Fitting the mold: gay at the College
November 6, 2007
__The Flat Hat’s sex columnist queries one gay student about his personal homosexuality__
What does it mean to be gay? Recently, I got a chance to talk with a member of the college’s queer community. We discussed everything from religion to family to society.
p. Some topics made me blush, others made me laugh, but all made me think deeper about both the differences and the similarities between the heterosexual and homosexual communities.
p. My contributor wished to remain anonymous, because he did not want to be misconstrued as attempting to represent all gay men. This reflection is a look at the views of one self-identified queer man.
p. First, I wanted to know about his background and sexuality. Although, he couldn’t pinpoint an exact moment when he realized he was gay, by the time he was 12, he knew. He is fully out of the closet now, and said that there really aren’t people around him who object to his life. He did add that his grandmother accepts his homosexuality, but discourages him from partaking in the flamboyancy with which society has stereotyped the lifestyle. She wants him to have a shot at normalcy.
p. “You can be gay,” she once said. “But just don’t act like it.”
p. There are several preconceived notions that haunt gay men. Many times straight guys appear to fear gay men because they think they will come on to them. He found this idea ludicrous. “Being gay doesn’t mean I lose my type or my taste,” he said.
p. Some misconceptions go even further. He said that a number of people wrongly associate homosexuals with pedophiles.
p. Next, we discussed the concept of family. He doesn’t like the idea of being married, and commented that it seems like gay men are trying “to fit into what society wants us to be.” He doesn’t go looking for relationships, but said he wouldn’t avoid one either. He commented that the gay life can be “living a lonely life.”
p. In the past, being gay has meant living in the margins; now gay men are assimilating into the same types of life patterns as heterosexual couples, including having children. While children supposedly detract from the perceived plus sides of the homosexual lifestyle — freedom and fun — my contributor said he would like to have a child, although he feels a partner would not be in the picture.
p. I wondered how raising a child in a homosexual household would differ from that of a married couple.
p. “If I [saw] a four-year-old wearing a dress, I wouldn’t stop him,” he said. “I feel I would be very accepting of whatever life he chose, but I [would] worry about his life.” Specifically, he said he would be concerned about how other children would perceive his child if they learned he had a gay father. “Would he blame me for living with this?”
p. According to him, the future is a scary prospect for a gay man. “Gay men are in love with the idea of relationships,” he said. In his hometown, the gay community is stereotypical — the partying, the hooking up, the freedom. He knows of gay couples that have long-term relationships, but they seek outside companionship because their sex life goes flat. Unlike in heterosexual “cheating,” these men gladly invite the variety into their bedroom with the approval of their partner.
p. My contributor didn’t think he could do that, because in his mind being in a true relationship means faithfulness to your partner both emotionally and physically.
p. Williamsburg has opened his eyes to a whole other side of homosexuality, where monogamy takes center stage. Though he found this side less exciting than what he’s used to, he takes a “to each his own” attitude toward it.
p. Faith and sexuality are very interesting topics to me, so I was curious as to how important faith is in his life, and whether it clashes with his sexuality. He was raised Catholic, and still considers himself a Catholic, though he doesn’t attend mass regularly.
p. “I believe in God and most of the teachings of the church. I think some of the social aspects are far behind.”
p. He admitted that during confession he edges around his homosexuality, simply stating, “I do things with guys.” There is still a certain amount of embarrassment he feels in stating it directly, not as a gay man, but as a Catholic man talking to a priest.
p. The most interesting part of the interview was our chat about sex. I wanted to know whether he thinks there is a lack of positions available to gay men as compared to heterosexual couples. He laughed. “We’re constricted by biology,” he said. But when he listed his moves, he conveyed that it’s not what you’re born with, it’s how you use it.