It's not only okay to be gay... It can be great to be gay!
No matter where on earth you live, no matter your race, your religion, your gender, your age, it is always okay to be gay. In fact it is much more than okay to be gay, it's often great to be gay.
This web site is my gift to everyone on the planet. It was created on the 10th anniversary of my own coming out, and at the dawn of this new Millennium.
My goal is to share with gay and straight people everywhere that it is always always, always okay to be gay. "The Truth About Gay People" is a book in progress. Every now and then I'll post another chapter. The goal is to help move the world from false and harmful beliefs to the liberating freedom of truth.
Here's the book's introduction - enjoy!
The day I heard one of the most powerful politicians in the country equate Gay and Lesbian Americans, to kleptomaniacs and alcoholics, I knew it was time for a book like this. I asked myself how someone who is well educated, aware of current events and who makes decisions that effects the lives of millions of people could be so ignorant about gay people. Then I realized that he was not alone. That there are thousands if not millions of people in this world who carry around a set of out dated ill formed beliefs and who if given the chance could come to see the truth.
There is a yearning for the truth. I have found my straight friends and coworkers fascinated and hanging on my every word when I dare to share my truth about being gay. They ask questions out of ignorance that to many a gay person seem silly. But they are the questions so many Americans are afraid to ask.
This book answers all the questions, the silly and the serious. If you are trying to understand someone who is gay this book will help. If you just want to know the truth about gay people here it is. If you fear you are gay, odds are you are gay and there's plenty in this book to help you come to terms with who you've always been. If your son or daughter told you they were gay then handed you this book, welcome to the club. Know that you are not alone. No one book can change the course of history or make the world a perfect place, but the truth is a powerful thing. When we start speaking the truth about gay people magical things can happen and the history of hate and shame can begin to change.
Before you read any further give yourself a pat on the back for having read this far and for being willing to hear the truth. Thank you for opening your mind as you open this book.- Rick Reynolds, CCHT
Thursday, January 11, 2007
It is not just straight people who believe this myth about femininity and male homosexuality. Many gay men have bought into it too. They grow up thinking that if they can act more masculine, no one will ever suspect they are gay. For some men this may work, but it comes at a price.
If you believe that feminine qualities are bad you can easily start hating yourself. All people have male and female qualities and attempting to silence one over the other, creates a destructive pattern of self hatred. Many gay men can describe a painful process of altering their natural behaviors to appear more masculine. If asked some can share a history of being attacked for showing any feminine qualities. As kids we were picked on until we learned to hide any trace of femininity in our every movement. We sometimes hated our own voices and mannerisms, we changed the way we talked, the way we walked. We silenced our true natural selves. And sometimes we turned our own self-loathing outward on those who reflected back what we could not stand in ourselves. A gay man in the grips of his own fear over his femininity will cringe at the sight of a drag queen, avoid friendships with effeminate men, and may even attack an effeminate man to prove his own masculinity or better conceal his gay identity.
To be human is to be feminine and masculine. We all start life as female. We share our mother's bodies at our first stages of life. There is nothing wrong with being feminine.
Perhaps the only thing that stops both gay and straight men from exploring their own feminine nature is their fear of being presumed gay, and the faulty belief that it is not okay to be gay.
Rather than believing the stereotype about the effeminate gay man, you may find more comfort with your own masculine and feminine nature if you adopt this simple belief:
All people are masculine and feminine.
"Did you here the one about the two dykes and their faggot friend? You're gay you'll love this one." NOT! Gay people like jokes. Gay people can laugh at themselves and can tell the funniest gay jokes in the world. But many gay people have grown up the brunt of jokes and harassment. For many each joke can feel more like a knife in the back than a feather on the stomach. In a friendly crowd the gay person might let out an uncomfortable laugh and quietly cry inside.
If a black person tells a joke about black people they're funny. When a white person tells the same joke they're a racist. This same unwritten rule is true of gay people and gay jokes. For far too long jokes have been used as a weapon: A way of intimidating gay and lesbian people, a way of letting any closeted gay person know that it's not safe to venture out of the closet. The jokes have for too long meant that gay people are unwelcome. Most jokes carry with them a huge dose of the lies our culture has come to believe about gay people.
Most gay jokes are told to closeted gay people. Straight people often have this habit of just assuming everyone is straight, and will say the most inappropriate jokes right to the face of a gay or lesbian person. Many gay jokes are told by closeted gay people. Saying something bad about gay people can be one way to look very straight. Often times it's the closeted gay person who is most apt to say the meanest and nastiest things about people who are gay. If you know someone who really over reacts to the very presence of gay people odds are they may be uncomfortable with their own sexual orientation and either fear they're gay or fear you'll find out.
There's nothing more healing than being able to laugh at the same jokes that once hurt you. But for too many gay people the wounds are too deep to laugh, especially when the jokes come from someone who claims not to be gay.
The true belief should you choose to accept it can be:
"How can gay people respect family values, they don't have families?" If gay people don't have families then how did they come to exist? Are all gay people orphans? Most gay people come from traditional straight families.
Some traditional straight families abandon their gay children when the gay child comes out. Some gay people abandon their families when they come out. All this abandonment is born out of fear. The straight parents who can't come to terms with their child's homosexuality fears what they can't understand. The gay child who never comes out to his or her family fears how their parents might react and would rather abandon their parents then risk being abandoned.
But the truth is gay people don't change when you find out they are gay. Your gay son or daughter is the same person they have always been; you now just know for sure what you've probably always suspected. Many parents have been able to get over their own feelings of guilt, shame and homophobia to accept and even celebrate their gay children. Many gay and lesbian people have loving and supportive families. They are active members of the extended family helping raise children, support aging parents, and brighten every ones lives with their courage to be honest about who they really are.
Gay people also make families of their own. Many lesbians and gay men discover their sexual orientation after first attempting straight relationships that bring children into their lives. Many gay couples choose to have children, or adopt them. Some gay male couples pair up with lesbian couples to parent children and form families. The concept of family is as dear and special to gay people as it is to straight people. Gay families may look different but they can have all the love, and mutual support found in any straight family. They are also capable of all the same dysfunction found in any heterosexual family.
Gay people sometimes create families with people who are not blood relations. Gay couples sometimes choose to play parental roles in the lives of younger gay people. Lesbians and gay men are capable of friendships that are closer than many siblings are. Gay people, some of them rejected by their family of origin are capable of making their own extended family of friends who are friends for life.
Gay families don't always look like straight families but they exist. The new belief should you choose to accept it is:
"I know gay people exist but there sure aren't any around here." As more and more gay people have the courage to share the truth about themselves with their families, friends and co-workers the number of people who believe that they don't know any gay people is diminishing. But there are many places in America where people will tell you they've never met any of those homosexuals before.
Gay people want special rights. Yes they do. They want the right to love whoever they choose. They want the right to live wherever they can afford. They want the right to keep their jobs. They want the right to visit their dying spouse in the hospital. They want the right to inherit their spouse's belongings. They want the right to add their family to their health insurance coverage. The want the right to go to a school and not be verbally or physically assaulted. They want the right to deter people from hurting them by prosecuting attacks against them as hate crimes.
How is it that these basic human rights can be considered special rights? What's so special about wanting the rights every straight person takes for granted. You can't fire a straight person for being straight. You can't refuse to rent a house to someone just because they are attracted to the opposite sex? When a straight spouse is sick no one stops the other spouse from visiting. When a straight spouse dies the other spouse inherits everything. When a gay spouse dies a parent can step in and lay claim to whatever belongings they want.
The truth is, no one wants any group of people to have special rights, and there is nothing special about gay rights. There are some people who value the right to discriminate against gay people. In order to protect this right, they've started calling gay rights "special rights". Under the banner of stopping special rights they've gained popular support for keeping laws that discriminate against gay people and reversing laws that protected gays and lesbians from discrimination.
The reality is that most Americans assume that gay people already share the same rights as everyone else. And since they think that all gay people already have equal rights then if gay people want anything more it must be special rights.
Gay sex is still against the law in many states. It is legal to fire someone just for being gay in many states. In many parts of the county you have the right not to rent a house or an apartment to a gay couple. It is not legal to marry someone of the same sex. In some states gay parents can loose custody of their kids just because they are gay, and in many states gay couples are not allowed to adopt children. In no state in this country do same sex couples have the same rights as married straight couples.
If you choose to believe it, your new belief can be:
"So, which one of you is the man?" Did she really just ask us this? If she didn't just ask she may well be thinking it and just too embarrassed to ask. Many straight people just assume that in any sexual relationship one person must play the female role, and the other the male role. The truth is this is their reality. In many straight relationships this is exactly what happens. One partner plays the man the other plays the woman and most of the time the role matches the their gender.
But many gay people have to resist bursting out in laughter when the question is asked. There may be some gay relationship somewhere where one partner plays the man and the other plays the woman, but in general most gay people just play themselves.
Gay people are sexually attracted to the same gender. Since we know this to be true, how can we believe that one partner would want the other partner to play the role of a gender that he or she is not attracted to? Gay men find men attractive. Why would they want their partner to be "the woman"? Lesbians are attracted to women. Why would they want their partner to be "the man"?
All human beings are a combination of male and female qualities. Our gender is one expression of those qualities. There are relationships in which one partner expresses more masculine qualities and the other more feminine qualities, but there are just as many where both partners have the same balance of qualities.
One of the joys of being in a gay relationship is the freedom from traditional gender roles. One partner can love to cook and the other partner can love to work on the car and both partners can still be "the woman" in the relationship. No set of behaviors are expected just because of your gender. In gay relationships no one makes assumptions of ones desires, likes, dislikes or abilities based just on gender.
Your new belief, should you choose to accept it is:
"Those poor gay people, it must be so sad and so lonely to be gay." If all you know about gay people is what you've seen on television or in a movie or read in a book, you're right! Most gay characters in our traditional pop culture have lived lonely pathetic lives. With homophobia raging across our country gay people have plenty of excuses for being very depressed. Many have families who have disowned them, have lost friends, jobs, and a place to live after coming out or being outed. But the truth is many gay people rise above all of that and end up living happy fulfilling and meaningful lives.
To be gay in our society is to know what it feels like to be different, and to be rejected because of who you are. Many gay people who go through this trauma come out the other side very sensitive to others people pain and very willing to help out. In the gay community you will find amazing stories of compassion and caring. Stories about people who reach out to strangers and take them in, making them apart of their family. Friendships can be life long and provide more warmth and comfort than many families could ever hope to give.
Gay people are like holocaust survivors, they share a horror and a pain that can make them very close. When two gay strangers meet for the first time they can share their stories and develop an instant connection. Gay men and lesbians can sit down together and share common feeling about growing up gay and struggling to find their true selves.
Many gay and lesbian people are able to come out to their families, and build a wonderful relationship based on honesty and respect. They can develop closeness with their parents that many straight people never experience.
To come out as gay in America, is too instantly belong to a community of people who in theory will accept you for who you are and who may not judge you harshly for being gay. In a few major cities in this country there are small gay sanctuaries, where gay people are free to hold hands in the street, and live a portion of their lives free from harassment or discrimination.
Some gay people do live lonely and pathetic lives, and so do some straight people. There is nothing about being gay that automatically means a gay person must choose a sad existence. There are many examples of incredibly happy gay people out there… it's another of the reasons they call themselves gay.
The new belief should you choose to accept it is:
Both views are equally absurd, yet completely understandable. As human beings, we are most comfortable with people who are most like us. Our definition of normal is based on what feels normal in each of our lives. Foreign cultures, different languages, different races, bring up the same uneasiness that a different sexual orientation can bring up.
Many straight Americans react to the site of two women or two men kissing in much the same way a group of children react to watching Eskimos eat the eyes out of a fish. If they've never seen it before, or considered it to be anything other than abnormal, their reaction is natural. But as we grow up we learn to respect other cultures. We learn that in order to understand another culture or another person, you have to get beyond your rash first judgments. What is unnatural for the American may well be perfectly normal for the average Eskimo. And what is unnatural for the straight person may be perfectly normal for the gay person.
Since the most disturbing images of homosexuality involve the sex act, the repulsed and over reacting straight person ads the term perverted to the entire scenario. The reality is for a straight person participating in something that is so totally foreign, like gay sex, may well be a perversion of the sexual being they really are. But for the gay person, gay sex is the natural expression of their passion and attraction for the same gender.
So, if you're ready to grow up now and believe it:
To be human is to be interested in sex. If we were not interested in sex we could not procreate and our species would end with this generation. You are a sexual being, if you are a man or a woman you have a natural curiosity and interest in sex. If you are straight you will have a natural curiosity and interest in the opposite sex and expressions of straight sexuality. If you are gay you will have a natural curiosity and interest in the same gender and in gay sex.
The teenage boy who is obsessed with women's bodies and his own blossoming sexuality is not only a healthy normal part of our society but a popular icon in our culture. There are all sorts of popular movies and books and television shows that condone even the most outrageous sexual exploits of young straight men. As a society for better and worse we tend to say, "boys will be boys."
But "gay boys will also be gay boys". The hormone raging teenage gay boy is just as interested in men's bodies as his straight counterpart is in women's. Just as the young straight man can be outrageous and inappropriate with his new found sexuality, so can young gay men. The difference is in how society reacts. The straight boy is welcomed to the world of men. The gay boy is shamed, told he's perverted and if not careful will find himself the victim of a hate crime, arrested for lewd conduct or exploited by a pedophile.
When it comes to female sexuality, our culture ignores its very existence. If a woman is naked in a movie it is rated R. If you see a naked and aroused man in a movie it's rated X. A straight women who dares to be openly sexual will often find herself treated no better than a gay men. The only way in which gay women are accepted by some straight men is as erotic fantasies put on for the straight man's sexual pleasure.
For the most part gay women could care less about arousing men. When they define themselves as Lesbian they are saying, "I'm interested in sex and interested in sex with women." In our straight male dominated society that can be two strikes against them. In our society the only ones allowed to be openly sexual and whose sexuality we celebrate are straight men. Everyone else, who is interested in sex, is labeled obsessed with sex.
There is more to life than sex. If sex dominates your life, you may be obsessed with it. But if you are curious, interested and sexually relaxed you are normal.
The new belief should you choose to accept it is:
"Gay men hate women and those lesbians hate all men." Just as straight people are sometimes baffled by who gay people love, they sometimes have some odd views about who gay people hate, and why.
Not only do gay men not hate women. Many are very fond of women. Gay men and women often have wonderful friendships. Gay men and straight women have many things in common. They both share an attraction and love for men. They both share a frustration with a male dominated culture. They both share the joys and frustrations of trying to attract men.
Gay men are able to see women as whole beings. They are not blinded by sexual attraction the way their straight counterparts often are. A straight man may not be able to look past a woman's large breasts while a gay man may not even notice. Without sexual distraction gay men and women are able to share with ease an understanding of the opposite sex that their straight counterparts can spend a lifetime struggling to understand. Likewise, lesbians and straight men can be great friends. They too share much in common. They both love women, they both are free from the desire to please or cater to a man. Many gay women grew up surrounded with male friends and feeling like just one of the guys. They've had sibling like relationships with men free from sexual attraction and capable of a unique understanding of men.
If you choose to you can give up the notion that a lack of sexual attraction equals hate, and adopt this belief:
"Why do all lesbians look like boys?" The same person that asks this question thinks all gay men act like girls. It's part of the great gay myth, that to be gay is to appear and act like the opposite gender. It's all a myth. There are gay and straight women who look like men and act like men, and there are straight and gay women who look like women and act like women. You can't tell if someone is gay, by the way they walk, talk or wear their hair. Believing that a masculine woman is gay or that a feminine woman is straight is buying into a stereotype.
All people are a combination of male and female. Some lesbians feel more comfortable and more like their true selves expressing their masculinity. Some straight women may also find the same comfort in expressing their masculinity. Your sex organs determine your gender. How you express your femaleness or maleness does not make you more of a woman or less of a man.
When a woman gives up the belief that she exists as a sex object for a man, she is free to determine her own rules about what is attractive and what form her femininity or masculinity will take. Gay women because they don't have a desire to attract straight men can choose if they want to abandon the cultural dictates about feminine appearance. They don't have to buy into the male dominated Madison Avenue dictates that have many women loathing their natural rounded and full feminine bodies fearing they are over weight. These are the same dictates that force many women into high heals, padded bras, tight revealing clothes and a thick layer of make up to conceal their natural imperfections.
Lesbians are free to be their natural selves and express their inner beauty however they see fit. There are as many different ways of balancing the male and female in gay women, as there are gay women.
If you choose you can now give up the notion that all gay women are masculine and choose instead to believe this truth:
"You know gay people, they're obsessed with sex, they can't stay in lasting relationships, and their whole lives revolve around one night stands and meaningless sexual encounters." There are more than a few straight and gay people who believe this to be the truth. And for some gay people this is true. It is also true for many straight people.
What is even more true of this belief is what it says about the people who believe it. It's important to remember other people's judgments always say more about them then they do about the people they are judging. What this belief says about those who believe it is that if they were gay, they would be sexually promiscuous.
It is this warped belief in gay promiscuity that leads some straight people to fear that no matter what they look like a gay person would find them attractive and want to engage in sex. This fear has forced openly gay people out of the armed forces, and inspired more than a few irrational hate crimes.
This same belief allows straight people to be amazingly disrespectful of long lasting gay relationships. It keeps gay and lesbian people from enjoying the right to marry, and from having complete legal recognition of their relationships.
The reality is and always has been that gay people find themselves free to live outside the traditional concepts of sex and relationship. For some that means promiscuity, sexual obsession even sexual addiction.
But for the majority this But relationships for gay people like for many straight people are about much more than sex. They are about love.
A gay relationship is much more than a homosexual relationship. Gay people are gay because they fall in love with the same gender. If they were just sexually attracted to the same gender they might gladly call themselves homosexuals. But there's more to being gay then sex. Many gay people find or wish they could find a rich and fulfilling partnership that resembles a straight marriage.
Before we go any further, a confession. Each of these chapter titles is a false belief
There are choices we make as human beings everyday, but there are also certain things that we don't sit down and choose. Scientists and psychologists are spending huge sums of money and time looking for the cause of homosexuality. Trying to figure out why some people are gay. But all you need to do to figure it out is to talk to gay people. There may in this world be a handful of straight people who make a choice to live a gay lifestyle, but the majority of gay people would tell you if asked that they did not choose to be gay. They would not say that they woke up one day and decided that they were attracted to the same gender. In fact most gay people find the whole notion of choosing your sexual orientation kind of crazy.
Think about it. When did you choose your sexual orientation? At what point did you decide which sex you would be attracted to? If you ever thought you were attracted to the same sex, but then chose to be attracted just to the opposite sex, I would dare guess that you my friend are likely gay.
Being gay in many ways is like being left-handed. For the left handed person, there are movements and ways of doing things that come naturally, but if forced to, a left handed person can learn to act right handed. And once they've mastered the art of acting right handed, using their left hand becomes a matter of choice. But that doesn't mean that they are right handed.
There was a time in our society when it was not okay to be left-handed. There were many left handed people who were forced to use their right hand and made to feel shameful about being left-handed. There were even those who called left handedness a sin. Today there are studies that show that left handed people who suppress their left handedness suffer psychologically, are more apt to commit suicide, and have a harder time learning. Luckily today, we know the truth about being left handed and don't force our young lefties to use their right hands.
But today in America there are a great number of people convinced that being gay is a choice. This faulty belief comes at a great cost. There are thousands if not millions of gay people trying to be straight. Gay people who marry, have children and find themselves trapped in a life of lies. Gay teenagers who try yet fail to be straight and end up killing themselves.
As human beings we all have free will. When it comes to being gay there are choices that gay people make. A gay person can choose to be honest and express their same sex attraction or to be dishonest and live a lie. They can choose to keep their sexual orientation a secret or they can choose to be both open and honest.
The truth and new belief you may choose to now accept is: