Friday, August 9, 2013

Getting To Know Me

What it was like growing up 'gay' in a 'straight' world:

Well, until I became aware that I was gay, everything seemed to be normal to me.
I always thought that I was different from a very young age.
I liked things other boys my age didn't have any interest in at all.
That was fine by me....until I was about 12 years old and saw that 
some people didn't like the fact that I was different.

Once I saw that I could be rejected by most people I began to try to fit in 
and be like the other boys. Funny thing was that my best friend 
from age five to post high school was going through the same thing,
totally unbeknownst to either of us!

I learned early that to be 'a man' in our culture required certain attitudes
and behaviors. So I pretended for a while that I wasn't any different
and tried to fit in wherever I could.

I had girlfriends from about grade 8 up to second year university.
A couple of the girls I really liked and imagined being with them forever.

My best friend 'came out' about three years before I did. I was horrified when he told me!
I know why now....because subconsciously it would force me to face my truth
about myself.

I think he, his name was John, helped me more than he could have 
imagined. I saw that he still was the same guy 
that I always knew and liked. Nothing really changed about him.

As we are all aware, today it is so much easier for young people
to feel better about themselves when they discover
that they are 'different' from the majority.

I am so happy that this has come about in my lifetime! 
These kids won't have the barriers that so many generations
 had before them.

They can grow up, for the most part, with a better acceptance 
of themselves. In fact they can be proud that they
are different and can have a rewarding life
like everyone else.

I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard growing up gay when I did. It was.
I was terrified when I came out to family and friends, 
the worse feeling is the fear of rejection.
I was lucky, I didn't get that.

The barriers are disappearing and almost time to throw away those 'wire-cutters'.


  1. Jim, these are words with much thought behind them . Here in NZ we have a wonderful young man, Tamati Coffey ( Google his name) he is very open about the fact he is gay, a wonderful TV Weather presenter, Hosting for the second year " New Zealand's Got Talent" show. He won the show " Dancing with the Stars" in 2009. A great ambassador for the gay community. Be who you are, enjoy life, love, laugh, and have much happiness. Greetings to all at your lovely place, Jean.

    1. Thanks Jean. Much appreciated advice.

  2. I also knew early on that I was different.
    Contrary to you, I never tried fitting in.
    Coming out was tough as I had a taste of rejection from some...
    And the general attitude in our society wasn't so kind back them
    toward folks like us. Faggotbashing, cops oppression, isolation,
    I got a taste of that too...
    It is hard to imagine the drastic change we've had over here.
    I only hope the same will be said in other places on this planet
    where gays are still living in the Dark Ages...
    Maybe one day, differences won't make any difference,
    and acceptance will be there for all to enjoy.

    1. When the rest of the world's counties have totally accepted the rights of everyone, then there will be a universal 'sigh of relief'. Hope it happens sooner than not.

  3. Richard and I have a friend who "came out" as an adult also, and he wrote a book about it, but at the time, he was told there were too many "gay" books on the market! I hope he will get it published one day, as his story reads very much like your own. Our friend also received great support, but then, he is a great guy!

    1. It is good to hear Kay that your friend's 'coming out' was accepted by those who care about him.
      So many are not so lucky, even the 'good' ones are rejected at times.

    2. Our friend wrote every openly of his struggles during his childhood and his young adult life. He was most concerned at how his family would react. Even though he was accepted, he also shared some of the stories of those who had been totally cast out from their families. I did not mean to belittle anyone in any way, especially those who might have been cast off from their closest loved ones. (So hard for me to say exactly what I want to say in a short comment, that is why my comments go on for way too long!)
      Our friend, David, is a brilliant man, and one of the best people on this planet, he can't help it, he just is!

  4. I knew I was different too as soon as I started school in Grade 1, LOL! That feeling just increased and intensified over the years but I didn't figure it out until I was in university. FINALLY, d'oh!

    1. I hear you Debra! I was in my 20's when IT hit me!! Double duh!! lol

  5. So courageous of you to write about this, and know you must have gone through alot as a boy and young man. I think that we all have things about us that we think are different than others, and often try to hide those things for fear of rejection. To me, our goal as humans, is to learn who we are, and accept that, and know that if someone rejects us, that is their problem... and just continue to accept ourselves and seek out people who appreciate us for who we are. Glad you have found happiness and acceptance.!

    1. Isn't it curious Jeanne why 'differences' create so much turmoil for some people.
      Very wise words and thank you for them.

  6. Jim- I wish I knew you better-- in person- as neighbors :)
    We should all stand strong as the person that God created us to be--- I understand that for you it was hard to do that as a young person. I'm thankful that today you can be secure and happy in the shoes that you fill. You and Ron are the greatest guys:)

    1. Wouldn't it be wonderful is we all 'stood tall' from day one, Vicki. I have been very happy in the shoes I fill after a few 'trips' along the way.

  7. I understand how hard it must have been back then. I remember a guy in high school who was subtly hinting at being gay, and how horrible the boys were to him for the rest of the time we had there (a few years!) after that. I felt so sorry for all the cruelty he had to endure. This was during the late 70s and early 80s; things were not anywhere near where they are today. I still think about him sometimes, and wonder where he is and how he is doing. I am glad that our society is progressing, and things have gotten better. We still have far to go, but we are moving forward.

    1. Oh that poor guy Martha. I have seen so many of 'those guys' when I worked in high school for years. But you are correct, times are changing in a more positive direction for all of us I feel. Amazing how seemingly the change is coming about.

  8. Thank you for putting into words what most gay people must have felt, I certainly did. As you say, things have improved. It will probably be difficult for young people to imagine what it was like to be gay in the not so distant past. We felt in high school as if we were some kind of undercover traitor who could be "outed" any time, and had to watch what we said and how we behaved.

  9. It takes a lot of courage to be completely truthful with oneself. I watched my boy struggle for many years not knowing what or why was going on with him. I think I knew in my heart what 'it' was. I only wish I could take away those years of struggle before he accepted that this was his journey for this life. I am so glad that we have come this far in our acceptance as a society but we have a long ways to go. He still brings friends over who have been kicked out of their homes and disgreagrded by their families and I just want to scream. I just want to hug them then go outside and scream. I have a lot of anger in me I think...anger over injustice will always haunt me. I'm so glad you have found peace with yourself and a wonderful soulmate to share life with.

  10. The visuals are perfect for this post Jim.
    I couldn't agree more. Things have come so far, and yet, in part of the world there is still so far to travel.
    It's wonderful that it's easier (not easy) for younger people today.
    Like you, it took me a while to accept who I was. Looking back, they seem like such wasted years. As they say, "if I knew then, what I know now"!

  11. Great comparison here of the formidable fence with the barriers you have faced in your life. I commend your honesty and courage for sharing how you have felt in the past.


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