Sunday, July 14, 2013

When Did I Know (Or Should Have Known) That I Am Gay?

Having been married to a woman for years with three children before "coming out," I often get asked the question of "when did you know you were gay?"  My response typically is that there is a difference between secretly knowing something in your heart and being able to accept that reality.   For years, due to in retrospect, a warped Roman Catholic upbringing and the conservatism of the area where I grew up, being gay was just something that I could not accept.  As a result I went through many mental contortions to convince myself that "it wasn't really true."  It is this mental state that the fraudulent "ex-gay" groups and misnamed "ministries" prey upon.  

But looking back, there were unmistakable signs I refused to accept.  One was prompted to mind while going through old possessions in my house in Norfolk that I plan to put up for sale soon.  Among these things was a stack of old vinyl LP albums.  One was for the soundtrack of the 1968 movie version of Romeo and Juliet.  When I first saw the movie as a field trip for a high school English class, while all the boys were swooning for Olivia Hussey, who starred as Juliet, I was swooning inwardly - and secretly - for Leonard Whiting (pictured below) who played Romeo. 

I should have gotten the message, but I didn't.  Of course, when the movie was released, it would be another five (5) years before homosexuality ceased to be classified as a form of mental illness.  I suspect that in towns and cities all across America - indeed the world - there are teens who like me are striving desperately to not accept the reality of who they are and/or to deal with it and accept it.  What drives all this inner torment and self hate is, of course, religion and the need for the pious crowd to condemn and stigmatize others so that they (i) don't have to think and face the fact that the Bible is wrong about gays and (ii) can feel superior and good about themselves.  

For all these youths, I hope the day of full marriage equality nationwide comes soon and that conservative Christianity (and other fundamentalist religions) finds a much needed death.


Buddy Bear said...

I had a similar "deep denial" experience when our grade 10 class (1978) saw Leonard Whiting's beautiful ass during a movie-theatre screening of R & J.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a spot-on post for a lot of people. While I was never married, I spent 30 years as a scout leader, so especially to friends from that era of my life that know I'm gay, they always wonder the same thing. I knew when I was a young tween, and had words for it by the time I was about 13, but repressed it, at least overtly for many, many years. That acceptance was slow to come for me, but I am now glad that it has.

I don't much care of the fundamental Christians die, I just want them to shut up and go back in the closet where THEY belong!

Peace <3

Anonymous said...

Interesting, Buddy Bear, second time I've seen that movie mentioned today!
First time I saw Leonard Whiting's ass! WOOT!!!
Peace <3

Jim said...

While dittos are redundant, I can't help one here. I ignored and rationalized like a pro. I started with the premise "I can't be gay" and then went on to "prove" it. Poor logic at best.

Lyndon Evans said...

Funny you should use this as an example as when I saw this on a "class field trip" in 7th grade it was then I knew I was bisexual before even knowing of the word.