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 not gay?