I think that in today’s society many people still see being ‘gay’ as a horrible affliction that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Taunts from the unenlightened still cause great fear in me, even walking the streets of the so called gay ghetto here is still a matter of life or death depending on who has come out for some fun!!! That attacking a fellow human being is seen as ‘fun’ is disturbing, that it still happens in the 21st century is just sad, and the fact that for some we deserve to be bashed for who we are is just downright scary. Is my own integrity compromised … most definitely, I am always being made to make choices based on my orientation for my own safety (and any number of other reasons).
The following I feel describes the common experience most gay men have growing up …
From - http://www.apatraumadivision.org/program/2007_trafficking/elder_paper.pdf
Many gay men experience "feeling different" or "like an outsider" within their childhood and adolescent peer groups and family (Braun-Harvey, 2003). A common coping mechanism to manage this outsider status is for gay men to develop a false-self/real-self continuum. The false
self is presented to peers and family to reduce risk of being perceived as not heterosexual
or conforming to traditional male gender role behavior. The real self is carefully
protected thoughts, emotions, and desires that remain private, secretive, or unconscious.
As a result, a gay man will often develop a gut feeling regarding where he presents
himself in an artificial manner (as a heterosexual man, or at least not as an "out" gay
man). If a gay male believes that presenting his real-self may threaten a significant
attachment, he may choose to preserve the attachment by presenting a false-self.
The lives of gay men and women is not helped though while those in a position to help still seek to deny gay men and women the same rights as those afforded to the heterosexual majority. There was great hope in Australia after the last election, the catch cry of ‘67 in 07’ was a testament to the 67 laws that needed to be changed to ensure that all discrimination based on sexual orientation was a thing of the past … alas we’re still waiting, change happens but oh so slowly sometimes.
I personally don’t use any term to describe myself, whether I am a “man who loves men” or a “gay man” or “just queer” or “a plain old homo” or a “sissy” or a “femme” or a “brute of a gay”matters not, I love **ck - end of story, I don’t see a need for any of us to define who we are in terms of sexual orientation, it is all just another way old str8y has twisted us around to think we need to define ourselves in ‘degrees of homosexuality’, in an effort to lessen the discrimination we feel from the heterosexual majority.
I have hopes that as each new generation ages that the hate that has always been a part of our society lessens, ok it’s a pipe dream, but I am after all the original romantic dreamer and still have high hopes for an equal life ahead for all my ‘gay’ brothers and sisters.