Monday, March 2, 2009

Homophobia in the Gay Community #1 (Loving Yourself)

This is one of my pet subjects, and one I want to return to again and again.

Today, I just want to say that I believe homophobia is an epidemic in the gay community. There are so many ways gay men show how they hate other gay men and themselves. How can we not? We're raised to believe that being gay is unacceptable and an abomination and filthy and disgusting. When you receive that message enough times, year after year, it's impossible not to hate whoever is gay, whether it's other gay men, who we should support, or even ourselves, whom we should love unconditionally.

I believe that drugging, drinking, smoking, whoring around, and the like, are examples of behavior from people who, if they respected themselves more--that is, if they loved themselves more and accepted themselves as the wonderful gay human beings they are--wouldn't indulge in self-destruction. I've seen it time and again: Friends who bought into the negative aspects of the gay lifestyle, either because they believed that's what was expected of them, or because they didn't believe they deserved any better.

I can only speak for myself, but it wasn't until I was well on the road to liking myself more as a gay man that I was in a position to allow a wonderful young man into my life, whom I am still with today after nearly seventeen years. I never did the drugging, the drinking, the smoking, and the whoring around. At the very least, I always valued myself enough to reject those dead end behaviors. I'm grateful for that, because I avoided contracting HIV and AIDS at a time in the early 1980s when many, many gay men got sick and died. The world will never have those wonderful souls back.

So my point? If you're a gay man, and you're alone and lonely, and you want to be in a long-term relationship, and you don't know why you haven't found the right person yet, please take a hard look at yourself first. Work on yourself first. See the ways in which your own homophobia sabotage your efforts to value, and to validate, and to love yourself. See for yourself the incredible human spirit you are, regardless of your upbringing, or the experiences that have made up your life. You are a human being first, and you are gay second, and you are worth so much more than you probably believe now.

There is nothing in the world wrong with being gay. Believe that. BELIEVE THAT! Believe in yourself. Believe in the possibility that, not only can you love yourself, but someone else can love you too. That was one of the biggest lessons I needed to learn. That I was lovable. That I was deserving of love. That I deserved to love myself (a goal I continue to work on even to this day because of the early experiences I had related to being gay), and that I was worthy of love from someone else whom I loved myself.

My God, don't get caught up in the lifestyle of being gay and don't self destruct. There is someone out there who can and will love you. I promise you that. I promise you that. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you too. I believe that with all my heart.

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