A blog series about the struggles of coming out

Archive for March, 2013

That’s So Gay!

Gay

Queer

Pussy

Homo

Faggot

They say, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I applaud the confident person who stated this, but I would beg to differ.

These are words commonly used today to describe a gay person, whether they’re a female or a male. These words have been thrown at us one way or another. Although we live in a society that is very diverse and more accepting than before. We still run into issues being called derogatory words. Even public figures are known to slip and make their opinions heard. Regardless of who you are, what color your skin is, where you come from, how much money you have, you have heard something derogatory about it. But, I’m here to talk about words targeted towards those with different sexual orientations.

When I first came to campus as a freshman, I was well received by my peers during the day. I had friends who wanted to hang out with me and get to know me. However, whenever I went out at night, that’s when things took a wrong turn. I’d walk up and down Buffalo Street (the party street at the time) and these guys would mock me and call me terrible things whenever I passed their house. I usually never received that kind of attention from women, but the fact they either laughed or just sat there was equally painful.

Now, granted many of these words aren’t meant to be disrespectful when they’re used. You hear words being used to comment something or someone. For example, “That’s so gay!” “Don’t be a pussy!” “Stop being such a fag!” Those phrases don’t typically raise my blood pressure, but they can for somebody else. Words are used every day against someone for being who they are. It shouldn’t be this way.

There is one word that does make my blood boil typically. That word being “faggot”. To me, that word tastes like vinegar and burns like hydrochloric acid. The sound of it tears apart my heart and it tends to make me angry. I guess that word was used against me and my friends most of the time, it just fuels my hate fire. People, like to say the term “faggot” derives from medieval times, where they would burn gay men at the stake. Fortunately, that’s a false accreditation.  However, it still doesn’t change what the word means now.

Josh Pacheco, 17, committed suicide on November 27, 2012 after being bullied for being gay.

We, as a society, need to stop the manner in which we speak. Words do hurt and could result in a terrible fate. We see in the news all the time about young students committing suicide because of their sexual orientation. Words do hurt, and the use of those words can classify you as a bully.

I remember when I was younger people would call me a fag, queer, homo, etc. and it would hurt. I was bullied all throughout my public school life up to college. I never attempted to kill myself, nor did I really think about it, I still had thoughts about who would actually miss me and how everyone hated me. People were calling me terrible things, mocking me, and verbally abusing me. The things is, everyone who just stood around and watched hurt me too. They didn’t hurt me because they said something or hit me, they hurt me because they didn’t do anything.

When someone is abusing another person or when someone is in need, and there are people just ignoring it or watching it, that is called the Bystander Effect. The bystander effect is a concept of what people in the surrounding area do in a state of shock or emergency. A perfect example of this idea would have to be the show What Would You Do?

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Regardless of what you’re saying, or how you’re saying it, if you think it might be inappropriate, it probably is. You never know who might be around you, and you never know who might get hurt from it. Think before you speak, tweet, post, etc. Just today March 29, 2013 at 6:38 p.m the term “fag” has been used 498 times on Twitter. How do you think people feel about that? Are you going to be a bully, a bystander, or an ally? You decide.

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The Case of Fem v. Masc

So whenever you meet another gay person, there is always one question they ask each, “Are you fem or masc?” This basically means, “Are you really gay or are you just gay but you act straight?”

There’s this stereotype of gay men, brought on by the media, and we can’t really run away from it. One character that makes people laugh, because of his flamboyancy was none other than Jack from Will and Grace.

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Nobody likes to be put into a stereotype. Nobody wants a negative connotation associated with them, especially gay men. Gay men don’t want to be ostracized for being incredibly flamboyant, nor do they want the stigma of the typical gay guy. The stereotyped gay guy is someone who is loud, feminine, fashionable, prissy, and incredibly flamboyant. They are known as the “Fems,” and typically they’re ostracized when it comes to relationships.

Here’s the thing. I am the stereotype. I love fashion and I like my femininity, it makes me unique and it’s part of my personality. Constantly I hear people make fun of me, because I am incredibly feminine. They equate my femininity to a desire to become a woman. Just the other day someone told me, “Don’t be jealous just because you want to be a woman.” Gay men are MEN, we are not transgender women.

Gay men relate being fem with acting like a woman, and it’s considered a turn off. When you have men talk about other gay men and they don’t find them too attractive, because of the way they act they’ll say, “He’s a little too fem for me.” This is a common occurrence in the gay community.

There are two worlds when it comes to the gay community, you have the Fems vs. the Mascs. Masc men typically side with the rest of society and make fun of flamboyant fem men, and consider them unattractive. According to many masc men, fem men are a disgrace to the gay community and give the gay community a bad name. When they display homosexual male relationships, the two men are typically masc.

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Typically, the media displays gay couples as two masc men who have twink/muscle jock bodies. They display gay relationships without diversity, and show them as one side. Yet, we have couples in the world who don’t fit this stereotype, like Charles and Jim a couple who do not fit the stereotype of the muscle jock look.

I dislike the segregation of the gay world between fem gays and masc gays? Why can’t we just be gay men?

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Body Beautiful

Control. That was the one thing I loved. Having the ability to control it. Thanks to this control I was able to lose weight, I obtained the body every gay man wanted. I had a body that men desired, and resulted in men calling for me. Did I forget to mention, I had an eating disorder?

The control of what I consumed was powerful and uplifting. I dropped about 50 pounds in 2-3 weeks, and I kept it off. I ate about 300-500 calories a day, and if I went over that, I would take control and purge it out of my system. I had the power to control everything I ate and everything that went into my stomach. At, what I thought to be my high point, I was 6’2″ and I weighed around 140-145 lbs. I was on a high for three years and a half years. I was on top of the world for those three and a half years, until I had a seizure.

My obsession was not driven by bullying, nor was it driven by a sudden urge to be healthy. No, my obsession came around after I came out the closet. My obsession was driven by the media, and the gay men displayed in it.

DISCLAIMER: The following clip displays mature content, that some may find sensitive. Viewer discretion is advised.

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Gay Jock, Swimmers, Twinks, Average, Bear, Cub, Muscular, etc. These are just a few of the classifications of body types within the gay community. When a man becomes acquainted with the gay community, he is automatically categorized by his body type. Your body size and physical attributes constitute what “sub-community” you can be a part of.

Although there are multiple sub-communities a gay male can be a part of, there are only two desirable communities gay men primarily consider.

Justin Bieber would be considered a twink in the gay community

First you have the twinks. To be a twink you have to be a slender male with no body hair. These men are very small in stature and typically have a very young look about them. Two good celebrity examples of twinks could be Justin Bieber and Jesse McCartney. This is what most gay men want to acquire. This is the most sexually desired body shape in the gay community, so if it’s the most sexually desired, then people want to look like it.

If you don’t want to be a twink, then more often than not, you’ll desire to be a jock. Jocks (or Gym Bunnies) are men who are incredibly built, spend lots of time in the gym, and have little or no body hair. These men have incredibly sculpted bodies and are everything most males, regardless of the sexual orientation want to be. Perfect celebrity examples of jocks are Ryan Reynolds or Taylor Lautner (after adding 30 lbs. of muscle).

Ryan Reynolds would be defined as a muscle jock in the gay community

If you’re a gay male, you see it everywhere. Whenever you’re at the club or even watching a show targeted to the gay male community, there’s always twinks or muscle jocks everywhere you turn. The media feeds us this idea of what a gay male has to look like in order to be considered attractive and seductive. It becomes instilled into the minds of gay men, that the only way we’ll find love, the only way we’ll have sex is if we have a body that looks like what is shown to us.

This ruined my idea of body image. I desired to have a twink body, and I would go to any lengths to achieve the look. I was so obsessed with looking attractive that I tore my esophagus and teeth apart with stomach acid and I shrunk my stomach and mutilated my own body, just to look good.  All that damage to my body didn’t matter though, because I had guys coming up to me telling me I was attractive and cute. Who would have thought my desire to look good could have killed me?

As far as eating disorders are concerned, about 14 percent of gay men have bulimia, and over 20 percent of gay men have anorexia. I didn’t care what happened to my insides, as long as I was thin and cute, I was happy. That’s the way most gay men feel when they have an extreme eating disorder. Yet they don’t stop and think. The average American male, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is about 5’9″ and weighs in at around 195.5 lbs. However, the gay men in the media are nothing like that. Gay men have been known to try and add muscle weight to their bodies in order to achieve the muscle jock look. They go so far, to the point where they ruin their bodies and tear ligaments, muscles, etc.

The gay community has to stop. We’re a bunch of men who are so vain and so disturbed by the way we look, we don’t look what’s on the inside. Gay men, have become very judgmental and particular about the way another person looks and what they find attractive to the point where we don’t care who they are. It needs to stop, but it won’t be easy.

So here is what I have to say. YOU ARE THE BODY BEAUTIFUL! No matter what anyone says, no matter what the media shows you, EVERYONE is the body beautiful. If you’re having trouble with your body image, or you’re struggling with an eating disorder. Please get in contact with the National Eating Disorder Association. They offer programs and they have a help hotline, if you need it.

I spent three and a half years hating my body and destroying it from the inside out. It took me 20 years to truly appreciate my size and my physique. I am the body beautiful, and so are you.

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Coming Out

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Coming out stories, are very unique. My coming out experience will be different than the coming out experience that of another person. So, here’s my coming out story that I had with my dad.

So, my dad took me and my sister out to the movies. My dad took me and my sister to see Eat Pray Love, which got me feeling empowered. On the ride back, I was talking to my dad about how amazing the movie was and how it inspired me. My dad, being a man of the military for 22 years, intimidated me. I thought I would be disowned and kicked out. I thought to myself, “Just do it Dani, you got this!” At that moment I said, “Dad, I’m Gay.” My stern father takes a look at me with a questionable look on his face and says, “Well DUH!” Feeling of empowerment… Shattered.

My dad still jokes around with me sometimes, telling me how he stole my thunder. To this day, I still laugh at how embarrassed I was when my dad was just so blunt with me.

Although my coming out experience is full of laughter and happiness, you could not believe what kinds of emotions were running through me. I don’t think anyone can experience more fear, anxiety, and adrenaline all in one moment, before coming out. Coming out is the hardest thing to do in the world, and I will stand by that statement.

Statistic taken from Human Rights Campaign

It’s the fear of the unknown, that scares us the most. Coming out is unpredictable, we don’t know how receptive our friends, family, and neighbors would be with the fact that we’re LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). Especially since we see stories of young men and women being bullied and end up killing themselves. Last month a young man named Jadin Bell, attempted to commit suicide because he was bullied for being gay. We’re afraid that if we come out, that’s going to happen to us. We automatically put Murphy’s Law into perspective, “Anything that can go go wrong, will go wrong.”

We always wait for the best way to come out, but the thing is, there is not best way to come out. There is no right time to come out, people do not change their perception of homosexuality on a whim. We try to calculate the right time, place, and matter of the situation, but in reality, we can’t do any of that.

Time Magazine Front Page of Ellen DeGeneres

But fear not, things are looking up for us, shockingly enough. 77 percent of youth today know that the climate for LGBT youth is changing and it’s going to get better as time progresses. More people are getting accustomed to the idea, that society is changing. The environment we live in, is becoming more accepting. People even report that coming out relieves so much stress and rids the body of so much anxiety. You are bottling up these feelings of love, pain, happiness, sexual stimulation, and when you open it, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Coming out in today’s society is becoming an easy thing to do! Some of them being incredibly important figures in society such as Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper. Coming out is getting easier for us, because times are changing, people are becoming more empathetic with the idea of a same sex couple being together.

Although times are looking forward for most of us, we have to acknowledge that there are still people out there living in religious households that are unsafe for people to come out. There is always that slim chance of doubt and fear we cannot ignore. For those people, there are ways to get help. I know I post this every time, but PFLAG is always there to help. They are a resource for anyone who needs helps coming out or just needs someone to talk to.

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