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The Journey Begins

As children, we are taught the heterosexual expectations of our parents. All children learn what it means to be a normal heterosexual and we are given information that will help us navigate the heterosexual world. I like to refer to this as the heterosexual mapping of the world. It has its milestones such as dating, the Senior Prom, marriage and children. However, as gay or bisexual boys this map of the world is useless to us. We have to rebuild a new map with our own milestones and expectations. That is the journey that gay and bisexuals face as they start their journeys to authenticity.

I Am Different

The first milestone in most gay or bisexuals lives is the realization that somehow that they are different from the other boys. As boys, we recognize that we are not quite like the other boys and often times, the other guys recognize that we are different too. Children use the technique of social ostracism to force individuals to conform to the expected norms or be marginalized in the process. Most of us learn to blend into the mainstream and to hide our differences so that we are accepted by our peers. Some of us refuse to conform and we find ourselves being the object of derision and a social outcast forced to live in the margins. Many gay boys will find that playing with the girls is more to their liking than playing the rough sports of the boys.

Am I Gay/Bisexual?

As we enter puberty, our sexuality awakens and we begin our sexual exploration. This process is common for all boys at this point in time and the gay boys will often find willing playmates in the heterosexual boys. However, as association with girls becomes more acceptable, most of the heterosexual boys will move on to date the girls. The bisexual boys may at this time move on to date girls to and not process their liking for boys too. However, the gay boys will realize that they are different and that they like being with other boys. They can't understand what the other boys see in girls. This begins the questioning about whether they are gay? We have been taught by society that being gay is bad or sick. Many of us have been teased for being "sissy" boys and we realize that being effeminate is not socially accepted. Most of us learn to pass as straight at this point but the question will linger.  Today it has become more socially acceptable and more information is available for younger gay men so that they learn to accept themselves at younger ages.

What do I do?

As gay or bisexual young men, we have finished exploring our sexual interest and have in one way or another figured out what we want. Many of us, take the next logical step and begin the journey towards self-acceptance. This path allows us to begin to seek others like ourselves and to grow personally and emotionally in our newfound sexuality. At first, we might tell a few close friends and associates but as we mature and feel more comfortable with ourselves, we begin to tell family and friends. This process is known as the Coming Out process which will be discussed further in the next section.

The Closet

However, there are a lot of guys who for one reason or another find that they can not accept who they are as a gay or bisexual man. They feel the need to hide their sexual orientation from themselves and other people. Often this need arises from personal or religious beliefs. The gay or bi man feels that if other people in his circle of family and friends knew he was gay that they would abandon them. We humans are very social beings and the fear of being abandoned can run deep and cause us to do drastic things. The gay man often buries his desires deep in his personality and this becomes his secret which he must guard at all cost. He feels he must root out all signs of his gay/bi orientation. He begins to loath that part of himself that he feels is wrong and evil and as a result, he begins to suffer from low self-esteem. Many closeted gays, lash out at other out gay people who they fear will out them to the world. Their secret must be maintained at all cost. Many of these closeted individuals, will try to lead a heterosexual lifestyle and get married thinking that the gay feelings will go away. However, they soon find out that they only get stronger the harder he tries to fight them. This leads them to feel like they are living a lie or that they are missing something in life. They experience a longing that won't go away and many of them will finally come to terms with their sexuality. They experience the need to be true to their authentic selves. I would expect that as a gay/bi Dad the majority of us have come to being a parent via this route.

The next section will cover coming out issues.

Page last updated on 11/17/2002
Copyright 2001 by William R. Strutts.  All Rights reserved.