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Realizing you're gay: What is meant by that?

by arildno
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arildno
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Jul10-05, 10:00 AM
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INTRODUCTION:
As a gay man, I've often wondered why it seems so difficult for straights to understand what we mean by having a "gay identity" that to me is a perfectly natural, keen sense of being; an abiding tune if you like, a humming in me at all times.

The almost universal reaction from straights is that we mean something like having explicit sexual fantasies about members of our own sex, i.e, that we are referring to our specific mode of arousal.
By this reaction, straights have totally missed the mark, or at least, deeply misconstrued the whole issue.

Another typical reaction is that perhaps we gays go about with a sense of being different, i.e, that we have a sort of perpetual outcast feeling within us that drives us into each others arms to huddle together for some time and gain respite from a hostile world around us.
This last attempt from (usually sympathetic, but pitying) straights to understand us is however, utterly false:
Rather than being an ever-present sense of inadequacy, my "gayness" is a sense akin to that of achieved wholeness and self-sufficiency, that is, intimately and irrevocably entwined with my sense of independent adulthood, and yes, pride and self-confidence.


I am as utterly and totally gay when I inhale a fresh batch of cool morning air as when I am deeply intimate with another man.
Such a statement will most usually be met with headshakes and stares of blank incomprehension from straights.

To me, at least, it has been very puzzling that there doesn't seem to exist a similar sense of "straightness".
Lately, however, as I've pondered these various issues again, I think I've found a way to describe this, and I hope you'll join me and read on since I think I've also figured out a few bits about you straights which might be of interest to yourselves.

I have headed the thread with a reference to the moment when you REALIZE you're gay, perhaps the most defining moment in a gay man's life, and that should not be confused with the moments you start having sexual fantasies about or encounters with boys/men, nor about coming out as gay.

As I see it now, gays and straights go through totally different maturation processes towards adulthood leading to quite strongly divergent mentalities, which makes "understanding" very hard, and probably can't ever be achieved fully.

So, in the spirit of attempting the impossible anyway, my next post will involve describing these maturation processes as I see it now.
I will, of course, be delighted if someone actually reads this thread and posts intelligent comments, even if it should happen that those comments reduces my beautiful theory about distinct maturation processes to shambles..

(Perhaps this thread ought to be moved from GD to "Social Sciences", or possibly, the philosophy forums)
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Curious3141
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Jul10-05, 10:43 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno
INTRODUCTION:
As a gay man, I've often wondered why it seems so difficult for straights to understand what we mean by having a "gay identity" that to me is a perfectly natural, keen sense of being; an abiding tune if you like, a humming in me at all times.

The almost universal reaction from straights is that we mean something like having explicit sexual fantasies about members of our own sex, i.e, that we are referring to our specific mode of arousal.
By this reaction, straights have totally missed the mark, or at least, deeply misconstrued the whole issue.

Another typical reaction is that perhaps we gays go about with a sense of being different, i.e, that we have a sort of perpetual outcast feeling within us that drives us into each others arms to huddle together for some time and gain respite from a hostile world around us.
This last attempt from (usually sympathetic, but pitying) straights to understand us is however, utterly false:
Rather than being an ever-present sense of inadequacy, my "gayness" is a sense akin to that of achieved wholeness and self-sufficiency, that is, intimately and irrevocably entwined with my sense of independent adulthood, and yes, pride and self-confidence.


I am as utterly and totally gay when I inhale a fresh batch of cool morning air as when I am deeply intimate with another man.
Such a statement will most usually be met with headshakes and stares of blank incomprehension from straights.

To me, at least, it has been very puzzling that there doesn't seem to exist a similar sense of "straightness".
Lately, however, as I've pondered these various issues again, I think I've found a way to describe this, and I hope you'll join me and read on since I think I've also figured out a few bits about you straights which might be of interest to yourselves.

I have headed the thread with a reference to the moment when you REALIZE you're gay, perhaps the most defining moment in a gay man's life, and that should not be confused with the moments you start having sexual fantasies about or encounters with boys/men, nor about coming out as gay.

As I see it now, gays and straights go through totally different maturation processes towards adulthood leading to quite strongly divergent mentalities, which makes "understanding" very hard, and probably can't ever be achieved fully.

So, in the spirit of attempting the impossible anyway, my next post will involve describing these maturation processes as I see it now.
I will, of course, be delighted if someone actually reads this thread and posts intelligent comments, even if it should happen that those comments reduces my beautiful theory about distinct maturation processes to shambles..

(Perhaps this thread ought to be moved from GD to "Social Sciences", or possibly, the philosophy forums)
You've expressed yourself very eloquently. I've had a few gay friends (platonic, of course) in the past, they're nice guys and there was no difficulty in interacting with them. Maybe I just wasn't their type, who knows ?
Lisa!
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Jul10-05, 10:48 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno
INTRODUCTION:
As a gay man, I've often wondered why it seems so difficult for straights to understand what we mean by having a "gay identity" that to me is a perfectly natural, keen sense of being; an abiding tune if you like, a humming in me at all
Maybe because it seems abnormal since there is no such a thing in nature for example about animals!But of course don't ask me how I know we don't have the same about animals...!

Curious3141
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Jul10-05, 10:56 AM
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Realizing you're gay: What is meant by that?

Quote Quote by Lisa!
Maybe because it seems abnormal since there is no such a thing in nature for example about animals!But of course don't ask me how I know we don't have the same about animals...!
Are you kidding ?! There are *plenty* of examples of homosexual behaviour in the (rest of the) animal kingdom.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...gayanimal.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_animals
arildno
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Jul10-05, 11:01 AM
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Quote Quote by Curious3141
You've expressed yourself very eloquently. I've had a few gay friends (platonic, of course) in the past, they're nice guys and there was no difficulty in interacting with them. Maybe I just wasn't their type, who knows ?
I can tell you straight away what's "wrong" with you: You're straight.
You could only "satisfy" a gay man on his "grunt" level; you're not a kindred spirit, and that's what we are attracted to when we've matured.

You're not singing, we can't sense you.
Lisa!
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Jul10-05, 11:01 AM
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Quote Quote by Curious3141
Are you kidding ?! There are *plenty* of examples of homosexual behaviour in the (rest of the) animal kingdom.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...gayanimal.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_animals
I'll take a look later.
Curious3141
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Jul10-05, 11:02 AM
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Homosexuality is neither as rare or as "deviant" as many of us pretend. I've heard estimates of male homosexuality ranging from 5 to 10 %. Even assuming the lower bound, that means one out of twenty random males in the population (on average) is gay (whether or not they would readily admit it, perhaps even to themselves). Hardly rare.

Given that prevalence, I wouldn't even consider it abnormal in any way. Just normal variation, really. And it hurts no-one.
Curious3141
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Jul10-05, 11:03 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno
I can tell you straight away what's "wrong" with you: You're straight.
You could only "satisfy" a gay man on his "grunt" level; you're not a kindred spirit, and that's what we are attracted to when we've matured.

You're not singing, we can't sense you.
I don't want you to satisfy me, or the reverse. And I wouldn't *want* you to be attracted to me. But would my straightness mean that we can't be friends ?
arildno
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Jul10-05, 11:12 AM
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Quote Quote by Curious3141
I don't want you to satisfy me, or the reverse. And I wouldn't *want* you to be attracted to me.
So then you ought to be relieved that the vast majority of adult gays wouldn't want you, either.

But would my straightness mean that we can't be friends ?
Not at all, as long as we have enough interests in common , say like literature, science, political views or sports.
Curious3141
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Jul10-05, 11:16 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno
So then you ought to be relieved that the vast majority of adult gays wouldn't want you, either.
Of course. As relieved as you must be that the vast majority of women (straight and gay) wouldn't want you.


Not at all, as long as we have enough interests in common , say like literature, science, political views or sports.
Of course.
Smurf
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Jul10-05, 11:17 AM
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Quote Quote by arildno
So then you ought to be relieved that the vast majority of adult gays wouldn't want you, either.
And the ones who do wouldn't care if you liked them back
arildno
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Jul10-05, 11:29 AM
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Quote Quote by Curious3141
Of course. As relieved as you must be that the vast majority of women (straight and gay) wouldn't want you.



Can't say that I've been much bothered with adoring females, but when it has happened, I've had to stifle a yawn or two, and resist the urge to go home and get a good night's sleep.

So yes, I am relieved, since I prefer to be present and sharp when I'm awake.
PerennialII
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Jul10-05, 12:00 PM
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... interesting thread Arildno ! Have thought about issues such as this one perhaps way too equally & in a simplified sense, interesting to read your "next post" since there do appear to be degrees-of-freedom (like the realization, the following maturation...) which are difficult to grasp on this side of the fence.
Moonbear
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Jul10-05, 12:17 PM
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Arildno, it seems you're making the same errors in generalization regarding "straights" as you are arguing is made about "gays."

As for the question of when do you become overtly aware of your sexual preferences? I would guess that most homosexual people would come to that self-awareness at about the same time as heterosexuals become aware of their own sexuality, some time around puberty. Children are generally not inclined to think about sexuality at all, and only as they begin to enter puberty and start feeling "strange feelings" for others, be it of the opposite sex or the same sex, do they begin to become aware of sexuality. Puberty is a tough time for everyone, though the lack of acceptance/intolerance of homosexuality in society must make it more difficult when the other young men are talking about "hot girls" (yes, at that age, they say girls ) and you're thinking about that "hot boy."

I wonder what you mean when you say that you wake up in the morning as gay as you are all day long. I mean, of course you are, just as I'm as heterosexual in the morning as I am all day long, but it's not an active thought every single morning or something that ought to run through one's mind all day long unless you see someone attractive that gets your thoughts onto such a topic. Unless you're trying to say that because you have a harder time being openly yourself (such as, you can't just off-handedly comment while out in a group, "Wow! He's HOT!" the way a heterosexual male might do when he sees an attractive woman) that it weighs upon your mind more often, or that it means you find yourself more comfortable in a community of other gay people where the culture is more open to you just being who you are. If so, it's unfortunate that you haven't met heterosexual friends with whom you can feel yourself, or for that matter, that you need to distinguish among who is heterosexual or homosexual in order to find friends who truly are friends in the sense of fully accepting you as the person you are. I assure you that among the heterosexual population, there are those of us who aren't going to blink or look at you cross-eyed if you want to comment on the hot men instead of the hot women (well, we might blink the first time if we've made fools of ourselves assuming you were straight and trying to point you toward women we thought you'd find attractive). And, of course, comments such as those from Dex and Lisa! here don't help you or anyone else who is homosexual feel comfortable being yourself in a crowd until you've confirmed their opinions of homosexuality.

And to Dex and Lisa!, there is NOTHING sick, disgusting, or unnatural about ANY form of sexuality (although it is has turned out to be rather disconcerting just how natural it is to the zookeepers who were hoping to breed penguins who found out all their male penguins are homosexual).

Arildno, gay men really should let women know they are gay very quickly; I really hate flirting with a really cute guy all night only to learn I've been wasting my time because he's gay. It happens way too often too (and no, I don't just assume someone is gay because he's not interested in my flirting, I'm talking about when they eventually just tell me so).
cronxeh
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Jul10-05, 12:18 PM
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Hehe.. I think Dex has an insecure personality and Lisa is simply ignorant of certain things. There are a lot of homosexual behavior in the animal kingdom - and there are a lot of animals who have sex not to just reproduce but for pleasure - certain monkeys do it every other minute when they are bored, some do it anally - indiscriminate of the gender or method of delivery.

There are a few theories I have on the matter - ranging from scientific to pseudoscientific. For starters it could be a genetic predesposition to a certain pheromone in gay people and they will be drawn towards either gender - and those who have equal predesposition will be bisexual. In some there will be a strong repulsion towards one gender and affection towards another through other chemical traits that evade me at the moment - and they might want to become transgender and either homosexual or bisexual depending on the discrete combination of such traits

From a pseudoscience department I can think of a male being stuck in a female body, or a female being stuck in a male body. This is unlikely to explain the bisexual case, and generally wont be as acceptable as I'd like to admit it - yes, I am a lesbian woman stuck in a man's body, and no, that doesnt really ever work.

As far as this being sick or repulsive, consider that the next time you drop the soap in a male prison block - there are just a few things that give you peak release of endorphins and that is, unfortunately for your tight little buttcheeks, Dex, one of them

Shh.. Hey Dex.. Dont drop the soap, homie
arildno
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Jul10-05, 12:28 PM
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Okay, I'll go ahead; I'll try to keep this as Victorian as possible.

First of all, however, I would like to draw attention to a perfectly common psychological distinction we make in our own lives, and that is the difference between our total mental content and our self-conception.
This is absolutely crucial to have clear before you, so I'll devote this post to this issue:
With our total mental content I mean just that:
Every fleeting sensation we experience, every tremor of feeling we have, along with all stray thoughts that hits our head from time to time.

But that doesn't mean that every such mental component is part of our own self-conception:
For example, we might feel uncharacteristically snappish one day and bite those around us, but we say things like "I'm just in a bad mood", "It's just a phase I'm in", that is:
We do not regard these mental elements part of your "true self", in a way it is something "other" than ourselves that occupies our mind.

Perhaps you occasionally get a stray political thought in your head which is totally different from "your" views, and you've no idea how that sort of un-you-ishness managed to sneak its way into your mind.

That is, our sense of ourselves, our self-conception, our identity sense does not claim everything which happens within our heads as "true" expressions of yourself.
arildno
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Jul10-05, 12:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Moonbear
Arildno, it seems you're making the same errors in generalization regarding "straights" as you are arguing is made about "gays."
Very probably. That's one of the major reasons I made this thread; I very much would like to be challenged to the point where I must discard the theory I'm about to propose.

As for the question of when do you become overtly aware of your sexual preferences? I would guess that most homosexual people would come to that self-awareness at about the same time as heterosexuals become aware of their own sexuality, some time around puberty. Children are generally not inclined to think about sexuality at all, and only as they begin to enter puberty and start feeling "strange feelings" for others, be it of the opposite sex or the same sex, do they begin to become aware of sexuality. Puberty is a tough time for everyone, though the lack of acceptance/intolerance of homosexuality in society must make it more difficult when the other young men are talking about "hot girls" (yes, at that age, they say girls ) and you're thinking about that "hot boy."
There's a subtle issue here, which I'll get back to.
I wonder what you mean when you say that you wake up in the morning as gay as you are all day long.
Quite so; I hope to be able to explain that.
Just in advance, I think you'll get vexated with me and say:
"But that has nothing to do with being "gay", arildno!"..
Arildno, gay men really should let women know they are gay very quickly; I really hate flirting with a really cute guy all night only to learn I've been wasting my time because he's gay. It happens way too often too (and no, I don't just assume someone is gay because he's not interested in my flirting, I'm talking about when they eventually just tell me so).
We are probably assuming that the girls pick up the clues of polite non-interest in the same way that other gays would pick them up.
On this issue, we really should make things crystal clear as fast as is "possible" , I fully agree with you.
Moonbear
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Jul10-05, 12:39 PM
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Quote Quote by cronxeh
There are a few theories I have on the matter - ranging from scientific to pseudoscientific. For starters it could be a genetic predesposition to a certain pheromone in gay people and they will be drawn towards either gender - and those who have equal predesposition will be bisexual. In some there will be a strong repulsion towards one gender and affection towards another through other chemical traits that evade me at the moment - and they might want to become transgender and either homosexual or bisexual depending on the discrete combination of such traits

From a pseudoscience department I can think of a male being stuck in a female body, or a female being stuck in a male body. This is unlikely to explain the bisexual case, and generally wont be as acceptable as I'd like to admit it - yes, I am a lesbian woman stuck in a man's body, and no, that doesnt really ever work.
You may have your science and pseudoscience issues mixed up a bit. I don't know of anything that would suggest pheromones have anything to do with sexuality. There are studies showing that sexually dimorphic areas of the brain are more similar between heterosexual females and homosexual males than between heterosexual and homosexual males or females. These are areas of the brain that are influenced by hormones, both during early development and at/following puberty, though which comes first, the brain development or hormonal environment, I don't know.

There are indeed transgendered people, which is NOT the same as being homosexual, who really do feel they are a man trapped in a woman's body or vice versa. I recently met a person who is undergoing the transition from female to male. Because this person is still undergoing the process of transitioning, and is currently in the stage of hormonal treatments and not yet at the stage of any surgical alterations, I have trouble remembering to use the correct pronouns, but he prefers that we use male pronouns at this stage, though understands when we make a mistake and use a female pronoun. He's been using a masculinized version of a nickname for his first name for some time now, so it's just easier using his name until I get used to referring to him as "him" or "he." The hardest part of the transition for him is that right now, due to the hormonal treatments, he says he has all the emotional stability around women as a 14 year-old boy, which I found really fascinating to learn from a biological perspective of the influence of hormones in adulthood.


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