Last week, Advocate.com asked the question, "How would your life be different if homophobia did not exist?"
I gave some thought to that and captured a number of points, in no particular order:
- I wouldn't have been bullied in school.
- I wouldn't have been embarrassed to attend classes like chorus, drama, and typing.
- I assume I would have been better liked and had more friends.
- I wouldn't have felt so different, alone, and isolated.
- I wouldn't have been embarrassed to be so athletically inept in physical education class.
- I wouldn't have had such a problem with my masculine identity.
- I wouldn't be estranged from organized religion and the Catholic church.
- My father might have loved me instead of keeping me at arm's length.
- I wouldn't have held myself back from choosing a career typical of gay men.
- I wouldn't have been consumed with self-loathing through a large part of my life.
- I wouldn't be suspicious sometimes of why people are nice to me.
- I probably would have found a partner earlier than the age of 32.
- My writing wouldn't be primarily about issues facing gay people.
- I wouldn't be fearful when I cross paths with a group of male youths.
- I wouldn't be constantly looking over my shoulder.
- I wouldn't have to be self-conscious about my effeminate mannerisms and characteristics.
- I wouldn't have to downplay who I am whenever I'm in public.
- I wouldn't have to be so conscious of wearing clothing more typical of men.
- I wouldn't be embarrassed about my ability to interior decorate.
- I wouldn't have to feel embarrassed to look at and admire attractive men.
- I wouldn't have to be worried about being gay bashed even in the gay ghetto of Vancouver.
- I wouldn't have had to worry about being held back in anything I wanted to do.
- I would have been able to be me without giving myself permission to do that.
- I wouldn't have been subjected to people calling me a faggot in public.
- Organized religion wouldn't have told me I'm evil, immoral, and destined to hell.
- I wouldn't have had to risk coming out and potentially lose those who are important to me.
- I would not have been so aware of being different from other boys.
- I would not feel invisible in the community where I live (which has few obvious gay people).
- I would be perfectly happy with who I am and never wish that I was straight.
- I wouldn't blame myself or being gay when things change or go wrong.
For better or worse, I am who I am today because I'm gay and because of homophobia. I will never know who I would have been otherwise. I guess I've always assumed life would be easier if I were straight, but do I know that for sure? I only assume that's the case because we live in a world that takes the automatic position everyone is heterosexual, and because being oneself as a heterosexual appears to be so much easier and accepted.
The other thought that comes readily to mind is, what would occupy much of my thinking today, and what would I write about, if I'd never been subjected to homophobia? There again, I have to assume I would have encountered other life challenges, in the way most heterosexual people do, and I'd be thinking, and perhaps writing, about them, in the same way many heterosexual writers take on issues close to them and create entire bodies of work around them.
But one thing is for sure: This blog would not exist if there were no homophobia. My time and effort would not go toward elevating the experience of being gay by sharing my life experience and knowledge, in the hope of helping others understand, accept, and love themselves. Would that be good or bad? Of course, in many ways, it would be good. But, in others, it would mean I wouldn't connect with so many amazing people from around the world through their thoughtful and heartfelt comments.
Share with me how you think your life would be different without homophobia.