Where I grew up, society created the individual. Of course, if you were "different" then you had to take the task on yourself. The greater bulk of the responsibility of creating and grooming your identity fell on your shoulders.
I had to figure out a lot of shit for myself that no one else could tell me - because my parents, family (the world, as far as I knew) were straight. I was "the other". As a result of that journey, I am now who I am. I function on a level of empathy, cognizance and self-awareness that perhaps would not have been available to me if I hadn't been gay. Am I a better person for being gay? Only time will tell.
So I wonder. If I'd been straight, how much of my identity would have been handed to me by my culture and my society on a silver platter? Am I essentially the product of choices that were forced upon me by my sexual orientation?
Each of us can consciously create our identities and grow everyday. By asking this question, I was hoping to point out a dimension and dynamic of self-awareness that is common to all of us - that of being gay, what that means (which can only be understood by occasionally reflecting on the alternative: life if we'd been straight). The straight world affords its citizens a gift that we don't have: the freedom to exchange and compare life experiences and insights both horizontally (peer to peer) and vertically (from one generation to another). This, to be the best of my knowledge is how health societies develop. So the question wasn't meant as a test of the "realness" of any gay man's individual identity: it was an opportunity to share wisdom.
As things stand, online is one of the few places right now where I can discuss anything that has to do with being gay.
Gay men can be very complex beings sometimes