Defining Homosexuals:

Shortly after I first came out I found myself looking for ways to “be gay”. I know that sounds odd, but I wondered if that meant that I should like girlie things now, ballet and other clichés, things you see in movies. I would ask myself questions like “does this mean I’m a fashion designer now?”

Trying to define what a homosexual looks like was at the forefront of my mind and I wanted to be it, whatever it looked like. So I watched Glee and Smash and other shows like Modern Family (Love Cam and Lily, LOL!) to try and figure out which tv characters qualities closest resembled my own. After much effort I realized that none of them matched me.

I even questioned my decision to come out because I wasn’t “femme” enough to suit my own tastes. I had it built in my mind that gay men were limp wristed and effeminate, kind a bitchy and whorish. I was none of those things. I was scared of meeting other gay men because I thought that it was going to be this instantaneous sex fest between the two of like you might see in a skin flick of some sort. So I avoided some of them, and to my own embarrassment, gravitated towards those I was attracted too.

This all seems so childish in retrospect, but it’s the truth. It’s the facts of a man who comes out in his late 20’s after a long list of mistakes. It’s the reality of a man who knows that he likes other men and will only settle for a long-term relationship with another man, but has no idea “how to be gay”. Another worry in my mind was that, what if people don’t believe me because I don’t look gay?

Look, I know that this may not make sense to some, but this was really a trouble spot for me. A worry I still entertain every now and again, I know that it’s up to me to define myself, but that doesn’t stop my sometimes irrational thought process from running rampant. A process that all of us have. So I spent years reading Out and The Advocate and watching shows that hosted gay characters and hanging out with men who have been out longer than I. I read books about gay characters and autobiographies and life stories on gay men and women. I even started studying up on transgenderism (a topic I am now very passionate about, I have some very set opinions about that).

In all this “educating” I didn’t learn anything about how to be gay. What I did learn about was me. How I fit in to the gay world and why I care so much about it. I am enthralled about topics like Stonewall and small towns that get turned upside down by a drag show (God knows my heart delights when I hear of them country bumpkins tearin’ it up at a drag show, LOL!). This process of ‘self-discovery’ has been a wonderful ride, one that I am so glad I get to go on. It has it’s scary moments, moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything because they’re mine.

I would love to hear about your roads to self discovery, homosexual or not. These stories are inspiring and I want to be inspired.

Jeff Utnage