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.