Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When did I know?

We've past winter solstice and now the days are getting longer - and I realized I'm running out of time to blog about the monthly theme, which would be most embarrassing - especially since I'm the one who came up with the theme.

First off, I'm going to draw a distinction between 'knowing' and 'accepting' - I didn't accept that I am gay until a little over 3 years ago; however, I knew that I wasn't quite like other boys at a much earlier age.

Warning:  This blog post may be a little more graphic than usual

Note:  Much of this I've shared before in bits and pieces,

To be brutally honest - I've had a fascination with the male physique for as long as I can remember - I've never had the same fascination with the female body.This goes back to my pre-pubescent days when I'd have a friend sleep over and we'd do the "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours" thing.

But, when I really knew that I was different from other boys had to be 7th grade.  My family moved the summer between my 6th and 7th grades to a small town in Northern California.  Here I was in a small town with no friends and starting Junior High School - with the dreaded locker room.  My Junior High School was next to, and shared a locker room with, the High School.  The high school boys were in the back of the locker room with the junior high school boys in the front - meaning that the high school boys had to walk past the younger boys both entering and leaving.

This was the first time I had ever seen a post puberty naked male body - with hair growing in places I never imagined (especially since I was a bit of a late bloomer in the puberty department).  My fascination with the male physique went into overdrive.  Whenever I would see one of those older boys naked - I had to look.  It was almost an involuntary reflex. Unfortunately, however much I tried to hide my peeks, my curiosity did not go unnoticed among my peers - so this was also the first time I was called a 'fag' and 'queer'.  I remember coming to school on day to find "FAGGOT" spray painted across my locker door.

This fascination continued into high school.  My family moved again the end of 8th grade; so, I started 9th grade at a different high school where nobody knew me.  Fortunately, I had become more adept at hiding my locker room inquisitiveness; so, high school was a bit better with the name calling.  But, I had other OGT's (Obviously Gay Traits) which prompted the occasional taunts of 'fag' and 'queer'.  It seems my peers knew me better than I knew myself.  It was in high school when I developed my first crush - for a boy (a friend of mine).  It was my junior year in high school when I first dared to think I might be gay - but I dismissed it.  It was a different era.  I grew up being taught that homosexuals were perverts who hung out in public bathrooms waiting to molest boys.  I wasn't like that - so, of course, I couldn't be one.

Fast forward:  I graduated from high school, started college, joined the LDS church, quit college to work to raise money for a mission, served a mission, got married in the temple, got back into college, had a baby and wife was pregnant for the 2nd time, and was finishing up my college degree.  By this time I was convinced that I was 'cured' of my unnatural and disgusting attractions to men.  I felt I had done everything God had asked of me and had been rewarded with heterosexuality.  After all, I had already sired one and a half children - homo's didn't do that! (I actually was quite homophobic as well.)

I was in my last year of college and discovered I was missing some P.E. credits; so, I signed up for a P.E. class.  This was the first time I was in a locker room situation since high school.  The young man whose locker was next to mine would always dress and undress while standing facing me.  Here I was once again faced with that beautiful naked male body - and it hit me like a ton of bricks that I wasn't 'cured' after all.  I wasn't the good little heterosexual boy that I pretended to be.

From there I evolved from being a 'cured' homosexual to a person having a terrible dark and dirty secret that I was prepared to take with me to the grave.  It would take me more than two decades before I progressed to accepting myself a full fledged queer.  I really don't know what the catalyst was to allow me to finally accept myself for who and what I am. My children were growing older and leaving the nest, so perhaps I wasn't as focused on them causing me to look more inward - I don't know.  Whatever the reason - I have accepted myself as a homosexual; although, truth be told, I'm not always happy about it - but I still accept it.  It's just that, for someone in my position (heterosexually married) - it's dang inconvenient at times.

A question I think every gay man reflects on at some point is "if there were a pill to turn me from gay to straight, would I take it?"  When I began this journey 3 years ago I would have answered 'yes' without a moments hesitation.  Today - I'd have to say 'no'.  Although I still have a great appreciation for the male body - I've come to realize that being gay is more than that.  Being gay permeates my very being.  It affects my likes and dislikes, my personality, even my very soul.  If you take the gay out of me then what would be left?

So, there you have it - I knew at a fairly young age - but I didn't accept it until much later in life. I sometimes reflect on how different my life would have been if I had accepted it when I first knew it.


Alan said...

I could say many of the same things. And especially as to your conclusions about how being gay is such an intrinsic part of who you are. This is why I don't buy for a second the trite quick & easy notion currently popular among many Mormons that if we are "good" and faithful and miserable and celibate and lonely in this life, we'll be rewarded afterward with transformation into someone we never were, didn't want to be, and wouldn't recognize. Yeah, that's a real incentive, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Abe:

Once again I appreciate your thoughts (and your chili recipe which, by the way, was a big hit up here in rainy Seattle).

I especially appreciate you making the distinction between "knowing" and "accepting" that I'm gay. If I am absolutely truthful, I "knew" I was gay in junior high school (middle school for the young'uns around here). But I wasn't able to accept it and say it out loud until I was probably 35 -- despite the fact of having sexual adventures with other men starting in my mid-20s. Until I accepted it, I was still waiting for the lightning bolt from god that would change me to normal.

Anyway, thanks again.


J G-W said...

For me, awareness of same-sex feelings came around 11 years old.

Conscious realization that I must be gay was at the age of 14. I remember the moment it finally dawned on me.

Acceptance of myself as a gay man didn't come until I was 24.

Openness to the possibility of a same-sex relationship came about a year later...

2Mod4U said...

I've always fought against acknowledging that I was gay, though I recall at the age of 6 that I wanted to marry our hometeachers young companion (and son), Dana who was tall, blond, blue eyes & over 6 ft.
Thanks for sharing your insights & your blog.

playasinmar said...

In what way is this post graphic?

Casey said...

New to your blog. Stumbled across it really, So maybe you've answered this in previous posts... but Do your wife and children know? and What is your wife's reaction to it? Just curious.

I'm not gay, and not quite a former Mormon... but soon.

Abelard Enigma said...

Do your wife and children know?

Wife yes, children no.

btw, welcome to the Mormon queerosphere. Do you have any specific questions? Feel free to email me privately (email id in profile)