Being Gay and Blind

  • misternick

    Posts: 234

    Mar 13, 2011 3:40 AM GMT
    Howdy RJers,

    I realized a few hours ago that I had never met… or even really thought about… gay men who are blind. I was kind of shocked about how little exposure I have had to the topic at all, so I did what anybody with a sudden interest and no great starting points would do: I hit up Google for some instant answers and, true to form, Google did provide.

    I found some really interesting posts people have made, especially about the influence of sight on one’s sexual orientation. There were some good points made about the belief that homosexuality could be a learned behavior. There are also good essays and personal stories (I found http://www.bentvoices.org/home.html which is pretty neat).

    I also started to think about the reputation that the gay community has for being superficial. It’s discussed on RJ pretty frequently, so I don’t feel the need to elaborate. Being gay can make people feel like outsiders to begin with… Growing up around people who are sighted when you are not, I assume, would also lend easily to feelings of exclusion… Would the double whammy be even worse? (fellow aeroscience geeks, what’s the non-aero-science geek version of interference drag, the whole 2+2=5 concept… compounding?) How would a blind user of a website like RJ, which emphasizes fitness, maybe read the site differently? I’m a little embarrassed to say that I don’t even know if there are any blind members on RJ.
    It also makes me think about how I define fitness… If I wasn’t able to check out the pictures on a guy’s profile, how would I look at it differently?

    Does anybody on here have more experience with this topic? I’m going to be digging around the internet, but I’m all sorts of curious and would really like to talk to someone about it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 13, 2011 7:38 AM GMT
    They are the only ones who will date me.
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    Mar 13, 2011 7:47 AM GMT
    This is indeed a good topic. I wanna follow up on this if you find anything worth mentioning. I wonder if blind can really be gay.
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Mar 13, 2011 7:57 AM GMT
    ddt8665 saidThis is indeed a good topic. I wanna follow up on this if you find anything worth mentioning. I wonder if blind can really be gay.


    What do you mean by "I wonder if [blind people] can really be gay?"
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    Mar 13, 2011 7:59 AM GMT
    ddt8665 said I wonder if blind can really be gay.


    Sight is only one of the ways we perceive the world around us. If you are homosexual and blind you can perceive a man in other ways: touch, sound, smell...taste =D
  • momewrath

    Posts: 90

    Mar 13, 2011 8:16 AM GMT
    I just realized that I don't think I've ever met someone blind and gay.

    I've met an extremely large amount of gay and deaf. I think I've ran into more gay and deaf in my life than straight and deaf, actually. There will usually be a big group in just about every bar and club that I've been to around here. Only seen one or two visit the clubs without a group.

    It's just quite bizarre how I'll rarely see a single deaf person in the world but as soon as I'm in a gay establishment, they're everywhere.
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    Mar 13, 2011 8:29 AM GMT
    What a fascinating concept. There is a subgroup of the American Council of the Blind called Blind LGBT Pride International, that has 200 members (would never have guessed the number is this high) and an annual convention. This year's convention will take place in July in Reno, NV. Apparently there is some research going on in this field. Hopefully it can educate us on the non-visual signals that underlie homosexuality.

    When I first read the thread's title, it reminded me of this reporting blooper that I saw on YouTube:

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    Mar 13, 2011 8:43 AM GMT
    dsmith123 saidWhat a fascinating concept. There is a subgroup of the American Council of the Blind called Blind LGBT Pride International, that has 200 members (would never have guessed the number is this high) and an annual convention. This year's convention will take place in July in Reno, NV. Apparently there is some research going on in this field. Hopefully it can educate us on the non-visual signals that underlie homosexuality.

    When I first read the thread's title, it reminded me of this reporting blooper that I saw on YouTube:



    Thank you!

    This topic did get me thinking "hmm maybe it is learned" but then you saved me.. haha
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    Mar 13, 2011 10:02 AM GMT
    sdgman saidThey are the only ones who will date me.

    icon_lol.gif

    Sorry that I have to laugh as I also have the same thought.
  • misternick

    Posts: 234

    Mar 13, 2011 1:27 PM GMT
    sdgman saidThey are the only ones who will date me.
    Ha!icon_lol.gif

    That news blooper was the bulk of the results I got when I googled "Blind and Gay," it's pretty hilarious =)

    I've never been blindfolded during sex... Lights off isn't really the same... I wonder what I'm missing out on by not focusing on the rest of my senses?

    Thanks for the lead, dsmith, I'm definitely going to read up on those links.
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    Mar 13, 2011 6:23 PM GMT
    Bunjamon said
    ddt8665 saidThis is indeed a good topic. I wanna follow up on this if you find anything worth mentioning. I wonder if blind can really be gay.


    What do you mean by "I wonder if [blind people] can really be gay?"


    Maybe I should restate my question. I wonder if the natural born blind people can really be gay.
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    Mar 13, 2011 6:26 PM GMT
    Ariodante said
    ddt8665 said I wonder if blind can really be gay.


    Sight is only one of the ways we perceive the world around us. If you are homosexual and blind you can perceive a man in other ways: touch, sound, smell...taste =D


    I agree wholeheartedly but don't you think they wouldn't become gay in the first place? And that they could perceive an opposite sex in the same manner (touch, sound, smell, taste) and become straight? I hope I'm wrong though.

    Do I make sense here?
  • torontobud

    Posts: 39

    Mar 13, 2011 6:55 PM GMT
    Attraction has to do with a lot of factors, using different senses, which include sight, but is also broader than that. A person's scent & pheromones are examples of some of the pieces of the puzzle that even unconsciously supposedly help narrow down your search for your 'ideal' or 'type', whether girl or guy.
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    Mar 13, 2011 8:03 PM GMT
    If you have access to professional journals, there's an article written by Patrick White, "How the Blind became heterosexual," that might help.

    Also, you said that there were some good points that being gay may be a learned behavior, any way you could post those?? cause i use blind gays as a way to prove that it's something we're born with...
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Mar 13, 2011 8:15 PM GMT
    I've thought about this, but I'll admit I've done more research and contemplation on the effects of deafness and PTSD, respectively, on being a member of the gay community. I imagine it would be no different for blind men to develop attractions to other men. Unlike visually enabled gay men, I would think their attractions would be more relationship and emotionally driven (in conjunction with physical factors like skin touch, voice, etc.) than visual cues most gay men allow to dictate their attractions.
  • Midas426

    Posts: 965

    Mar 14, 2011 10:27 PM GMT
    I don't have anything to add but this is actually an interesting topic.
  • misternick

    Posts: 234

    Mar 14, 2011 10:46 PM GMT
    FlippSide saidIf you have access to professional journals, there's an article written by Patrick White, "How the Blind became heterosexual," that might help.

    Also, you said that there were some good points that being gay may be a learned behavior, any way you could post those?? cause i use blind gays as a way to prove that it's something we're born with...


    I phrased that poorly - I found a few comments people had made about how the very existence of gay men who were born blind supports the idea that your sexual orientation is not learned.
  • misternick

    Posts: 234

    Mar 14, 2011 11:04 PM GMT
    Alpha1 saidI've thought about this, but I'll admit I've done more research and contemplation on the effects of deafness and PTSD, respectively, on being a member of the gay community. I imagine it would be no different for blind men to develop attractions to other men. Unlike visually enabled gay men, I would think their attractions would be more relationship and emotionally driven (in conjunction with physical factors like skin touch, voice, etc.) than visual cues most gay men allow to dictate their attractions.


    This is kind of going out on a limb so please don't take my comment here as anything argumentative (I'm just thinking and typing)...

    I wonder if being sighted would really drive someone to be more "visually superficial." What if it's just as possible for a blind guy to be shallow as a sighted guy? Maybe it's not about the same things... just because he doesn't know what someone looks like, he may still only be interested in his money or something.
    Basically, for a blind gay man, can other factors "dictate their attraction" just as looks could do it for a sighted guy?


    A short hop from that question... I can't seeing it being out of the realm of possibility for a blind person to lose interest in someone that they find out is not good-looking... social pressure is one hell of a motivator.

    I'm vaguely familiar with the concept of feeling faces to get an idea of what someone else "looks" like. I wonder how different that is... especially for someone who has no visual memories. The closest thing I can think of to simulate it would be blind-folding myself and feeling the face of someone I've never met before... but that obviously wouldn't really come close.

    I know so little about this stuff that I just have more and more questions the longer I think about it. I should be studying or concentrating on work or something...
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    Mar 14, 2011 11:21 PM GMT
    There are plenty of blind and gay guys out there. I personally know a few. I actually work in an industry in which many of our customers are actually blind.

    This is how it works, while the sighted are very sight-dependent and often judge on looks alone the blind do it differently. Believe it or not, they still judge. For example, one of my blind friends was telling me how he met a really cool guy but when he gave him a hug he could tell how overweight he was and how he didn't want to be with that person. Still judgmental, just in a different way.

    One thing I have noticed from seeing multiple blind gay couples is that the idea of dating someone within one's own age range does not seem to be as important. I know 2 couples that are a generation apart. I am sure there are still gay blind individuals who do view age as important however.

    I also want to take this moment to clear up a slight misnomer out there. Many people think that blind people will always want to feel your face so they know what you look like. This is NOT true. Most blind people do not do this as they are taught this is not a normal form of social interaction. My blind friend will ask to feel someone's face in an intimate setting however because it in these moments that you really want to explore each other.

    Just remember that losing a major sense like your sight actually greatly heightens your other senses. All in all the blind do judge, just differently.

    Hope that helps!
  • misternick

    Posts: 234

    Mar 14, 2011 11:29 PM GMT
    That does help, stud =)

    I kind of figured that stuff, but all I can do is speculate. You've got more first-hand experience, so it's greatly appreciated.

    It's easy to forget how someone without their sense of vision is only different in that one specific way. I'm not trying to be offensive, but in a lot of ways the curiosity I have would lead me to the same questions I have for someone who doesn't own a car or doesn't drink... lives that are different from mine.

    I think I've caught a huge interest also because I rely so heavily on my sight. I used to study art and now I work as a pilot... my vision is a huge part of who I am.
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Mar 14, 2011 11:31 PM GMT
    misternick said
    Alpha1 saidI've thought about this, but I'll admit I've done more research and contemplation on the effects of deafness and PTSD, respectively, on being a member of the gay community. I imagine it would be no different for blind men to develop attractions to other men. Unlike visually enabled gay men, I would think their attractions would be more relationship and emotionally driven (in conjunction with physical factors like skin touch, voice, etc.) than visual cues most gay men allow to dictate their attractions.


    This is kind of going out on a limb so please don't take my comment here as anything argumentative (I'm just thinking and typing)...

    I wonder if being sighted would really drive someone to be more "visually superficial." What if it's just as possible for a blind guy to be shallow as a sighted guy? Maybe it's not about the same things... just because he doesn't know what someone looks like, he may still only be interested in his money or something.
    Basically, for a blind gay man, can other factors "dictate their attraction" just as looks could do it for a sighted guy?


    A short hop from that question... I can't seeing it being out of the realm of possibility for a blind person to lose interest in someone that they find out is not good-looking... social pressure is one hell of a motivator.

    I'm vaguely familiar with the concept of feeling faces to get an idea of what someone else "looks" like. I wonder how different that is... especially for someone who has no visual memories. The closest thing I can think of to simulate it would be blind-folding myself and feeling the face of someone I've never met before... but that obviously wouldn't really come close.

    I know so little about this stuff that I just have more and more questions the longer I think about it. I should be studying or concentrating on work or something...


    Well you bring up some valid points with regard to people being superficial, especially gay men. RJ is evidence of gay men being 'visually superficial' - if anyone reading this can't see that... well, icon_neutral.gif

    I really think most guys on this website are driven by what they SEE as opposed to other factors that encompass someone's identity. Granted, interacting with someone in person and seeing a profile picture are two radically different things, but the fact remains that in context to gay men who are visually enabled, I think visual cues and imagery drive their interactions as opposed to other factors, at least initially.

    I can only theorize that blind gay men, being they have no or limited visual stimulation, develop attractions by other means. Albeit, I am not blind, but I have interacted with people who do have impairments, mostly deaf and blind people. From what I have seen of blind people, their 'reality' is very different from our own. I think most greatly value character qualities, personality traits, and conversation over superficial qualities. As for peer pressure, I imagine it is plausible to say their attractions are swayed by such factors, however I think peer pressure in the sense you are implying may not be compatible in the way impaired people encounter peer pressure.

    Most visually, audiably, etc. impaired people I have had the pleasure to meet and befriend have been more or less the targets of social exclusion because they are not 'normal' and on par with people do not have disabilities. I hate to say it, but the gay community doesn't get a gold star for overcoming it's superficiality - I think a blind gay man might have a more difficult existence than most in a romantic context... but I might be wrong. I lived with a handicapped guy in college for a year, and his day to day existence opened my eyes to a greater extent about how the simplest things for me were things he could only contemplate doing. I really hope I didn't diverge off topic....
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    Mar 14, 2011 11:41 PM GMT
    ddt8665 said
    I agree wholeheartedly but don't you think they wouldn't become gay in the first place? And that they could perceive an opposite sex in the same manner (touch, sound, smell, taste) and become straight? I hope I'm wrong though.

    Do I make sense here?


    I don't believe sexual orientation is a learned (or changeable) behavior. I believe you are born with it.
  • misternick

    Posts: 234

    Mar 14, 2011 11:44 PM GMT
    Actually, Alpha, I think you're pretty sharply on-topic. You're kind of getting at the root of what I was really wondering about.

    I'm back to Google for this one, and looking into the conference mentioned in an earlier post, but I wonder what I can do or become involved in to make a one-person contribution to changing the gay community's lack of gold stars.icon_question.gif
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Mar 14, 2011 11:57 PM GMT
    misternick saidActually, Alpha, I think you're pretty sharply on-topic. You're kind of getting at the root of what I was really wondering about.

    I'm back to Google for this one, and looking into the conference mentioned in an earlier post, but I wonder what I can do or become involved in to make a one-person contribution to changing the gay community's lack of gold stars.icon_question.gif


    oh good icon_biggrin.gif I was worried I sounded like my rambling international relations professor icon_neutral.gif
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Mar 15, 2011 12:01 AM GMT
    Well, there aren't really many blind men online, gay or str8. I've run into a few sighted deaf gay men though. They're fun at clubs if you can speak Amislan with them and make fun of the men around you who have no clue what you are saying. Mostly, they felt ostricised from the gay community though because they were different. I saw the abuse and derision in chat rooms. You'd think a minority group would feel sympathy for another minority group within the minority, but not so. We can all be evil, it seems.