rldbookslogoWhy I Chose to be Gay

Back when I was a student in high school (1962 - 1966), they didn't give toasters to people who decided to turn into homosexuals, nor did they offer such incentives to older men to recruit us younger men into that "lifestyle." And you can bet that in the desert of southern New Mexico, there wasn't an underground society of male homosexuals actively cruising the local high school for recruits--or maybe there was but I just wasn't aware of it. So I've been puzzling over the notion of why I chose to be gay. Especially since I didn't even know what "being gay" was. I didn't even have the word "homosexual" in my vocabulary.

But, since religious fundamentalists and G. Gordon Liddy (among others threatened by male homosexuality) insist that we choose to be gay, I've been trying to figure out exactly what it was that made me make this choice...especially in the face of such hatred when it came to guys calling other guys "cock suckers" and "queers." I guess I wanted to be hated and despised as well. What normal, heterosexual teen male wouldn't give up acceptance and privilege to become a member of a hated group?

self-teenPardon my lack of modesty, here, but I was a cute teenager, and girls were interested in me. So maybe I was tired of being a popular guy who had girls asking me out on dates, and at one point having to decide which of two girls I was going to take to the prom. It was a choice between Miss Deming and Deming Junior Miss--both of whom had recently won the local beauty contests and both of whom asked me to be their escort to the prom. Maybe I was tired of having girls have crushes on me. And assuming that we're all born heterosexual, and because we're certainly all raised to think in terms of heterosexuality as the only possible "lifestyle," I'm confused and puzzled as to just what it was that made me choose to suddenly become emotionally and physically attracted to boys, rather than girls.

I dated a lot. Never wanted for dates. So it wasn't a lack of self-esteem in that department. Nonetheless, I just suddenly chose to be attracted to a few boys I saw around school or had in my classes. I just suddenly got "all shook up" as Elvis said whenever I saw these guys. My heart began to race, I felt like I was about to die of heartache whenever I was around them, and this choice to feel this way became stronger, no matter how many girls I went out with. And the oddest thing about all this is, I had no idea what was happening to me. I had never been approached by another guy for sex, and the only notion I had about  "queers" was that it was absolutely disgusting to be one. Yet I realized I liked guys and what I wanted to try with them. I wondered what it would feel like to kiss another boy (a particular boy), and what it would feel like to hold hands, and what it would feel like for him to feel the same way.

Now, how I chose to feel all this is still beyond me. But once I did finally figure out that "queer" also meant "homosexual" and that there were gay bars where men liked to go to meet other men, about the only thing I can say I chose to do was to carry through with my feelings and went into a gay bar for the first time of my own free will when I was 21 years old, and except for a few weird twists and turns in my life and a period when I chose to behave in a heterosexual way, I've never doubted my inner gay soul since then.

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