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Author Topic:   Please - Some Impartial Advice Needed
taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4032 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 1 of 240 (404384)
06-08-2007 3:00 PM


Okay, I don't know if this is a relevant topic for EvC, and I should probably keep it to myself; but I respect the members here, and I need some impartial advice at the moment. It is a question concerning homosexuality and the "coming out" process. (What's that? Are those groans I hear?)

I've been sexually aroused by males since I was in second grade, but I've always repressed it; I tried to make myself like girls. I never had a girlfriend, but I did become attracted to "normal" pornography for a time, and I thought I'd finally beaten my desires. This all changed when one of my best friends came out to me.

My friend told me at the beginning of our senior year, about nine months ago. It was a very relieving shock! Despite intense social pressure, I remained close to him, and eventually told him that I was gay. This process has culminated to this present day, where I feel it would be best for me to come out to everybody. I decided my parents would be a good place to start.

I told my mother about an hour ago. She didn't take it well; in fact, she took it worse than I imagined. (I should have suspected it; she is a Sunday School teacher, after all.) I only suggested I'm gay, but she immediately branded me as "confused" and "insecure" and cited the Bible to condemn homosexuality. When I pointed out that the Bible says plenty of strange things, she told me, with tears in her eyes, that I'm making the biggest mistake of my life. We ended the conversation when my little brother walked in the room. I love my mom, and this is a very painful time for me.

So what do you think I should do? Is it possible that she's right and I am deluding myself? Perhaps I am confused; perhaps I'm relying too heavily on my friend and his influence; and I probably would be making a big mistake to come out and then be wrong about it! Is it possible to learn to like girls? Or am I stupid for even thinking such a dumb thought?

Goddamn it!

Any help would be appreciated.


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AdminWounded
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Message 2 of 240 (404387)
06-08-2007 3:45 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Dan Carroll
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 240 (404391)
06-08-2007 3:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 3:00 PM


1) You're not stupid. Nobody wants to see their mother crying, and nobody could be expected to not at least ask if there was a way they could change that.

2) We can't choose who we're attracted to, let alone who we love. If we could, romance would be easy... just walk out into the street, introduce yourself to the first person you see, and choose to love them and want them.

3) Probably most importantly, you're not doing anything wrong. There's no reason why you should be expected to change.

I hope things turn out okay with your family.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19816
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 4 of 240 (404392)
06-08-2007 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 3:00 PM


I wish you luck and happiness. It is a hard road because so many people have expectations of who you are and what you are, but this image of you is not your problem it is theirs.

Certainly be open and honest with yourself is the most important thing anyone can do

Parents are likely to take it the worst because they feel they are responsible for the result of how you were raised and anything they see as a "failure" in you is also taken (sometimes subconsciously) as being a failure on their part.

You've made this decision to tell your mom, and cannot take it back. What you can do is look for a local support org and see if you can get advice to bridge the current gap. Maybe see if there are seminars for partents on what it means to have gay children.

Courage


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This message is a reply to:
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 240 (404401)
06-08-2007 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 3:00 PM


I love my mom, and this is a very painful time for me.

It's going to be a long time before it gets better. Ultimately the only thing that can win her over is to see you living your life and happy. That's the only thing that's ever going to convince her that there's not something wrong with you.

Is it possible that she's right and I am deluding myself?

You don't sound like your insane, or an idiot; why would you delude yourself into something that's going to cause you so much grief? I'm not going to sugar-coat it; things with your mom are going to be strained unless you lie to her and tell her you're not really gay after all. Maybe that's a winning strategy until you're not living in her house any more. Up to you.

I tried to make myself like girls.

If you have to try to make yourself attracted to girls, you're not. It's possible you're bisexual (really human sexuality is on a spectrum, not an either/or kind of thing) but it seems pretty likely that you're gay, just from what you've said.

Is it possible to learn to like girls?

If you were straight, you wouldn't have to. But "possible?" Sure; with enough application of electro-shock torture we could probably get you to be sexually attracted to a rubber boot. (That's the operating principle behind the "ex-gay" movements your mother is probably already telling you about, the ones that have absolutely no record of success in terms of changing a person's sexual nature.)

Best of luck, kid. You're in an unenviable position, to be sure; but ultimately everybody winds up challenging their parent's perceptions of them.

Sometimes the gift of a good book can help sway someone. Conservative writer Andrew Sullivan is gay, in addition to being strict Catholic; he writes regularly about both. He might be a voice that your mother finds compelling. He penned "Virtually Normal" to explain how gay rights were a conservative, religious issue; I've not read it but I did give one of his other books to my mother ("The Conservative Soul").

Anyway, you're not the one who has to worry about being self-deluded. If I were you I'd be making plans to live on your own as soon as you can. In all honesty, I don't think things with your mother are going to go well for a while. But eventually I think she'll come around.


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jar
Member
Posts: 30935
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 6 of 240 (404402)
06-08-2007 4:38 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 3:00 PM


Prayers going with you
and be yourself, whoever that is. You also might want to take a look at Gene Robinson's page.

If you think telling Mom was tough ...

I wish you all the best in the coming years and that you will have the strength to withstand any initial criticism.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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subbie
Member (Idle past 68 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 7 of 240 (404411)
06-08-2007 6:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 3:00 PM


I'm hardly an expert in the area, but since nobody else who has responded is either, here's my two cents.

Is it possible that she's right and I am deluding myself?

Sure. Anything is possible. We've all heard stories of people who fooled themselves until well past your age about their sexuality, only to discover who they truly are. Now, most of those stories are about folks who found out they were gay. There are plenty of obvious reasons why someone would deny to themselves why they are gay, but few that I can think of why someone would deny that they are straight, but the human mind is a curious thing.

Perhaps I am confused; perhaps I'm relying too heavily on my friend and his influence;

Perhaps, but given that you had these feelings about yourself before your friend even mentioned anything, that doesn't seem likely.

and I probably would be making a big mistake to come out and then be wrong about it!

Sorry, crystal ball out to the cleaners this week. Nobody can answer that question now, and only you can answer the question later.

You are obviously a very troubled young man. My suggestion is to seek advice from anyone/everyone whose opinions you trust and take it from there. I agree with what has been said to this point by others, that your only real concern should be finding out who you are. If I were in your shoes, that would be my only goal, and to hell with the rest of the world. You have to live your life for yourself, and nobody else. After all, you are the only one who has to live with the consequences of your choices, and the tales of people who have suffered great difficulties from suppressing who they really are are legion.

If you are a person of faith, I see nothing wrong in seeking counsel from a church leader, so long as that person is not committed to the idea that homosexuality is wrong. Such a person you need to run away from. Quickly. In fact, you need to avoid like the plague anyone who has their own agenda. This includes anybody who professes a desire to "cure" homosexuality, and anyone who wants to advance the social cause of homosexuality. Again, this is about you finding out who you are, not finding someone else who will use you for their purposes.

Is it possible to learn to like girls? Or am I stupid for even thinking such a dumb thought?

No idea if it's possible to learn to like girls, it came naturally to me. However, I can't imagine "learning to like boys," so I kinda doubt it. But for what it's worth, I don't think you are stupid for wondering that. I'm quite certain that even in the 21st century, being homosexual is a difficult thing. It seems natural to me that you'd explore alternatives to the difficulties that that entails. However, with very few exceptions, I haven't heard of anyone who deliberatly tried to change their sexuality and was pleased with the results. And, the few exceptions that I have heard of didn't sound very convincing to me.

I wish you well and hope you find peace within yourself.


Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat


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taylor_31
Member (Idle past 4032 days)
Posts: 86
From: Oklahoma!
Joined: 05-14-2007


Message 8 of 240 (404416)
06-08-2007 7:14 PM


thanks everyone
Thanks for the encouraging words, everyone; you have no idea how much I needed them.

My mom and I had a long discussion this afternoon.

Overall, she told me that I was throwing away everything I have worked for, everything in my life, for a dumb lie.

She insisted that I'm not gay; she said that I have never dated a girl (and suggested that I lack "people skills") and have no idea what I'm talking about. She insists that I may like girls, but I've been too insecure to date them.

She insists that because I'm only eighteen that my developing brain is in no position to make decisions about my life. She gave me several detriments of being a homosexual, which included disease, psychological problems, that it's "unnatural", and the societal consequences ("You'll be put into a group," she says.)

She ended our argument by saying that she'll never condone or accept it. All during this, she was occasionally breaking down in tears; and when she cries, I can't help it, either.

The best motivation I can think of is a quote from one of my favorite movies, Inherit the Wind:

"Young lady, I know what Bert is going through. It's the loneliest feeling in the world. It's like walking down an empty street listening to your own footsteps. But all you have to do is to knock on any door and say, 'If you'll let me in, I'll live the way you want me to live and I'll think the way you want me to think', and all the blinds will go up and all the doors will open, and you will never be lonely ever again." -Spencer Tracy

I hope I don't do that for anybody.

Thanks again


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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4018 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 9 of 240 (404528)
06-09-2007 1:29 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 7:14 PM


Re: thanks everyone
taylor_31 writes:

Overall, she told me that I was throwing away everything I have worked for, everything in my life, for a dumb lie.

That's a massive exaggeration. What, exactly, do you lose by being gay?

taylor_31 writes:

She insisted that I'm not gay; she said that I have never dated a girl (and suggested that I lack "people skills") and have no idea what I'm talking about. She insists that I may like girls, but I've been too insecure to date them.

I'm nineteen, and I've never dated a girl. That is probably because I am too insecure. But, that doesn't mean I can't know whether I am attracted to them or not; I know I like girls.

taylor_31 writes:

She insists that because I'm only eighteen that my developing brain is in no position to make decisions about my life.

And because she isn't even in your brain, she has even less of a position to make decisions about your life.

However, your mother must be assuming that this is in fact a decision, like what you will study or what you will wear. In fact, that is unlikely - nature (not just genetic - the environment, especially the uterine one, is also a factor) has played its hand.

In my opinion, knowledge of homosexuality would be so much better if everyone had an opportunity to see homosexual fruit flies.

She gave me several detriments of being a homosexual, which included disease, psychological problems, that it's "unnatural", and the societal consequences ("You'll be put into a group," she says.)

I could give you detriments of being heterosexual too: you will be put in a group, you can get diseases, you could make someone pregnant etc etc. But it's completely beside the point: could you change even if you wanted to, and if you could change, should you?

If you want, I could go into the neurobiology behind sexual 'preference'. But for now let me just say that it has nothing (or, very very little - can never be sure in science) to do with mothering, a distant father or contact with brothers.

taylor_31 writes:

She ended our argument by saying that she'll never condone or accept it.

Of course she won't. Just feel lucky that you're not in Iran or somewhere else where homosexuals are killed.

PS: As for the 'it's unnatural' argument, that is my least favourite argument for/against anything (death is, after all, natural, but that doesn't mean I should want it or even accept it as inevitable). If could change the world, I would rid it of the naturalistic fallacy. But, I'm a transhumanist, so perhaps I'm biased.


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Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19816
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 10 of 240 (404708)
06-09-2007 7:33 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Doddy
06-09-2007 1:29 AM


and to Taylor tooo
I'm nineteen, and ...

I'm impressed

I was late in the game too, however I once was in a situation where I could have had a homosexual experience, but my little man was totally unimpressed.

... because I'm only eighteen that my developing brain is in no position to make decisions about my life.

And because she isn't even in your brain, she has even less of a position to make decisions about your life.

There is a part of the brain that is not fully developed until ~20-22, but it is about making 'moral' type decisions IIRC, and not about sexual arrousal or interest. Of course this gets into the issue of whether it is a choice or not (and as noted above, choice does not match the evidence).

taylor_31 writes:

Overall, she told me that I was throwing away everything I have worked for, everything in my life, for a dumb lie.


That's a massive exaggeration. What, exactly, do you lose by being gay?

Only sexual turmoils of heterosexual activities. You still read the same books, have the same opinions, play the same games, and instruments and have the same other interests.

There are many famous gay people, so if gay = loose everything then what have they lost?

In my opinion, knowledge of homosexuality would be so much better if everyone had an opportunity to see homosexual fruit flies.

And Bonobos
http://songweaver.com/info/bonobos.html
etc
http://www.bidstrup.com/sodomy.htm
http://www.salon.com/it/feature/1999/03/cov_15featurea.html

It's not just human behavior.

... saying that she'll never condone or accept it.

Of course she won't. Just feel lucky that you're not in Iran or somewhere else where homosexuals are killed.

Condoning and accepting are two different things. I think she will change her opinion the more she lives with the facts. And be happy you last name isn't Phelps.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : .


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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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nator
Member (Idle past 278 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 11 of 240 (404717)
06-09-2007 8:13 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 7:14 PM


Re: thanks everyone
quote:
She insists that because I'm only eighteen that my developing brain is in no position to make decisions about my life.

Er, no.

The general consensus among Psychologists (that's scientists) is that sexuality is pretty much set at around puberty.

If people's brains were "still developing" and we are "in no position to make decisions about our lives" at age 18, why do we let 18 year olds vote, or run for office, or join the workforce, or enlist in the armed forces to die in service to our country?

Why don't you ask her how confused she was about her sexuality when she was 18?

quote:
She gave me several detriments of being a homosexual, which included disease,

Um, straight people get plenty of diseases.

quote:
psychological problems,

Straight people have plenty of psychological problems. the problems that gay people have are generally caused by the pressure of living in a homophobic culture.

quote:
that it's "unnatural",

It isn't unnatural, and even if it was, we all do lots of "unnatural" things.

quote:
and the societal consequences ("You'll be put into a group," she says.)

Everybody is already "in a group". She's in a group, called "bigot". I am sorry to say it to you, becasue I know you love your mom, but it is just true.

She has a lot of bad information about homosexuality that has likely been fed to her through bigots at her church.

quote:
Overall, she told me that I was throwing away everything I have worked for, everything in my life, for a dumb lie.

What lie is that? That homosexuality exists at all, or that you are gay?

You aren't throwing anything away. In fact, it actually sounds like she wants to take it from you.

quote:
She insisted that I'm not gay; she said that I have never dated a girl (and suggested that I lack "people skills") and have no idea what I'm talking about. She insists that I may like girls, but I've been too insecure to date them.

Those are the words of a desperate woman who isn't really thinking about what she's saying.

Edited by nator, : No reason given.


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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4018 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 12 of 240 (404718)
06-09-2007 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD
06-09-2007 7:33 AM


Re: and to Taylor tooo
RAZD writes:

And Bonobos

Of course, but flies are even better because you can't write it off as being cultural in any way.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19816
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 13 of 240 (404724)
06-09-2007 11:13 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Doddy
06-09-2007 9:44 AM


Re: and to Taylor tooo
AND either it is not choice or flies can choose ... a level of inteliigent behavior not many are willing to assign.

Good point


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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5381
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 8.4


Message 14 of 240 (404725)
06-09-2007 11:22 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 7:14 PM


Re: thanks everyone
She ended our argument by saying that she'll never condone or accept it. All during this, she was occasionally breaking down in tears; and when she cries, I can't help it, either.

I'll give you twenty-to-one odds that she's being dramatic. Probably not deliberately - but she's upset at the moment. I'm 59, and a grandpa, and I've watched a lot of my kids' friends grow up to do or be things that their parents didn't really have in mind. Nearly all mothers, more so than fathers even, I think, still hold their kids as "my baby first and the rest of the world can go to hell." Never is a long time, and you will still be you, gay, straight, or Scientologist.

And crying is part of it, so go ahead and cry when she does. Just be true to yourself - you are the one that has to live with you all the time.


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Tusko
Member
Posts: 605
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 15 of 240 (404728)
06-09-2007 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by taylor_31
06-08-2007 3:00 PM


Is it possible that she's right and I am deluding myself?

What rationales can you see for someone in a community largely hostile to the idea of gayness deluding themselves into the belief that they are gay? I have a suggestion as to what your mother might be thinking. Implicit in her comments is the idea that you might be shy of girls and so might be delude yourself into believing that you are attracted to guys because relationships with guys are less taxing emotionally.

If this is what she's thinking, then it sounds like she's making the classic mistake of confusing homosexuality with promiscuity and an enjoyment of copious amounts of anonymous sex. Of course, it is true that many gay people enjoy both these things, but equally it is true for many straight folks.

I have a friend who comes from a family who are very uncomfortable with the idea that their son might be homosexual. His gayness is still not accepted after several years. It sometimes makes things difficult for him because he comes from a close family. It seems to be a kind of deadlock- they refuse to accept him as he sees himself and he refuses to change to please them. More than that, he refuses to hide his sexuality from them any more (after much uncertainty and soul-searching) and tries to be as firm and honest as he can, despite the strain this causes the relationship. Although they do not accept his gayness, they accept him. They all still love each other and are able to spend time together amicably. I think on balance he feels he has done the right thing.

Obviously this anecdote isn't helpful in a direct sense because it isn't clear whether your family are similar to my friend's. However, I hope that it demonstrates that a meaningful relationship with parents is at least still possible even if they do not accept their child's sexuality.


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