Admittedly I could have titled this overall article better, but I chose the title because of its incendiary nature. There will be more on that in a later section; why we use "gay" as a derogatory term has a bit to do with why my friends have been struggling with their identity, as well.
First things first, there's a big difference between people I've met who are attracted to the same sex and people who ideologically believe they're supposed to because "that's their personality". I don't think there's something "wrong" with either person. That being said, these also entirely different struggles with identity.
If you're gay, I imagine your struggle is with feelings of attraction that you're told are unnatural or not okay; this might be in combination with a lack of feelings that you're told are expected or normal.
I say imagine because I don't have a ton of gay friends, the ones I do have pretty much solidified who they are and feel empowered by their sexuality. No homosexual, in my limited, anecdotal circle, thinks there's a problem with the fact they're gay. The people this article is written about not only think they might be gay, but they also seem somewhat opposed to it. They're struggling with how their personality makes them into someone gay or why that's expected of them, and their internal identity doesn't match that imposed sense of self.
To my knowledge science hasn't exactly nailed down the gay gene (and never had, that was an oversimplification of a study finding a genetic marker more common in gay men). Rather, there's a plethora of genetic factors, possibly including epigenetic factors for both you and your parents, as possible sources. There's also a lot of evidence that homosexuality isn't some "evolutionary misstep", as some people try to claim when arguing for the impairment of reproduction. Evolutionary biology (or psychology) isn't even close to as black and white as "If it helps us eat more food or make more kids, it's evolutionary success." The short version : Science agrees that it's complicated, and not something you simply decide on.
And it's precisely the idea that you can decide your sexuality that starts making people uncomfortable, and creates bizarre social controls that encourage you to make the "right choice". Being gay is part of who you are, as is any other orientation, but that doesn't mean it exclusively governs all aspects of your personality--and not every trait that's culturally considered homosexual is a link to that orientation, or vice versa.
Wrestling with feelings about your sexual orientation implies that you've had some kind of feeling or experience that relates to the people you desire to be close to, bond with and have sex with. For the people I'm talking about, those feelings don't exist at all or are primarily heterosexual. Attraction becomes an intellectualized process that makes it difficult for the individual to feel connected to their own desires for intimacy, and Intimacy is complicated enough without the fear that you're doing it the wrong way for yourself/with the wrong person.
The guys I talked to often admitted they'd flirted with or kissed men, or engaged in anal sex with women, other things that tested their belief that they might be gay. Most usually found actual homosexual contact to be more conflicting if not a total let down, but continued to have incredibly strained relationships with women in ways that still fostered doubts about their orientation.
I think the starting point of sexual maturation for your body is different for everyone, and whether you do or don't get hormonal signals about your identity, you'll invariably be bombarded with cultural messages about who you're supposed to be, how you're supposed to feel and what that's supposed to look like.
The problem with a lot of these social constructs is that they're generalizations, and they don't allow for the complexity and fluidity of human nature. It makes no account for the neck tattooed construction worker who picks up a couple of beers for him and his boyfriend after they get off work, or an ascot wearing interior decorator who goes home to his wife and three children and teaches his son how to play football or build an engine from scratch. At most, these people become the butt of a satire about gender roles without any recognition of the fact that they're just a different example of being human. Socially, we group deviations from accepted gender norms in the same category as deviations from heterosexuality, which is, well, dumb. It also further highlights discrepancies in how we idealize being human based on sexuality, as well as what roles we assume people have or worse, deserve based on it.
Orientation is just a fraction of your identity, and the amount of emphasis it holds varies from person to person. For some, their sexuality is a point of pride and for others it's just background noise. Sex sells, and appealing to a person's libido is a quick way to get a point across, positively or negatively. As a culture, we develop strong cues as to "negative" and positive" markers for sexuality because we're fed so much of it, early, whether we know it or not.
Many, then, begin to tailor their personality based on what they think makes them attractive to their desired partner, or at least mimic what they believe is desirable. When you learn that the things that make you "unattractive" to your desired mates are also the things that are anchors of your identity, and furthermore those also make you attractive to a different mate, there's undoubtedly going to be some internal conflict. Luckily, the further along you get in your life, the more you'll learn to balance the perfection of your mating call with who you most enjoy being as a person. In theory, it's the way you level that out attracts "the right person", AKA that statistical anomaly of "the one" we all seem to be searching for.
This leads us to the next problem: Your orientation is something wired into you, whether you're a lumberjack or an aspiring ballet dancer. Your view of a lumberjack or ballet dancer's orientation is based off of cultural values that you learn and internalize as you grow up and interact with people. Which takes us further through this intellectual corn maze...-->>
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.