How many times have we heard that phrase coming out? ..."its just a phase"...The implications being, that you decided be be gay on a whim. Like dying your hair bright pink and developing a taste for 70's punk. This off handed comment, often made by parents struggling to deal with there child coming out to them, completely ignores the soul searching and inner turmoil that we have to go through to accept ourselves let alone find the courage to tell those closest to us. It also ignores the fact that being gay is as much a part of us as the color of our eyes or the frustrating fact that I will never be any taller than 5'9". It hard for those around us to accept that we really thought about this....tortured ourselves over it...and that its the naked, unalterable truth. Its so mush easier to dismiss it as a changeable facet of our personality, like deciding to dye your hair.
This is the crux of the argument made by religious conservatives that "being gay is a choice". It is the faulty reasoning that allows the ex-gay movement to go on...and the reason why one of my parents suggested to my brother that he kidnap me to get me "away from homosexual influence". And the big lie...that gays recruit kids. Despite all evidence to the contrary, people still stubbornly hold onto the idea that homosexuality is communicable and therefore preventable and changeable. It is not.
My sexuall orientation is a part of the way I came into this world and a part of me that I am very thankful for. However, my path to that acceptance was not a "straight" one (pun intended). Like most adolescents, I turned my attentions to girls. I kind of envy those who knew from childhood that they were gay but I did not have that insight. I was always told that I would meet a girl, fall in love, and get married. That was the script that was repeated to me time and time again all through my childhood years and I did my best to make it come true.... so I put forth that this period of my life was the true phase....and a temporary stop on my way to finding truth.
I also need to add that I was a very late bloomer. I had no interest in sex of anykind until waaaayyy later than most people. My pursuit of relationships with girls was a pursuit of love as I imagined it was supposed to be. My libido never sent me that direction. Though I had fantasies about men, often I refused to see them as anything but "temptation" or to bury them as completely as I could. So it makes sense that all of my most important romantic firsts happened with girls before they ever happened with men. So...this makes me nervous to share but here is my heterosexual walk of shame....Only the names have been omitted to protect the innocent...
My first girlfriend was in Junior high, she would come over to my house stoned and ask to make some toast. A whole loaf of bread later, she would ask for a ride home....yeah, burning passion there eh? Maybe if your a loaf of bread. That lasted about two weeks.
My first kiss was also by a girl who I considered more friend than "girlfriend". She was a very pretty girl with a mane of red hair that, had I been straight would have driven me wild(love redheads), but at this time my hormones still hadn't kicked in. Sex to me, at that time was an idea more than a desire...and I was 18...how sad is that. Clearly though, she had designs on me for some reason. One day we were hanging out at home, it wasn't a big house and not much that happened in it could by hidden...I guess my parents where outside and we were standing in the hallway when she pushed me up against the wall and gave me my first, very aggresive, kiss. I laugh about it now but at the time I was scared shitless. Far from being exciting, my first "french kiss" felt like having a foreign invader in my mouth. That kiss never led to anything else and somehow the two of us managed to remain friends afterward.. until a year or so later when we lost touch with each other. That was another one of those "you shoulda known you were gay" moments that I didn't pick up on.
My first love and first sexual experience were with the same person. I met her in my early twenties. She was a salesgirl and I was a dock worker at Emporium Capwell, the department store where we both worked. She was pretty and mysterious and I have to admit those where probably the things that attracked me to her. She always wore sunglasses and it wasn't until we dated a couple of times that I discovered it was because she suffered from blinding migraines. She used to self medicate by getting prescription drugs from her friends and we spent many a night driving to sacramento so she could bum them off her regular source. But prescription drug addiction did nothing to prevent me from hanging all my romantic hopes on her. I met her parents and all her old friends in Sacramento who probably all wondered what the hell we were doing together. She was also a rabid fan of Depeche Mode. To this day, I can't hear them and not think of her. She often used to joke that most of her boyfriends turned out to be gay....Haha...I guess it is pretty funny now.
At anyrate my first sexual experience was on one such road trip to Sacramento. Listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket and Depeche Mode, we decided to stay the night instead of driving there and back. In a little motel along the way I got my first education in sex and right away it made me hooked on her. I started planning kids and all sorts of things that I had no right to be even thinking about. To me, sex = love. I didn't realize how doomed that relationship was. She eventually broke up with me and I was absolutely devastated. I felt as though someone had burned out my soul and left me behind as the hollow shell. Over time however, I got over it and one day I met her again after I came out....lol...we had a good laugh about that one and both of us felt relieved. I am still very gratefull to her for being the person to help me take my first awkward steps into love and sex relationships.
In between I dated a couple more girls, both were awsome and didn't deserve what they got from me. I didn't realize that the reason I couldn't go deeper in my relationships with them was because you need more than the idea of love. It takes all of what you have to give to make it work and that includes that part of us that excites us and gets the motor running...so to speak.
So there it is, my sick sordid foray into heterosexuality. Brief though it was.
When I came out to myself and had my first relationship with a man I already had a little experience under my belt...but it was all with women. I still had a lot to learn, but this time all of me was involved in the process. I felt like I had gone from seeing in black and white...to seeing in color for the first time ever. Its how I knew that what I was feeling was true and that there was nothing wrong in it. I hadn't realized how much I could love or what I would be willing to do for that kind of love. I learned what love was supposed to feel like and forever ended my phase of heterosexuality.
So consider this next time you hear someone say that "its just a phase".