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Former lurker wants to say his piece

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by razorsharp, May 10, 2014.

  1. Benway

    Benway Guest

    I apologize for the poorly worded way I put that, let me say it like this, because this is what I meant: If you're happy with being a gay man, fine, so be it, that's awesome. The same applies to bisexuality, lesbianism, trans-- all the spectrums. I am not comfortable living with myself as a gay man. What I'm saying is I, personal, singular, am not comfortable with who I am. I have problem with gay people or the community and I believe in equal rights for everyone. If you wanna get married to another guy or to another girl or another person who someone says you can't because they're different then that's wrong. I'm all for gay rights, civil rights, the Quiltbag if you want to call it that, I am all for it.

    But me, internalized, I am not okay with living with myself as a gay man. That's all I'm trying to say. It's not from some misplaced sense of spirituality wrought down on me from a god who doesn't exist or from some fiery Republican shouting out idiocies, it's me. I don't care what anybody else does, as long as they don't hurt anybody and I'm for the equality and inalienable rights of everybody. But I do not want to live with myself as a gay man. I don't think I can do it, that's all.
     
  2. skiff

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    If heterosexuality didn't exist all problems are solved?

    The problem is not sexuality, the problem is society and their BAD (Wicked) behaviour towards minority groups. The issue is bigotry, not sexuality.

    Many societal groups TEACH this bigotry, reinforce this bigotry.

    That is the issue.
     
  3. danielo21

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    Have you ever heard a straight person saying "I'm not okay with living with myself as a straight man/woman". This proves that the feeling of being uncomfortable with ourselves comes from the outside.
    Imagine a world in which being gay was completely accepted and even cherised, just like being straight. Would you feel the same way as you do now? I don't think so.
     
  4. Benway

    Benway Guest

    That's not a problem that's under my control. It's not in anyone's control. Just as I can't change my sexuality, I cannot change the world I was born into. Neither can you. Nobody can, even if the whole world wanted to change we couldn't. And ultimately it doesn't make a difference.

    I've said it once I'll say it a hundred times. It's not because of the world that I hate myself. If the world hates me, fine, but the world is embracing me, I feel the need to distance myself from the world. Maybe that's it, maybe if I went down to West Virginia or Arkansas I could live in a hostile environment and be okay with myself because it'd be pissing off some good old boys. But I live in a very blue state and maybe it's because my parents are liberal and new age that I feel the need to react in an oppositional manner.
     
  5. danielo21

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    Although I can't empathize with any of your reasons, I'm glad to hear that your environment is supportive, since that isn't certainly the case for most of the world. I suppose you are truly happy and prefer to live this way. I only hope that in case you are not, you'll able to make a change.
     
  6. Wildside

    Wildside Guest

    Thanks for your kind words, RS. I appreciate that. I'm still kind of fragile with all this, and it sounds like you are too. I don't want you to feel like everyone is piling up on you, but we all do need to explain our perspectives a bit. And just like I can understand and respect that you disagree with me, I hope that you can understand and respect that I disagree with your statement that it would have been better or saved us all a lot of trouble or suffering if homosexuality never existed. For me, that says that I must have some problem or illness or trouble that I would be better without. I don't regret homosexuality existing and I don't regret being gay. If God asked me about this before taking action, I would plead for him to leave us as we are. I don't accept that idea that natural law only would include two genders/sexualities. What I do wish had never existed is the hatred, bigotry, well-meaning misunderstanding, and social mores that have treated us as an aberration, as people who never should have existed. And yes, people, not conditions. Being gay is as much a part of my being as being human. it is not a regrettable condition. As long as people see it as unfortunate that I am "this way," there will always be an element of fear in my life.
     
  7. Benway

    Benway Guest

    I never said I was happy. While some people may view being gay as a gift, I view it as a burden. It tears me apart, I don't want to be gay or straight, I don't even want to feel. But I don't want to change what I am and who I am in my struggling by giving in to a fight with my sexuality I never started. That'd be like me telling someone who's gay to just 'stop being gay.'
     
  8. Aldrick

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    You do not have to do anything. You may have to eat, breathe, and drink to sustain your life, but you are choosing to suffer. Do not confuse the choices that you make with burdens placed upon you by others or the world at large. You may not like the other choices placed before you, but that does not mean that those choices do not exist.

    You are not separate from the culture in which you were raised. We are all shaped and forged by the culture in which we were raised, it is woven into our very identities as people. You cannot separate yourself from it, or declare yourself independent, when everything that makes you who you are is a result of your lived experiences. It is not as if you were born into the world with the feelings and thoughts that you now harbor. They came from somewhere, and they came from the culture as a whole.

    Nothing that you have written here is unique. Thousands of people have struggled and are currently struggling as you struggle right now. Their experiences and feelings are similar to your own. ...and just like you, they have a choice.

    The advice I gave you earlier this year has not changed, and like Benway your situation continues to be a choice. There is only one choice that leads to your happiness and freedom from your depression. Whether or not you choose it or not is your decision. No one can give you what you want, you have to be strong enough to take it for yourself.

    I do, however, want to address what I quoted from you above. Do not assume that the anxiety and the heartache that I experienced was not worth it. I nearly took my own life, and I still carry heavy emotional scars from what I endured to get to where I am today. However, if I had the ability to travel back in time and magically change my sexuality, I would choose being gay again, and again, and again, and again over and over without regret. I would do this even knowing what I would have to endure. As painful as what I had to go through was, it made me the person I am today, and I like who I am. I am proud of who I am. The trials that I faced shaped me both for good and for ill.

    I would not be who I am today without the experiences that I had to face to get here. It made me a stronger and a better person. If I were to erase my sexuality, going back in time to make myself straight, then the person I am today would cease to exist. The person who would replace me, would be ignorant of much of the world, because he would never have had a reason to question anything that he was taught. He would have followed the predictable path laid out before him by his family and his culture, because it would have been what was expected of him. He would have never had a dream bigger than himself, because where he came from people do not dream big things, they work hard and they worship and hope for a better life after death. He would have never have been driven to be greater than what society expected him to be, because he fit neatly into the expected mold.

    No matter how much I desperately wanted to, I could never fit the mold. I could never follow the path laid out before me by others. I knew it was a lie, and I could not live a lie because I knew that was wrong. This caused me to struggle, and struggle, and struggle, and to question things that I would have never questioned otherwise. I was forced to forge my own path, and yes--this led me to make some mistakes, but it also liberated me. I could never imagine a straight version of myself being happy. Ambition would have been something we were born with, something that we both would have shared, even as children. The glimmer of a dream of being bigger than what we were born into would have hung over both of our heads, but it is only because I could not do what was expected of me that I was able to break free and choose my own path.

    It is true, that being straight would have made my life much easier. However, I do not crave an easy or a simple life, I crave a life full of meaning and value. Despite all of my struggles, both those I have endured in the past, and those that I will endure in the future--I would not trade the life that I currently live for anything. I am happy with who I am, and I am proud of who I am--I feel sad, that neither you nor Benway can say the same thing.

    However, the choices that both of you make are your own. None of us are responsible for what was done to us, for what we were taught, but each of us are responsible for how we deal with it.
     
  9. Benway

    Benway Guest

    So what you're saying is, I have choice over anything in my life, with the sole exception of my sexual orientation? No, then that's a reality in which I'd choose to suffer lest spend the rest of my days wallowing in an even deeper pit of self-hatred than I am, now.

    I am separate from my culture. We all are. We are independently our own persons-- just like everybody else. And no, I am not unique, nor am I special just as you are not special, nor is anybody else because everyone is different and yet so horribly the same. An old cliche, I know, but it fits. And once more, you say I have I have a choice...

    ...a choice to submit to something to which I otherwise have no choice in the matter of. I refuse. I refuse to be a part of that, that's not who I am. This is behaviorism, my mind and body are two, that is my duality. My body is homosexual, my mind is asexual. We are at constant conflict. And don't you dare tell me that I should give into my body's desires when the mind is so much more than the body. I choose not to choose to submit to the desires of this disgusting, rotting sack of meat they call the human body.

    It feeds off of what my mind processes, and it turns images against me. I will win, I don't know how, but I'll win. And I choose not to give in.
     
  10. Spaceman

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    Wow, so many thoughts about this thread.

    RS, when you made the comment about wishing homosexuality didn't exist, I think you meant you wished YOU weren't gay. Guess what...most gay people have had that same wish at some point in their lives. Then the smart ones accept that no amount of wishing is going to change it and they decide live their lives authentically. They do this despite the added challenges that come with being gay. As Aldrick so beautifully said, fighting that battle can make you a stronger, happier and more confident person.

    And RS, if you marry a woman, it is guaranteed you with end up either hurting her or yourself, probably both. If you've read the posts here from the many guys like me who came out after struggling for years to maintain a straight marriage, you should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you do not want to go down that road. Don't say you weren't warned.

    Benway, to me it sounds like you are giving up. Giving up the chance to be who are, the chance to experience love and find happiness. You can choose to be an asexual hermit, but is that the life you really want? It's the easy choice, the path of least resistance, but few good things come without a struggle. Only you can decide if you're willing to take on the challenge.

    You say you can't change the world you were born in to, but it's changing all around you and for the better because of so many gay people who were brave enough to come out and fight for what's right.
     
  11. Benway

    Benway Guest

    I would rather live my life as an asexual hermit than surrender in a war I've fought with myself for eight years. Had I been given the chance when I was younger to experiment with my sexuality perhaps things would have turned out differently. But too much time has passed, now. Time has this way of escaping me, as it does all of us. But goddamn, time has been a son of a bitch to me. Years wasted, alone, in sexual isolation-- it's all I know, now and frankly, it's all I want to know, anymore. Even if I did emerge, I know no good would come of it. I'd probably freak out with a guy, confusing and scaring him as I act like a lunatic screaming "I can't do this!" Or worse yet, sobbing on the floor crying "Why did I let this happen?"

    Socially the world is changing for the better, yes, I suppose that's true. I want nothing more for the gay community than full equality. I want to see gay people accepted in society as the norm, I want gay people to be able to get married and adopt or have surrogate children without any eyebrows raised in prejudice. But me? I can't accept who I am because too much time has slipped through my fingers. The world has changed, and it's a world ruled by the cold blue glow of a screen we look through to see the world. Everywhere I go someone has a smartphone out, or worse yet, a tablet. I get odd looks from people when I say I'll "call them," and they say "Can't you text?" We are entering the age of an autocratic technocracy ruled by thinking machines.

    Even if gay people get full equality, even if peace comes to the Earth and we all settle our differences, the machines will swallow us whole, as they're currently in the process of doing. Too much time has passed us to smash the control machines, they're already here. They've become self-aware and they feed off of us like digital vampires. The choice spoken of won't make a difference by the year 2024, we'll all be zombies doing whatever we're planned to do that day by the cloud machines. They're harvesting us and we don't even care, in fact we just let it happen. I am not a machine, I am a man. You can say I'm crazy, rambling on and on about thinking machines, say it's all science-fiction but they're already passing Turing tests, it's only a matter of time before they make their full presence known.
     
  12. Aldrick

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    No, I am not saying that. There are lots of things in life that you do not have control over, your sexual orientation is just one of them. When you are faced with things that you have no control over, the only choice you have left is how you react to it. You are choosing to react to it in the way that you are now, and you are choosing to wallow in that pit of self-hatred. You may have inadvertently fell into it, but you do have a choice to get out of it. You have a choice in shaping how you feel, how you see the world, and what you value and what you do not value.

    How do I know this? Because I swam around in that pit for a long while myself, and then I decided to climb out of it. It is the difference between choosing to see yourself as a victim, and choosing to see yourself as a survivor. We did not choose the world we were born into, our sexual orientation, our families, our culture--all of these things shaped us and made us who we are today--but despite this, we do have a choice in how we react to those things. Each and every day you are making yours.

    You are correct. None of us are special. None of us are snowflakes. We are all horribly damaged people doing what we can to survive in an unfair, unjust, and uncaring world. However much you would like to believe it, you are not separate from the world that made you. You were shaped into the person you are today by your life experiences.

    Do you honestly think that if you were born into a different culture or society that you would be the same person you are today? That is as silly as a Christian saying that if they were born into a Muslim family in Saudi Arabia that they would still have grown up Christian. The way you see yourself is a reflection of the culture in which you grew up. The fact that you grew up in a "blue state" to liberal-ish parents is not relevant to the culture at large. Every negative thing that you feel about your sexuality is nothing more than internalized bigotry.

    You are correct to say that you are an independent person, and it is true that you are not beholden to your culture. This is why you have a choice. You did not have a choice in learning what you learned, but you do have a choice in whether or not you continue to sustain those beliefs and values. Your self-hatred stems from that, and you are not as liberated from it as you might like to think.

    You get to choose who you are, and you are choosing what you are right now. The fact that you are suffering from your choice is your own fault, and only you have the power to change that.

    That is a lie. Your mind and body are not separate. There is no duality. Your brain is a physical organ, just as your heart, liver, and intestines. The fact that your body experiences sexual arousal toward members of the same gender comes from chemicals and hormones released in your brain. There is no part of you that is asexual. You want to be asexual, because it is a cheap and easy way out of facing what you truly are, a homosexual.

    I am not telling you that you have to choose anything. I am simply telling you that you have a choice, and you are making that choice right now--each and every day. You want to see yourself as a victim, as someone powerless, but you are not a victim. You ceased being a victim the moment you had the ability to make a choice. Victims are people who have things done to them against their will. Survivors are people who have been victims, but have endured what has happened to them and moved on.

    Each and every day that you wake up and choose the path that you are on--the pain and suffering that you endure is chosen by yourself. It is not done out of hatred, but out of fear. Fear of what you are, fear of what you will become if you give in, but like all fears they can be overcome. You just need courage. How you find that courage is up to you, but the choice of changing how you feel--of bettering your life and circumstances--that is all in your hands. No one can help you, except yourself.
     
  13. Benway

    Benway Guest

    You're using circular logic, as am I-- just from two different points of view. For you, accepting yourself was the best thing you ever did. And that's fine, that's great! I think it's awesome that people can get along with each other and themselves.

    But for me, I don't reframe the things that scare me to help me sleep at night. Cognitive behavioral therapy is nothing more than lying to myself. Even if I do lie to myself and say "I'm okay with the fact that deep down I'm gay," it's still a lie. I am not okay with who I am and I've fought and torn and ripped at myself too long to concede. I can win this, I almost did once but I fell short.

    Sexuality is a chasm to me, a black hole that leads into a series of existential crises which cause nothing but malaise, disdain and disgust. I cannot afford to second guess myself by 'accepting' what I can't accept.
     
  14. razorsharp

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    I appreciate your views, Aldrick, but I disagree with you. You are forgetting that I disagree with homosexuality. I do not want to 'overcome challenges' to be a better person by becoming a practicing homosexual because I do not believe that homosexuality will make me a better person. I don't want to get into a debate here but I have to mention the following point so that you know where I'm coming from: homosexuality has serious health risks (scientifically proven). Now, I did not learn this because of my culture/society - this is a scientific fact as much as photosynthesis is a fact. My core reasons for not wanting to be homosexual are not merely religious/cultural/social. Remember - I'm in my 30s and this issue has been with me since the age of 7. You have to acknowledge and respect that I've looked at this thing from every angle - as I'm sure you have.

    Spaceman: I think you are looking at my inquiry from a negative standpoint. I can't argue with you because you say you have already been married, but my situation would be different to yours if I married a woman. I sincerely want to make such a marriage work, even if I end up hurting myself to some degree. God knows how much I'm hurting right now..could it really be worse than this? I would like to hope not.
     
  15. Aldrick

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    There is no circular logic involved on my end. Circular logic requires the proposition to be supported by the premise, which is in turn supported by the proposition, and this is why it is called circular logic. Example: The Bible is the word of God, because it says so in the Bible.

    Your logic is circular, as you noted, that is why you feel trapped by it.

    This is the source of your faulty assumption. For me, I am okay with the fact that I am gay deep down. It is not a lie because it is true. Just as it is true right now that you are not okay with being gay, deep down.

    Let me give an example of what I am talking about. When I was growing up, I was taught that dinosaurs were not real. I was told that the devil buried the bones to confuse people into believing they had existed. I did not understand it at the time, but the reason I was taught that was because the Bible says the Earth is roughly 6,000 years old and the dinosaurs are much older than that. There are also no dinosaurs in the Bible. Therefore, in the eyes of my former religion, the dinosaurs had to be fake.

    Fast forward to when I am an adult, and have left behind the sheltered life of my family. Imagine my shock and surprise to learn that most people do not think that way, and that there were other explanations for the existence of dinosaurs. When I left my religion behind, I embraced the scientific explanation of where the dinosaurs came from, because that was the best answer based on our current understanding.

    Because my understanding of the world, my values, and therefore my views changed--does that mean that secretly deep down that I still believe that dinosaurs never existed and the bones were buried by the devil? No. I find that point of view absurdly silly now, and I am embarrassed to admit that I actually bought into it growing up. There is no lie or deception involved, just an understanding of the facts and evidence, which caused me to shift my point of view.

    The same is true when it comes to my sexuality. I was brought up to see myself as an abomination, a deviant, and a freak. I was taught to see myself as worse than a rapist and a murderer--on par with a pedophile, and would likely become a pedophile myself. I was taught to believe that I would burn in hell for all of eternity, and that I was someone deserving of death. I watched and joined in on prayers asking God for AIDS to spread, because of the belief that it was a modern day plague like that from the Old Testament. AIDS was a punishment for the sin of being gay.

    I internalized all of that, and I hated myself with a passion. I did not want to be gay. I fought it. I prayed every single day to be made straight, and when it became obvious that would not happen, I prayed to be made bisexual so that I could pretend to be straight. Then when that did not happen, I resigned myself to death rather than ever accepting myself for what I was--because it was better for me to die than for the world to know that I was a faggot.

    Then I began to question my religion. I began to question the things that I had been taught. I started to realize that not everyone thought the way that I did, and that other people saw the world differently. I learned from them, and slowly--VERY SLOWLY--began to gain some measure of self-acceptance.

    In the end, I realized that homosexuality exists in other species within nature. It is a natural variance of human sexuality. It is natural. There is nothing abnormal about me, and if there is nothing abnormal about me, then that means there is nothing wrong with me.

    It took years to get to the point where I could accept it, and longer still until I could fully embrace it. Then after I embraced it, it took more time before I could truly see myself for what I am and truly be proud of it. The pride comes not from being gay--that is really nothing to be proud of--the pride comes from overcoming the obstacles and accepting myself as gay.

    Your current position is not so different from mine when I was in my early 20's.

    ---------- Post added 25th Nov 2014 at 03:44 PM ----------

    I know that you have religious objections to homosexuality. However, unlike your sexuality, your religion is a choice. People change their religion all the time, and I am merely one example. Of course, I am not saying that you need to become an atheist, because that would be silly. However, at this point in our history there are millions of Christians (both straight and gay) who find no conflict with homosexuality and religion. Of course, it was not that way when we were growing up. However, the world and its people are changing. You have the option to change with them, or cling to the religion of the past. So long as you choose to do that, though, we both know where that choice leads you.

    Of course, having walked a mile in your shoes, I know from 20/20 hindsight that the problem that you face has little to do with religion/science/culture/social/<insert reason here>. It has to do with fear. Everything else you put up in front of that fear is merely a justification for it. It is the fear that paralyzes you in place and leaves you trapped.

    I wish I could tell you that the choices before you are easy, and give you exact instructions on what to do. However, they are not easy choices. Even the choices placed before you have consequences, and that just creates more excuses for you to be fearful and remain paralyzed in place. At some point in your life, before it is too late, I can only hope that you can find the courage necessary to find the happiness that you deserve. However, only you can make those choices--no one else can help you.

    Yes, because your marriage would be based on a lie. You would not only be hurting yourself, you would be causing harm to any wife and children that you may have with her. You would be stealing away from her the best years of her life, so that you could live a charade all in the hopes of trying to make yourself feel better. That is called being selfish.
     
  16. danielo21

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    #116 danielo21, Nov 25, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  17. razorsharp

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  18. danielo21

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  19. razorsharp

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  20. Choirboy

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    So what are you actually asking here? I had some degree of attraction to my wife and was committed 100% in my mind to making it work and ignoring my same-sex-attractions (i.e. homosexuality). I planned, with everything in me, to make it work, but in the end I couldn't. I'm not advocating coming out as gay, bisexual, whatever, as the be-all, end-all to happiness, although I personally have been much happier since I did.

    Coming out may not be what will make you happy, and if you're convinced it won't, then don't do it. It's not a requirement. But if you're asking for our blessing to find a woman and get married so you can suppress your attraction toward men, you're not likely to find it here. Based on the personal experience of a number of people here (myself included) who truly wanted to do the same thing, and couldn't, we're all very dubious that this is a good thing.

    But if you're convinced in your heart that you can make it work....what are you asking us to tell you?