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I will tell you now that this is probably one of the most opinionated and controversial pages I will post. I'm not doing this to get people's blood boiling. But I do feel obligated to put my opinions out there, and this is the place to do it. Reading up formed many of my opinions on the subject, but even more of them came from personal experience. Coming to accept myself as homosexual rates as one of the hardest things I've done. It's given me insights and experiences that I feel obligated to share with others.
Coming out: The first step of a new life
Okay, I just thought that was a nifty title for this section. But coming out is the first step, and I don't mean coming out to your friends or family. You have to come out to yourself first. Denial is bliss when you aren't ready to face reality. When I was still struggling to define myself (a thing I work on every day) I kept on saying 'That is not me. Why would I want to be hated? It's my choice, isn't it?'
The truth is, it wasn't my choice. That is a fairly common question about homosexuality: 'is it a choice?'. For some people, it is. For a vast majority, it isn't and coming to understand and accept that fact is almost crushing in its weight. When I faced this struggle of definition, I turned to reading books and asking questions of K-chan. But even gathering information was difficult. The public library had precious few books, and going to the checkout counter with nearly every book in the library that mentioned homosexuality earned me more than a few looks.
Why is that? Why did people give it a second glance when I checked out all those books? Why did I feel like I had to keep the books buried under a stack of my schoolbooks while my roommate was around? 'Why the shame?' in other words. Though we are getting better, and it is discussed more openly why did I feel like a fugitive? I honestly don't have answers to these questions to share with you yet. Perhaps someday I will.
Getting back to my frustrations in finding information. I did check out the web. Most of the sites I found were more for 'activism' than explaining the feelings I was having. I did find one good page that I finally found the url for again. It's at http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/Stonewall/7998/. The best book I found for answering questions is titled Is it a Choice? by Eric Marcus. The book is in question/answer format with straight forward answers to questions asked. (I've read a couple of Marcus' books, they are pretty good ^^).
I don't think I could ever describe the feelings I had when the idea finally sunk into my thick skull. Kind of like excitement at finding answers while still being frightened of the answers I found. K-chan told me how I had inherited an entire gay heritage, and now had many brothers and sisters. The thought of that is over-whelming to me. There were (and still are) so many 'mysteries' that I just don't understand.
I never quite understood the accuracy of the term 'coming out of the closet' until I found myself in that position. Imagine this: You are standing in a small confined closet in the dark. You can hear people speaking to you through the closed door, and you can yell back at them. But that's it. That is what being in the closet is like. People often focus on the fact that 'outsiders' never truly see you while you are in the closet. The reverse is true as well. You never know your friends, your family, your co-workers until the door is no longer obscuring your views of them.
Coming out is frightening. You can test the waters, ask questions of your friends on how they feel about the issue. But you will never know how warm the water is until you take the plunge. That plunge is terrifying because it may be from a high board (so to say).The first person I told was my brother, and I was scared, nervous, butterflies in the stomach, the whole nine yards. I'd taken him out to dinner at a restaurant that we'd gone to since we were little. (Being in a familiar and comfortable place helped). We were discussing a recent trip he'd made to visit me at college when he asked how one of my female classmates was doing. I answered, and then said, "I like her". He nodded and kept eating. So I said it again, "I like her". He looked up at me and said, "I know you do, that's why I asked". The idea that my brother already knew, had already guessed flabbergasted me. When I dropped him off at my parent's home, he pulled me into a warm hug and said, "Sometimes, you just have to say, 'Screw the World!' and do what will make you happy'. That was probably the sweetest thing he has ever said to me.
As I've grown more comfortable with myself, I've been able to tell more people, and been able to ask more questions without feeling the guilt or shame I did at first. One area that I find totally lacking except in the most perverse of forms is that of sex. I mean, I certainly went through sex ed. like every other public high school student has to, but this education totally missed my needs for information. In my case, I asked my doctor about having safe sex. Again I hit a wall because he just didn't have any information to give me. (Not that he didn't try..) Finding another lesbian who didn't mind discussing the subject with me was my best source of information.
Information won't be as hard to find as trends continue as they are, IMO. When I hear about what a following Xena has from the lesbian community, I can only chuckle. Think of it this way: You like to play basketball, it is your dream to play in the NBA. Who are your heroes? Michael Jordan? Larry Bird? Same thing. People tend to gravitate towards people and things that are 'familiar' to them. This is part of my reason for liking Haruka.
Homosexuality and religion
Before I dive too deeply into this topic, I should tell you where I'm coming from. I am a non-denomination Christian (i.e.: I believe there is a God. He sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins and that He will be coming again). I view the Bible as more than just a book of guidelines for living or a book of laws. I also see the Bible as something to offer us encouragement, to spur on our spirit when we hit rough times. (I guess that it's no coincidence that my favorite books are Psalms and Proverbs). I also believe that any relationship you have with God needs to be on a personal level. It is something that you need to feel within yourself and not as an obligation to the community or family.
When I began to accept the possibility of my homosexuality, I felt like a traitor to my faith. 'How could I be one of them; one of those sinners who lives a life of perverse sexual acts?' I denied it, telling myself that I was going insane. I wasn't one of them. I was like everyone else...
I read up on this topic, because I wanted to see what others had to say. What I read broke my heart. Page after page was filled with stories of people who had turned their backs on God because they were told that He didn't love them. One story I read was of a family who prayed for a gay son, wanting a cure. The son didn't want to be gay either. He eventually committed suicide because he couldn't live with the shame. My despair.. my fear.. of the Lord I loved hating me only deepened.
Then I read another story of a young man who had been praying on the issue, hoping to find some comfort for his troubled spirit. He had gone out into a field and yelled at God to give him an answer, to give him peace, and you know what? God gave him just that. In that field, he found his peace because he developed a one-on-one relationship with God; independent of what the community, church, and family told him it should be. That is what I needed in my life.
When my spirit was most troubled, I prayed to God to calm me, to give me peace. I couldn't live with hating myself. I couldn't live with the thought of Him hating me. It was about 2am when I was praying and I had an urge to go to my keyboard and type. With eyes so bleary that I couldn't read the monitor. I typed what my heart felt, then went back to bed with a feeling of peace encompassing me. It wasn't until a few days later that I went back to see what I'd written. It only confirmed in my mind what a loving and caring God there is. Let me share it with you:
Of all the words I have ever written, these are the ones I most treasure, the ones that most accurately and honestly tell of the turmoil that my soul had felt.. and the comfort given to it. I can honestly say that my faith has grown stronger since my 'talk' with God.
It is also why I wonder at religions that aren't embracing the homosexual community. I know how lost I felt during my time of accepting myself. It was (and still is) a time when I could have used guidance, a time when knowing that I was loved would have been a great comfort. Is it not pointed out how God is like a rock to take shelter behind during a storm? During the storm of the soul, God is there. We should not discourage this from happening. I read of homosexual couples who would insist their children attend to church while they keep away. Why is this? Why can they no longer find shelter from the storm?
For those who are fond of referring to the Bible in times like this, let me. Leviticus 20:13 says "'And when a man lies down with a male the same as one lies down with a woman, both of them have done a detestable thing. They should be put to death without fail. Their own blood is upon them.'" I have a few responses to this verse. The first being that currently in the US, there is no death penalty for being homosexual ^^; I would also like to point out that this is from the Old Testiment amongst the old laws which were replced (from how I understand it) when Jesus established the new laws in the New Testament. Also keep in mind that in the same passages are restrictions on not wearing clothing of mixed fabrics and not eating pork. It's hypocritical to only enforce some of the laws.
So, what does the New Testament have to say on the issue? I'd like to note that Jesus says NOTHING about it one way or the other. Not one word, one verse, anything. One thing that I found interesting is when the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is brought up. It is pointed out that the reason that they were destroyed was not because of sexual perversion, but because of their mistreatment of a traveler.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says "What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God's kingdom? Do you be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, will inherit God's kingdom." Let me put this into perspective for you. Adulators are those who sleep with another person's mate. So, if a woman gets a divorce and then remarried, she is an adulteress (strictly speaking). Homosexuals are in there, and so are thieves. If you stole a pack of gum when you were a child, you're not inheriting the kingdom. And if you ever kept a ball or something like that from a lil kid until they did something (extorting them), yep, you're on the list too.
This is why I believe that the Lord is a God of mercy and love. Strictly speaking, no one is going to inherit His kingdom. But He loves us. I do not believe that God would create someone with malicious intentions. He does not want people to torture. He wants children to love. In my heart and soul, I know that I love God and that He loves me in return. If that is not reason enough for there to be no conflict between religion and homosexuality, I don't know what is.
My views on family
The age of the 'nuclear family' is nearly at an end. Those who are pressing to maintain 'family values' argue that children aren't learning what they need to know to be contributing members of today's society. Somehow, being shoved into a mold of 'father, mother, two children, and a dog' is the only way to produce good people. This very idea is something that has been scoffed at and merrily tossed out the window in light of reality. A reality that says there are single parents, a reality that gives way to the idea of two same-sexed parents raising a healthy and well adjusted child.
What does a child need to be raised 'well'? Food, shelter, but most importantly, love. I know single parents who have done better by their children than their 'mold' counterparts. The recent song 'Just the two of us' by Will Smith hits upon this theme well. Giving a child what they need, both physically and emotionally, is what matters most.
When discussing this idea with one of my friends, he expressed his concern over the child picking up the 'tendencies' of their same-sexed parents. I nearly feel out of my chair laughing. Leave a child in an orphanage or to the 'risk' (as non-existent as it is) that they may become homosexual themselves because of those who raised them. In my mind, the choice is clear. Having a loving family is the preferable option.
As I said before, some people do chose homosexuality, but a vast majority had no choice. It is who they are and upbringing had nothing to do with it. There is a rumor running about that says homosexuality is caused by a dominant mother and/or a submissive father. This I disregard because it certainly wasn't true for my upbringing. So I already have an exception to the 'rule' with my doubting that I'm the only one.
This is also part of the reason I like writing stories about the Outer Senshi. Their definition of family is hardly 'nuclear', but it is something that works. Even from the bit of 'family life' we see in tanbukon 14, it's clear that this is a 'good' family life.
This is the beef of the topic, isn't it? I can tell you finding that special someone is much the same what a heterosexual person would face with one exception: confirming that the person who has caught your eye homosexual too. K-chan says that homosexuals have something she refers to as a 'gaydar': being able to look at someone and know, a twinkle in the eye, or small nod to the silent question. However it happens, it does.
Finding someone can be a pain. I've heard about gay bars but have never been to one. K-chan has also told me about 'rainbow stores', which I also have no knowledge of. I did look in the phone book once to see if I could find anything. I found 1 gay and lesbian association listed. Not even PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) was listed. Though the national listing on their website says there is a chapter in my area. In short, it's like some sort of goose chase to find others. (At least what I've seen of it).
Once (if?) you've managed to find someone who's caught your eye, you then have to go about trying to confirm if they are like you. (This step is skipped if they are openly homosexual). Then you do the usual mushy things like give them flowers and talk to them, etc. I did read one sweet story about 2 men on their anniversary. One partner had bought a dozen roses to bring home to his mate, while the other partner had strewn rose pedals along the floor leading to the bedroom. It was a mushy love story ^^;
One thing that I was curious about (and I'm guessing you might be as well) is 'Who is 'dominant' and who gets what chores?' Well, as I see it, things are best divided up by what each partner likes to do or totally hates ^^; For me, I would need a partner who likes to cook since my idea of a 'good meal' is macaroni and cheese with hot dogs cut up in it. But I have nothing against doing dishes, taking out the trash, scrubbing toilets, performing minor repairs to my car, etc. The steadfast rules of whom do what are blurred with a new, and in some ways, better partnership being formed. Their aren't the social expectations to live up to. It's just a matter of getting things done.
Answering some questions
Mostly, these are questions that I'd had and I figure people may be too embarrassed to ask. Or just things that I found interesting.
The rainbow flag (like on the main page) is an often seen symbol of diversity. Another one you may see is an inverted pink triangle. In Nazi Germany, they labeled homosexuals with the inverted pink triangle like they had put a Star of David on Jews. Homosexuals have adopted this symbol.
How do lesbians have sex? Well, to quote one page I found (it actually said this, I'm not making it up) "You can use your fingers, a dildo, or your imagination!!" It was another occurrence of me almost falling out of my chair.
Are their any old homosexuals? Hell yeah, but you've got to understand their position. But, as K-chan so elegantly put it, "...it wasn't a topic of discussion at dinner in the ways it is now." For them, it wasn't an out/pride sort of thing.
It's also interesting to note that most people say that their grandparents were more accepting of their homosexuality than they had thought. Just because we're younger and like to think we know everything doesn't make it true ;)
These are just some things I wanted to throw out here for you to think about:
I've written some more on homosexual topics. Here is the current list of thoughts:
Asynca is also building a page related to homosexual topics, including a FAQ where she answers questions email to her. I'd recommend visiting it at http://www.users.bigpond.net.au/asynca/.
Wanna email me? The addy is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind that I'm usually fighting off a backlog of email and that any flames will be reported.