A little disclaimer for those who might be finding this in recent years. This the blog entry where I came out of the closet as gay. (Spoiler.) Today, I recognize I used some problematic language. I was still learning and am still learning. I apologize for it, but have decided not to edit it out so this remains an entry of who I was then.Sexuality has, in recent years, become a big topic for people. Generally, in the past, people who were not your average heterosexual were not discussed, at least, that wasn't discussed.
It's an important thing to figure out, really. Not so much for the pursuit of a partner and a sex life, but just knowing that bit about yourself.
A problem today is stereotypes. Why do homosexual men prefer to be intimate with other men? The stereotype says because they don't like women. Just about the same thing is said for lesbians about men. But this couldn't be further from the truth.
In a favorite film of mine, Trainspotting, lead character Renton monologues "lf you ask me, we're heterosexual by default, not by decision. It's just a question of who you fancy. It's all about aesthetics."
That, to me, says it best. Your sexuality is not a big thing that will mean you act or dress a certain way or do certain things. It's a matter of what you're attracted to, or rather, who you're attracted to.
Still, embracing that can be scary because it can be difficult to understand what that means. Often we think we'll have to conform to stereotypes and no one enjoys the idea of feeling limited by themselves.
Growing up in a Christian home, the ideals of being a normal heterosexual person were grafted into my mind at an early age. However, being homeschooled, I was sheltered and the whole world was basically a closed book I was forbidden to open. When I finally left home, it took awhile for me to dare to open that book.
Being a fan of L. Frank Baum's Oz books and being online, it was only a short time before I began meeting people of differing sexuality. And surprisingly, they were unlike what I expected. These were generally nice people, later confirmed by my finally visiting an Oz convention in 2010.
Eventually, I began looking up what homosexuality was all about. Being flamboyant, it took me awhile to find, wasn't the case for everybody. These people were people just like me, except they preferred to be intimate with people of the same gender.
I worked with a few gay people at my first job. One was a manager who didn't talk about his sexuality at work at all, but it was pretty obvious he was. Another was a guy about my age who seemed to be in a bad relationship. There was another manager as well who seemed to be your average guy, but we were told he had dated the other manager.
Finally, I had to ask the question myself. What am I? After all, to date, I'd never had a real romantic relationship with a woman, nor did I seem to be very interested in having one. I explained that if I was in such a relationship, I would want to be sure I could take of her first. But I've had to think that isn't true, as my financial position is much the same as it was then. If it was a major point for me, I would have been taking initiative to move up.
At the second Oz convention I've attended, three gay Oz fans and I were in a room together and one commented there were four gay men in the room. I wasn't sure what to say, so I said nothing. Likely the fact that I'd arrived with a fellow male Oz fan and close friend (who I've had a regular correspondence for years and we haven't kept that a secret) and that we had requested to share the same room didn't help.
Still, that did get to me. If I was straight, he would have noticed, right? There's that rule "Takes one to know one."
Having been curious, I have tested what arouses me over the years, and I have to admit that I have discovered that it is other men. Perhaps, not being the shapeliest or fittest person, I made an excuse for my attraction, assuming it was because I wanted to get in shape.
I love my female friends, but that's what we are: friends. I jokingly "twarried" a British woman on Twitter and mainly chat with her and young women in Ireland and Trinidad.
April 1, 2012, I was taking trash out at work when I got a little stuck with the boxes I was pulling along and the narrow space. My hand was briefly wedged against the posterior of a male coworker who we all knew was gay.
After withdrawing my hand, he said, "Ease up on the subtlety next time, just go for it," all jokingly of course, but it made me realize I needed to decide my sexuality. Because, as brief and embarrassing as that was, it was also somewhat arousing.
It was a clear open book there.
I tweeted about the incident later, and someone replied "I actually thought you were gay."
April 3, I made a joke on Facebook comparing Irish people to the vampires from Twilight. And to prove that I did not mean to disparage the Irish, I commented that "Irish are sexy!" and as proof, posted a link to a picture of Damien Molony from Being Human, in a scene where he was not wearing a shirt.
Shortly, a young friend instant messaged me "Y U LOOKING AT PICTURES OF SHIRTLESS MEN?"
I replied with "The question is not why am I looking at pictures of shirtless men, but why are you NOT looking at pictures of shirtless men?"
"Because that's kind of weird," he replied. "And ghey. Didn't know you got down like that, Jared..."
I replied with a smiley face. I could have stopped and explained that it was a picture from Being Human to show an attractive Irish person, but instead, I decided to let my friend know the truth, because I knew it now.
"You're. Not. Gay. Right." he replied, eight seconds later.
After a minute, I finally wrote: "Why isn't there a smiley wearing sunglasses?"
"You're gay?" he asked. "Did not expect that... but okay."
"Well," I replied, "it's cool that you're cool with it."
Then I proceeded to tell him he was the first one I'd revealed it to, and that I wasn't likely to be a "weird flamboyant type." Surprisingly, he has respected me and has continued to chat with me as he normally does.
He did wonder at previous statements about women when I commented on their beauty, as well as breasts. "You can appreciate it," I explained. I still hug the girls before I leave work. (Something my oft-emotionally distraught general manager really appreciates.) I still think women are beautiful and deserving of love, but I'm not interested in anything but friendship with them.
Since it's been a week, I've noted I feel more confident in general. I'm not as quiet as I used to be at work, and when talking on the phone with my mom, I actually cracked jokes with her. You might do that regularly with your mom, I haven't in years. Perhaps this newfound confidence can help in other areas I've been needing to work on as well.
Nothing about me has changed by deciding to be comfortable with being gay, it was just something I needed to do. Just wish I'd figured this all out a long time ago...