Thursday, January 31, 2013

Coming out, young and LGBTQ

From blog:

One of the questions asked of LGBTQI people that straight people do not get asked is this: When did you know you were gay? Lesbian? Bisexual? Transgender? Questioning? Intersex?
I am fairly certain that my brother and my children never “came out,” or were asked this probing question: When did you know you were straight? When someone asks, “Are you gay?” the next question is usually, “How did you know?” Which is often followed by, “Who did you tell or ask about it first?” The assumption behind the question is always that being “gay” is different than the norm, and for the longest time, that wasn’t considered a good thing. Answering the question in the affirmative meant that I was gay, meaning that I was now cast in the place of being an outsider and a second-class citizen.
I was around 11 years old when I knew I was gay, and I was 40 years old when I finally came out of my gay closet. That’s almost thirty years. I was 11 years old in the 1960s, a time in which being gay meant that you were clinically known as a “homosexual,” which was then a part of the America Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistics Manual (DSM). In other words, to be gay meant that one had a psychiatric disorder. The Church was uniformly against homosexuals, having carefully erected a theology that announced we were simply living a sinful lifestyle. No one in my school, among my peers, offered up that they were gay or a lesbian, or had any attraction to a person of the same sex. And nothing in the world of television or movies, art or dance, showed me any healthy role model by which I could find some solace for who I was and what I was feeling at the tender age of 11 years old.

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