Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"The shame of not being able to be honest"

The other day I heard a woman on the tv talking about a gay character in a musical, it was the making of A Chorus Line, which was on logo maybe?? I dunno, I'm surprised I was watching as Ive never even seen A Chorus Line and Im not a broadway fan but for whatever reason I let it exist in the background... Anyhow... She said something very important in reference to a gay child growing up and how difficult it is as youre raised by heteros who arent going to understand what its like to be you, she said "The shame of not being able to be honest."
I sorta gagged as I can REALLY RELATE to this. Its how I felt and maybe how I feel and Id never really considered it as shame, but I think it is because I know I felt GUILTY and DISHONEST and DECEPTIVE for being different. At the time I couldnt explain it but now I can, and this was it. I dont think people realize that gay shame might be so strong because of this and it may be a strong part of self loathing which plagues gay guys, myself included, which I think its healthy and great for us all to face.
Im not exactly sure how understanding that statement makes things more clear or helps, but it does. I feel less guilty about being gay now knowing that someone else could understand the feeling and complexity of having to be something else for other people for a lifetime in your formative years. The process of identity denial fucks with your head quite a bit. Though I can say its not ALL bad because it does create talents, insight, and abilities that a heterosexual may not have but it certainly creates challenges for you later in life as well.
Ive asked my therapist before "Why do I unconsciously see myself as evil?" and I think this statement answers the question. Its not that I AM evil or dishonest, its that I WAS FORCED TO BE SOMETHING I WASNT in order to be accepted/survive and that made me feel deeply deceptive and I of course felt shame in that being that I felt like I was lying to my loved ones. Realizing that I felt shame in the forced process of being a closeted kid feels like a kind of release for me... Perhaps if you relate it can be for you too.


Whitney Ray said...

Gagworthy indeed. I have thought about this before myself- whenever I lie about something, whether my motivation for it is kind or self-serving, feelings of shame hit HARD, and I truly think this is why. Lying to protect yourself AND make things easier for others is a habit I think most gay people develop very early on, and if you have good role models or parents around who instill the importance of honesty (AKA realness), the struggle between the two can be extremely intense. I honestly think this is why you see so many sociopaths in the gay community - they chose the success of invention over the difficulty of transparency early on, and while that choice is their responsibility, the circumstances that made that choice so hard to make correctly is not entirely their fault. This is why it's important to really try to see another person and why they are instead of just reading them for what they are. This is also why being honest about who you are ends up being a much deeper exercise for us than simply coming out of the closet- after that you have to come to terms with all the other inventions about yourself you've perpetuated as a result of the habit of putting on a front. But once you can see the origins and start to work through it, you can really start to own what is you and what is not, and be who you want to be. Love you Dave.

Sue said...

I do understand where you are coming from, not that I have suffered the same thing exactly, but because I am a woman and have been discriminated against and because I am a gay porn blogger and have had to zip my lip about it at times. There is another way to look at it though. So now you have this incredible power to deceive people and you can use it whenever you choose and power is power in this country of ours. You could turn it into a commodity instead of a weakness. But, you probably already have realized that. :)


David Mason said...

Good feed back guys!

Travis said...

gosh, let me just pull this together in my head a bit, "The reason we "see so many sociopaths in the gay community"? what? Doesn't' having good role models make you think, that one wouldn't have such intense indictments of their fellow gay community? Imagine if you were a tiny flamboyant dancer in a provincial and redneck town in the mid-west ridiculed daily, physically threatened, violently assaulted, reminded daily that no one will truly love you for who you are, and that somehow at the core of who you are is wrong. That's probably why we "see so many sociopaths" It isn't even about bullying or adopting realness persona for survival, which we have all been there, I can assure you, for me it's about supporting each other now, and helping out the people who never really got the emotional equipment or physical stature to hide behind. For those who metaphorically were raised by wolves, I got your back.
and now, I will have my morning coffee.

Chase said...

There's a great book out there called "The Velvet Rage" (amazing title) but it touches on many issues that gay men have stemming from the time in our childhood before we could really comprehend the emotions and feelings passing through us. As if from the time we break through the womb there is something instinctively set in us that lets us know we are different.
But I also agree that maybe thats a good thing, it sets us apart from normal as a seedling and when we grow some of us use that combination of desire for acceptance and individual uniqueness to create amazing and beautiful things, or to become the best in their field of work. If only that affect could be created without the early years of turmoil

thegayte-keeper said...

Thanks for posting this.

gavin said...

"Gay shame is so strong because" heterosexuals teach each other that being gay is bad, which they then passed along to you.

The fact that gay kids' parents usually can't relate to their kids experience/identity is a different issue.

Some straight parents ARE informed and pro-gay and they DO know what to do with a gay child.

The hope is that enough straight people will start teaching each other that being gay is a GOOD thing, and have plenty of openly gay role models to refer their children to.

I have a young nephew who seems like a pansy; I won't be surprised if he comes out to his mother (my sister) eventually.

He'll be okay because my sister is cool with gays and knows about them. He'll have gay-friendly parents and openly gay uncles on both sides of his family, which I never had.