If you are gay man or a lesbian, there was probably a period of time in your life when you questioned whether or not you are truly homosexual? However, maybe you are gay or lesbian and you never had internal feelings of doubt about being a homosexual.
Of course, in my life I have questioned my sexual orientation. When I was young, I wondered whether not I am truly gay? I thought to myself, how can I like men and not women?
After all, we live in a heterosexist society where heterosexuality is forced into our faces on television, billboards, commericals, in the movies, books, magazines, on the street, and in the theatre.
The heterosexist matrix is everywhere and this opression against gay people can cause some gay men and lesbians to have feelings of self hatred.
I accepted my homosexuality when I was seventeen years old. I decided at that point I just wasn’t straight and I should not lie to myself anymore.
However, the time leading up accepting my adolescent years was a horrible time in my life. My teen years was a time of confusion, depression, pain, sadness, and grief.
My family knows I am gay it is no mystery, I am out of the closet. However, there are some gay people that are not out to their families because of a plethora of
I also grew up during a time when society was making great strides in acccepting homosexuality in mainstream North American culture.
The only place I would feel “comfortable” expressing my homosexuality in the public sphere is on Church Street.
When I utilize the term “expressing my homosexuality” I am referring to public displays of affection.
Although, I am single, I have to admit when I see a gay or lesbian couple not on Church Street holding hands I do look. I have a sense of pride when
I see gay or lesbian couples confident and proud enough to walk the streets of Toronto expressing their homosexuality.
Now for people that don’t know, Church Street is basically the gay village in downtown Toronto.
However, I must admit, I still would feel uncomfortable displaying affection to another man on any other street.
Sometimes I am jealous when I see straight couples kissing on the sidewalk, or holding hands, or displaying other forms of affection.
I am cognizant of the fact as a gay man in Toronto “if” I had a boyfriend I “can” hold his hand or kiss him. I think to myself ” I wish I could do that.”
However, my argument is, there is also the fear of retribution and violence.
A lesbian can be raped by a man if he knows she is a lesbian. In fact, it can be very dangerous for a lesbian to express her homosexuality in the public sphere. Some
straight men believe they can “cure” a lesbian through male violence. Of course, since lesbians are women, there is the automatic threat of male violence against
women due to gender. My point here is, if a heterosexual man or a group of straight men see a lesbian expressing her lesbianism in the public sphere with another
woman she can become a potential victim of male violence.
Male homosexuality is still a taboo, even though gay marriage is legal in Canada. I have seen people laugh, hurl insults, or make negative comments at gay men that was expressing their homosexuality in the public sphere.
Gay bashing is a very serious issue and gay men we are targets by homophobes that believe male homosexuality is a violation of true masculinity. In some heterosexist men’s eyes, to be “gay” means you are not a “real man” because a “real man” is straight.
Of course, due to heterosexism the assumpion is that everyone is heterosexual and this is false. However, let’s say you are “deeply” conflicted about being gay to the point that it causes deep anxiety in your life.
The article I just read was written by Gabriel Arana he is a gay American man and was once an “ex gay.” An “ex gay” is a homosexual that wants to be “cured” of his or her’s homosexuality. Even though, the American Psychiatric Association delisted homosexuality as a mental illness in the early 1970s some gay people are still conflicted. I read Arana’s article with a feelings of pathos because it is so sad in the 21st century some gay people cannot accept their homosexuality.
Link to Gabriel Arana’s article in the American Prospect: