never been as hurt by that as I was by that inner voice. It wasn't until my math teacher, recognising how close to the edge I was, got me talking about it that he introduced me to the Kinsey Scale. The knowledge that there were enough people out there like me to have a SCALE... Thank God. Relief.

    My mum was awesome - I admitted to her that I was bi, and she looked at me and went "Uh... you said you had news, baby. That... that is not news to me." She and I became much closer and she is my greatest ally and support against small-town narrow mindedness. My dad was... well, less awesome, but that's his decision. I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not. I have gained so much for my involvement with the community, and have come to accept that my sexuality is one part of the awesomeness that is me. I am smart, and funny, and sweet, and compassionate... and I like boys AND girls. I'd not change it for anything. =)

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  2. Just a light comment as I have been heavy in others. Many of the stereotypes are changing on TV. On a re-run tonight of a new sitcom one woman said of her friend, bemoaning his lack of flamboyant qualities "you're not a real gay guy, you're just a straight gut who likes dudes".

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  3. It's always unpleasant when I scroll down to see "until next time dear readers...". This is my favorite post, really touched me, specially being myself 22. Thank you.

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  4. I love being bi guy because the hetero people think of me as "gay", and homo as "straight". As I like both men and women, girls think of me as they "gay friend", so I can hug them REALY tight. Also my Game Masters skills are greater as I can sexualize both sex and be true about it in my descriptions. ;)

    But, serious, I love the person, not her gender. When you see past the sex stereotypes, you look for other personality traits - like humor, kindness, intelligence. I don't say that looks doesn't matter ( I love hot people, of course! ;) ), but I'm with someone not "because she has brests", like most of mine colleges are, but because this person is really great in mine POV - if not, I could also try with other one. ;]

    And as I like men more than women, I can really boost confidence in my male friends saying "You are sexy, man! She is lucky to have you." ;) And liking both sex you can admire humanity as whole more. I can say to my women friends "He isn't as bad as you think, put yourself in his situation". Or the same to my male friend.

    But the most thing I love about being bi is my boyfriend that I truly love more than any girl I was with. ;)[ And as he is also bi our talks and flirts with both women and men about "thresomes". ;P ]

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  5. @Wyrdhamster...

    "And as he is also bi our talks and flirts with both women and men about "thresomes". ;P "

    I had to LOL at this...those must be some interesting conversations. I have those with Jay..they just don't include women.

    Bryan

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  6. We have a friends that are couple - he is hetero sexy guy, she is very beautiful bi girl. We love giving them to understand that we would be happy having fun with each of them, even if it's just talk for fun. They're for it that will seduce my boyfriend, and "do obscene things with him", to which I am, "Only the video is to be with me on my hard drive immediately." :D

    As you can see, to be in an unconventional relationship is lots of fun and sexual piquancy. ;)

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  7. I hate to be the downer here, but as of yet I have not had any positive experiences with being gay. I've been out for two years, my family hates me, I have very few friends, I go to school and live by myself, and I have yet to have a boyfriend, or experience anything beyond a handshake. I wonder whether it's just a problem related to being gay, but my suspicion is that it's more of a problem related to my very existence. All I can say is that I'm happy that you all (and Bryan and Jay) have great reasons, memories, and/or experiences that really affirm your lives and identities. Gives me a little bit of hope...

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  8. Bryan - i have watched all your collab videos and they are awesome. I learned a lot. I like how you interact with other members and seeing you guys enjoying yourself making videos. I look forward to more videos from the channel.

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  9. Bryan, I've said this before and I will say it again: You and Jay are such an inspiration. I don't really have anyone at home I can look up to (mainly because most of the people in my life look down on me), so knowing that you two share your lives on the internet with the world is really something that touches me.

    I'm learning to love being gay. But it isn't easy--especially when my dad wants me to stay closeted and the rest of my family thinks gays are the next plague.

    I know our styles of activism are different, but everything I have learned over the last few years has really made me want to fight hard for our community. That's why I started my text blog. Originally, I was going to use my YouTube channel for my activism, but I enjoy doing funny videos more than serious ones. So, I made my blog for the serious stuff.

    Thanks for being awesome. It means a lot.

    -Greg

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