Danny has asked a couple times for people, particularly hetero male survivors, to comment on homophobia and Kali Munro's article
. I think Marc's thread is something more along the lines of Gay Pride, and this topic will need a thread to itself.
(If the discussion takes off over in Marc\'s thread
, could one of the mods move this post over there, please? I don't want to get left out.
I was 16 when I was molested. I think there was enough threat of violence to use the word, "rape," but I don't know what the legal definition in PA was back then.
I was very acutely aware of any perceived "threat" to my masculinity. Boys of that age spend a lot of time thinking and talking about what it means to "be a man" and what "sex" is about. At least the crowd I hung with did. (I have a tendency to speak for the crowd, the world, whatever. I'll apologize up front and try to catch myself as I go.)
I was very much afraid that someone would find out what had happened to me, and what I did. I was petrified that they would then presume I was gay, and persecute me for it. There are guys I grew up with who will surprise me a great deal if they don't react that way once they do hear that I was sexually abused back then.
I don't remember being afraid that I was gay or had been "made gay" by the SA. I do remember thinking that some of it felt good, in a physical kind of way. The first night I had definitely been intimidated, but I went with him again several times, first suspecting it would happen again, and later knowing it would happen again. I don't know now if I was looking for the physical sensations, or trying to maintain the relationship that had been important to me, or both, or something else. At any rate, I did go with him again, and later I worried a lot
that I'd fall asleep when stoned with my friends and say something that would let them know what happened.
Of course, any sound that might come out of me when I was asleep would immediately inform all within earshot of all the shame I felt, in exquisite detail, leaving no room in their minds for doubt. Or maybe I was a little paranoid. Whatcha think?
I don't think I felt any particular malice towards gays. I didn't think what happened to me was "gay sex" because it had felt so wrong. Not wrong as in "Gee, this ain't really my bag, man." Wrong as in "This should not be happening. I should not be someone's property."
I never understood "gay sex" until I had a chance to talk to a guy I know who's openly gay and seems to me to be quite comfortable with it. I was still doing drugs, but I was gearing up the next addiction (computers, leading to workaholism). I asked him when he figured out he was gay, and he said he had always known it. I said something like, "I didn't even admit to being anything-sexual until I was in college, and I took four years after leaving high school to start college." (As I'm writing now I realize I still did not recognize the effect of the SA on my sexuality, even in that conversation with my friend. What's that river in Egypt?) But I began to understand that people can be aware of sexuality even before they're physically mature, so I thought there must be more to it than "just sex."
I still didn't understand until I read something Josh wrote here, about the romantic attraction for a member of your own gender. Then it clicked. Maybe part of me actually did understand something of that, and the complete lack of respect that had been in the abuse kept me from thinking of it as "gay sex."
Do I understand now? Probably not; I'm straight. I think that I do understand that healthy people can express intimacy through their sexuality. When you have the care and respect that make a relationship worth investing of yourself, maybe making a commitment of yourself, you have something precious. If you're put together (for whatever reasons) in such a way that you find that kind of care and respect in people of the opposite sex, don't be ashamed. I do, too, and there are others like us.
And just like us, gay people can find sexuality to be an important part of their most precious relationships.
Oooh, caught myself. Now I'm speaking for gay people. Actually, I'm trying to say what I think we all have in common.
So, how did I suffer from homophobia? I felt that I would be isolated and ridiculed by the people who were at that time closest to me. I fully expect some of those people to try to ridicule me when they do hear, but I'm already beyond the reach of their ridicule.
OK, there's one straight guy's tale. Take it from the expert who mixes sex with flashbacks these days!