Happy International Coming Out Day everybody!
Gender identity is the way in which you identify yourself as homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transgender, etc. At a certain stage in your life you realise that you have feelings for other people, whether they are the same or the opposite sex or both, it doesn’t matter. The thing is the feelings are there and they are real. The gender of the person you fall in love with is called sexual preference.
Society (and probably your parents during your upbringing) tells us the one day we will fall in love with a person of the opposite sex, we will start a relationship, date, marry, start a family, and what may follow. We grow up with this idea burned into our minds. As toddlers or young children we play house and pretend to take a wife or husband (someone of the opposite sex) and pretend to have a family. We do this because this is expected of us.
But then we grow older we become preteens or teenagers and we start to have all kinds of feelings. Right? Well, sort of. We know we are supposed to fall in love with the opposite sex. I did have a few girlfriends here and there, but I also developed these deep infatuations with specific boys. I really, really wanted to be their friend. I wanted to be around them the whole time. I wanted them to be my best friend. I wanted us to share all our interests. I did not see or experience this as falling in love or having a crush, since these weren’t words I associated with the same sex. I became really good with rationalisation. I told myself that this is purely a person who I liked to spend time with. I didn’t want to marry them or have their children. I was sixteen years old! Marriage and children was not a consideration at all. Even the girlfriends I had was just good friends.
I think the realisation of me possibly being gay came when sex became a reality. At age twelve to about fourteen I knew about sex but I don’t think I saw myself as having it. Sex was destined for grown-ups. Religious studies told us that we should wait until we are married to have sex. But by the age of fifteen and older you realise you can have it if you want to. At that stage in my life I realised that I rather wanted to see boys without their clothes on than girls. Anyway, it is so easy to find a sparsely clad woman in any form of media that I didn’t need to look very far. But it didn’t do anything for me. What I did become aware of is that a well built man with little clothes on stirred something inside me. It caught my eye and I wanted to look at it. I liked looking at it. So, as a teenage boy I started searching for pictures of naked men rather than woman. And I slowly but surely had to acknowledge to myself that this was the fact.
I do not want to make it sound as if being gay is all about sex. I am purely trying to prove a point by describing my own passage into self acceptance. I’m sure you know that for (most) teenage boys it is only hormones talking and that they want to hump anything that moves, although probably secretly, since one is supposed to have morals and all that.
I recently found a brilliant Dutch website about gay, bi and transgenderism, that describes the feeling of falling in love so well. It asks the question whether you got butterflies in your stomach and a warm feeling when you touched him or her, and if you felt it all over your body when he or she touched you. You could probably not deny it, you were in love! (The website is written in Dutch with no English version, but you can probably translate it using Google Chrome. Click on iedereenisanders.nl).
You can ask the following questions to help clear things up for yourself (thank you again iedereenisanders.nl for these):
For certain people it is very clear. Some boys have never fallen in love with any girl, ever. And some girls have never fallen in love with any boy, ever. This makes it a whole lot easier to identify your sexuality. But for people like me, who had/has a relationship with a member of the opposite sex (because they were/are in denial like me or for any other reason), the boundaries can become blurred. And it can be very difficult to accept your true gender identity.
For many people out there it is easier to identify with being bisexual. Some people decide to keep that label and live their lives a bisexual. There are others who call themselves bisexual until such time that they can be certain of themselves or their gender identity before they start identifying as purely gay. (Incidentally, there is a group of people who do not like to label themselves at all and who likes to have relationships with any gender. They call themselves pansexuals.)
Another important point I would like to make is that you cannot always recognise a homosexual on outward appearance and behaviour alone. You might be thinking “I cannot be gay because I do not like to wear dresses” or “I don’t even like pink”. You do not have to be an effeminate man or butch woman to be gay! I have met very feminine women who are lesbian, and I have met many beer drinking rugby watching men who are gay. Your outward appearance or behaviour does not classify you as gay!
But why are you (or me) gay? Well, there are quite a few explanations. Here is a short video to explain some of the theories:
Being gay is normal! You aren’t a freak of nature, or a weirdo, or a sexual delinquient. It is normal. For you as a gay man or woman heterosexuality is abnormal, right? Think about it. And yes, this is why homosexuality is not normal for heterosexuals. For a true heterosexual it is abnormal to have a homosexual affair. In the same way it is not normal for a true homosexual person to have a heterosexual affair. It is against their (or your, or my) nature! The same goes for bisexualism. It is totally normal for a bi person to have relations with either sexes – but it seems abnormal to a hetero- or homosexual. What I mean by normal is a sexuality that is ‘against the norm’ for that specific subculture of society. You are normal – for you! Just be true to yourself and be gay… er… happy!
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section, or contact me through my contact page.