On Being Gay

Just as I have submitted several essays about being a person-of-color in America, I am also giving my other identity equal time. This particular blog (one of five) deals with some gay history, background, terminology, assessments and reasons for being. May my readers continue to find my articles educational, enlightening, humorous and entertaining.

The word homo has two entirely different meanings. One is the Latin word for “man,” therefore a noun, and the other is a Greek prefix meaning “the same.” By shortening the word homosexual to homo, the Latin meaning has been usurped in favor of the Greek prefix. Now homo has come to mean queer. But we still have the option to reclaim the original meaning. If someone should call me a homo, I won’t be offended. I will simply reply, ‘Yes, I know that I am a man. What’s your point?’ “Are you a homosexual?” ‘Sure, I enjoy having sex at home.’

The word homosexuality was coined by a Hungarian physician, Karl Maria Benkert (or Kertbeny), in 1869, in an open letter to the Prussian minister of justice, who called for a repeal of laws persecuting homosexuals. So before that time, and even since, some of the more archaic expressions used to refer to a gay man have been: androgyne, androtrope, auntie, backgammon player, bent, bird, bugger, bum boy, bumjumper, buttercup, catamite, cornholer, fairy, fart catcher (!), finocchio, fruit, fruitcake, ganymede, gentleman (or usher) of the back door, goody-goody, gunsel, homophile, invert, jessie, la[h]-de-da[h], limp wrist, lizzie or lizzie boy, mary, minny, molly, nance (plus [Miss] Nancy and nancy-boy), nelly, 175er (derived from Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code of the 1920s which made harsh criminal provisions against homosexual acts), pansy, pederast, percy boy, poger, ponce, poof (also pofter, pooftah, poofter, poove, pufter), quean, shirt lifter, sod or sodomite, tommy or tommy dodd, uranian (referring to the muse Urania, who was said to be the protector of homosexual love), urning and willie boy. Some outmoded terms used for homosexuality are: androgynism, cut sleeves (of Chinese origin; stay tuned for the explanation), homogenitalism, homophilia, intersexualism, mental hermaphroditism, similisexualism, uranianism and uranism.

Emperor Ai, the young Han Dynasty ruler who was emperor from 27 to 1 BCE, was besotted with Dong Xian. Ai doted on young Dong, giving him riches, weapons and eventually making him supreme commander of the armed forces. The story goes that the two lovers were in bed one night, and Dong fell asleep on the arm of Ai’s robe. In order to rise without waking Dong, the Emperor cut off his sleeve and slipped away, leaving his beloved to sleep undisturbed. This tale gave rise to the phrase “the passion of the cut sleeve,” a Chinese euphemism for same-sex love.

According to historian John Boswell, the first public use of the term gay, in the sense that it is used today to refer to homosexuality, was probably in the 1938 film Bringing Up Baby. Cary Grant, appears in a frilly negligee, and when asked why he is wearing such a frock, he exclaims, “Because I went gay all of a sudden!” (And the truth shall set you free!)

German lawyer and gay rights advocate Karl Heinrich Ulrichs [1825-1895] was the first person in modern history publicly to acknowledge his homosexuality in 1867, while speaking to a conference of jurists in Munich. The word heterosexual first appeared in the 1890s, in American medical journals. “Hetero-” means “other than usual” or “different.” (But I thought that people don’t want to be different.) Interestingly, the term originally referred to individuals sexually attracted to both sexes.

I suppose that most folks probably are familiar with the origin of the word lesbian to denote a female homosexual. Sappho [ca. 630-570 B.C.] was a Greek poet who was born and lived on the island of Lesbos. Much of her work was passionate love poems about young women, which prompted her homeland to be associated with girl-on-girl love. Now due to the fact that men and women still reside on Lesbos and therefore are referred to as Lesbians, many of the inhabitants feel that the term, as it is used to denote gay women, insults the identity of the people living there, particularly those who are not gay. I can respect that and understand their complaint.

There is a better word we could use that I think is more appropriate anyway. Sapphist (and sapphism) refer to the actual person who is suspected to have been a gay woman. Of course, it’s probably too late to make a universal change in terms, but at least I can do my part by adopting the other word in place of lesbian, the exception being when the word is used in a direct quotation. The term may be already catching on, however. On Ovation’s “The Artful Detective” (aka “Murdoch Mysteries”) there is a romantic relationship situation with two female characters, and they are being referred to on the show as sapphists. So I guess somebody got the same idea as I did about it.

There was a time when sapphists had a problem of even being acknowledged. When Queen Victoria was once asked to sign a Criminal Law Amendment Act, which provided for the suppression of brothels and imposed stiff penalties for homosexual conduct, she crossed out all references to sapphism. “Female homosexuals,” Ms. Vicky insisted, “simply do not exist.” “They” (the Queen) were not amused by that finding. Interestingly, my computer’s word processor program that I use, which has a built-in vocabulary for the spell-check feature, apparently does not have those words (sapphism, sapphist) in its word database. When typed, they show up as underlined alerts, to be modified or corrected. Just like Queen Victoria, it seems that whoever created the program is also denying these women’s existence.

(# …Isn’t it rich? Isn’t it queer?… #) The word queer, incidentally, was first employed in 1925 in the American theatrical periodical Variety. I once came across a magazine article arguing the use of the word queer as interchangeable with gay. One faction would like the word queer to replace “gay and lesbian,” while the other group contends that queer is not a substitute for gay. They say that “queer is a separate subcultural identity and movement that spans many subcultures, some if it from the gay movement, some from dyke culture, some from punk rock, death rock, avant-gardism, fashion rebellion, ‘genderfuck,’ and general kookiness/quirkiness. One need not be specifically homosexual to be queer. There are hets who are ‘queer,’ but even this defies the very essence of queerdom, because the main thing about being queer is that queers resist labels and categories.” (But isn’t queer itself a label?) “Queers do not want to be ‘gay,’ which means assimilationist, homosexual, normal. They want to be different, odd, strange, independent.” I mention this only to let those “real queers” out there know that I am aware of their movement, but I choose not to be part of it. Just so you’ll know, I do use the two terms interchangeably, so my queer is the common, everyday, B-flat, gay and sapphist variety, not necessarily the Radical Faerie or other subcultural variety.

This attempt to include everyone into some kind of sexual identity has reached the point of preposterous absurdity, in my opinion. It started out as the “gay” community but as women desired their own designation, “lesbian” was added. Then the bisexuals wanted to be included, as did the transgendered group. Let’s not forget the “queers” (or “questioning”), the “intersexuals” and your “asexuals.” So now the string of initials have come to read, “L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+” The “+” is meant to designate anybody who does not identify with any of the other subgroups. That list includes pansexual, demisexual, graysexual, aromantic, nonbinary, cisgender, gender non-conforming, gender fluid, gender neutral, genderqueer, M.A.A.B. (male-assigned at birth), F.A.A.B. (female-assigned at birth) and U.A.B. (unassigned at birth), whatever that is supposed to mean. So, who’s left? Doesn’t that include everybody in some way? I think it’s all so silly. And it was the gay men who started the movement. So how did the sapphists get top billing? Lesbian and Gay Center, Lesbian and Gay Chorus, Lesbian and Gay Apple Corps Marching Band. Is it always ladies first?

There are several historical theories about the possible origin of the words fag and faggot as a pejorative for gay men. 1. The most common belief is that faggot referred to the bundle of sticks and twigs used as kindling for burning your sodomites and your buggers at the stake. This medieval practice goes as far back as the 14th century.

2. In British slang around the time of World War I, cigarettes were often referred to as “fags.” Despite their growing popularity at the time, they were frequently regarded as unmanly, compared to a cigar or pipe, and men who smoked them were ridiculed as effeminate. As a result, cigarettes came to be identified with homosexuality, and gay men came to be called fags themselves.

3. In 19th-century English public and private schools, there was a system of hazing, or “fagging,” under which the lower classmen were obliged to perform certain duties—such as polishing boots, running errands, or merely obeying whimsical orders—for the upperclassmen. And yes, the younger boys also provided sexual favors for the seniors. To be one of these flunkies or sex slaves was to be, in the slang of the day, a fag.

4. As far back as the 16th century, faggot has been a term of contempt applied to a disagreeable woman. The term, in this context, may eventually have been applied to gay men, since they have often been seen in much the same contemptuous light as women and generally regarded as objectionable or disagreeable. So you can take your pick.

A while ago, the cohosts of “The View” reported on two incidents of bad behavior by Justin Bieber and Jonah Hill. One or both of these guys apparently had used the word faggot, and were told that it was the same as calling a black person the N-word. I hope I am not in the minority about this, but I do not regard the use of faggot to be in the same taboo vein as the utterance of the N-word. Being both black and gay myself, I think that I can make a fair assessment. I realize that there are those who object to faggot because of the word’s dubious history and the very negative connotations originally associated with it. But they should also realize that many words change their meanings and connotations over the years. Lynching, for example, was an acceptable practice for some once upon a time. So now that it is not acceptable, should we never use the word again? Well then, director David Lynch and actor Jane Lynch had better change their surnames!

For myself, I happen to like the word faggot. Most words have multiple meanings and are defined by who uses them and in what particular context. Unless one is referring to a German bassoon or a bundle of sticks, both of which are inanimate objects, faggot can be only one other thing. It’s exclusively our word, and we should claim it as our own. It’s only derogatory if we ourselves consider it to be. Similarly, many sapphists don’t mind being called “dyke” or “bull-dagger” or “muff-diver.” There is even a sapphist rock ‘n’ roll band who call themselves The Dyketones and a motorcycle club called Dykes-on-Bikes. They all are just identifying words. It’s not so much the word itself anyway, but the shame attached to the accusation. It doesn’t matter what term is used if you don’t like who you are. When the terms don‘t even refer to you personally, why should their use bother you? But if you are what they say you are, then just own up to it. “That guy just called me a faggot.” But ya are, Blanche! Ya are a faggot!

(# …But if, Baby, I’m the bottom, you’re the top. #) For my less-worldly readers who are not familiar with the Top-Bottom mystique, the “top” is the aggressive, or dominant position or role taken during a sexual act, while the “bottom” is, conversely, the passive or submissive position or role. Many homosexuals like to identify themselves as one or the other, but there are those of us who are not strictly either and call ourselves “versatile.” I don’t have a strict preference; I can go either way, depending on whom I’m with, the situation and/or what mood I’m in at the time. This is a routine that The Flirtations used to use in our show. We’d tell our audience, “You all have heard of the Four Tops? Well, here you have the Four Bottoms!” They would also punnily introduce me, the bass, as “the Bottom of the group,” (although in actuality, of the four of them, I am the only real top, by default most of the time).

A useful term in gay parlance is “T,” and it has a colorful history. It came out of slave times. You see, when the house slaves of the antebellum South were serving the old belles on the plantation, they used to eavesdrop on the gossip at their tea parties. Those belles would be dishing about what Beauregard was doing with Melindy Sue and who was sneaking around in the woodpile with whom. Sometimes the slave women would become so engrossed in all the gossip that they would stop paying attention to what they were doing and spill the tea. Then when they got back to the kitchen, the cooks and helpers would ask the servers, “Well, tell us, Girlfriend, did you spill the tea?”—meaning, did you hear any good gossip?

After the war was over and the slaves were freed, many of them went into “domestic work,” where they continued to use the expression “spill the tea” to mean “give me the juicy dirt.” Many of the rich Southern women’s sons grew up to be gay, and these rich queens brought the expression to the bars, where it was shortened to T, meaning “truth, pertinent facts, gist of, story, dirt,” etc. Now, to avoid possible confusion in gay terminology, you should be aware of the British slang word tea, which means urine. Thus we get the expression “tearoom” or “T-room” (aka “throne room”), meaning public toilet, especially one that is known for its cruising and/or sexual activities.

There is a type of nocturnal spirit that allegedly has sexual intercourse with people while they are sleeping. But here’s the catch. The heterosexists who realized this creature have given it gendered form when it does its thing. When the human partner is a woman, the spirit must be in male form and is called an incubus. When a man is getting it, the spook, called a succubus, is in the form of a woman. But since the thing is invisible (you can’t see it, you just feel yourself having sex), how can its actual gender be determined? In the case of a blow job, for instance, a mouth is just a mouth. The pleasure or effectiveness derived from same depends on one’s individual technique, not their gender.

As we humans seem to have the need to personify everything, different names for the two genders had to be given to this unseen entity for the benefit of our own peace of mind. I mean, we can’t be cavorting with phantom, homosexual spirits, now can we? What would people say? “I am really worried about our friend Bruce. He says that he has nightly sex with a disembodied spirit.” “Really? Does Bruce know who she is?” “Well, that’s just it! He claims that it’s a man!” “But how can he tell?” “Exactly. How can he tell?” I, personally, would prefer to be done by the succubus, because I like the name, if you get my drift. And if I choose to make my succubus male, that’s my prerogative. Who can tell the difference?

I actually have experienced this phenomenon several times in my life, so I know that it exists. What happens is, I feel a weight on me, holding me down on the bed. I am unable to raise myself or sometimes even move, so I know something is there, although I don‘t see anything. Maybe young men having “wet dreams” and girls experiencing dormant orgasms are the result of “succubusian” seduction. That would explain how one could achieve ejaculation/orgasm without actually touching oneself. They are getting a little extraneous help. And while they are asleep, yet!

I hereby offer some common and not-so-common, published explanations for why people are gay (with my own editorial comments). “Homosexuality is a hereditary genetic trait passed on from one generation to the next.” (Yeah, so?) “Homosexuality is a natural sexual impulse within all of us, it’s just that certain individuals express it more than others.” (I’ll buy that.) “Homosexuality is caused by hormonal imbalances; male homosexuals have unusually high levels of estrogen, a female sex hormone, in their systems. Other theories claim that gay men have too much androgen, a male sex hormone, in their systems.” (Well, which is it? Besides, that sounds as if they are describing nellies and butches, who are not always necessarily gay.) “Male homosexuals were raised by a dominant, smothering mother and a weak, indifferent father.” (So, no boys in this situation have a chance to be straight? How about brothers who grow up in the same family situation? One may be gay and the other may be straight. That occurs even with twins. Parental influence don’t have anything to do with how we turn out. I don‘t agree with that one at all.)

“Young people become gay by seduction, molestation and/or recruitment by experienced adult homosexuals.” (I don’t believe that. One cannot make someone gay if they don’t have the natural inclination for it, just like you can’t make anyone straight if they are not.) “A child raised or treated as a member of the opposite sex—for example, a little boy dressed up like a girl or given a doll to play with, or a girl being allowed to play with trucks and football—will grow up gay.” (Yeah, right.) “Social or legal acceptance of homosexuality leads to its spread; if young people see homosexuality accepted all around them, they’ll think it’s okay to be gay and will become gay themselves.” (And maybe not, too.) “…because of a traumatic sexual experience with the opposite sex.” (That’s a good enough reason, although I have not heard of many women who were raped by a man turning to women as a result.) “…because of guilt feelings or ‘castration anxiety’ associated with having intercourse with women.” (Hunh?!) “Men with small penises become gay because they are afraid to have sex with women.” (Do they think that women are the only size-queens?) “…because they are too unattractive or too shy to make it with the opposite sex.” (Well, don’t give those trolls to us—we don’t want them either!)

Other absurd suspected causes of homosexuality are: astrological influences, having too many women teachers (what is too many?), loud disco music, masturbation (I’m guilty), smoking marijuana (guilty), undergoing a vasectomy (Oh, come on!). And my favorite: an aboriginal society in New Guinea believes that men will become homosexuals if they eat the meat of uncircumcised pigs! (Well, hot dog!) But wait, there’s hope! There have been some suggested “cures” for homosexuality: “the love of a good woman” (Yeah, that should do it), anaphrodisiac therapy, aversion therapy, diet therapy, drug therapy, physical therapy, radiation therapy, shock treatment, lobotomy, castration, torture, exorcism and death. Oh, that last is a good one. Let’s cure homosexuality by killing all the queers!

I don’t understand how these so-called physicians, scientists and specialists, who are supposed to be intelligent, logical and open-minded, can come up with those ridiculous remedies and deem them to be effective. First of all, they must be presuming that being gay is something that needs to be cured. And then, how is shock treatment or cutting off part of one’s brain supposed to fix the “problem’? There is no guarantee that it will change your sexual orientation, but if it does, at what cost? It could kill your sex drive completely so that you won’t want to do it with anybody, male or female! Fortunately, it appears that all those antiquated, reversion therapy tactics are nowadays considered passé and unacceptable.

You know, it’s rather ironic that as prepubescent youngsters, it’s acceptable for boys to hate the company of little girls and retain only other boys as their close friends and companions. But then, when they reach puberty, their mindset is supposed to turn completely around and now start directing all their attention to the girls, whom they just only a while ago couldn’t stand. Conversely, a young boy who initially hangs with the girls and then later ignores them for the attention of his male friends, must be harboring gay feelings.

Take my own situation, for instance. When I was in elementary school back in South Bend, Indiana, during school recess while the boys would be out on the playground playing softball and basketball, I would be over jumping rope or playing hopscotch with the girls. So, I’m a bit confused. Those schoolboys can admit to hating girls and would rather hang with other boys and still be regarded as normal, heterosexuals. But the boys who prefer the company and companionship of girls over their male schoolmates are accused of being aspiring queers. That may be true in most cases, but that’s fucked up!

I think it has to do with what straight men think of women in general. You see, little boys who are potentially-het, don’t yet have any interest in sex, therefore they don’t have any use for girls. But when they get older and those libidinous hormones begin to kick in, it’s then that they start sniffing after the girls, because they want to have sex with them. I mean, that’s all girls are good for, aren’t they? Since the gay boys, who I believe are more precocious in sexual matters, already know that there will never be any sex involved, can establish their female relationships much earlier. That certainly was my case. That’s one indication that gay people seem to be more evolved as human beings than straight people are. But why is it always the gays who receive the negative criticism?

In the stage play and subsequent movie Tea and Sympathy (1956) the main character, Tom Lee, is a sensitive 18-year-old prep school student who is more interested in music and reading than in athletics and is promptly regarded by the other boys to be a sissy. They don’t come right out and call him gay, but they give him the epithet, “Sister Boy.” Tom most likely isn‘t really gay–he’s only perceived to be. In fact, he is secretly in love with his housemaster’s wife. One scene in the film has Tom participating in a sewing circle with the campus wives. Of course, the school jocks give Tom the business for his choice of company and activity. These women are off-limits for dating and sex with the boys, so why on earth would a normal guy want to hang out with them socially? He must be like them, right? Whereas with most straight men, if a certain woman is not a potential sexual conquest for him, he has no use for her at all, while gay men like women for their mere being and don’t regard them as sexual objects.

People tend to use the word like with a sexual connotation. For many of them, “Do you like women?” translates to “Do you ‘have erotic feelings for’ them?” The straight guy who claims that he likes women, more often than not, really means that he likes what he can get from them, like sexual and other favors. When a straight man spies a woman who he considers to be attractive, what is his real reason for showing interest and pursuing her? He wants to make it with her! “She looks like a real nice girl.” Well, they all look like real nice girls. Why are you singling that one out specifically? If he just wanted to talk or be friends with her, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like, would it? His ultimate goal for her, therefore, must be a sexual conquest.

That is certainly evident in the periods of time and places where women had no social standing, power or influence whatsoever. Their bodies were all they had to offer a man. Of course, he usually had to marry her, but that was her goal anyway. Even now, a straight man’s interest in any woman must be sexual, or why else would he bother with her at all? I suppose it is possible for a straight man and woman to be just platonic friends, but it’s probably not such a common occurrence. And some guys don’t even wait for compliance from the woman. They want it badly enough that they will take it anyway, whether she agrees to it or not.

It’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If gay men didn’t like women, as many contend, why do so many of them become transvestites/drag queens/female impersonators? Who dresses up on Halloween as somebody whom they can’t stand? Many become hair stylists, makeup artists, fashion designers and photographers, among others, whose very jobs are working closely with women on a regular basis. They didn’t choose to work on a female-deficient oil rig in Alaska, for example.

The gay icons of the entertainment field are mostly women. It’s the gay men who love Mariah Carey, Cher, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Lady Gaga, Judy Garland, Madonna, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, the female characters of “Dynasty,“ and have made cult classics out of “Designing Women,” “Desperate Housewives,” “The Golden Girls,” Mommie Dearest, “Sex and the City,” Valley of the Dolls and The Women, for example. One of my personal favorites is Tallulah Bankhead.

For straight men, they admire John Wayne, Cary Grant, Elvis Presley and action heroes like “James Bond,” Tom Cruise and Samuel L. Jackson. They prefer films about manly men over those tacky “chick flicks“ their girlfriends and wives drag them to see. I happen to love the cable-TV channel Lifetime, which caters to feminine sensibilities and situations, but I have heard straight males tell me that they wouldn’t be caught dead watching “that women’s channel. Ugh!”

So ironically, it’s not gay men who dislike women. On the contrary, we don’t have anything against women with regard to their gender. We just don’t want to have sex with them. That’s the big difference. Most of your misogynists are heterosexual. It’s not we gays who exploit and abuse women and make them the regular victims of rape and murder. Most gay men have at least one close female friend, and unlike straight guys whose girls and wives would like them to be exclusive with only them, gays can have more than one girl friend. I once made a list of my straight friends, both male and female, and not so surprisingly, there were many more women on the list then there were men. And let’s not forget the fact that many gay men are or were very close to their mothers, who are women, by the way. Many straight men, unless he, too, is a mama’s boy, tend to bond more closely with their dad, another man.

I am one of those who happens to believe that we are all born the way we are going to be, as far as our sexual orientation goes. No one turns gay or straight later in life unless they already are. How we choose to manifest these natural inclinations when we become physically sexual is then up to us. I did not make up the standard rules of proper sexual behavior, and not knowing who did, I don’t feel obligated to follow some unknown person’s regulations.

The way I see it, God put two types of our particular human species on this earth, male and female (discounting true hermaphrodites), and we all have been given the free will to choose toward whom we direct our affections. Therefore, all men have the choice of women, men or both, and all women have the choice of men, women or both. That’s it. It’s that simple. Then hermaphrodites and transsexuals, too, have the same choices. I suppose then that would make everybody basically bisexual by nature, but with a decided preference, if you will.

Consider these analogies. Some of us are left-handed instead of right-handed, but that does not make either of us wrong. That’s just how we turned out. We have a two-party political system in this country. If one chooses to be a Democrat instead of a Republican, that does not make them wrong. It’s their choice. It is the same with our sexuality. Which sex we direct our carnal interests to is either a choice or just how we happened to turn out. People in the world all have different desires and interests. Why do we all have to do the same things? Everybody does not want to be married and raise a family. Those who do choose to make babies in the traditional manner are required to go the male-female route, but those of us who are not interested in procreation don’t need to be with the opposite sex, if that is not to our liking. In fact, with all the artificial methods available to us now, men and women don’t even have to have actual intercourse with each other in order to conceive.

Many humans contend that we all should stay with our own kind. Why don’t they apply that notion to gender then? Maybe men should cohabitate only with other men and women only with women. The etched-in-stone proclamation that every man and woman on earth are obligated to have sexual relationships only with the opposite sex is completely arbitrary and elitist. I am so sick of that tired, stupid and pointless defense of heterosexuality that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” That statement is no more valid than if someone says, “Mother Goose created Jack and Jill, not Jack and Bill.“ The fact of the matter is, it is Man, not God, who created Adam and Eve, but God did make Adam and Steve, Adam and Yves, and Madam and Eve, too! These people don’t seem to realize, or care, that they are basing their entire case on a myth. Any intelligent, logical person knows that Adam and Eve were not real people. (Check out my For the Bible Tells Me So blog, if you need convincing.) It’s all made up. So if there never were any Adam and Eve, how do they justify their position then? What else do you have for me?

Some people argue that homosexuality is a “crime/sin against Nature” and “an abomination against God” and all that other judgmental rhetoric. If everyone would come to the realization that sexual relations can occur for purposes other than actual procreation, then they would see that it doesn’t matter with whom one has sex. Deeming homosexuality to be wrong is being judgmental and unfair besides. If I don’t intend to make a baby with a woman, then how can it be wrong for me to have recreational sex with a man? My not wanting to have non-procreative sex with a woman is my prerogative.

Since the Almighty Creator is responsible for all Its creations, why can’t everyone accept the fact that homosexuals are also God’s plan and we are put here for a useful purpose, just like everyone else? Consider, too, that this planet would be more overcrowded than it already is, if it weren’t for the non-breeders that keep the population under manageable control. That’s an important function right there, although I‘ve never heard an antigay advocate acknowledge that fact. Maybe they think that it’s too insignificant a point to mention, or they probably never even thought of it. I don’t take anything for granted.

Although we know that single gay people and couples do have children on a regular basis by whatever means, they are always planned and wanted. We are not the ones that have multiple children indiscriminately with no aforethought a lot of the time. It’s these thoughtless, irresponsible, heterosexual breeders that are most contributing to the overpopulation of the world, not we gays. It’s not the children of gays who are suffering from starvation and pestilence in Third World countries. But we are the ones that some people want to prevent from making families. We also set the standards for aesthetic good taste. I mean, would you let some het decorate your summer cottage on Fire Island?

In all seriousness, though, the fact remains that homosexuals are no different than anybody else, in terms of their “human being.” Every heterosexual characteristic, function, physique, personality, opinion, viewpoint, occupation or lifestyle has a homosexual equivalent. A person’s sexual orientation should be no more an issue than the brand of toothpaste that they use. And majority should not be a determining factor of what is right or wrong. Even if there are probably more straights in the world than there are queers, it does not mean that the smaller group’s basic human rights should be compromised or even ignored. With all the diversity of human experience, the individual social groups will never all be equal in number anyway, so each minority group should be afforded the same importance and respect as the majority.

There is a predominate bias in our society on the side of the espoused, clothed, housed, attractive, lean, tall, able-bodied, healthy, sane, literate, right-handed, young adult, American, male, Caucasian, Christian deist, heterosexual, motorist. And anyone who is a member of society outside of this very specialized gentry is subject to some sort of discrimination and/or persecution. Therefore, different standards of living are imposed upon single people, nudists, homeless people, ugly people, overweight and fat people, short people, physically-challenged people, the sick and shut-in, HIV+ people and PWAs, the mentally-ill, illiterates, “southpaws,” children and the aged, foreigners and immigrants, women, nonwhites, non-Christians, including agnostics and heathens, queers, and people who don’t drive. There are only a few individuals who don’t belong to any of the social groups I just mentioned, but the majority of people in the world are in at least a few of them. I, myself, fit into ten of these groups, so I know how it is.

One conservative survey says that over 2 million American homosexuals are married or at some time in their life have been married. Actually, I suspect that the number is much higher, and even if it isn’t, that is still a lot of people leading dishonest, double lives. Most have admitted knowing or at least suspected that they might be gay when they got married, and the rest were in major denial about it, so why did they go through with it? Because they have been brainwashed to reject their true sexuality for the socially- and morally-accepted one. They try to convince themselves that being married will “straighten” them out. Never mind that eventually they create frustration, resentment and betrayal for their spouses, their families and even themselves.

All this can be avoided if children are taught to recognize, acknowledge and accept their homosexual tendencies when they first become aware of them, and then encouraged to go with these feelings rather than doing what is socially-expected of them. But then some marry with the full knowledge that they are gay, with the hope that their marriage will absolve them of any public suspicion of their homosexuality, and some people are gullible enough to buy into it. If they’re married, they just couldn’t be gay. I have encountered so many gay married people in my life, especially men, that I am not impressed or deterred by anyone’s marital status. The proclamation, “But he’s married!” does not influence me in the least. ‘So? Your point being…?’

(“Of course, people do go both ways.”) Let me say a word here about the often-misunderstood, so-called bisexuals. Some people contend that there are no real bisexuals (those who get equally turned on by either sex), just confused individuals in some degree of denial or sexual identity crisis. I believe that there are a few true bisexuals in the world–I know one or two myself–but I’ll bet they are in the minority, because more often than not, they will strongly prefer one sex to the other. I think that many may be basically gay in their heart but will occasionally dabble with the opposite sex. For instance, if a man who is married is having affairs exclusively with other men, he may consider himself bisexual because he’s married to a woman, but if he’s out fucking guys every chance he gets, I’m sorry, that’s just a married faggot. The same goes for women. She may enlist a man to give her children, but if she has been shacking up and muff-diving with her girlfriend for 10 years, those kids’ mother is a dyke.

Then some of these so-called bisexuals will get all indignant when you call them gay. “I am not gay, I am bisexual!” they’ll say. But, my dear, you still are gay. In my opinion, bisexuals are just special types of gays, just like sapphists and transsexuals are special types of gays. If one is not exclusively and strictly heterosexual, then they fall under some category of gay identity. You know, it’s not always about the physical act of sex anyway. Sexuality is a state of mind. I think, therefore, I am, not necessarily what I do. I knew this guy at college who admitted to me that he often dreamed and fantasized about other men, although he claimed not to have acted upon it…yet. So he didn’t consider himself gay because he hadn’t had same-sex.

One can be a lifetime celibate and still be gay or straight. I have friends who are as gay as I am; they just don’t have sex anymore. Being gay brings with it a certain sensibility and mentality which goes beyond the physical sex act. There are your virgin teens and even those older, who think that they might be gay, and their parents will tell them, “How do you know if you haven’t had sex yet?” But that’s just it. If someone has gay feelings and thoughts but has not yet done anything about it, then they probably are gay. I always did like girls growing up, but I never considered that I might be straight because I didn’t desire to have sex with any of them. I always preferred boys.

During my travels I have encountered certain individuals (some quite unattractive, I might add) who claimed to be bisexual. (What, do they have sex only twice a year?) But I interpret that as their being so desperate for love and sex that they will do it with anybody who will have them, male or female! In their situation, they feel that they can’t be too choosy. You know, first come, first served. It at least broadens their options.

There are individuals who, because they still have not accepted the idea that two men or two women can have a relationship on equal terms, feel that they have to effect the manner of the opposite gender to attract a same-sex mate. That’s why we have your nelly queens, your butch dykes and your transvestites and transsexuals, not that I have anything against them. But I believe that these people think that they cannot relate romantically to someone of their own sex unless they act the opposite or seek someone who plays the opposite role, therefore justifying their particular proclivity. This is not just my theory. I have heard certain ones confirm this idea. One woman, when she found that she had feelings for other women, rather than accepting the fact that she might be gay, concluded that she must be a transgender and proceeded to have a sex change. So that makes things right then, huh? I love men because they are men, and not because I think that I am a woman by design. I am all man myself.

If I were sexually attracted to women, I would get a real one, not a man that is pretending to be a woman! I had a (purportedly) straight friend who had an inclination for quite masculine, but straight, women. Every girlfriend that he was involved with seemed like a big, ol’ bulldyke to me. When I brought this observation to his attention, he even admitted that he did indeed prefer manly women. I have known others with similar penchants. I think that they find themselves attracted to men, but they are in denial of their own gayness, so they get as close as they can to a man—without crossing over completely—by going with butch women, therefore they can still call themselves straight. In the same way, I expect there are women who have similar leanings towards very effeminate straight men.

Then there are the guys–I don’t know how to classify them–who enjoy making it with “chicks-with-dicks.” These are the pre-op trannies who appear to be women in every way, except they have chosen to retain their penises. As prostitutes, especially, they seem to do very well, as they satisfy the woman aesthetic for these guys, but they also provide that something extra to play with. Although I have not yet experienced it myself and despite my earlier claim about my preference for realness, I could make it with one of those “she-males,” if I ever get the chance, just like I wouldn’t be turned off by a “man” with a vagina! Look out, Buck Angel! As long as there is some instance of the “male element” present, I could probably get into it.

There is an emerging queer subculture in America among young black and Latino men that is not a new thing but is receiving some attention for a while now. Actually, it is not exclusively a “black thing,“ as everybody’s doing it. These “Down Low” individuals, or DLers, regularly have sex with other men but don’t consider themselves gay. Some have wives and maintain girlfriends, yet continue to make it with men on the sly. You see, these closeted gays, er, guys, associate being gay with the white community and effeminate sissies, neither of which they are. So they can even admit that they enjoy having sex with men, but as long as they act very butch and play the top, for the most part, they are not really gay, you see.

Since the animal kingdom does not concern itself with our human morals, we should expect that homosexuality would occur with them as well. There is studied evidence of same-sex attraction in 63 distinct mammalian species, among others, but unlike us humans, they are all open about it and not at all judgmental. They don’t know from closetness. They don’t consider what they are doing is wrong, and they don’t care what anybody thinks about them anyway. A few cases of note. In 1989 it was discovered that a significant amount of the male sheep at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Sheep Experimental Station in Dubois, Idaho was gay. Upon observation, they found that the gay rams were into anal intercourse with the other males, but there is a serious problem among them—most of them are tops and have trouble finding another one to stand still for him to mount! Human gay males should be so lucky! With us, there is an overabundance of bottoms, and good tops are an endangered species!

Potential sapphist sheep, too, have a problem of visibility, since female sheep solicit sex by standing still, and it’s very rare for a female to mount another female. So if there really are sapphists in the flock, there is no way to tell. I would hope that these poor, neglected ewes are at least getting some action from their attending shepherds, as they have been known to do. And I wonder if these bestiophile shepherds target only the ewes? Wouldn’t they probably suck a ram’s rod if given the chance? You know where they get virgin wool from, don’t you? From very ugly sheep!

Roy and Silo are a pair of gay penguins who lived together for twenty years in the Central Park Zoo. They had been observed cuddling and cooing and, I imagine, other things too. They were profiled in the New York Times and other publications across the world. The couple are also proud parents. When the zookeepers presented them with an egg, the two took turns sitting on it for several weeks until their daughter, Tango, was born, who turned out to be a sapphist herself! Long may they all prosper.

It appears that movies and TV, too, have begun to acknowledge the existence of homosexual animals. In Legally Blond 2: Red, White & Blond (2003) lawyer Reese Witherspoon discovers that her pet male chihuahua, Bruiser, has a mutual sexual attraction to judge Bruce McGill’s male rottweiler. One scene has him confessing to Congress and to the Court that “My dog is gay!”

An episode of the TV series “Eli Stone,” another lawyer show, once took on a case of two male life-companion chimpanzees living at the zoo who are separated when the Powers-That-Be realized that the two are a romantic couple. It’s not enough that some tend to meddle in other people’s love lives, they don’t even want our animal friends to be themselves, especially if they happen to be gay. The defense lawyers assigned to the case actually had to fight in court to get the two chimps back together. Fortunately, they did win the case, the lovers were reunited, and I suppose lived happily ever after.

Research scientists in Washington, while experimenting on fruit flies (don’t ask me why), discovered that by transplanting a certain gene, caused the insects to form all-male courtship circles, or orgies. When female fruit flies were added to the mix, male suitors rarely abandoned their partners to court them. Furthermore, when a group of “heterosexual” males was mixed in with the larger group of genetically-altered homosexual males, the straights began to act gay as well. The study, reported in the June 1995 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds to the growing body of evidence that there may be a genetic component to sexual orientation. But you know, what bothers me is, with all the much-needed disease research for mysterious ailments like AIDS and cancer, why is our good money being spent on stupid, pointless studies such as this? Who gives a damn whether a fucking fruit fly is gay or not, for Chrissakes?! Do they pose a direct threat to the status quo, or something?

But while I am defining terms for the “homosexually-challenged,” you should know that there is a human version of “fruit-fly.” It’s a straight man who loves the company of gay men and likes “buzzing” around us, your male equivalent of a “fag hag,” if you will. But, of course, to be non-sexist, I suppose that both terms could apply to either gender (I certainly know some male hags). But now the term has been updated to “fag stag,” which I like even better. It has a butcher connotation to it than fruit-fly. Now I am about to coin another term to denote a gay man who likes the company of women more than a little bit, even more than he does men—a “hag fag.” Let’s see how long it takes for that to catch on.

Late astronomer Carl Sagan recalled this story in his book The Cosmic Connection. In the ’60s while Sagan was visiting a dolphin research center on St. Thomas, he had a sexual encounter with a dolphin named Peter. He tells of being in a large indoor pool playing ball with Peter when he felt “some protrusion” against him as the animal passed. The dolphin persisted and it soon became apparent what the protrusion was and what Peter wanted. Although flattered, Sagan reported that he was not prepared to go there. I guess Peter was not his type, huh?

I have learned that your cetaceans (marine mammals) are particularly keen on group sex activities with one another. When whales mate, for example, they do it in threes, with one female and two males. It seems that the second male is there for “mutual assistance,” and because of their size you can understand why they might need a spotter, if you will, in performing the sex act.

As a result of the current rise of homosexual visibility in the media, there has also arisen a new gay sensibility among the heterosexual community. Outside of the sex, formerly-diehard straights have begun to embrace the gay lifestyle, eschewing the threat to their ego and peer image. This “metrosexuality,” as it is called, has your straights, men primarily, now paying closer attention to fashion, personal grooming and body image, for example. Certain behavior that used to be considered “faggy” is not so much anymore, now that straight men are doing them. These “fauxmosexuals” work out at the gym, they shave off their body hair, get bikini waxes and facials, even pluck their eyebrows, in order to look more attractive for their wives and girlfriends. They try to be more sensitive and “get in touch with their feminine side,” which seems to please their women. They have found that they less need to compete for the attention and affection that these same women get from their gay male friends.

The “boy groups” around today and of the recent past, like Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, ‘N Sync, etc. originally were concerned with the fanship of only teenaged girls, primarily, but soon figured out that they could expand their popular appeal by getting the attention of gay men as well. They don’t have to have sex with them, just tease and titillate them a bit. So they started taking off their shirts and showing off their bodies. It works for me! Their album and video sales tripled. The same goes for women entertainers. A “dykon” is a gay icon specifically claimed by sapphists, and “lezploitation” attempts to play up the sapphist angle in media images and advertising. A “yestergay” is a once-gay man who now claims to be hetero, while a “hasbian” refers to a reformed woman, like actor Anne Heche, for instance.

I am pleased to report that I am one of those whose coming out was completely devoid of any personal trauma or unpleasantness whatsoever. All while I was growing up during the ‘50s and ‘60s, I never experienced or witnessed any vocal homosexual negativity from any of my family members, friends or social contacts. My mother and I were both big fans of comic Jackie “Moms” Mabley. We had several of her live recordings which we listened to repeatedly. Some of her jokes involved gay man humor, and as I was quite young at the time, I didn’t always understand Moms’ gay references. Mother tried to explain to me, without judgment, that some men (and women, too) are attracted to others of the same gender and that these people were not sick or evil. That’s just the way it is, she assured me. So later when I realized my own gay, sexual identity I didn’t feel any shame or self-loathing as the kids whose parents had already pre-programmed them to fear and hate queers, therefore themselves.

My sissy friends, too, who were more obvious than I ever was, were accepted and welcomed to hang out with me at our house. Even my years in Bloomington were free of homophobic incident. You can read about my college experience in my blog, School Days. So when it is cited that the NYC Stonewall Uprising in the summer of 1969 was the beginning of the Gay Revolution, I tend to disagree, as it started for me at least nine years earlier in conservative Indiana, of all places.

I remember the actual moment that I finally acknowledged and accepted for all time the fact that I am a homosexual. During my last year at I.U., I was involved (not sexually, only platonically) with a young woman named Kathleen, a fellow music student who played French horn and piano. We adored each other and became really close friends. We spent a lot of time together. She even accompanied me on piano while I practiced and performed on my oboe. I thought I might have been in love. Heck, what did I know? When I left Bloomington in January 1970 and moved back to South Bend, I did not see her again until the following October while I was stationed for five days at the Oakland Army Base awaiting my overseas flight to Okinawa. By that time Kathy had moved to Oakland from her hometown Bethesda, Maryland and was now sharing a house with a guy I didn’t know and a bunch of assorted critters.

I sneaked off the base one night and found my way to Kathy’s house in town. And just seeing her that one last time resolved any unrequited romantic feelings that I had harbored about her since our prior separation. I finally had closure. So by the time I got to Okinawa and had settled into my new life abroad, I was completely over her. I was in my barracks one afternoon writing a letter home to my friend Leo. I was telling him about my visit with Kathy and that I had finally gotten her out of my system. It was at that moment that I had an epiphany and realized that I didn’t regard any woman in an emotional or lustful manner, but that I truly loved men and would spend the rest of my life exclusively as a happy homosexual. And do. I was 23—although I had been having sex with men for ten years already. If I was going through an adolescent phase, I apparently never got over it.

[Related articles: Conspiracy Theory, Pt. 2: The AIDS Epidemic; Gay Pride and Homophobia; Sexism and Gender Issues; Let’s Have an Outing; Marry, Marry, Quite Contrary; My Combatless Tour-of-Duty; Parenting 101; Political Correctness; School Days]