Proposition 8

For those who don’t know, Proposition 8 is a California initiative that, if passed, would amend the California Constitution to say “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The California Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage back in May, declaring that the ban was unconstitutional (which it is). Proposition 8 would negate the victory the California Supreme Court made. After all, how can a ban on gay marriage be unconstitutional if it’s written into the Constitution?

I’m so frustrated by Proposition 8. I can’t believe there are still so many people (possibly a majority) who oppose gay marriage, and so fervently. I always thought California was progressive and liberal (maybe it’s because I grew up in LA), but I’m really scared that Proposition 8 will pass. I hear the Yes On 8 ads on TV and  the radio all the time (even a Chinese language one), yet I’ve only seen the No On 8 ad on TV once. One of my neighbors down the street even has a Yes On 8 banner stuck into their lawn.

As part of researching this Proposition, I’ve tried to see things from other perspectives different from my own. From the legal perspective, the Yes On 8 group argues that banning gay marriage will not take away any rights that gays and lesbians already have. In particular, they argue that the benefits from a civil union or domestic partnership have the same legal rights and benefits as that of a marriage.

The question that I have with that argument is why define one set of rules for one group of people and another set for everyone else? From Wikipedia: “Separate but equal is a set phrase denoting the system of segregation that justifies giving different groups of people separate facilities or services with the declaration that the quality of each group’s public facilities remain equal.” Will we end up with restaurants that only serve heterosexuals? A drinking fountain only for homosexuals?

A different perspective (the “moral” one) is that gay marriage (as well as being gay in general) is “wrong and disgusting.” I read that phrase somewhere and I keep thinking about it. When I try to think logically in their shoes, my only explanation for this reasoning is that they cannot see outside their own eyes. I suppose for a straight guy, visualizing himself marrying another guy just doesn’t make sense. It feels wrong to him. Therefore, since being straight is normal, same sex marriage must be wrong (and somehow disgusting).

Being on the other side of that, I can’t imagine marrying a woman. It wouldn’t make sense to me. But that doesn’t mean I think straight marriage is wrong or disgusting. It’s just not for me. Being attracted to guys (emotionally, not just physically) is what is normal for me.

(Side note) Along this same logic is the notion that homosexuality is a choice. If people just took a step back and saw things through another person’s eyes, they’d understand that it’s not a choice. Personally, being gay was never my choice. When I was growing up, I prayed and cried so hard not to be gay. I wanted to be normal. What took me years of guilt, self hatred, and doubt to figure out is that I am normal.

I also don’t understand why so many people are against teaching kids acceptance toward gay people. In the same way that growing up in a heteronormative society didn’t turn me straight, a few conversations about and interactions with gay people are not going to turn our society’s youth into homosexuals. If your kid ends up being gay, wouldn’t it be better to have a society that accepts them? To have a state Constitution that protects all the rights that they should have?

In the end, I truly think Proposition 8 isn’t about gay marriage at all. Rather, it’s about everyone’s right (not privilege) to love and be loved. Voting NO on Proposition 8 would protect that right, which is certainly what I’m voting.

Sin Without Action

I hung out with a friend from college today. We went shopping for video games, played multiplayer games wirelessly on Nintendo DS, and went out to dinner. It was really relaxed, light, and fun. Good times.

This friend of mine is a Christian, very firm in his beliefs. I was a Christian when I met him, and we became good friends through religion and video games. It hit him hard when I came out to him. He still believes that homosexuality is a sin, but he didn’t want to lose our friendship over it.

I didn’t want to lose his friendship either. So even though he knows I’m gay, I don’t talk about boys or dating with him very much (usually only vaguely and briefly). We’re still close in other ways.

All these thoughts about religion and homosexuality got me thinking. I don’t have much experience with dating and relationships, and I’ve basically lost all hope that I ever will find a boy who will love me. I’m starting to be okay with that. So here’s my question. If I never actually find someone to love and “be gay with,” then how different am I from a straight guy who never finds love? In particular, does the church frown upon a celibate (not by choice) gay boy?

I know some Christians denounce impure thoughts as sin too. But honestly, I don’t have that many of those. My fantasies are about holding hands and hugging (usually with clothes on). Is that still a sin? Is just being gay enough to send me to hell?

When I was a Christian, I felt really guilty all the time. When I was alone, I used to cry because I was gay. I prayed that I would be normal. I thought about hell and homosexuality pretty often. But now, this whole discussion doesn’t really bother me anymore. I’m just curious.

The Most Terrifying Question

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post where I mentioned how I still find it difficult to say the phrase “I’m gay.” I recently read a related post called “The Most Terrifying Question” at a blog called Debriefing The Boys. NOTE: The blog is a mature site intended for adults only, and some material is NSFW (not safe for work). In case you are under 18, or choose not to see the rest of that blog, I have cut-and-pasted the post here (with permission from the blog’s author):

When I was in the closet, I was absolutely terrified that somebody would ask me whether I was gay.

First, it would have meant they suspected, which would have meant my secret wasn’t safe. As I’ve told you, I used to think about whether I would kill to keep the secret. So it was a big deal to me.

Second, it would force me to make the decision whether to lie. The longer we’re in the closet, the easier it becomes to lie, I guess. For me, it wasn’t very long between when I decided the answer was yes and when I decided I was willing to tell the truth. So I never became comfortable with lying.

But this weekend I heard a great coming out story. My friend invited his mom to dinner, but he couldn’t get the words out. He just spluttered and sweated; they talked about everything but what he wanted to talk about. And finally, as the check was coming, his mom said “Honey, I know why you invited me here. It’s ok, and I love you.” And that was it! He never even had to say it.

So now that I think about it, it might have been nice to have been asked. Perhaps not by some drunk asshole in a bar. Or not even by a good friend, if the question was offhanded. But if a parent or a friend I really loved and trusted had sat me down and seriously asked the question in a safe and supportive way, it might have made it easier to say it. After all, it’s easier to say “Yes” than to say “I’m gay.”

Depending what stage of my life I was in when the question was asked, I might still have lied. But if the situation had been loving and supportive, I might have at least said “Well, no, I don’t think I’m gay, but….” and then told my story. If somebody had asked, and encouraged me to talk about it, I might have found out I was gay a lot earlier.

Anyway, what do you think? Were you ever asked?

I agree with the author – that really is the most terrifying question. In 7th grade, one of my friends asked me. I flat out said no, even though I already knew the real answer. I don’t think anyone since then has directly asked me.

Even though most of my friends now know that I’m gay, saying “I’m gay” is still a phrase I rarely ever say out loud. Maybe a close friend asking would have helped me to accept my own answer.

Not My Day

I’ve been having a bad day. I woke up really late (close to 1pm) and it’s all been downhill from there. I’ve been feeling off and nervous all day. I went to the bank to deposit a check for my mom, and I dropped my shiny new cell phone in the parking lot. It still works, luckily, but there are some scratches on it. I’m obsessive about the condition of my stuff (for example, I don’t buy used books), so this is a bigger deal to me than it sounds.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything, so I decided not to study and just came home to try to relax. I still feel anxious for no reason. I feel like something bad could happen at any minute.

To leave you with something a little more uplifting, I found this commercial on YouTube that I used to see on TV:

Acting Gay

I don’t think blogging was meant to be done every day. That’s probably why most other blogs on the web are far more interesting than mine. I’m trying to post something every day, hopefully either interesting or meaningful, or both. It keeps me motivated to keep up with the site, helps me vent thoughts and feelings, and lets me practice my writing skills.

Despite all the reasons to post daily, it’s hard to come up with interesting things about which to write, since I’m not doing anything fun or exciting these days. I spend my days at Starbucks studying, and then I sometimes go to the gym. I guess exercising is the most fun I have.

I’ve been to the gym three times this week, which is my general goal for the average week. Because I’m trying to lose some weight (or at least my belly fat), I’m shooting for four times a week until I’m “satisfied” with how my body/abs look. I wonder if that stereotype of gay guys being perfectly trim and health conscious is making me work just that much harder.

That thought brings up an interesting subject. I sometimes feel like I don’t know how to “be” or “act” gay because I’ve had so few gay people in my life. It’s like I’m somehow less gay because I’ve been influenced by so many straight people. Whenever I’m put in a position where I’m around gay boys, I definitely feel uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do. Am I supposed to do or say something that will make it known to them that I’m also gay? Is there a secret handshake or password I don’t know about? Maybe I’m missing some secret club meetings?

My (homophobic) aunt once told a story to my parents and me about this guy she knew who turned out to be gay. She said that all of a sudden he had limp wrists (she made gestures) and was talking with a lisp. I don’t know if she was exaggerating or not. As for me, I’m pretty sure I didn’t start showing “gay characteristics” once I started coming out.

It’s hard to say though whether I’ve become “more gay” over the last six and a half years. Sometimes if I’m out shopping, or I just finished watching an episode of Ugly Betty (best show ever), I “feel” a little more gay or I can feel myself talking faster and saying “fabulous” more often. Does that mean acting gay really is just acting?

When I’m with my friends, I tend to speak more freely than when I’m with my parents, but I guess that’s understandable for anyone. I feel like I’m suppressing “gayness” when I talk to my family, even if I’m not thinking about it. I try not to talk about relationships, marriage, or having children around my parents. Even talking about my friends’ relationships can feel awkward, even though I only talk about straight relationships, because in the back of my mind (and my parents’ minds too I gather) there’s the question of my (lack of) relationships.

Funny how these posts never turn out the way I think they will when I start them. And as a complete side note, my blog hits have increased quite a bit, mostly because of last week’s post about swimming. Apparently I’m not the only one who likes swimmers’ bodies…

I Wasn’t Alone

I recently became reacquainted with an old friend from elementary school through Facebook. Amazing site, that Facebook. We were really good friends back then, but we drifted apart during junior high. I used to compete with him for grades, but he always won. He ended up going to an Ivy League university and is now working on a Ph.D. at a different Ivy League university.

The interesting thing I just learned is that my old friend is gay. I was a little shocked when I found out. Throughout my childhood I had no (known) gay friends. Even through college and graduate school I had very few gay friends. I always felt alone and guilty knowing that what I felt was different from other boys, even before I knew what gay meant. If I knew that a friend, one of my best friends, was also gay, that would have made things much easier to handle.

Back when we were kids, he probably also felt isolated and was afraid to share his feelings just like I was, so I’m certainly not upset with him. It would have been comforting, though, to know that there was another person going through the same thing.