The Expectations of Sexuality

Discussion in 'Coming Out' started by Owen Young, May 20, 2018.

  1. Owen Young

    Owen Young New Member

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    By Owen Young

    “Every single courageous act of coming out chips away at the curse of homophobia. Most importantly it’s destroyed within yourself, and that act creates the potential for its destruction where it exists in friends, family and society.” There are many men and women who have come to terms with being gay, lesbian, or bisexual, but many continue to conceal their identity.

    I was 18 when I decided to come out of the closet. I had gone off to college and began a life of my own. I knew that I had gotten to a point in my life where I could truly find myself.


    I constantly reflect as to why I concealed my identity for so long. Before coming out, I felt ashamed of who I was. I held on to a secret. I held on so long that I felt trapped, screaming internally for help. Being gay was something I thought I could fix. I thought it was a sickness and that I needed help. With time, I had come to terms with who I was and who I am today.

    More often than not, health concerns are related to homosexuality. According to Sarah Baughey-Gill, a former Western student who wrote a research paper, published by Western Washington University stated, “The classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder by the American Psychological Association had a huge impact on the homosexual community as well as on the general public’s view of homosexuality. One of the major issues that emerged due to the APA classification was that, because it was supposedly based on scientific findings, it was difficult for homosexuals to dispute views which held them as deviant. Their opponents could simply dismiss any of their arguments based on the notion that they were “sick.” To extend such findings, The scientific rulings of the APA were disproven and opposed by its own organization in 1973. As stated by the American Psychological Association, “as a society, we must remove the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations.” The false assumption of being lesbian, gay, or bisexual and having a mental disorder has long been misconstrued and disproven, as mentioned by the APA, “Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology.” Although this has disproven the stigma, many LGBT members still continue to experience prejudice and discrimination in mainstream society. According to the American Psychological Association, “these stereotypes persist even though they are not supported by evidence, and they are often used to excuse unequal treatment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.”

    The society in which I lived in compelled me to act in certain ways and to believe specific things. The social construct of the heteronormative society that I grew up in forced me to think that men should be with women and visa versa. This concept of strict love between a man and a woman was shoved down my throat. It was something that forced me to regurgitate the same harsh rhetoric onto others. As stated by Anthony Venn-Brown, an evangelist homosexual with a religious background, “There are those from religious backgrounds who resist and oppose LGBT equality; some very obsessively and publicly. They make bold accusations and negative statements about gay and lesbian people, their supposed “lifestyle” and relationships. But when a son, daughter, brother, sister or close friend comes out it is no longer an “issue” it becomes a person. They realize everything they’d said was painfully targeted at something they love. Then…… everything changes.” With this, I valued the expectations of my family. I was to have a beautiful girlfriend, take her to prom, get married, have children (thus providing grandchildren for my parents), and so on. It was these expectations that ate me alive. In addition, I feared the thought of coming out. I feared rejection, prejudice, and discrimination. I feared all these potential consequences. As claimed by The National Alliance on Mental Health, “the fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities, can lead to depression, post traumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse.” I had to understand the potential cost and benefit of coming out.

    Being gay has never been easy in today’s society, but being in the closet was so much harder. As said by Venn-Brown, “the closet does have a benefit. It provides safety. Which at times is important. But remember, as long as you are in there, two other things will be too. Fear and shame.” These are two things that I have chosen to leave behind and live without.

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    I understand where many of you who are concealing your identity are coming from. I was once in that position. I can tell you from personal experience, owning my identity is the best decision I have ever made. I had replaced my greatest weakness with a strength. Sexuality is a spectrum and society has molded our beliefs to a narrow-minded understanding that only a man and a woman are fit to have intimate relations. With every act of coming out, it poses a threat to the societal norms and expectations of heteronormative activity. It’s time to turn the tables and flip the scripts. I’m proud to be gay and I hope that every individual will find the strength to own their true identity.
     
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