Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Being, Doing

As it has been said by others (and I can't remember whom): What it means to be gay has been largely defined by the straight world against which we see ourselves. THE defining attribute is sex: what we do with our genitals. I know it is more than that, but that is one big, hairy, defining thing (at least I am LOL).

It is more than just "same sex attraction", but we know that seems to be the big presenting issue, the symptom (if you will) of being gay. If we cannot precisely define it, how might we describe it?

I will be coming out to my teenage children. Without giving too much information about sex (they may have way too much as it is), how do I define, describe, delineate, talk about, help-them-understand what it means to be gay.

We know how to do gay, how do we be it? And what do we say about it?

Your thoughts, ideas, comments, resources are invited. Please.


Hirsute polyamorous bear said...

I have said to friends that my heart opens up to men (beefy and hairy, ever since I was about five; um, but you don't have to tell them that!) in a way that it doesn't to women. I love women and have many close women friends I dearly, deeply love. But there's no visceral tug there. It's just where my compass needle points; male is my North, I guess.

Brent said...

Although I told my kids (younger than yours) early on in the process, we've not mentioned it since. I don't look forward to having to discuss this with them. But when it comes down to it, I'm the same person I always was, good and bad, and I will love them forever no matter what.

Anonymous said...

Some of these questions I believe cannot be answered. Look at this from the reverse: How do heterosexuals be heterosexual? I think that is just as hard to answer. The important thing is not to associate the act of sex with who you are. Being a homosexual does not mean you're a sexual fiend going after children. There are plenty of heterosexuals who are sexual fiends.

We do not "be homosexual;" or heterosexual for that matter. We are humans where many of our likes, dislikes, tastes, honesty, faithfulness can be the same with heterosexuals and homosexuals. As HPB says above, our hearts open to other men.

What you can say is Papa "Joe" isn't the only one that God CREATED like you and that there are many others out there just like you.

I just remembered that these are teenagers that you are coming out to. They may know a lot more about homosexuality than you realize. I would perhaps concentrate on how this revelation will affect them personally. Reassure them that you will still be a part of their lives. Reassure them that this revelation does not mean they will be separated from Papa "Joe." Reassure them that you will be there for support.

Jeremiah Andrews said...

In order to BE you must DO
In order to DO you must BE

What you are is secondary to WHO you are. You are a great man, a great father and a human being and a child of God. With a resume like that what else do you need?

First, Pray, Second engage brain, Thirdly open mouth and speak your truth before man and God and be grateful for the air in your lungs. Because everything after that is moot.

The Preacher Jeremiah

Brian said...

It was summed up for me kind of like this:

"To live with integrity is to live the Truth. And, the Truth is the only thing that sets us Free. Slowly but surely, one step at a time, I'm coming out to the world It's the journey, not the destination. So, let's enjoy the walk."

A Troll At Sea said...


eight years ago, I wrote this to one of the few friends I had come out to, thanking him for the loan of his ear;

The slave of duty sits at home, receiving;
His friends are few, but drift in one by one
And share their lives of witness and believing:
No simple task, no easy race to run.
Know what you are, but never stop at knowing
Your kind, for you are more than what you=ve been;
Our kind is what we=re called to leave, and going
Up toward the light makes clear what we have seen.
The difficult, the all-important issue
Has more to do with WHO we=re called to be,
Or rather: what, of all this wind and tissue,
May promise to bear fruit for all to see.
A chance to meet and speak may mean confessing;
Some risk, it=s true, but what abundant blessing!

I spent half a lifetime with love and desire at odds, and am kind of overwhelmed by their convergence this late in the game.

But it is not so simple as folks on either side of the street would have it, and, for what it's worth, there is as much oppression in "gay" definitions of "gay" and "straight" as there is in the mainstream.

Start with yourself as an individual. Yes, you have to find out for yourself how, and if, you fit into the larger "gay world." But for your kids, keep it less about "gay" and more about yourself.

Perhaps you have a similar acquired fault line at the intersection of love and desire. Perhaps you have just come to teh end of your rope in maintaining silence or pretense.

Whatever it is, for THEM, let it all be about you.


Maddog said...

I've always had trouble with the answers to your questions. My life is not defined by sex, at least not all the time. And my sex life is not what makes me gay. I'm attracted to men that's true, but being gay is so much more. How to put that into words, I don't know. I trust though that the words will come to you as you start speaking.

sattvicwarrior said...

its difficult to define for no other reason than we have to REINVENT our own heros as they are destroyed constantly by those who breed from one generation to the next.
OUR role models for the most part are few and far between.

Ur-spo said...

i see it as rather simple
it is attraction to the same sex, and if you could/wanted/chose you would have intimacy with the same sex.

on the personal side, if it doesn't include sex it doesn't sound worth it. although some of the music is fantastic.

Anonymous said...

It would seem to me that it is quite likely that your children already know quite a bit about it. That doesn't diminish the magnitude of the conversation you are contemplating, but if my guesswork is correct it does change the nature of the communication. You will be making tangible what is intangible and incomprehensible to those who haven't experienced what it's like to be gay. Not an easy task. I don't envy you having to have this talk. Best wishes.


Paul said...

Joe - I've known that you were gay for a long time (at least a couple of years, it seems). I'm assuming that your kids do, too.

I can only assume that they will love you more for talking with them about it.

They probably don't like having to keep secrets any more than you do. There must be no shame here.

You've said that you were going to have this conversation in early June. Has it happened yet?