note: this is the letter i sent my parents when i came out in 2003. it is writen by a very close friend who is some one that is more dad to me than my bio-father. i love my dad more than i love my bio-father. i hoped when dad sent the letter to me to give to them when i came out to them it would help them understand me......i dont know that it did that much. but here it is. i hope it can help some others out there.
OK, there is a lot to cover here so please be patient.
Please keep in mind that the following was written specifically for Kirk and is not an all encompassing treatise, it is off the cuff with only a short amount of time given for composition and editing. Thank you.
People in general find different things about other people attractive. That being said the scope of it is very broad. Some like fat people, some like skinny, some like hairy some don't, some like Black, Caucasian, or Oriental, some like people with power, some find powerful people repulsive. Ask any 10 people who they think is the most attractive person in the world and you will get 10 different responses. On the other hand some have no care what so ever about physical traits. We fall in love with someone based on who they are, not what they look like. Granted at some point, the physical aspects of them are what 'might' have attracted us to them initially but it is usually a transitory thing just as is ones appearance.
You'll notice that the above statement has not mentioned anything about gender. There's a reason for it. Quite simply all of the likes and dislikes are of a personal nature. Tastes vary. So with that being said, enter gender into the equation and what do you find? The exact same thing. Some men like men, some women like women, some like either or both, some like only the opposite sex, some people don't like anyone at all.
The bottom line is:
There is no difference between why anyone likes anyone for any reason no matter his or her gender. It's all an individual thing. We don't 'choose' to like a particular type of person any more than we chose to be attracted to someone of the same gender. We are who and what we are, and like whom we like specifically, individually and uniquely.
The question of ones sexuality is not something we can choose. We spend our lives as children developing and interacting socially and some of us desperately need to fit in with everyone else. Others don't. It's in our nature to want to belong to 'something', but this is not an absolute. Some of us would rather not be "the same" or one of 'the group'. This is called individuality. We humans generally retain our individuality and can still be part of a group, but that is a learned behavior just as are social skills. One must keep in mind that there is a major influence on us as children to conform. It's a major part of going to school as a child. We learn how to be a part of a group, 'the school class' we are in. We build whole mindsets of loyalties to our family, our school, our town, our state, country etc. as part of our growth into becoming adults. So too is our mindset about sex. We are taught how we 'should' behave, what roles we 'should' have. Our parents are a couple, man and woman, usually. So are most of the other children's parents. There is also the ingrained biological imperative to procreate that can't be denied. However, the strength of this imperative is just as varied as is our likes and tastes. Part of that biological imperative is just sexual drive and because sex feels good [hopefully].
Yes we can be gay and still get married have kids and fit neatly into societies definition of "normal" but what does that say about us? If we deny our true nature how can one be really happy? So while we can lie to ourselves and those around us to 'fit in', in which case the usual result of living this lie is being unfair to ourselves and to anyone we have a relationship with, or we can be truthful and live our lives honestly by accepting who we are and who those around us are without any preconceived notion of who we should be.
Can we choose our sexuality? Most psychologists would say no. It is most definitely not a choice. When do we realize we are gay/bi or straight? Some are aware subconsciously at a very early age, yet don't grasp it for what it is till nearing puberty, understandably merely because that is when we become sexually mature. Some know as early as 5-6 yrs old, others don't know 'till much later on, usually they are aware that something isn't right but can't figure out what it is. In the latter case their gay sexuality can be suppressed by that willingness to conform to the majority and it may not come to full awareness long after they have been married and raised a family. But even so ones true sexual preference doesn't just happen suddenly, it's always there from birth. And nothing short of a magic wand can change it. Why doesn't it show at birth? Because we aren't physically capable sexually until we mature. Puberty comes along and we start feeling things that we were never aware of before. We don't suddenly change our individual sexual nature and become gay or bi, we do however discover what our nature is at some point along the way as we mature.
OK so know what? Why does this seem to be such a problem for so many to deal with? Dealing with it isn't only the problem of someone who is gay, it's a problem more so with people who aren't, and that makes it a major problem for those of us who are.
Some argue that being gay is against the laws of nature. Yet we find that same sex couples exist in nature everywhere. It's always been there, but has either gone un-noticed or has been unreported or withheld. Search google for "gay penguins" and you'll find volumes of articles on the subject of homosexuality in other species. The two male penguins you'll find have been together and inseparable for years and live @ the Bronx Zoo. Giraffes, chimpanzees, eagles, dogs, cats [and the list goes on] are all known to have same sex relationships both long and short term, so the argument of being gay as un-natural is less than valid.
Another major and heated debate that provokes disturbing outcome involves religion. The 'church' and many other things far to lengthy to list have influenced our collective way of thinking about sex. If one keeps an open mind and does some real research on the subject you will find that homosexuality has been around since the dawn of time, and will be until the end of time. Only in the last 1500 years [or so] has it been something that makes some people in western culture upset. Other cultures such as in China, South America and the Native Americans for example, it was accepted without so much as a second thought. Those that were gay were treated no different than any other members of their culture, and termed 'special' or 'different' but never ridiculed, chastised or otherwise thought of as less than normal. In researching why it has become taboo I have found that it dates back to when the "church" became an institution of wealth and power and traceable to one high ranking clergyman who for his own personal reasons decided that such behavior was abominable, and further having the power at hand to force his beliefs on the masses he did so. One person announced it a sin to bed another man. That's right, just one. I could digress from the over all topic to this one at length but that is another 'work in progress' treatise I am working on of book length and may take years to complete. But for now if anyone is skeptical about my statements you can do the research yourself and if nothing else find history shows it so be so. [most of which is available on line and in libraries]
One last note on this topic of religion and that is the bible [usually the instrument most often quoted in instances concerning being queer] is a great book with very important lessons in it, however, it's contents were never intended to be taken literally for in doing so there are far too many applications of specific verses that go against the very laws we live by and wouldn't be allowed to take place without severe punishment. Today we would consider many of those things criminal.
I think most would agree that the important things in life above all are love and caring for our fellows and to do any less no matter our gender is unconscionable. We never have a problem with children loving their parents or parents loving their children regardless of anatomy or gender, we love our brothers and sisters which is never a problem, but what we seem to have a problem with is sex. To us humans, sex is a major issue because the act of having sex is personal in nature. It is intimacy and sharing that is usually a private act and not for public display, yet we tend to be embarrassed by letting anyone who is not intimate with us share in it. It is not shame that promotes this condition, it is simply something that is private between those involved. Also note that this is not wholly confined to two persons either, intimacy or even sex for it's own sake by two or more people is not wrong either. It is however the personal choice of those involved and while it may not be for everyone it shouldn't be forbidden by anyone either.
Something else to consider when coming to terms with someone we know announcing they are gay, be they family or friend, is that we may have preconceived notions about who they are and how we perceive them to be. We don't selflessly accept them as they are. An example of this acceptance can be illustrated simply by asking yourself if you are disheartened or ashamed of them because they are blond or have big feet. Pick any single trait and apply that same rule. Would you become ill knowing someone who has green eyes? Of course not. So there should not be so much fuss about their sexual preferences either. They aren't pushing their sexuality on you and it is only fair for you not to push yours on them. It is all a matter of putting aside your own personal expectations of who you think they should be instead of embracing and accepting them.
I was about to send this when kirk asked me to call. Please think about this carefully. You have a son whom you love, and who loves you. He may not be what you want him to be but you're expectations for him can't ever override who he is or his own aspirations. Since you have a computer and a gay son you should consider going to this web site. You will undoubtably find it useful: http://www.pflag.org/
In conclusion a friend recently suggested this book - "Consenting Adult", by Laura Z. Hobson. It begins with a letter from a college student to his mom. "You know those people you warned me about? Well, I'm one of them..."
And also one that I highly recommend regardless of your sexual preference – "How to be an Adult in Relationships" by David Ricco