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May 19, 2012 | 07:46pm
Mood: thoughtful

Yesterday I had dinner with a guy I met on a gay app.

He lived in Hawaii for 5 years so his English is great. However, his family, his religion, and his society have all done a number on him: he hates himself and his sexuality. He has trouble saying the word "gay." I just tried to be a good listener and told him what helped me when I was learning to become comfortable with myself.

Honestly, it's hard. Being different is not easy, and homosexuality is probably the only thing which is hated and looked down upon worldwide.

Here's the thing: these days I'm very comfortable with myself and my sexuality. I like being gay. I like men. Penises are fun. I like having women as friends. Hell, if I have a choice, I'd even prefer to have gay children.

Talking to this guy was difficult because he was so unhappy. It's been a long time since I've been in that situation. I wish everyone could be as happy with themselves - or at least their sexual orientations - as I am. It's sad that they can't.

While we were talking last night, he said, "I've never felt so-- light before." That's what coming out, what learning to be comfortable with yourself, is all about: a weight is lifted from your shoulders because you don't have to hide. Not from other people. Not from yourself. Not anymore.

Here's a story: when I was a teenager, I knew I was gay, of course, but I had trouble applying the word to myself. Every time I went into the bathroom I would pause in front of the mirror, look myself in the eye, and say, "You're gay." I wasn't trying to convince myself; I was trying to associate the word - with all of its connotations, good and bad - with myself.

I'm going to try to be friends with this guy to the best of my ability. Nobody else may support him, but I'll try my damnedest.

I gave him a hug at the end of our meeting. I'm not one to dole out hugs willy nilly. It's not in my nature. In this situation, he needed one, and I had a few to spare. It may not be much, but it's what I've got.

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