"My sexuality is no one else's business but my own."

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 22, 2010 3:32 PM GMT
    I call bullshit. That mindset is the most emotionally detrimental mindset a gay person can have.

    In a professional business meeting, the most common question ever asked is "how's the wife?" or "how's the family?" To answer that question with "none of your business" would create tension between you and your associates due to the rudeness of it.

    Simple business etiquette...you don't tell clients and associates that your family life is none of their business. The proper answer is either "good, thanks" or "my boyfriend/husband/partner is doing great, thanks" or "I'm happily single, but thanks for asking."

    In addition, using that mindset among "friends" is even worse. By doing so, you're basically saying that you're an inferior piece of shit for being gay, and have no real friends because if they knew you were gay they wouldn't be your friend.

    PS. As many of you already know, I had to work out of state all summer in a small town. Before leaving, my boss told me to adopt this mindset to "keep things professional" at the place I'd be working. I literally told my boss - word for word - to "go fuck yourself if you think I'm going back in the closet while everyone else lives freely." He respected my words, and backed off.
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    Sep 23, 2010 2:21 AM GMT
    Well, Paul, i'll be the first to enter the coliseum. Some of your points are valid and some i don't see as valid.......each is an individual choice and that individual alone has to live with those choices.

    The more i have seen and participated in some of these forums about staying in, coming out, waving or not waving the flag, and whatever else, the more i see a group of individuals trying to impose a collective idea on an INDIVIDUAL. Now to take a step back, that is exactly what society has and is doing; applying their attitudes and ideas to everyone that is gay and expecting all, for the good of society, to adhere to those rules, for whatever reason.

    I don't see this as any different. How I handle my sexuality, my bank account, my dinner plans, are an individual choice and while I understand your mindset for the good of the greater majority, it is still provocative, in your face and none of your business, with due respect.

    Now that being said, it is also my choice not to sit by and listen to someone spew hatred at me or a friend because of their perception of my sexuality, be they gay, straight or otherwise. If I had a partner i would never attempt to secret him and would answer to that question, "he's fine thanks" However, no one has the right, power, or audacity to direct my life, except me. The people who I think should be privy to my sexuality have, by my own decision, been brought into my confidence. The future will dictate what others may or may not be told.

    When we as gay men start to make rules about what should be done, we need to remember that it was and is that attitude that raises our hackles with the straight part of our society. I have wrestled with this point for a long time and have been unhappy, until a friend, who is gay and on this site advised me to live my own life outside of what the straight or gay community expects of me... Know what? I am at peace with that. Call me what you may, I am at peace with that and that is what counts....Keithicon_cool.gif
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    Sep 23, 2010 2:35 AM GMT
    Right on Paul! I totally agree! =) It's a ridiculous argument no matter who it comes from that talking about your life including your bf, partner or whatever is flaunting your sexuality and airing private business. If that logic goes then just about every person I meet is flaunting the hell out of their heterosexuality.

    Now if you are telling anybody the dirty details of what you do in bed then the argument might be valid. Lol

  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    Sep 23, 2010 3:02 AM GMT
    I'm with Paul on this one.

    We are raised in a hetero-homogenized society that takes their permeation of everything from tabloids to cereal boxes for granted. A "norm" is established that defacto marginalizes anything that doesn't mirror this bride/groom husband/wife boyfriend/girlfriend culture and it's important to be visible, out, and outspoken (without being vulgarly aggressive) in order to create a better balance and a safer environment for all of us.

    They're more than willing to have gay people teach, preach, build, design, create, even govern so long as they're quiet about how and whom they love. But God forbid you point out that their hand-holding in public isn't because one of them is afraid to cross the street alone, or that their strollers and vans full of kids isn't exactly evidence of mass immaculate conception. (And no, I don't hate children, and I think parenting is a wonderful thing...so back off before going down that road, please.) Every shoe, pizza, shampoo and soft drink is advertised as a way to get the other gender in bed. For what, a fucking pillow fight? Sure.

    I have a friend who is a very visible stand-up comic and writer who says it best "don't stop talking about it, they want you to shut up. Don't. Don't shut up, no matter how hard they try, don't stop talking about how you love, how you feel, how you think, how you live. Don't shut up."

    Yes, it's going to piss some people off. Fine. You see it in a lingering and dwindling hand-full of straight identified community leaders and politicians, both on the left and the right, whenever anything "gay" enters the conversation they get uncomfortable and even angry. Good. It's time somebody besides us got uncomfortable and angry - I'm a little worn out from it, so I for one could use the break.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:04 AM GMT
    Im not sure where "how's the wife?" is the most common question in a business meeting. Southern US maybe?
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:07 AM GMT
    Thank you Paul for stating it so well. It is exactly how I feel. I have not worked at a place where straight employees discussing their lives with their husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, and their dating life was not part of office talk and break room chatter. Why should I be expected to stay silent and not discuss my life with my boyfriend? Next month I celebrate my eight year with him and I think I've earned the right to add something about my family life when heterosexuals talk about their family life. That argument about keeping your personal life out of the workplace seems to only apply to us. How many straight people do that?
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:07 AM GMT
    you told your boss to go fuck himself? icon_eek.gif
    what if he can't ?
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    Sep 23, 2010 3:13 AM GMT
    I can respect some people staying closeted in some circumstances where there is danger, etc.

    But the fact that things are so much better for us today than even a decade ago, is because some of us had the courage to come out, stand up for ourselves, and be out. Being closeted does nothing to help, and in some, if not many cases, simply allows people to continue to believe they don't know a gay person and to discriminate.

    We didn't get where we are by saying that our sexuality is no one's business. Stay in the closet if you must, but don't whine about being discriminated against!

    Nat
  • MuscleComeBac...

    Posts: 2376

    Sep 23, 2010 3:20 AM GMT
    tazzari said... the fact that things are so much better for us today than even a decade ago, is because some of us had the courage to come out, stand up for ourselves, and be out. Being closeted does nothing to help, and in some, if not many cases, simply allows people to continue to believe they don't know a gay person and to discriminate.

    We didn't get where we are by saying that our sexuality is no one's business. Stay in the closet if you must, but don't whine about being discriminated against!


    QFT
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:27 AM GMT
    I don't bring up my sexuality... it's just not something that I find too interesting or important. If someone asks if I have a girlfriend, I politely tell them, "No." I never go farther unless they actually ask, "Oh, do you have a boyfriend?"... to which I reply, "No, but I have a companion."

    I'm honest, but I don't present them with snippets of my life as if I were a sample cigarette girl. They ask, and I tell... within reason, of course.
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:27 AM GMT
    well i was afraid this was just a repeat of a thread that died a rightful death 10 days ago.....didn't you get in on the one paul? i'll bow out, my point is made. K.icon_cool.gif
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:32 AM GMT
    I know a lot of straight, married men who deliberately remove their wedding ring at work because they do not wish to disclose any personal information to anyone.

    I see no reason to tell people in a professional setting what I do in my free time either.
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:33 AM GMT
    tazzari said.

    We didn't get where we are by saying that our sexuality is no one's business. Stay in the closet if you must, but don't whine about being discriminated against!

    Nat


    Actually we got where we are by saying exactly that: our sexuality is not, and should never be, anyones' business, not the military, not the state, not any employer, nobodys. i think nat you have it a little confused. and no one is whining. now,,,i'll take my exit stage left.....kicon_cool.gif
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:35 AM GMT
    I completely believe that my sexuality is no one else's business but my own. I don't think that you're creating any type of "mindset" by not shouting from the roof that you're gay. And I sure as fuck don't believe that I'm inferior to anyone in anyway because I'm gay. I believe that a person's sexuality is their very own personal intimate thing. Not all straight men display their sexuality, and it sure as fuck does not indicate inferiority either. How many of us meet a guy and wonder whether he's straight or gay? That's becuase he doens't wear his sexuality on his sleeve, and neither do I.

    I may be gay, but i'm also a man, an architect, a son, a friend, a brother, an uncle, a godfather, and proud of all of them.
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:45 AM GMT
    I think you're inverting cause and effect. The "none of your business" mindset is merely evidence of incomplete empowerment---to such people this separation seems to offer a sort of freedom from external and internal scrutiny.

    As one becomes more and more empowered, and more free, these sorts of division seem less consequential, and one becomes reconciled to one's existence.

    But acting this way, without the empowerment, can only make one less free, feeling trapped into maintaining a sort of perpetual defense. Freedom cannot be imposed, or even given rather it is a process and an investment; one that the "none of your business" person has already partially begun by disaffirming on some level social requirements to conformity.

    If you would help this person, make them more free. Educate them. Speed their empowerment. Remember that everything you do or say to them must be liberating, and what you wrote above is not.
  • Karnage

    Posts: 704

    Sep 23, 2010 3:52 AM GMT
    All of the posters here who agree with Paul are of an age where they are likely in a job or at least have a respectable amount of work experience behind them. Many young gay men (including myself) are at the point in life where we are lowest man on the totem pole, or not even on the pole yet. Am I worried about being blatantly discriminated against because of my sexuality? No. But as ideal as we would like the world to be many people upon learning that a coworker is gay may become uncomfortable and less communicative, hindering everyone's ability to do a good job. This can especially be true depending on your location and field of work (eg. I'm an engineer, and we're socially awkward as is). That's just not something I'm willing to risk at this point in my career.

    Now, I'm not saying to be completely closeted either. I agree with lgjock's approach. I don't bring up my social life, but when asked I will answer honestly without going out of my way to specify that I'm gay, especially with older coworkers. After getting to know people and who will be comfortable with my sexuality, I may drop hints or even outright say it, but that is more often the exception than the norm.
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:55 AM GMT
    CHIdude saidI completely believe that my sexuality is no one else's business but my own. I don't think that you're creating any type of "mindset" by not shouting from the roof that you're gay. And I sure as fuck don't believe that I'm inferior to anyone in anyway because I'm gay. I believe that a person's sexuality is their very own personal intimate thing. Not all straight men display their sexuality, and it sure as fuck does not indicate inferiority either. How many of us meet a guy and wonder whether he's straight or gay? That's becuase he doens't wear his sexuality on his sleeve, and neither do I.

    I may be gay, but i'm also a man, an architect, a son, a friend, a brother, an uncle, a godfather, and proud of all of them.


    I would tend to agree with that up to the point where someone is pulling other people into their lies. I say this because I have encountered this time and time again over the years. My most foolish indulgence in this lasted 6 years because I let myself think my ex loved me as much as he loved manufacturing lies to protect his illusion of heterosexuality.

    Now, if someone is in the closet and expects me to play straight around his straight friends and/or family, then I cut him loose. If he dodges questions or outright lies on how we met each other if it might identify him as gay, then I'm obviously not good enough to be in his life. Purposely changing pronouns or even struggling with gender neutral ones is just another way of lying. I operated my life in a lie for many years, I'm not going to be part of someone else's lie now. What you tell me when you go out of your way to hide not only your sexuality, but mine too, is that you are ashamed of who I am and how others might perceive you through your friendship with me.
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:55 AM GMT
    vetteset said
    tazzari said.

    We didn't get where we are by saying that our sexuality is no one's business. Stay in the closet if you must, but don't whine about being discriminated against!

    Nat


    Actually we got where we are by saying exactly that: our sexuality is not, and should never be, anyones' business, not the military, not the state, not any employer, nobodys. i think nat you have it a little confused. and no one is whining. now,,,i'll take my exit stage left.....kicon_cool.gif


    Very true! icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 23, 2010 3:57 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidI call bullshit. That mindset is the most emotionally detrimental mindset a gay person can have.

    In a professional business meeting, the most common question ever asked is "how's the wife?" or "how's the family?" To answer that question with "none of your business" would create tension between you and your associates due to the rudeness of it.

    Simple business etiquette...you don't tell clients and associates that your family life is none of their business. The proper answer is either "good, thanks" or "my boyfriend/husband/partner is doing great, thanks" or "I'm happily single, but thanks for asking."

    In addition, using that mindset among "friends" is even worse. By doing so, you're basically saying that you're an inferior piece of shit for being gay, and have no real friends because if they knew you were gay they wouldn't be your friend.

    PS. As many of you already know, I had to work out of state all summer in a small town. Before leaving, my boss told me to adopt this mindset to "keep things professional" at the place I'd be working. I literally told my boss - word for word - to "go fuck yourself if you think I'm going back in the closet while everyone else lives freely." He respected my words, and backed off.


    I always enjoy your posts and your opinions.. but I have to disagree on this. In a perfect world, maybe, but it's not. It's a personal journey for everyone. That said, if you're like Charlie Crist or some other hypocritical asshole who steps on the heads of gay people to support your own personal agenda? Free game.
  • Buddha

    Posts: 1767

    Sep 23, 2010 4:01 AM GMT
    I agree. I don't usually open up a new friendship with throwing out that I'm gay, but I can say it by saying things like "Oh yeah my boyfriend really loves that game too" or the alike; and as you said, why shouldn't I be able to when everyone else does it?
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    Sep 23, 2010 4:04 AM GMT
    A woman at work says, "I had a dinner date last night with a great guy I met last week." We say nothing when the same happens to us as that would be 'wearing our sexuality on our sleeve.'

    A coworker says, "That Hawaiian vacation my wife I went on last month was a lot of fun". We went on vacation to Hawaii with our boyfriend a couple years ago and we do not mention it, because that would be 'wearing our sexuality on our sleeve.'

    A coworker says, "We've set a date. We're getting married next June!" We've also set a date, but say nothing because that would be 'wearing our sexuality on our sleeve'.

    Being gay is not just about sex. It is about who I am spending my life with, who I have dinner with everyday, who I go on vacation with, who I go to see a movie with, who I kick back and watch TV with at night, and many other everyday, ordinary events- the kinds of thing most people make small talk about at work and in other social situations. I'm not 'wearing my sexuality on my sleeve.' I'm making conversation about little things in my day-to-day life, like nearly every other person.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 23, 2010 4:08 AM GMT
    ok, i'll stay on stage. so rob, what's keeping you from joining in and saying those things? No one is saying that you can't; what we are saying is it is EVERYONE'S god given right to choose for themselves without being shamed or called names or bullied because we are not the same.....see? keithicon_cool.gif
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Sep 23, 2010 4:10 AM GMT
    vetteset saidWell, Paul, i'll be the first to enter the coliseum. Some of your points are valid and some i don't see as valid.......each is an individual choice and that individual alone has to live with those choices.

    The more i have seen and participated in some of these forums about staying in, coming out, waving or not waving the flag, and whatever else, the more i see a group of individuals trying to impose a collective idea on an INDIVIDUAL. Now to take a step back, that is exactly what society has and is doing; applying their attitudes and ideas to everyone that is gay and expecting all, for the good of society, to adhere to those rules, for whatever reason.

    I don't see this as any different. How I handle my sexuality, my bank account, my dinner plans, are an individual choice and while I understand your mindset for the good of the greater majority, it is still provocative, in your face and none of your business, with due respect.

    Now that being said, it is also my choice not to sit by and listen to someone spew hatred at me or a friend because of their perception of my sexuality, be they gay, straight or otherwise. If I had a partner i would never attempt to secret him and would answer to that question, "he's fine thanks" However, no one has the right, power, or audacity to direct my life, except me. The people who I think should be privy to my sexuality have, by my own decision, been brought into my confidence. The future will dictate what others may or may not be told.

    When we as gay men start to make rules about what should be done, we need to remember that it was and is that attitude that raises our hackles with the straight part of our society. I have wrestled with this point for a long time and have been unhappy, until a friend, who is gay and on this site advised me to live my own life outside of what the straight or gay community expects of me... Know what? I am at peace with that. Call me what you may, I am a peace with that and that is what counts....Keithicon_cool.gif
    Keith, I wish I could give you a big ole hug dude. Damn, I could not have put it any better than your last statement. Actually, the whole thing was good buddy but that was my favorite part of your statement. If only there were more guys like you and your friend. Damn, you deserve a standing ovation that one buddy.
  • Smiling_Eyes

    Posts: 197

    Sep 23, 2010 4:16 AM GMT
    Thanks Paul for beginning this thread. Everyone (obviously) has to make their own decisions about what they wish to reveal about their personal life and to whom.

    That being said, I tend to live my life with a thought towards how I want to impact the world and those I encounter. For me, as someone who can easily "pass" as straight, I do go out of my way (when an opportunity presents) to ensure that people know I'm gay (and that I'm confidant, happy and proud of this). I believe that we have a responsibility to "model" happy, positive, confidant unashamed and successful attitudes for those behind is who are watching.

    I'm always mindful that each and every time I "come out" to someone (some train, or plane), I've made (what i feel) is a positive impact for all of us.

    Is it easier to "pass"? Yes. Ever since I was about 22, I decided that I wouldn't take the easy way. But this is a choice for each of us to make.

    Best,

    Alon
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 23, 2010 4:16 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidI call bullshit. That mindset is the most emotionally detrimental mindset a gay person can have.

    In a professional business meeting, the most common question ever asked is "how's the wife?" or "how's the family?" To answer that question with "none of your business" would create tension between you and your associates due to the rudeness of it.

    Simple business etiquette...you don't tell clients and associates that your family life is none of their business. The proper answer is either "good, thanks" or "my boyfriend/husband/partner is doing great, thanks" or "I'm happily single, but thanks for asking."

    In addition, using that mindset among "friends" is even worse. By doing so, you're basically saying that you're an inferior piece of shit for being gay, and have no real friends because if they knew you were gay they wouldn't be your friend.

    PS. As many of you already know, I had to work out of state all summer in a small town. Before leaving, my boss told me to adopt this mindset to "keep things professional" at the place I'd be working. I literally told my boss - word for word - to "go fuck yourself if you think I'm going back in the closet while everyone else lives freely." He respected my words, and backed off.


    Wow. Well, that's exactly how I'm living... Didn't think that someone out there would describe, in words, how I feel or live, which has not been easy for me to define.