Was I born this way? Maybe. Did I make a conscious decision to be attracted to men? Hell No. Did I experience some things that well-meaning-but-oh-so-presumptuous mental health professionals might point a finger at? Yes.
I did some pretty "gay" extra-curricular activities growing up (not always of my own choosing), so that's probably why I am gay, right? :)
- I was in a singing group called Kids Konnection, or something like that, at a young age. The girls wore pink and the boys wore purple tie-died shirts with sparkly letters and I think there was a show choir aspect to it. If that's not enough to make someone gay I don't know what is! I sang a lot growing up and still love to sing to the radio.
- I was fascinated by the piano, ended up taking lessons, really hated my first teacher (who made me cry on multiple occasions), eventually got a new teacher, did not practice very much, but continued to take lessons for years, and would love to compose my own music some day.
- I played the gayest "real sport" that you can play in America: soccer. I started at a pretty young age and my mom did not want me playing other sports.
I was involved in some early male-male sexualization. I was 6 or 7 at the time when a neighbor boy (probably only a year or two older than me) introduced me to my genitals in new ways:
- He taught me and a couple other boys how to stimulate ourselves and measure our erections. He created a sort of competition: You guessed it - who has the longest penis?
- He later taught us to put our dangling participles in each others mouths as a way to derive pleasure. We were not sexually mature but I remember the practice creating an urgency to urinate.
- This all happened in our backyard, behind an old wooden gate that had been leaned against the block fence that surrounded our yard. I know that at least two of the other boys involved have since had some uncommon sexual manifestations: one seeking early heterosexual encounters and one with homosexual orientation.
I reached puberty pretty early, and was fascinated by the male body from then on.
- There was a guy in 6th grade that I really wanted to be close to. We talked and were friendly and joked together from time to time. But there was something different about him, something I wanted to have or to be. He was athletic, handsome, and funny.
- I am not sure how old I was when it started, but I remember keeping the cardboard inserts of the boy models from the new packages of underwear I got periodically. I must have had some sense that this was not normal because I would hide them at the bottom of my drawer. I really liked those perfect bodies - I wanted mine to look like that and I wanted to be close to boys like that.
- In junior high school there was a guy in my gym class who had the most chiseled body I had ever seen. Our lockers were at opposite corners of the aisle that was assigned to our class, but at least once per class I would try to catch a glimpse of his perfect body. I envied it, wanted to touch it, I wished it was closer so I could get a better look.
- My parents had a very rudimentary home medical book. It had the most simplistic outline sketch of a male body that was so scandalously interesting to me that I would often take a peak telling myself that I was researching some symptoms that I had.
My family relations were not ideal. Don't get me wrong. I definitely had the things that I needed and for the most part we seemed like a functional family, but we were all affected in ways that have only become recognizable in recent years.
- I had an overbearing mother (she definitely wore the pants in the family). I am torn, looking back, as to whether I was emotionally close to her or not. She had a temper. She only seemed to point out the things we did wrong. She also did a lot for me and cared for me and my siblings, but we all grew up in an atmosphere of guilt. It seemed there was nothing I could do right and having fun was a necessary evil. Somehow every day was cleaning day, yet the house was never clean and we were consequently rarely allowed to play. When we did go on vacation or enjoy other types of entertainment we were constantly reminded about how expensive everything was, how late we were to the planned event, how we should be home saving our money, etc, etc, etc. I love her, but she is a very difficult woman. She definitely got her worst traits from her mother and is almost completely blind to how these traits affect others.
- My dad was/is not a weak man, but I gather that he just kind of gave up after a few years of marriage. My mom is great at manipulating everything in to be his fault. He has told me in recent years that he regrets not standing up for us when my mom was being unreasonably harsh for very minor offenses. He says that the following example illustrates a frequent theme in our home: He was working out of town, I had loaded the dishwasher and included the can opener, my mom was irate that I had put it in there because doing so would cause it to rust, I called my dad sobbing, he tried to get the Relief Society President to just stop by, she did not understand what for and did not end up going, and life went on like always. I would always say I felt closer to my dad because I was not afraid of being yelled at by him. But I am not especially close to him either. I feel this complete emotional neutrality when it comes to my relationship with him. I found out that when I was like four I always wanted to hold his hand and do what he was doing, but he would push my hand away because he did not want me to grow up to be gay. . . go figure! I have no conscious memory of this but the thought of it makes me ache inside.
I was going to write more but my mind is turning to mush. I guess I did not do much analyzing. But these are the types of things that shrinks like to find out about. There are probably more that I am forgetting. If I was not born this way it certainly developed at an early age. I have no recollection of being attracted to a female, despite having many female friends. In fact, as a boy scout I remember helping with a service project to clean up trash that had blown away from the local garbage dump. I found a page from a porno magazine and it totally grossed me out. I can recognize a beautiful woman, but that is a far cry from being attracted to her.