Friday, November 4, 2011

Rather Be Black than Gay

One of my friends recently said “I’d rather be black than gay, at least then I don’t have to tell my mother!” We were talking about coming out of the closet and how difficult it can be. Since I started my blog, I have received numerous e-mails from gay people around the world going through this metamorphosis from effectively living a lie to being their authentic selves. Most usually find themselves in the midst of a crisis. They are scared. They fear being rejected, being hurt and most of all hurting those they love. So why put yourself through this?
Most gay people knew that they were different from a young age. I, for one, knew from my kindergarten days as playing "Cowboys and Crooks" was not as appealing to me then, and I preferred the company of what would later become my "Fag Hags". These days I do not mind smoldering cowboys and the meaning of that game has changed quite significantly. As one grows older the sense that you are different grows stronger and when puberty finally kicks in you start to realize exactly what it is that makes you different.
A couple friends I have spoken to have expressed the sense of isolation they experienced, the fear of having their secret exposed and the difficulty inhibiting their natural sexual urges. Let’s face it being a gay teenager with hormones raging and sex on the brain makes for a fairly precarious predicament! Many challenge their sexual preference but at the end of the day most ended up in some kind of situation with another confused kid of the same gender experimenting with sex. This was done with great caution as being exposed as gay in school could have dire consequences.

Many gay teenagers feel lonely, misunderstood and like they are the only ones in the world. I sure did, and when I did come out in high school my bur
ning flame of fagotary’s light was not well received and High School was not one of my favorite times in my life, but I wear my battle scars with pride. Luckily, today young gay teens no longer have to feel isolated as there are many organizations at their disposal which can assist them and give advice and guidance. Their flames can shine bright instead of being prematurely extinguished!

There are gay people walking around with a sense of guilt about their homosexuality. One such person wrote to me saying that he decided to pursue heterosexual relationships because it would not be fair to his family if he came out: His family would be shamed and he would be ostracized because the community in which he lives were very conservative. Every time he had sex with his girlfriend he would fantasize about guys and he was terrified that she would become aware of this. God forbid he shouted out the name “Jeff” at the peak of passion!
He did eventually come out of the closet. As one would expect his family did not take the news well and neither did his girlfriend. The town folk did not try to chase him out of town with an angry mob carrying garden forks and burning torches, but some did make homophobic remarks and he lost a number of friends. Even though his family did find it difficult to come to terms with having a gay son and hurtful things was said and done, at least he no longer have to live a lie, no longer have to fantasize about men and deceive his girlfriend. He now can be himself. He started a new life, a new beginning, made new friends and become part of a new elaborate rainbow family. It was not easy and his family still has issues, but time heals all wounds and they too will come to realized that he still is the same person he was before he came out and they will love him just the same.

Unfortunately, coming out of the closet could be lethal for some of our gay brothers and sisters. Homosexuality is still illegal in 79 countries in the world and in 8 countries the punishment is death by hanging or even stoning. Countries like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are still known to execute homosexuals. In Africa, Uganda now also wants to pass new legislation that too would provide for the execution of homosexuals. Being gay in anyone of these countries is dangerous. I cannot even begin to imagine the utter fear one must live with should your secret be exposed and to what extent they must go to hide who they truly are. The problems and consequences we face when coming out seems insignificant compared to theirs. That’s why we must fight for not only our own rights but also for theirs. This cannot be done from inside the closet!

There are many reasons gay people have for struggling to break free from the confines of the proverbial closest. Some e-mails I received dealt specifically with religion and the great difficulty they experience reconciling their sexual orientation with their religious beliefs and Church. Some gay people even find themselves in Brokeback marriages, or are confused about their sexuality not knowing how to tell their partners they’re bi-sexual or feel they were born into the wrong gender. The conclusion I have drawn from all these people’s messages is that we are all different with our own unique challenges. However, they are never insurmountable and all can be overcome.

Being gay is not a disability, illness or a curse. We should not be stuck in the closet due to shame, fear or guilt – open that door and step into the light. Coming out is never easy and you can expect some turbulence on your flight to freedom - No journey worthwhile is without its challenges. The good news is that you will reach your destination a stronger person and happier we are not called “Gay” for nothing. So kick down that door! Be proud!

Till next time.


Gitte Gorzelak said...

I am a new visitor here and I like this entry very much. Nobody should be ashamed of their sexuality and have to hide away their true self. I think the only way to live a happy and blessed life is to be honest with yourself and who you are. Thanks for this interesting blog ;-)

Pierre said...

Gitte Gorzelak, thank you and I am very pleased that you discovered my blog.

There are too many people that have difficulty accepting who they are. Whether you are gay, straight, or what ever race or nationality your are, no person should be made to feel inferior or ashamed of themselves.

In some countries this is more difficult to achieve, but no person can take away your self-respect or dignity. I wished we lived in a world that was more tolerant, but the reality is we still have allot of work to do when it comes to human rights for the GLBT community.

The Mari Rev said...

Just a note to let you know your friend took the line "It's better to be black then gay, because when your black you don't have to tell your mother" from a famous female impersonator, Charles Pierce.
Coming out is such a dynamic experience. Like many mile stones in life, coming out is defined by cultural differences. The socio-psycho dynamics determined by demographics can be everything on the emotional spectrum. From liberating and spiritually freeing, to emotionally damaging and fatal. It is truly sad that in this day and age we still struggle with humanitarian acceptance. The understanding that all children of God are here for a purpose. The myths, lies, arrogance and ignorance about homosexuality still run rampant through our global societies. I know my life has been dedicated to changing this appalling downfall of our creation.
Sometimes it helps to read other peoples stories as a way to accept the notion of coming out. Not all stories are the same, but there are similarities. For this I would recommend and if you come across "I'm From Shreveport" you'll read my coming out story. I was lucky that my coming out was so much easier then it was for most. Oh I lost my relationship with my father and some friends, but I know (now) that I am better for it.
For those coming to grips with religious tenets of scriptural interpretations, I recommend for different opinions on interpretation of scripture and homosexuality.
I find that coming out, like many things in life, are easier when we educate ourselves to the realities of this life changing act. Once we discover the reality as opposed to all the misinformation given to us by the hateful and the myths dictated to us by those claiming a fear for our souls, the weight comes streaming off our shoulders. It doesn't mean it will make it perfect, but being informed makes the transition form closet to light a smoother path. In the words of the famous Rufus Wainwright, "Let the little fairy in your fly!"

Pierre said...

The Mari Rev, cool and there I thought it was his brilliance.

I have read many people's coming out stories and like you say they are, to some degree, the same. The importance of education cannot be over emphasized! People should have no illusions of the coming out process being a breeze nor should they fear it to such an extent that they live a lie. I always advise people that write to me to get in contact with a GLBT group or representative in their area. People who can guide them, support them and listen to them through this process.

It still saddens and enrages me that gay people are still being executed in certain countries, imprisoned and tortured. I have been to two such countries and heard their horror stories. Why such atrocities still occur is beyond me.

Thanks for posting some helpful links. I have been published on Driftwood as well, and am sure to visit the others.

As always thank you The Mari Rev, for your input, once again it adds great value and insight!

The Mari Rev said...

OMG! That was suppose to end, "let the little fairy in you fly" NOT "in YOUR fly!" Freudian slip, sorry.

Pierre said...

LOL, now we know where your "head's" at.

So to correct that the quote is:

Let the little fairy in you fly!

Soph said...

I cannot even begin to imagaine how hard it would be for some people to 'come out' when they are living in a country which cannot accept it. This post really highlights thoose struggles and hopefully will offer some real hope to thoose affected. Awesome work as always :)

Pierre said...

Soph,thanks. It's truly sad that in this day and age we live in that there still are places in the world this intolerant.

My own country (South Africa)only became a democracy in 1994, and before that South Africa too was one of those countries. I think South Africa is a good example of what can be achieved even though we are a young democracy and still have our growing pains.

nothingprofound said...

Pierre-about 20 years ago there was a group of gay performers in NYC called the Pink Satin Bombers. One of their most memorable performances consisted of each actor dramatizing the events that occurred when they finally came out of the closet and admitted to themselves and their parents that they were gay. Each individual story was so unique, illuminating and heart-wrenching in its own way.

Pierre said...

nothingprofound, I think it is time for similar group to take the stage again.

Currently there are two guys from South Africa (Murray Nossel and Paul Browde) doing a similar show in New York. Their production is called "Two Men Talking".

"Two Men Talking" is a story about sexual identity, friendship, belonging and bullying that began on the school grounds of King David Linksfield in the 1970s and how these two men's lives evolved and later met again years later.

They speak openly and honestly about their sexual orientation, coming out, homophobia (being on both the giving and receiving end thereof), HIV and so much more.

If you are in New York it is a must see performance!

Soph said...

if only everywhere would become more tollerant,the world would be a much better place.Everyone should have the rights to be themselves.I just wish everyone could see this.Still,as you say the fact that more countries are passing laws is a step in the right direction.

Pierre said...

Soph, we are slowly getting there. However, the fact that New York in the USA voted NO on gay marriage, is a sign that it's going to be a long road we have to travel.

Anonymous said...

There must be more information and/or translation of these pages, there is so much to be done yet !! I am doing a biography in my native lenguage, the isalnd I was born on, need so much to be educated. . . .

Pierre said...

Anonymous, I agree that more information should be available. The Internet is a great resource that we can utilize to inform and educate not only other people but also ourselves.

Good luck with your biography, I am sure it will open some minds in your home country.

Lyle said...

I am a 50 year old male, and I currently live in Southern California. I am not a native, but been here for about 20 years. I am originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho. Born and raised there in a Mormon family. I have ancestry within the church back to the early days in the 1830s. I have served a mission for the Mormon Church in Uruguay.

Knowing from around the age of 12 that I was different and had an attraction to men, I got married in 1990. I am the father of two teenage daughters. I got married because of the pressure to do so. I was not out at this time, but the church said it was good to get married so that I would overcome being gay. The church has since stopped saying this.

I kept my feelings under wrap for a number of years. I even went to therapy in trying to deal with my feelings. In early 2008, I could no longer take it, and I had to let it out that I was gay. I could not deny this any longer. I told my wife the news and it did not go over well. She outed me to our local church leader.

In the process of coming out, I had my first gay sexual experience. Of course my wife found out, and she immediately told the church. I was stripped of my callings in the church, could no longer participate in meetings or go to the temple. I had to remain quiet. I was given a list of things that I could do and could not do. My church leader was always calling me up to check on me. My wife was spying on me, until I reached a point of putting a lock on my computer. She would also go through my backpack for work and school.

I soon got tired of all of this, and of my wife constantly telling me I was the Devil. I finally left home in early July 2008. I secured work in a nearby county here in Southern California.

In late July 2008, I met a wonderful man. I was not expecting to find someone so soon. We kept dating and then moved into an apartment together in November of 2008. I have never been happier except for being a father.

As a father, I am still trying to build my relationship with my daughters. Because of their ages, they get to decide when they want to be with me. It has been a struggle seeing them. They have been taught that being gay is bad, so they really do not want to be with me.

I am still going through the divorce process, which is taking me more time than I want. I will get married to my partner once my divorce is over. I hope to gain back my daughters' trust soon.

Pierre said...

Lyle, thanks for sharing your Coming Out story. The path you travelled sure wasn’t an easy one nor is it quite over. It takes great strength to do what you did, breaking out of the constraints of your circumstance. At the age of 49 it must have been a very difficult thing to do.

Breaking away from a religion with which you have such a strong history could not have been easy and I am sure it was a torturous decision to make. It is unfortunate that religion still excludes us for being gay. Luckily there are Churches dedicated to Christian homosexuals and they don’t have to abandon their faith all together.

The divorce cannot be easy on your, soon to be, e-wife, and she probably is in a great deal of pain. At the end of the day she also deserves happiness and she may come to realize than being in a marriage where one person isn’t honest with themselves and unhappy will never work out. I trust that she will find peace and a man that will love her and be good for her.

I hope your two daughters will come to accept you and your partner and that you can build and nurture a mutually positive and caring relationship. Even if they do not condone your lifestyle I hope they come to terms with what has happened and that your bond will be restored.

Good luck, and keep me posted.

Soph said...

I think that is so sad. If two people are in love then why shouldn't they be joined together?

Pierre said...

Soph, it's because of ignorance, intolerance, discrimination and fear.

In South Africa one Religious group (the Dutch Reformed Church) is debating the issue of whether heterosexual couples living together before marriage is a sin and whether that should be allowed.

From what I read in the press, if this is allowed, it would lead to the moral down fall of the church.

I mean really, premarital sex amongst straight couples is common (even though it's a "sin") but you don't have to live together to have sex. It just seems like a trivial issue.

Don't these people have more serious issues to worry about? When did "SEX" become the utmost source of evil?

We have war, global warming, famine... seriously, they should pick up a newspaper, watch the news and re-prioritize!

Soph said...

That is so true. Why should it ever be an issue? Its only an issue to the people with closed minds who make it one.

Pierre said...

Soph, I couldn't agree more. It's just troublesome that some people and groups takes it too far. The situation is Uganda is a prime example!

Meagan said...

I'm a new visitor, but I will be back. What you're writing about is so important and relevant. It hurts my soul that people can be so cruel and unforgiving to people just because they love in a different way than they do. It makes no sense. I think love is beautiful, and I want only for people to find love, feel love, and share love.

Pierre said...

Meagan, thank you. We live in a cruel world, but luckily there are people in it that helps us get through the difficult times. I am glad you enjoy my blog, please spread the word and be one of those beacons of light that help others!

Crazeebee747 said...

Life is just sooo much better when you know who are and embrace and love that. Amazing what you are able to achieve. I hope above all, that the gay boys and girls of this world get that at some point in their lives. Doors truly open when you know and love what you about.

Reading your post just makes me grateful that my journey to being out and proud has been a blessed one. I also realise that others are not as lucky as I am and I pray they have the support they need to make their way to safely being able to just "be"


Jason Shaw said...

A wonderful post as usual my dear young man. impressive, thoughtful, insightful and compelling, as usual.

GayDinosaurTales said...

Pierre, this is a wonderfully written piece. There is a blog BORN THIS WAY which is nothing but coming out stories, submitted by gay people themselves. It is amazing how similar and unique each of our stories is! To anyone who still struggles, or those who have already thrown open the closet doors, do look at this blog. It gives hope and brings a smile.

I enjoy your posts, Pierre. Keep up your good work.

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