Gay not a defining factor

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    Jan 11, 2013 10:21 PM GMT
    Ok, I've seen this statement made ad infinitum on this site and I'd like to get some other input here because maybe I'm missing something.

    First off the statement: "Being gay is not A or THE defining factor of my life or who I am." Drives me crazy because it seems a bit shortsighted and smacks of "I'm better than those who wear their gayness on their sleeve or march in every Pride Parade or have to tell everyone they meet thay are gay."

    Come on guys, while YOU may not make being gay THE SOLE defining factor in your life, you can't deny that it and all the ramifications that go with it is a HUGE part of it and has had more than just a minor role in shaping your life and the man you have become.

    Maybe your gayness caused you to feel shame so you never let anyone get too close or forged deep friendships in your formative years.

    Maybe you were bullied and have become bitter because of it.

    Maybe you lost out on a job opportunity or promotion because of it.

    Maybe you have been disowned by family and friends because of it.

    Maybe you have been physically attacked because of it.

    Maybe you will never be able to be legally married to your partner.

    Maybe you will be murdered because of it.

    Maybe you will commit suicide because of it.

    Maybe YOU try not to make it THE defining factor of your life but you have to admit the society around us sure can, and if you are honest with yourself, you have to admit it is at least one of the most influential factors that define you and has shaped the man you are today.



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    Jan 11, 2013 10:25 PM GMT
    I think you are right that it will always be a defining factor, if you roll your eyes at a hot girl getting served before you in a bar then that is a viewpoint coloured by being gay for example. And that is just one of a hundred examples of day to day stuff.
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    Jan 11, 2013 10:32 PM GMT
    I call BS.
    Why spend time on a site called RealJock: GAY Fitness Health & Life if it's not defining? Surely there's some Fitness Health & Life website out there for those guys who don't think gay is not an important part of their lives.
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    Jan 11, 2013 10:33 PM GMT
    I completely disagree.
    First I disagree that being "gay" or "straight" is a boolean value. It's a sliding value along one axis of potential sexuality space. Also, I don't accept the idea that you have to choose one extreme or the other and buy into a pre-packaged set of conformities that goes with it.
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    Jan 11, 2013 10:41 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidI completely disagree.
    First I disagree that being "gay" or "straight" is a boolean value. It's a sliding value along one axis of potential sexuality space. Also, I don't accept the idea that you have to choose one extreme or the other and buy into a pre-packaged set of conformities that goes with it.

    This, plus any man who uses boolean gets my attention every single time.

    Boooooooooooooolean babycakes.
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    Jan 11, 2013 10:45 PM GMT
    Totally disagree. It shouldn't be a factor at all. It's just part of who I am. My hair is brown. I'm 5'8". I'm from New York. List goes on.

    It'd be the biggest slap in the face if a newspaper headline said "GAY MAN DID SO AND SO". To me, it suggests that I accomplished that because I'm gay rather then concentrating on my other factors. Maybe I did it because I'm intelligent? Maybe i did it because I'm charming? I'd rather be known for those traits then something totally irrelevant and not worth noting except in my personal sex and love life.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jan 11, 2013 10:45 PM GMT
    All I know is that my life would be a lot different if I were straight.
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    Jan 12, 2013 12:34 AM GMT
    yourname2000 saidNope....not defining.

    A few of those things happened to me, but so what...lot's of people have problems. Don't be defined by your challenges....be defined by your solutions to them.


    Absolutely!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 12, 2013 12:48 AM GMT
    The dictionary defines me.

    Being gay just means I'm smarter than the pussy-whooped straight guys.
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    Jan 12, 2013 2:09 AM GMT
    IceBuckets saidTotally disagree. It shouldn't be a factor at all. It's just part of who I am. My hair is brown. I'm 5'8". I'm from New York. List goes on.

    It'd be the biggest slap in the face if a newspaper headline said "GAY MAN DID SO AND SO". To me, it suggests that I accomplished that because I'm gay rather then concentrating on my other factors. Maybe I did it because I'm intelligent? Maybe i did it because I'm charming? I'd rather be known for those traits then something totally irrelevant and not worth noting except in my personal sex and love life.


    I agree with this...however, I think that is more gay being used as a qualifier. It's like saying you were walking down the street and a bunch of black guys passed you. Why did it matter that they were black? You can just say a bunch of guys walked past you. It's assuming black or gay will give more information to the listener.

    However, I do define myself as a gay man. That's what I identify as, therefore it affects my life. It should not define other people's perception of me. But I suppose other people's actions have affected my self-perceptions. As we grow, though, we slowly figure out who we are and not let others tell us...although that struggle did play a role in our identity.

    However, this gets into who can say what...because I can say I went to a club and there were all these silly gays around me, haha. Maybe I shouldn't say that. Although, it's an term of endearment, rather than....well, however other people use it.

    I think I got lost in my thoughts, so I'm gonna end this now, haha.
  • rdberg1957

    Posts: 662

    Jan 12, 2013 3:21 AM GMT
    Being gay is very important part of me. It is certainly not everything. The older I get, the less I hang out in gay social settings because I go wherever I feel comfortable. My best friends are gay and straight. My gay friend is 74, my straight friend is 70. They have supported me through good times and bad and my life is better for it. My work is also important to me. I have wanted a partner since I came out 33 years ago. I have had relationships 2 years here, 2 there, but no enduring partner. I still want that. In the mean time, I am grateful for the experiences I have every day, helping people gay and straight, young and olld (adolescents and adults). I love to play tennis even though I am not great. Am I a gay tennis player? Well, yes and no. In the summer, I play in a recreational gay league outdoors at times. In the winter, I play indoors, doing drills with men and women, mostly straight I suspect. I get a great deal of joy playing tennis no matter who I play with. Is there more sexual energy playing tennis with a gay man? Hell, yes, if he's hot.

    When I came out, it was very important to me to learn about gay history. I was fortunate to come out at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The gay groups used to sponsor forums and lectures by historians such as Jonathan Katz who wrote Gay American History and James Steakley, who wrote about being gay in pre World War II Germany. It gave me a perspective on gay identity. Gay identities formed in people in reaction to the rejection of the majority culture. This bears some similarity to racial identity, although racial identities carry through families for the most part.

    When I was younger, I wanted to segregate myself from straight people and viewed them as enemies. Now, I see everybody as just people. Since Minnesota defeated the anti-gay marriage amendment, I became even more relaxed.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Jan 12, 2013 3:23 AM GMT
    I am defined by what I am and what I've accomplished, not my circumstances or biology.
  • MidwesternKid

    Posts: 1167

    Jan 12, 2013 3:29 AM GMT
    My character and my actions should define me. Not my sexuality.
  • thegaymessiah

    Posts: 214

    Jan 12, 2013 3:31 AM GMT
    to be fair I think society is getting better.

    it still is highly dependent on your area though. I remember how bad I felt being gay growing up in like one of those ghetto small towns with a bunch of str8 boys who liked rap music. I felt like I couldn't express myself at all or I would get beat up. and yeah i was bullied a lot.

    But if you move to a more liberal area, like say you live in michigan and you go from detroit to ann arbor, suddenly it's so different. Suddenly gays are empowered and gay men actually are the ones with the real political power. Then you feel safe and protected cause you understand nobody is going to tolerate homophobia.

    this conflict will always exist though because think about it, do you really want a gay nazi? Do you want to FORCE people to be nice to you about being gay? It's just not going to work...

    Instead I highly recommend that all gay men live around or near each other. That way we can protect each other from sadistic straight man bullies. I really do believe that. Like Joe My God, I'm a bit of a gay ghetto-ist still. Integration is fine, but we are stronger in numbers.

    And sometimes people act like ALL homophobes are really just gay deep down themselves. I don't buy into that. Sometimes it's just a straight man being an asshole.

    A lot of people blame gay people for homophobia but still, like all forms of bigotry it was still heterosexuals who threw the hardest stones. Just like whites making blacks slaves. But we have to also try to forgive and move forward.... since we're a minority it helps that we all work together.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 12, 2013 3:33 AM GMT
    I'm bisexual and I don't really express that often, unless I make comments about guys and girls. I've messed with both and dated both sexes. My bisexuality is a small part of who I am, but I just go with the flow. My whole life isn't revolved around LGBT culture, nor do I really bash anyone who's life is revolved around it. Gay/Bi men flock to where they're accepted and they can't help that. Who are we to judge?
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    Jan 12, 2013 3:36 AM GMT
    UndercoverMan - you're right on. If you don't see how your sexuality is fundamental to how you view and interact with the world, the I think you're not paying attention.
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    Jan 12, 2013 3:44 AM GMT
    Medjai saidI am defined by what I am and what I've accomplished, not my circumstances or biology.


    word !!
  • thegaymessiah

    Posts: 214

    Jan 12, 2013 3:45 AM GMT
    The point is it doesn't matter if you are around a bunch of openly gay men in the real world because then you can just get to know each other and hang out without it being a big deal. You still might fight and not get along but it doesn't become a Very Special Episode.

    The internet doesn't really count because it's still very closeted-y in ways.

    If you are a gay man isolated living in an area who is trying to act like homosexuality doesn't exist - I feel so sorry for you. That is wrong and evil. Ideally, every place should be gay-inclusive and stand up to homophobes but it just doesn't. Then people internalize that and think that something is wrong with the gay community.

    No no no the gay community is the solution not the problem.
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    Jan 12, 2013 3:58 AM GMT
    I think it is impossible for anyone on here to say that being gay has not affected them in some way. Even if it is just the fact that the population of people available for you to date is lower then being straight. Every person you meet in your life will leave some impact on you regardless. If you were born straight you might be less open minded and think all gay people are gross. You can not say that you would never think like that but there is no way for you to know that because you have always been in the gay shoes.

    Sexuality maybe a spectrum and most studies say that it is but for the majority of society the only acceptable part of the spectrum is 100% straight. I wish I could say that I would be exactly the same person I am now if I were straight but most likely my life would be different. It is very much so the butterfly effect. One little thing in your life that is different can lead to a big change in the long run.

    That all being said I do not want being gay to be the defining part of me. I have lots of other attributes that make me who I am. I would never want to be refereed to as the gay man who did so and so. On the other hand it is probably inevitable that someone would say it. Even famous people right now who try to not be defined by there sexuality still get called the gay man. Look at the super bowl ad with Neil Patrick Harris. He plays a straight man but because he is gay get called out as a gay person pushing a gay agenda. In the future I hope that this goes away but currently it exist. So despite people wanting to be defined by their good works or skills; in this society someone will still say the gay man did it.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Jan 12, 2013 4:11 AM GMT
    itsmejeff said
    art90 saidI agree with this...however, I think that is more gay being used as a qualifier. It's like saying you were walking down the street and a bunch of black guys passed you. Why did it matter that they were black? You can just say a bunch of guys walked past you. It's assuming black or gay will give more information to the listener.

    It is extraneous information that does not matter and only shows biases.

    "Race" and sexuality (though I would argue "gay" has become a gender role) are pointless identifiers. They provide no actual information other than showing that the speaker acknowledges obsolete social constructs. What is the point of identifying anyone based on those qualities? "I was at the malt shop yesterday when my gay neighbor walked in." So? Unless the next sentence is that he sucked your dick, the information about sexuality is unnecessary.

    "Gay" is a Vonnegutian "granfalloon." A claim of membership in the club is the only relating factor What shared experience do all "gays" have? What commonalities do they have? Not much.

    Being reduced to a sexuality/gender role is infuriating. It is worse for fags because the typical representation is of weak pathetic non-masculine male who needs protection. Even the most ordinary of acts become major accomplishments for fags. It is sad.

    But everyone wants to fit in, and sometimes that requires giving up personality and taking on an established role.


    Mentioning race or sexuality is not inherently descriminatory. That assertion is just stupid.
  • 1blind_dog

    Posts: 376

    Jan 12, 2013 4:14 AM GMT
    Totally disagree with that point of view as well.

    I feel like there is an mistaken mixture of "us defining ourselves" and "others defining us" in your points.

    Also, being in pride parades doesn't define anyones gayness. Some homos just like building floats. Besides, straight people love that shit icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jan 12, 2013 4:17 AM GMT
    Well it ain't the overriding factor in my life either.If It was I would be a flame breathing liberal which I am not.I am definitely gay but that is not the first word I would us to describe myself.Some of us are flag wavers others are not.Ryan
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    Jan 12, 2013 4:21 AM GMT
    I think a lot of people say that being "gay doesn't define them" because they reject how society labels them. For example, the first thing that people say when they are describing me is that I'm "Indian". But, so little of my time is spend doing things that has anything to do with India (I rarely watch Indian movies or listen to Indian songs; I don't usually cook Indian foods; I rarely speak anything but English at home). When I describe others, I don't start with the fact that they are "white". I realize that because I'm a minority, my Indian heritage defines me. But, to me, being Indian doesn't define me. Similarly, I rarely do "gay" things (but I definitely want to start doing more) during the course of an average day. So, I don't see how it can define me.
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    Jan 12, 2013 4:22 AM GMT
    I've never really considered it a slap in the face for someone to claim that they're sexuality doesn't define who they are. I've always thought it was meant to combat the mentality that gay people are just that; gay (and nothing more). I always thought it a positive thing.
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    Jan 12, 2013 6:43 AM GMT
    I'm defined by my character. I'm a giver. A true romantic if you will. Someone who commits and will follow through. A very passionate person. People who know me, will tell you that. They won't define me by my sexuality. If they did, well, that would be boring as I have so much more to offer than my sexuality.