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#203263 - 02/02/08 11:08 PM To me, being gay means .........
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
In a recent thread I commented on how child abuse has nothing to do with homosexuality and a gay friend here, Raul (rcm), took my comment to mean I thought that a guy is gay as a matter of choice. I tried to explain that this isn't what I meant at all, but the disagreement seemed to continue. Anyway, it got lost in the larger issues of that thread and just disappeared.

Some of you may also have seen the discussions I have had with Jarrad, David (memoryvault) and a few other guys in the books and films forum about the film Mysterious Skin. One point I raised was my doubt that Neil, the central character, is gay, even though the author of the book, Scott Helm, and the director of the film, Gregg Araki, certainly want him to be seen as gay. How that discussion went you can check out if you are interested, but what struck me about the whole thing was that my views on the film seems so absolutely wrong to some gay friends whom I really respect.

It occurred to me that perhaps my view of "gay" is too sexual. That is, perhaps I am placing too much emphasis on sexual behavior when I look at or think about gays and what it means to them to be gay. This comes up again now, because for a book I am writing about the way CSA is portrayed in world cinema, I have just finished the chapter on the film Eban and Charley, and again, I don't see one of the central characters (Eban) as gay. Or at least, what is offered on the screen doesn't show me a gay character.

I have never had problems relating to gays or lesbians, but though I do know that being gay has to do with more than sex, gay identity has always seemed to me to revolve around issues of sexual behavior, just by definition. But clearly that's being too cold and analytical.

Hence my question to gay survivors here: What does it mean to you to be gay, other than the obvious point of who one has sex with? I could probably come up with some answers by myself, but they would be the responses of a guy who isn't gay. Wouldn't it be better, I thought, to refer to the guys for whom this is an issue of how they live their lives and what they want and strive for?

So here you go: What does it mean to you to be gay?

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#203282 - 02/03/08 02:27 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: roadrunner]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
there are a lot of layers to that question. yes, the obvious answer is being gay is about sex. how we have sex. its not exactly easy to describe. like, how you would describe being straight excluding sex. i could rattle off the normal things.. the feeling i get when i see a hot guy.. the excitment of being twitterpated, but that is no different than being straight. i just feel it about a guy. but then there is the whole community thing. like, being gay is a exclusive club that not everyone can join. and if you can, than you are part of something bigger. a group of the most couragous men. i could go on and rant on the history of homosexuals, the prosecution, the "mental diease," the "gay plague" but i will spare you. because of all that, gay guys have this built in sense of community and pride. being 24 i have not lived through the harder "gay" times, but its still part of me. i guess what i am trying to say, i always feel like i am part of something bigger.

we extend beyond the sterotypes. we aren't all the hair stylist and the interior decorators. we dont have lisps. we dont all have large amounts of sex. since you mentioned how csa is portrayed in cinema, gay guys have their own representation. typically, gay guys are the comic relief. rarely showing sex. rarely showing how we love. more like dancing smiling eunichs stripped of sexuality entirely. and since the mass population sees these films, gay guys get put in this small box. so being on the outside of the group, you dont really get the full spectrum of who we are, how we live, how we love.

if your strip away the community. strip away everythign and isolate a gay relationship, it really doesn't differ fundementally from a straight one. the only difference is that we are the same sex. we date. we have movie night. we argue about leaving the cap off the toothpaste.

there was an article in times last issue about love. it was divided into categories. why we flirt, famouse couples, animal love. etc. and one of them was "are gay relationships differnt."
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1704660,00.html
check it out. it's worth a read.


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#203298 - 02/03/08 07:32 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... *DELETED* [Re: roadrunner]
krayoss Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 112
Loc: west
Post deleted by krayoss


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#203318 - 02/03/08 11:01 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: krayoss]
MagRaith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Salt Lake City, UT
Larry -

I completely agree with Jarrad and Krayoss - there really is no difference in my mind between gay and straight except who you are sexually attracted to. I don't fit a gay "stereotype" (or so I'm told) in fact even in groups of gay men most assume I am straight (also been told many times). I like sports, I like art - lots of diverse interests that are not defined by being gay. I have three kids from the time when I tried to be straight (big mistake) so really from any perspective the only difference I see between myself and so called straight men is that I am not sexually attracted to women. Never have been, never will be.

When I read your post, my thought was - Tell me what it means to be straight, write it out, then substitute the word "gay" for "straight" - men for women. Its the same.

To answer your question "what does it mean to be gay" beyond the sexual attraction issue - I would answer (1) fundamentally, the same thing it means to you to be straight, living life, building a family, having hobbies and interests, etc. (2) the only complication is that, different from straight men, we deal with homophobia, people who hate us for being who we are - so we have the added complication of being ignorantly judged, unfairly hated, persecuted, discriminated against, ridiculed by outrageous and inaccurate stereotypes in films and other media, etc.

As Jarrad said, this could be a very complicated issue but really in my mind it can be as simple as what I have said. At least this is my opinion and experience.

Kurt


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#203320 - 02/03/08 11:18 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: MagRaith]
froggy12 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/06
Posts: 527
Loc: Marlboro, MA 01752
Ditto Kayross. By the way, asshole is non-sexist, most folks have one.

froggy

_________________________
??

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#203330 - 02/03/08 12:29 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: krayoss]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Actually, since jarred did do so well, I'll just add a little perspective of mine to the "our gay relationships are really no different that straight relationships..." by saying that in a lot of ways, I feel NOW (having had 25 years to get used to the idea) that being gay is kind of largely defined by the way straight people see us as "different". It's the minority experience to have to completely adapt to the majority culture, so I feel partly different as gay because I have to deal so much with people who seem to fundamentally see me as "different". I always wonder what they think, but I can't get people to really say. I think they just accept I'm different and don't think about it. There's very few ways I feel I truly different.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#203331 - 02/03/08 12:30 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: MagRaith]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
What does it mean to be gay? Larry, you always ask the most interesting questions...

I could say it's only about sex; the fact that I prefer having sex with men rather than women is a big part of why I am who I am. Personally, that preference may be derived from some sort of phychosis; I am afraid of women in general, I don't trust them, I don't understand them and I find it very hard to relate to them. Perhaps there is something in my past that caused me to feel that way. I was married to a woman for 21 years and I never really understood or related to her. A guy I can understand, I know where he's coming from and I pretty much know what to expect from his actions and reactions. Did my ex-wife turn me gay? No, but she definately added to my stigma against relationships with women.

Did my abuser make me gay? Probably not, but there is the distinct possibility that he made being gay acceptible to me, in the long run. It was definately because of him that the first significant love of my life was another boy. And if I was not gay to start with he gave me the impression that gay was OK. (I didn't realize that my abuse WAS abusive until many years later). I considered myself bisexual for many many years, and switched back and forth between gay and straight so often everybody was confused. Sexuality is a sliding scale, and since I didn't have the stigma that only straight sex was acceptible, (and I agree with Kayross that 'straight' as opposed to 'twisted' is derogatory, so what else is new...) I was free to explore both worlds. In that regard, living a gay lifestyle WAS a choice for me.

A lot of the stereotypes about gay men are, in fact, true - not to all gay men, but most gay men fit some of the stereotypes - queer eye types, artsey, screaming queens... and also sensitive, nurturing, socially conscious men who aren't afraid NOT to be Macho all the time. However, these terms describe almost as many straight men as it does gay men. What you won't find very often in the gay community are the kinds of men I really don't care for either; crass, insensitive, beer-swilling sports fanatics who would rather shoot some furry creature than photograph it. I have never met a gay man like that, and I hope I never do.

There's a lot of community among gays because of our shared discrimination. There is also a lot of phychosis in 'gayland' (as Jarrad calls it) for the same reason. It's not hard to understand why some gays are militantly anti-establishment because 'the establishment' has treated them poorly for many years. That tide is turning, however and I'm glad to see it. When who you love is no longer a stigma, many more people will lead happier, healthier lives.

Gay men are also more promiscuous than straights as a rule, because for gay men there are so many more opportunities for sex. You'll never find a woman in a bathhouse, unless she's a spectator or an accomplice for a gay man. That's not to say that straight men wouldn't be just as promiscuous as gay men IF they had the opportunity... how many straight guys will fuck anything that walks if given the chance? That's also probably why a lot of straight guys have annonymous sex with gay guys - maybe it's not their first choice, but it's more easily available. Gays don't have as many inhibitions as straights; if we meet someone we are attracted to, we're more likely to bring him home and share him than to have an extra-relationship affair.

I am lucky enough to be one of the NEW stereotypical gay men; monogamously coupled, kids, house in the suburbs, identical to any straight family with the exception that we are two guys instead of a man and a woman. We are as stable (if not more stable) than any straight couple I know. We are moderately active in the community, both straight and gay, and we go to work, pay our taxes and live normal lives. The good news for gay men in particular and all of society in general is that it's been a long time since anybody has shown us any negativity because of our being gay. My kids school even let us chaperone a school field trip, knowing full well our situation. We have come a long way, baby.

So let's say that I emote with other gay men better than I do with women and to me that is more important than sex. I am active in trying to get equal treatment in society, but I'm not militant about it. I sing in the Gay Men's Choir, I'm a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children, and I work in construction. I'm so far out of the closet that I don't even remember where the light switch is, and everybody in my life knows who I am, but I don't wear it on my sleve. It's really a non-issue in who I am.

To me, being gay means very little. It's just who I am. I'm far more discriminated against because I'm a smoker. Being gay impacts almost every part of my life, but not in a bad way. I have grey hair, blue eyes and a wonderful husband and kids. I'm more comfortable in my own skin than I ever was as a 'straight' man.

Respectfully submitted,

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#203332 - 02/03/08 12:40 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Lazarus]
Dude. Offline
Guest

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 106
Loc: USA
Lazarus, you were married to a woman?


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#203338 - 02/03/08 12:59 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Dude.]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Yes, Dude. I was married to her for 7 years, divorced her and lived with a guy for 4 years, remarried her for another 9 years and divorced her again. Kinda weird, eh? You can read the whole sordid story in Survivor Stories if you look back a year or so.

Weirder still is the fact that she and I are now good friends. We both help each other as much as we can. The basis for our marriage was the children, but the basis for our friendship goes well beyond that.

Lazarus

P.S. No offense intended, but I find it interesting that you are reading in the Gay Forum. I didn't think it would interest you at all...

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#203339 - 02/03/08 01:01 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Lazarus]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
kryoss, you bring up a good point about lesbians. when i think of "my community" it has little to do with lesbians. they have their own and i only see them during gay pride. well thats a little exagerated but, over all, gay guys don't really get along with lesbians. we are like polar opposites. the community itself is divided into pockets. gay. lesbian. trans. bi. all have thier nieche. then they are subdivided. for the gay group, you can divide it in a number of ways. butch. fem. tops. bottoms. leather daddies. bears. cubs. otters. poz. neg. queens. twinks. club kids. gym bunnies. tools. each little sub group is part of the whole.

i think for me, the whole idea of community is so important. my parents, back in the day, didnt like the idea of having a gay HIV+ teen living in their house so i was kicked out. the community then became my family. i finally learned what a family should be like. there is a support stucture set up so when shit happens, you have someplace to go. of course, its not all sunshine and rainbows in gayland. we still have the fair share of shit, politics, random gay bashings, unequality.. but it's still a family. i honestly wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the community. i have mooched off of so many programs they offer. housing. rehab. medical treatment. grants for school. eventually i will be in a position to give back, which i think its part of the cycle.


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#203341 - 02/03/08 01:14 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Jarrad]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
laz, totally agree about the promiscuity thing. men. by nature, are designed to stick it in something as offen as he can to release. women are designed to do it pop out babies. (cringe) so when you have a group of guys who all are walking around looking for some place to stick it, it will happen a lot more. and to dwell on a sterotype that we are creative, we get pretty creative in where and how we stick it in. also, for a while, there was little consquence. ie.. two guys can make a baby. there is no long term baggage of quick sex. that of course, changed with the whole AIDS thing, and i think guys are still adapting to a new safe way to have sex. not saying we wont still have as much sex with as many different people as possible, but it's just more protected.

and since we are talking about this, did i mention we idolize cock? we are, as a whole, looking for the next best cock to experience. it terrible, but i remember guys more by thier cock than their names. so since we are on this quest for the perfect cock, we have to try them all out along the way.


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#203343 - 02/03/08 01:23 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Jarrad]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
I never meant to say that women don't like sex (although I never thought so until late in life) the whole pregnancy thing definately forces them to be more careful and selective than guys. That's completely understandable. And yes, now we have to be more careful too, which makes monogamy and same sex marriage all the more important, eh?

Who are you saying lusts after cock? LOL OK, well that would be me too... So many men, so little time. Do straight men have as much a fascination with their own penises as we do about ours?

Just curious...

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#203483 - 02/04/08 08:38 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Lazarus]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
I while back I came to the conclusion that to me, being gay (or coming out of the closet) meant the conscious swearing off of trying to find women sexually appealing. That's pretty much the only "choice" I see involved with being gay.

I like what you guys are saying here, but I have to admit I am getting annoyed with people posting their thoughts and then quickly deleting them. What's more annoying, are the references to that post that come in the days that follow. If you are going to reference someone else's posts, do it right and quote them so the part you are referring to doesn't get deleted. It makes it very hard to follow these threads when we don't use the tools provided to us for effective communication.

Sorry if that's a bit of a rant, please don't take offense (sorry Jarrad, but I know you will appreciate and support my honesty).

Craig

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#203486 - 02/04/08 09:11 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: cbfull]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
craig, i agree about deleting posts. krayoss's post was fabulous and it's not here this morning. for quoting guys, my quick quotes dont work. it just quotes the whole post not isolating sections so im proabbly retarded but i dont know how to just quote a section of it. so i dont \:\)


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#203487 - 02/04/08 09:22 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Jarrad]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2503
Loc: Denver, CO
quote copies the whole thing for me too - i think that's the way it works. what i do is just remove the parts i didn't want to quote. you just gotta make sure you leave the [ quote] and [ /quote] tags

m


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#203490 - 02/04/08 09:23 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: MarkK]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
yeah.. that invovles work. haha.


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#203491 - 02/04/08 09:24 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Jarrad]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2503
Loc: Denver, CO
oooooooooooops.
my bad

;\)


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#203494 - 02/04/08 09:52 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: MarkK]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
I make a distinction between "gay" and "homosexual."

"Homosexual" refers to a natural biological state, that a person's sexual response is wired to respond to his or her own sex as opposed to the opposite sex. Everyone is different and seems to have different wiring systems -- some people's wiring seems to change over the course of their life. I do not pretend to know what causes it, but I know that I have never felt an automatic, natural sexual response to a woman, yet from a very early age I was conscious of a response to men. Other people feel varying proportions of attraction to both sexes. The exact border is probably different for each person, but I would say that a person for whom the majority of his sexual response is directed at the same sex is "homosexual."

"Gay," to me, is a socially-constructed identity. "Gay" would have no meaning in a society that did not place moral values on opposite-sex relations and condemn same-sex relations as "immoral" or "unnatural" or "disordered" (all high-sounding synonyms of "icky"). Under this paradigm, anything that differs from the established norm is wrong and must be suppressed, change, or hidden. Those who are different must change or live in shame or secrecy. A person who is "gay" is a person of homosexual orientation who rejects this paradigm and accepts that his sexuality is natural and an integral part of his identity. A gay man is a man who accepts his attraction to other other men and acts on it without shame or fear in defiance of the hegemonic cultural paradigm that stigmatizes non-straight relations.

Most people tend to fluctuate or have varying degrees of attraction responses to both genders and are thus by nature and orientation "bisexual," yet only those who accept and acknowledge their double-sided attraction and integrate it into the totality of their personality are "bi." A person who is naturally bisexual may also identify as "gay" or "straight" depending on which aspect of his sexuality he chooses to adopt as his primary sexual identity.

Presumably, should human society ever evolve to the point where each human being would be free to form sexual unions and loving partnerships with whomever they wish regardless of sex or gender identity without any fear of social stigma or condemnation or violence or oppression, then "gay" would cease to have any meaning.

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#203521 - 02/04/08 01:03 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: VLinvictus]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
We’ve all got ideas of what being gay is, but what it means is a much more personal and interesting question.

Being gay to me means living off the grid. Even in the 21st century, we’re still the embodiment of the worst thing you can call a teenage boy – the one insult guaranteed to start a fight. We’re still faced with a basic anomie—one you’ve broken the “ultimate taboo,” this society doesn’t much care whether you’re committed or promiscuous, fulfilled or destructive, celebratory or depressed.

That’s changing, of course, especially now that we’ve been discovered as a niche market—we’re courted and sold to, offered acceptance and inclusion at the price of being told how to live, where to travel, and what to buy. (Basically, there are two types of gay media: the type that gushes about how wonderful we are, and the type that suggests that we'd be a lot more wonderful if we all wore Prada.)

But I’ll always treasure that little anarchic glow… I love the way our relationships morph and shift beyond categories. One night stands become flings, which become romances, friendships, spiritual connections, partnerships or nothing at all. The dice keep rolling. Being gay means being at the crossroads of endless possibilities—chances to invent and reinvent what it means to love and desire. Maybe we’re the last men who get to look at another man with no>

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#203525 - 02/04/08 01:20 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: MemoryVault]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
MV,

I agree most heartily. That is a good expression of what I meant about "gay" being an identity in defiance of the hegemonic paradigm.

I think the ideal situation, at the full flowering of human freedom, would be when everyone -- homosexual and heterosexual and everything in between -- will have the freedom to be "gay" as you define it, to roll the dice and explore those endless possibilities of which you have so eloquently written.

As is so often case, the dominant group which in theory defines the basic paradigm of society -- straight people -- are in actuality the most oppressed in terms of their sexual freedom. Nobody asks straight people what being straight means because they do not actually know -- it's something imposed on them from society and religion and culture and internalized by them without thought and question.



Edited by VLinvictus (02/04/08 02:19 PM)
_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#203683 - 02/05/08 12:40 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: roadrunner]
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
Larry,

I've been around for over sixty years. Thirty four of those were in a marriage to a woman that I loved. We had two children who are now 33 & 22. When my wife died five years ago while I was undergoing radiation treatment for my second cancer I was at the lowest point in my life. I had been dealing with the CSA issues for about five years by then. I had told her about some of the CSA and I told her about some of my 'acting out'. We lived our lives together until she died. When I was recovering/grieving I made a decision, not to be gay but to quit lying about being straight. When I was confronted with death I thought a lot about my life. I got married because I was supposed to, I was my father's only son. I married for better or worse and had a lot of each. I did love my wife but I longed for male companionship. I was always afraid of being too close to another male. I was afraid that I would be used and discarded. I was afraid of being 'found out'. When I was a young man, after the abuse had started, I thought that anyone could see that I was gay so I had to be better, I just had to try harder. I set unreasonable goals for myself and hardly ever met them resulting in severe self-esteem issues.

Now:

To me, being gay means being true to who I am. Being able to express my love for someone openly. No one would ever choose to be gay and face the homophobia and negative cultural stereotypes that a good percentage of our population has. I choose to be honest with myself and my family. It hasn't been easy and not everyone has been supportive. I don't believe that there is a stereotypical gay person, they come in all different varieties, the same as straight people. My partner and I have been together almost four years now. I don't think we 'look gay', we're just two regular guys who happen to love each other. Someday I hope that we'll be able to have all of the benefits and responsibilities that I had when I was married to a woman.

Take care,

Steve

_________________________
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

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#203897 - 02/06/08 05:34 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Stephen_5]
Calanthe Offline
New Here

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 109
Loc: California
Gee there have been a lot of good comments and I have enjoyed reading everyone’s ideas and I do not mean to take away from all the important stuff that has been said and shared but this really reminds me of a scene for the movie “Trick” where Gabriel and Mark (Gabriel’s one nightstand) are sitting on the front steps of Gabriel’s NYC apartment and Gab has just related to Mark his own thoughts and doubts about identifying as a Gay man or feeling part of the Gay community and Mark replies “You suck dick don’t you?” (and yes it was a rhetorical question).

Just remembering this scene puts a smile on my face and helps me realize that my being a Gay man is really just that simple and so much more; but sometimes simple really works for me.

Thank again for everyone’s thoughts. I enjoyed them all.

Cal

_________________________
You can't save your Ass and your Face at the same time. (Anonymous)

And given the choice I will save my ass first everytime(STC)

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#203910 - 02/06/08 08:37 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Calanthe]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
ROTFLMAO! Cal, you hit it on the head!

All the rhetoric, all the semantics, all the 'community' stuff is great and wonderful, but you managed to boil it all down to the common denominator;

To me, being gay means I like dick.

Enough said. Thank you Cal for boiling it down.

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#203912 - 02/06/08 08:42 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Lazarus]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hey, I hope straight guys at least like their own!


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#203918 - 02/06/08 08:57 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: MemoryVault]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
MV, I would never have believed it, but I've learned here on MS that some survivors don't like their own penises. They resent the fact that their dicks betrayed them, it make it look like they liked their abuse, when in fact it was just a stimulatory response. I feel sad for those guys. It wasn't their fault, and it wasn't their penis' fault.

I hope str8 guys like their own dicks too. Do you?

Respectfully submitted,

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#203922 - 02/06/08 09:11 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: roadrunner]
bigjdaddymack Offline
New Here

Registered: 08/01/07
Posts: 4
Being gay is easy. It's what you do with it that is harder than I anticipated.

After an 8 year marriage ended, this father of 3 was excited to finally settle into a long-term gay relationship he had always wanted. That was 7 years ago.

Coming from a very conservative and traditional place, I expected it to be as easy to find a like-minded man. Here is what I found instead. The men I mostly met fell into at least one of the following de>


Edited by bigjdaddymack (02/06/08 09:14 PM)

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#203947 - 02/06/08 11:19 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: bigjdaddymack]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Bigjdaddymack,

I sympathize with you and I have from time to time had similar feelings about the "gay world."

This goes along, I think, with what I wrote earlier. The "gay community" as such is a reactive social construct which, in the best of all possible worlds, should not need to exist. The only reason the "gay community" exists is because it was called into being by oppression and discrimination by the straight majority and the refusal of homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and other queer people to bow to the hegemony of the straight majority.

Being gay is not about liking dick. Being homosexual is about liking dick; being gay is about liking dick and openly proclaiming that you like dick in defiance and rebellion against the Powers that Be that say that you shouldn't like dick and if you do like dick then you're bad, wrong, and evil and deserve to die and/or go to hell and should be denied the basic civil and human rights enjoyed by everyone else.

Remove the oppression and discrimination, and the need for a gay community will wither away.

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#203950 - 02/06/08 11:28 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: VLinvictus]
bigjdaddymack Offline
New Here

Registered: 08/01/07
Posts: 4
Originally Posted By: VLinvictus
Remove the oppression and discrimination, and the need for a gay community will wither away.


Good point. I don't foresee it happening in my lifetime. Look at how long the African-Americans were in oppression. Some would say they still are. In my opinion, any repressed society will hold on to their oppression long after the oppressors have have stopped inflicting it. It's part of their heritage. Their oppression puffs them up. I think any community would behave similarly until enough generations die off and there is a complete and subtle integration that is foreign to anyone who reads about it in a history book.


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#203963 - 02/07/08 02:44 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: bigjdaddymack]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
This sounds a bit US-centric. Regarding oppression and discrimination, don't forget many places outside the USA where gay couples have far easier lives and greater rights. Some places are more oppressive certainly, but much of western Europe has removed much of the official and unofficial hostility to gay couples.

Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Canada, New Zealand have legal rights for same sex couples with rights in adoption.

Support in polls for same sex marriage runs 82% in the Netherlands, 71% in Sweden, 69% in Denmark and 62% in Belgium.

About 30-39% of Americans support same sex marriage.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

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#203979 - 02/07/08 09:33 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: LandOfShadow]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Then there are places where if two men are found having sex, they stone the top and collapse a wall onto the bottom...

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#203984 - 02/07/08 10:19 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: LandOfShadow]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Originally Posted By: LandOfShadow
This sounds a bit US-centric. Regarding oppression and discrimination, don't forget many places outside the USA where gay couples have far easier lives and greater rights. Some places are more oppressive certainly, but much of western Europe has removed much of the official and unofficial hostility to gay couples.


That's so true. In the European countries I know best - Germany, the Netherlands and the UK - gays and gay couples do not encounter the hostility and bigotry that pass for acts of "freedom of speech/belief" in the USA. You even see gay couples in ad campaigns for major companies, and in Germany centers for the arts and culture have frequent programs for gay music, art, literature and so on.

I have lived here most of the past 36 years, and over and over again the question comes up of how such a powerful and sophisticated country as the USA can nevertheless harbor such deep prejudice against gays and homosexuality. From a western European perspective that's nothing more than barbaric primitive nonsense.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#203990 - 02/07/08 11:13 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: VLinvictus]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Originally Posted By: VLinvictus
Then there are places where if two men are found having sex, they stone the top and collapse a wall onto the bottom...


Actually, from what I know of Islam (if that's what you are referring to), it's OK to be the top, but God help you if you're the bottom (because Allah certainly won't). This makes as much sense as a lot of the fundamentalist interpretations of Islam...

Larry, as advanced as we like to consider ourselves in the US, we fall far short of the ideal when it comes to social acceptance and anti-discrimination. The Victorian Era is still alive and well in many places. Even though beliefs have changed significantly in the past few decades, bigotry and discrimination are very much alive and well in many parts of the good 'ol US of A. That being said, I should also add that while I don't wear my sexuality on my sleeve, I don't hide it either. Most people I know are either very accepting, or they hide their opinions because it's become politically incorrect to discriminate against someone to their face. Now get people in private and they are probably just as old fashioned as they ever were. But when I walk down the street holding my husband's hand, I rarely get a second glance (much less a glare) and almost never illicit a comment unless it is a positive one.

As a friend of my who has a PhD is Philosophy (wouldn't that be a PPhD? LOL) says, the only two groups who it is still acceptible to the majority of people to discriminate against are gays and athiests. Damn, two strikes against me. I'm glad I'm a Caucasian male...

One last question; I've heard it said that legalizing gay marriage would destroy the institution of marriage. How's that? Does anybody buy this? That's one of the most rediculous things I've ever heard...

Just my thoughts...

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#203995 - 02/07/08 12:21 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Lazarus]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Lazarus

Actually, from what I know of Islam (if that's what you are referring to), it's OK to be the top, but God help you if you're the bottom (because Allah certainly won't). This makes as much sense as a lot of the fundamentalist interpretations of Islam...


Various Islamic societies in the past have taken less strict views WRT to tops -- the Turks spring to mind -- but the creative sentencing I referenced was a favorite of the Taliban.

Quote:

One last question; I've heard it said that legalizing gay marriage would destroy the institution of marriage. How's that? Does anybody buy this? That's one of the most rediculous things I've ever heard...


From what I gather, the argument (if you can call it that) is that if the definition of marriage were changed to include same-sex unions as well as "one man/one woman," then it would somehow no longer be special. If marriage was no longer special, then people would not get married and illegitimacy and social chaos would follow. Not to mention the fear that sanctioning same-sex unions with public recognition would give societal approval to gay sex and more men would choose to have sex with other men than with women. Then there is the slippery-slope fear that if you challenge one plank of the bourgeois capitalist patriarchy and sanction gay sex, then all the rest of the WASP morality system will come crashing down. They fret that since abortion already makes it OK to kill babies and tolerance of homosexuality is making it OK to be gay, then the next logical step is godless feminist communism...

IOW, gay marriage leads inevitably to human sacrifice, dogs and cats sleeping together, mass hysteria.



Edited by VLinvictus (02/07/08 12:34 PM)
_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#203996 - 02/07/08 12:27 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Lazarus]
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
Lazarus,

"If you're against gay marriage, don't marry one!" I like that little lapel button statement. I really don't see how my partner and I having a legally recognized relationship, with all of the benefits, rights and responsibilities that go with it, affects anyone at all but us. My kids accept it, my family accepts it, most of my friends accept it. I want to grow older together with the person that I love just like any other committed couple in the world. How is that a threat to anyone?

Take good care of yourself,

Steve

_________________________
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

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#204002 - 02/07/08 01:30 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: Stephen_5]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Quote:
From what I gather, the argument (if you can call it that) is that if the definition of marriage were changed to include same-sex unions as well as "one man/one woman," then it would somehow no longer be special. If marriage was no longer special, then people would not get married and illegitimacy and social chaos would follow.


Let's walk through this slowly.

Straight person A does not want gay persons B and C to get married because that would cause straight persons D and E to think about marriage in a way that straight person A does not want them to.

The right isn't trying to control how gay people live; they're trying to control how straight people think.

*sigh* I'm really tired of people trying to negate my right to exist by pretending that they have an equal and opposite right for me not to exist. I'm even more tired of people claiming that the very idea that I should be allowed to exist constitutes an assault on their life. (My meme can beat up your meme!)



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#204010 - 02/07/08 02:30 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: MemoryVault]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: MemoryVault

Straight person A does not want gay persons B and C to get married because that would cause straight persons D and E to think about marriage in a way that straight person A does not want them to.

The right isn't trying to control how gay people live; they're trying to control how straight people think.


Because if they don't, the result will be Cirinism! \:\)



Edited by VLinvictus (02/07/08 02:30 PM)
_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

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#204106 - 02/08/08 07:46 AM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: VLinvictus]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
For me gays have as much right as anyone else to marry. Period.

Returning to what being gay means, it has always struck me as grossly inaccurate to think of straight guys and gays as representing opposite sexualities. One of the big contributions of the Kinsey report was the way in which it showed that both the attitudes and sexual behaviors of boys and men form not two opposites, but a kind of long and slowly shifting continuum in which the true minorities are those who are absolutely straight and those who are absolutely gay. Most guys have at least fantasies somewhere in the middle, and many have acted on them at some point in their lives. Others have been with one sex and then, for whatever reason, shifted to the other.

Stephen talks about this and makes a lot of good points. I guess I should point to myself as another example, if not in the same way. I knew nothing about sex before the abuse began when I was 10, and by the time it ended, when I was 14, I was a totally broken kid with no boundaries or self-esteem. What pulled me out of the abyss was my relationship with a close friend who was abused with me for the last year. After the abuser was chased off we continued as before, and it was my relationship with him that showed me that sex didn't have to be violent, frightening or humiliating. It showed me I could be loved.

I wasn't with him because I "liked dick". That never occurred to me, or at least I don't recall that feeling. What drew us together was the fact that we had helped each other survive a pretty horrific year and had never abandoned the other to face the abuser alone - not ever. What I remember was doing what we knew, and gradually realizing how intensely in love I was. He was my first true love.

Where does that put me now, as a "straight" guy? Especially when I still look back on that relationship as one of the most positive things in my life?

In any case, who decided that heterosexuals are "straight" and homosexuals are "gay". I mean, where do the terms come from? I know I never heard them when I was a kid and in a relationship with the other boy who had been abused with me. We were scared of being detected and denounced as "fairies" or "queers", but I don't recall ever hearing the terms "straight" or "gay".

I wonder if the term "straight" is a sarcastic term that emerged among gays. It reminds me of how, in my frat house, my friends and I were criticized as "detriments to the good name of this house" \:D . So we started calling ourselves that - the "detriments": falling through picture windows, wild excesses in drink and drugs, riding motorcycles up the stairs just to see if we could do it, hiring the madam of a local brothel as our housemother to chaperon our parties, etc. And we called our critics the "responsible brothers" rofl. In those days (late 60s) I remember the term "straight" as meaning guys who didn't do drugs; nothing to do with sex.

On the question of "Do straight guys ask themselves what does it mean to be straight?", I have to say this misses the point that such a question is largely irrelevant when you are the majoritarian group in society. It doesn't make a lot of sense to ask "what does it mean to be white in the USA?", but blacks rightly consider it pretty important to talk about what it means to be black in the USA. When you are subject to judgment, discrimination, stereotyping and misrepresentation, or if there is something significant that sets you apart from the majority, surely that raises questions of identity and meaning that don't otherwise come up.

Just some further thoughts.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#204188 - 02/08/08 04:36 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: roadrunner]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Please tell me you formed a band called "The Detriments"! First album: "The Detriments: To Your Health"?

"Gay" goes back to the '20s as a term for homosexual men and women in the "scene," but it didn't become the dominant term until the late 60s with the "gay power" movement. Very quickly after that, it lost a lot of its constituency--lesbians didn't want to be lumped in with a category that mainly meant men, so we started saying "gay men and lesbians", then other groups stood up for separate recognition, hence GLBTIQQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersex, Queer, Questioning)--apologies if I left one out. "Queer" has been floated as a blanket term for all orientation/gender minorities, but a lot of people find it uncomfortable, while "gay" has come to many to seem assimilationist.

I now propose we all call ourselves the Detrimental community.


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#283259 - 04/11/09 02:07 PM Re: To me, being gay means ......... [Re: roadrunner]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
Originally Posted By: roadrunner
gay has to do with more than sex


i want to kiss all the feet of the spider that brought this thread to my attention while i was in the 'who's on line section'. [i apologize to anyone who is put off by my perspective here; this is ron the person in recovery speaking, and as such my role is to support our highest and best attempts to elevate a community ethic that has too long been accused of being smarmy and low life].

i have been thinking about this over the last several weeks in as it relates to those who are struggling struggling struggling....so much so that the struggling seems more like a snuggling than anything else...with the idea of same sex attraction, and how somehow being gay is the same thing.

conversations have taken place around this topic that have attempted to cast it in the light of being some disordered condition, and the culture itself as being somehow deluded.

further, the indications seem to be made mostly under the aegis of trying to get 'back to heterosexuality' for whatever reason, and in doing so feel it will somehow help their cause to kick the legs out from under the premise that gay is 'ok' for anyone at all.

i am talking mostly about people who admittedly used the gay community for its most base purpose: to get their admittedly twisted sexual needs met.

if you reduced your idea to what it meant to be str8 as measured by your experience of it in terms of the establishments you frequented as a fledgling giant hormone at the age of 21 looking for a big happy sexual playground, then you would also see all of heterosexual culture as essentially a giant meet/meat rack, where you could go to get sidetracked sexually/emotionally/psychologically.

but we know such is not truly the case. just as we know that the entire 'morals-based' paradigm of heterosexual culture can not be encapsulated in the bar scene, so is it unfair to judge an entire community according to one's disappointment in one aspect of it to deliver higher values in the more base domains.

Originally Posted By: bigjdaddymack
Gay or straight, the more structured, esteeming and values-based a persons support system is, the higher the likelihood of creating a healthy adjustment. The gay world needs this type of structure out in the mainstream. It needs to shake off the shackles of stereotypes and stigmas that reinforce the negatives. It needs support and fairness.


i have spent the last 20 years in academic environments of higher learning and during that time have only encountered narrow bigoted thinking in schools where their bias was particularly slanted to align their students opinions to their own particular reality tunnel conjectured on prevailing axiomatic thought.

our 'community' has broadened its moral, political, intellectual and spiritual scope and risen in ascendancy, but there are still those who used its most base point of entry as a determinant for identifying its essence as being wicked and seriously flawed. to those folks i would say, you have never met my daughters, my pastor, my community, the organization that provides care for aids and hiv patients. the list goes on. water seeks its own level, and if you went seeking the devil well you found him. please don't castigate the rest of us for your shallow choices.

i hope and pray that those for whom this is such a bone of contention, stop casting shadows of shame on an entire contingent of society that has brought no more woe to the culture at large than heterosexuality in general, but rather has enriched it in ways we cannot fully measure or fathom for our lives today.

we are good, we are healthy, we are sane, we are fun loving wildly theatrical compassionate people, and, like our str8 brothers and sisters, we are NOT our sex drives.

thanks for listening as i speak in defense of those who are not here to defend themselves,

ron


_________________________
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