I blog on several other sites, but this will be the one where I deal with more “sensitive” subjects from the comfort of my anonymous chair.
So here goes.
I am many things. An artist. A composer. A writer. A some-time cook. A fan of public radio. Irish-American. A Christian.
I’m also gay.
If you know me, this may come as a bit of a shock but not much of a surprise.
Now, lest images of drag queens and leathermen marching down 5th Avenue in pride parades come to your minds, I assure you—that is not me. If TV pictures of shrill, effeminate gay men vociferously demanding gay rights and gay marriage offend you—that is not me. If associations with AIDS and promiscuous sex-addicts in bathhouses cause you alarm—that is not me. If you hear “gay” or “homosexual” and immediately think of limp-wristed, lisping, swishy non-conformists—that is not me.
I am, by all accounts, normal. I work a 9-5 job in education administration. I work in the arts and love attention, but I keep a low, quiet profile. I attend religious services regularly and am a member of a mainstream church in Minneapolis. Hang out with my friends, most of whom are straight, and almost all either dating, married or getting married.
It just so happens that I am also attracted to men. Apart from that, there is nothing that really sets me apart from “straight” guys.
It’s been a difficult process coming to this realisation, but looking back I’ve always known in some way. I’ve always been “into” guys and upon the onset of adolescence that attraction became much more apparent, though I lacked the emotional vocabulary to make sense of any of that.
I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home by two loving parents who tried their best to instil conservative Christian values in me and my two younger sisters. But a young Christian man just wasn’t gay so for a long time I tried to convince myself that my attraction to men was just “a phase” and that I just needed to find the right girl, because that’s what young Christian men did—they dated and then married nice Christian girls.
Later on (over the past three years), the fact that I’m homosexual became something shameful to hide, to overcome, to loathe.
And nobody knew. I made sure of that.
Until a friend of mine came out to me with her feelings for me and I knew that not telling her would be a disservice, both to myself and to her. Leading on nice girls when there was no chance of me ever being attracted to them was unfair. Sure, there may be disappointment and pain, but it at least gave them the chance to move on and find a guy would could genuinely love and care for them, and ultimately be totally attracted to them. So I did it. I told her.
And that was just the beginning.