Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Gay?

Why am I gay?

For years, I asked myself that question.  It wasn't so much about what caused me to be gay--that is, nature versus nurture--as it was about, for what purpose am I gay?

Some Christians would say being gay is my test.  They might not dispute that I was born gay, but they would dispute I've given in to being gay, to living my life as a fully-realized gay man, including having sex with someone of the same gender.

Of course, I disagree.  I agree that I may have been born gay, but I disagree that it's the test I've been given to earn my way into the afterlife, and that I failed by giving in to living as a gay man.  That puts a negative spin on being gay, and, as my most frequent readers already know, I choose not to look at being gay as something negative.  After all, being gay is a large part of my life.  It's what I am. It's how I experience life.  Even more, it's who I am.  

So I'm gay.  Why am I gay?  Why am I gay as opposed to something else?  Like left-handed.  Or interested in math instead of writing.  Or blue-eyed?  Or whatever?

Nothing is an accident.  I'm not accidentally gay.  That is, I'm not gay by accident. I'm gay for a purpose, and it took me a long time to figure out that purpose. Because understanding that purpose necessitated acceptance of why I'm different in that way, when I couldn't accept it for the longest time. Or maybe understanding that purpose helped me accept I'm different in that way.

In short, I'm gay to help others who are gay.  Now that I'm older, and I've lived over half a century, and I've been through several phases of what it means to be gay, I'm over all that, and I've accepted I have a responsibility to help other people accept their own gayness.  Who better to show a young gay person, struggling with his or her sexual orientation, than someone who struggled with his own? Someone who knows firsthand what being gay is about?  And, more importantly, what being gay can and should be?

A straight person can't help a gay person come to terms with being gay in the same way a gay person can.  I don't know the first thing about being straight, so how can a straight person know the first thing about being gay?  A straight person can (and should) accept a gay person.  A straight person can (and should) support a gay person.  A straight person can (and should) love a gay person.  But a straight person can't validate a gay person.  A straight person can't show a gay person by example that it's all right to be gay.  Only a gay person can do that.

At some point, we have to look outside ourselves.  We have to get over what's been given to us.  No, more than that, we have to embrace what's been given to us.  In my case, this is being gay.

And we have to look at ourselves and our lives in a larger context.  What's it about?  Why am I here? What is uniquely mine to share with others?

Today, I'm male, 51, and gay.  Today, I'm deeply in love with my partner of nearly two decades.   Today, I love myself more than I ever have before.  Today, I know being gay isn't a liability--it's a gift. It's a gift I was given to share with others, particularly those who are also gay but not in the same place as I am today.

If ever you wonder what your life's work is, what your purpose for being here is, what you were intended to do during your short time on earth, take a close look at your gifts.  What was given to you. What's different about you from everyone else?  What makes you unique?  What makes you special?

Maybe you hate what's unique about you now.  Maybe you hate being different from everyone else, because what makes you different makes you stick out, attracts negative attention, repels people.

Never forget, what makes you different is your gift.  You received your gift for good reason.  Your purpose is to embrace it.  Your purpose is to love it.  Your purpose is to understand how to use it, not just for your own benefit but for the benefit of others.

What do you have to offer that someone else doesn't?  What is uniquely yours to give away?  If you're gay, being gay is what you have to offer, is uniquely yours to give away.  Even being gay is a gift. Being gay is a gift.

Why gay?

Why not gay?


  1. I'd say you have lots of gifts, the least of which are your abilities to reflect upon your own experiences and then articulate them in way that people can relate too. Even if you weren't gay, I'm sure your blog would be just as helpful and appealing. But luckily for us you are very much gay, and an inspiration for gay and straight alike!

  2. Doug, I'm overwhelmed by how sweet and kind your words are. Thank you so much for your support, through reading what I have to say and encouraging me to do what I do. I will continue to work hard to earn your confidence.

    Thanks again. I really appreciate it.

  3. At this point in my life now, you are the therapist that I cannot afford. Thank you for sharing your insight and experiences with us.


    P.S- I'm kinda addicted to your blog now and so you may find me commenting on older posts.

  4. So good to hear from you in a second post, Donald.

    I'm thrilled you're addicted to my blog, and that I might just be able to help you. That is the whole reason why I spend so much time writing this: because I know what it's like to hate myself as a gay man, and I know how I pulled myself out of that hole (without therapy, I might add) to realize I'm a worthwhile human being, and I deserve to love myself.

    I'm not sure how many posts you've read so far, but I encourage you to continue exploring the various topics I've written about over 250 posts. I know you'll find other subjects encouraging and helpful.

    Thank you so much for telling me I'm making a difference in your life. That is why I do what I do. And I can't wait to hear from you again. Feel free to comment as often as you like. You are not alone. I am here for you.

  5. Well to be honest..I don't know if I was born gay or I was influenced to. I have 3 older sisters and I grew up around the era of boy bands and teen obsessions..I guess I picked it up from them. I remember being in love with Lance from NSYNC and Nick and Brian from BSB and Leonardo playing Jack in Titanic. All of that from the age of 5 mind you.
    I am so happy to find out that there is someone who is happy with their partner for over 20 years. Congrats! You are so blessed!

  6. You have given me the duty to be honest towards myself. Be hopeful and live dreaming. Find passion in what I do. All I can do, is thank you, Rick. You have made me understand my worth in this world. You have made me think twice when I put myself down because I will not gain anything from it. I only make barriers that need not to be there. I love the place I am in right now and I think I am quite close in coming out to my family. I had a family gathering few weeks ago. Somehow homosexuality became a subject. This was the first time I spoke loudly how I think about gay people. It felt great to feel this determination and strength in how I noted that gay people are also wonderful. And deeply inside I felt that yes it will be hard to live as a gay man but I now believe to know that living as a am is the only way. And I am proud to be me. Additionally I understood that making mistakes is natural. It is a part of how I learn new things. Yes I have made mistakes but I can only live on and change the future in ways that is in my power. I can only be who I am and at the same time I can be whoever I wish to be. Working hard and dreaming are two ways to make yourself create the energy that I need. When I have a dream only thing I can do is work towards it and love the result in any way that I will be awarded for my efforts in the future.

    I thank all the people here! I am grateful for this little family Rick has created for us.

  7. @Faolan: As much as possible, especially in later posts, I don't write anything about thinking I was born gay. As I wrote in a post, cause has nothing to do with it for me. The fact is, I'm gay, can't do anything about it, and refuse to be something I'm not to make other people happy. Being gay is as much a part of me as anything else. So we all have to move on from what causes one to be gay. Who cares?

    Thank you for your kind words about me and my partner. Actually, we haven't been together twenty years yet, but almost. Our nineteenth anniversary is coming up on June 13 of this year. And I couldn't be happier to spend my life with this man. He is one special human being, and, as you say, I'm truly blessed.

    Thanks so much for your comment.

    @elevencats: You have learned your lessons well, young man, and I'm so grateful I've played a part in helping you to do that. You are so right: putting yourself down for being gay, or anything else, gets you nowhere. What is to be gained from thinking less of yourself? All of us are responsible for loving ourselves and making the most of our lives from that perspective. There isn't a moment to waste on self-loathing.

    What a big step you are about to take as you come out to your family. I applaud and encourage you. Just remember one thing: do it only when you are absolutely ready. No one is forcing you to come out ahead of the time that's just right for you. You will know when the time has arrived. And when it's upon you, be confident yet respectful of your family members. You've had your whole life to accept yourself; they will need some time, too. Let them take the time they need. Support them in any way you can. It will be all right. Everything will be fine.

    When the subject of gay people came up, and you "spoke loudly how you think about gay people," what was your family's reaction? Did you have the impression they would be accepting of you if you came out and told them you were gay?

    You say that it will be hard to live your life as a gay man, and it might well be, but don't head into your future feeling that way. Take everything one step at a time. If you think the future will be hard, it probably will be. But if you are hopeful it will be good, it might be that much better. Be positive.

    You are such a sweet and thoughtful young man. I see that in the way you write, in the words you use, in how you express yourself. And your kindness in your compliments is so appreciated. You are a part of the family we have here, and you are always welcome. Don't forget, we will support you in any way we can. We are here for you.

    Thank you for your wonderful comment, and for letting us know how you're doing. It sounds like you're great, and I'm so glad that's the case. (By the way, how did your school go? Are you done for the year now?)

  8. My family's reaction: my father basically said that I am gay. My mother thinks it is a choice and a way of catching up with the latest trend. But she also believes that a gay friend is the the best thing a girl can have and also that the most important thing in life is one's happiness: if a gay person is ok with himself, then there is nothing more to discuss. Rest of them said that they hate gays = people who choose to be with a person on the same gender, who change partners (not lovers!) constantly, show affection in public and take part in extreme sexual activities (desire is quite taboo in our culture).

    I think I will be ok in my closest family circle. Most probably I have already come out to my family (with sentences like 'Love doesn't choose its victims: it is not dependent on age or sex" and how I turn into a total lady when I am nervous, etc). Still being financially dependent on my family, I do not feel fully safe (or truth be told: I like the fact that I can fully concentrate on learning and have some time for myself too). In addition, sometimes I feel like I have no sexual desires at all. How can I say I am gay! I am not just interested. And there are times when I do not want to speak to anyone and love these lonely hours in front of my book in the nature). I feel that I would like to learn something new: living together with another person. And these times my gender preferences are clear: I feel towards women as a heterosexual woman feels towards other women. Am I a woman because of that? No. I feel like I am a balanced mixture of a man and a woman. And when this balance is changed by some exterior factor then I fall apart and manage to fail in everything.

    PS! School went well. I have not received the results of my last exam but I think I did fine. Now I have to write my final paper what I need to defend on one month's time in front of a expert committee. Hopefully I will be receiving my bachelor's degree in june. Lately it has become more clearer that I want to pursue my interest in education. Mostly because education is a way to make the world a friendly place.

  9. Sounds like some of your family members, elevencats, have bought into the stereotypes of gay men. That's too bad. Turn them on to my blog (if you dare). I'll show them there are gay men out there who are not promiscuous or perverted. That's what my blog is about--dispelling the myths about homosexuality and showing loving and committed same sex couples really do exist. Chris and I are one, and I know there are others.

    I love your description of turning "into a total lady" when you are nervous. That line made me smile.

    You speak so much truth for me, too. For example, I relate to your asexual feelings. I felt that way when I had problems facing the truth of who I was. I didn't want to be attracted to men or women. So I immersed myself in other things, like work, reading, writing, etc. Of course, you can't continue on that course forever, because you're only half a person if you do.

    I also relate to the fact you consider yourself a mixture of male and female. So do I. I think most gay men are more in touch with their feminine side, and there's nothing wrong with that. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why gay men and straight women are often such good friends.

    I hope it's not premature to congratulate you on your achievement at school. If you think you did fine on your last exam, I'm sure you did. You must be thrilled to be so close to receiving your degree. Good for you.

    As I've written before, your interest in education is a noble one. The world needs great teachers, like I'm sure you will be. Parents are a big influence on children, but teachers have the potential to be even bigger, expanding minds and creating good citizens.

    Let us know how your final paper goes and confirm when you receive your degree. I'm rooting for you.

    Thanks for your follow-up comment. I love hearing from you.