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Re: harry: I'm sorry, quite long as per usual....

Posted by Adam on March 14, 2000, at 13:35:13

In reply to you probably figured it out......but, posted by harry b. on March 13, 2000, at 23:53:56

Hey, harry b.,

During the last year or so of college I had two close friends (I guess I should say as close as casual friends could be at that time)come out to me within about a month. One, a woman who I must admit I had quite a crush on, chose me as the first person besides her new girlfriend to tell. After I got over what I am a bit ashamed to say was a state of shock I got involved in the Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Advocacy (BGLAd) club and became one of its more active members. I saw pretty much firsthand what coming out did to some of my friends. Some of them had wonderful families and other supportive people in their lives and truly blossomed once they abandoned the hetero charade. Others (like my friend, who went from very straight-seeming "femme" to shaving her head and not her legs, piercing nipples and god-knows-what-else (in the early nineties, this was still rebellious)), well, I guess they went too far "the other way" and many of their old friends moved away from them. Their parents, often devout Christians, while certainly not disowning them, could not or would not conceal their disappointment. It was very sad to see them, not so much changing as becoming more themselves, suffer the effects of rejection, especially the ones who had themselves been people of faith. I sometimes wondered of the flamboyance wasn't a kind of "fuck you all" preemption, and a way of coping with a bit of self-hatred too for what they couldn't help being but wished they could.

Later, after graduating, my girlfriend, who I had reconnected with, came out to me as being bisexual, and having experimented a little during a hiatus. Initially I was horrified, then kind of excited once I, again I'm a bit ashamed to say, contemplated the possibilities, which she seemed rather intrigued by too. One night after fooling around and fatasising about another woman with us, she made a request: Another man. Not in real life, but still...I went along with it, though, to make her happy, and, you know, responded. That's when the trouble began.

She went back to school after break and I began to ruminate on that night. Things went downhill very quickly. Somehow the idea that I had found this deeply erotic fatasy the slightest bit pleasurable began to gnaw at me. I couldn't stop thinking about it. The I started to wonder about my relationship: Was there somthing about me that appealed to a woman who liked women? The I thought about the last year and a half or so at school; I was hanging around with a lot of gay people and what did THAT mean, and so on. It got out of control in about a week and I was in a state of frenzy. I went from "am I gay, am I gay, am I gay, am I gay, am I gay" to "I am gay, I am gay, I am gay, I am gay."

It was OCD essentially, and ironically this was at the tail end of a long period of intense behavioral therapy to combat body dysmorphia. I guess in a way I developed some kind of dyserotica very quickly and it nearly killed me. I wanted to die. It was sheer terror for about two weeks. I could neither eat not sleep. My girlfriend thought I had lost my mind. I thought I did. I stupidly even concealed it from my therapist for the first week until I thought I would explode.

When I told him he smiled and very calmly informed me of what was going on. In a short period I got an intensive course in human sexuality that life had ironically been teaching me for the last two years or so, but I had completely lost my ability to grasp in a matter of days. I fortuitously lived in Dupont Circle, a neighborhood of Washington DC known to some as the "Fruit Loop" that I had quite accidentally landed because it was cheap but relatively safe and near a lot of cool stuff. I was instructed to join a health club so I could be around a lot of scantily-clad and sweaty bodies, and to also pay a visit or two to a very, very gay bar down the road called the "Firehouse". This was murder. This was pure, raw terror and I hated every second of it until I started having a good time and forgetting for a few seconds every hour or so what it was that I was so afraid of. I'm still not sure now what it was that I was so afraid of, but I got through it by doing some rather difficult (for me) things, like buying books at the local gay-friendly bookstore ("Lambda Rising", which had its share of softcore porn proudly dislpayed-lots of very large penises, man), volunteering time at the Walker-Whitman clinic (local AIDS clinic of some noteriety). This was not at all a fun experience for me, but it taught me a lot about myself, and did a great deal to remind and reenforce in me a very important lesson: Sex and sexuality is nothing to fear, and that irrational fear of such can make you ill.

I guess I'm "straight", but I think I could kiss a man full on the lips today and maybe even like it. I thought Keanu Reeves looked good in "The Matrix". I love women. I love their bodies, their hair, their voices, their smell. I think some male bodies are very aesthetically pleasing, and I wish I looked like them too. Touching breasts makes my knees weak sometimes. Having her hands on me in some places almost hurts it's so nice.

I like what I like. I had to get the crap kicked out of me mentally before I could even say that with any confidence, though, and it's awful others have to suffer the same, OCD or not. What prejudice and taboo have done to us in the realm of human sexuality and in our own ability to accept ourselves as we are, and others as they are, is one of those high crimes humanity has inflicted on itself. It is needless. Sex is good, whatever it is. Love is even better. We want and need both (within reason, of course), so we have to face this desire head on and go for it. Human beings are pretty versitile sexually, and our vast range of tastes reflects this. It all needs to be confronted and explored and a healthy way, and I think a deeply damaging form of hatred, both of others and of the self, will vanish if we can.

Congratulations, harry. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and you are on a path towards greater happiness and peace. It would be pollyanna-ish to tell you it will all be smooth sailing, and that even some of your very closest friends and loved ones won't be upset or even abandon you, but it's THEIR PROBLEM. You'll only have a problem if you let the fear get to you too. If not, you will be a healthier individual than 99% of the people out there. I salute you for doing what is right. Go for it.

> I have not said this specifically, but if you've read
> between the lines you probably know.
> If the spectrum of sexuality is 0=strictly heterosexual
> and 5=true bisexuality and 10=strictly homosexual,
> I would be a 7, maybe even an 8.
> That is the core issue of my depression. I have known
> of my sexuality since I was 15yrs old. I hated it then
> and I still hate it now. I basically hate myself for
> what I am. That of course has led to my isolation.
> It's a paradox. I'm afraid if I tell people, they will
> reject me. To avoid the perceived rejection, I hide it
> and isolate myself, thus self-creating my loneliness
> and rejection. The recent crisis with my old friend
> put me over the edge.
> I'm masculine, have no 'gay' affectations and I can 'pass'
> as a straight man anywhere. I'm nearly 50yrs old and have
> decided that I'd best try to accept and love myself.
> If I can manage that, maybe, just maybe, I could find
> the loving, intimate relationship that I so desperately
> feel a need for.
> My new friend is a bit of a puzzle. I'm attracted to him
> because of his open, kind, loving nature. Not because
> he's a hunk, because he isn't. That's the kind of
> relationship I yearn for. Based on trust, caring, and
> love, not limited to physical appearance.
> If anyone has any rude or prejudiced comments to make,
> keep them to yourselves. I've called myself things that
> you sure couldn't top.
> Anyway, welcome to harry's coming out party. It's a
> start.




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