18 September 2011

Choices Schmoices

Living in the Bible Belt, the topic of homosexuality comes up quite a bit. Seems to be a favorite among rednecks and the religious right.

One of the things that comes up the most in this, is how homosexuals choose to be homosexuals. It is among their most used arguments for anything that does not agree with what they do/think. This is especially funny (by which I mean annoyingly frustrating), since none of them made the choice to be straight, religious, etc.

My normal response to this is as follows:

If sexuality were truly a choice, I would be gay.

Quick, simple, and to the point.

If not the person I am talking to, someone who heard will always ask me, "Why?"

I don't say that just to shut up the person I am talking to, because it is a very true statement. One that I was still not comfortable enough to admit until a year or so ago (mostly because I was afraid it would make me sound bitter for being straight, and belittle how amazing my wife and [now also] son are). Also, the people that ask why, are not always anti-gay. Some are very passionate supporters of gay rights, and some are even gay themselves. I always stumble around my answers, and do all I can to avoid it. The situation is never one in which I can really explain why, and I am not always comfortable opening up that much with every person that brings up that lame argument of choice when there is no choice.

I'm going to try and explain now, though.

Like most awkward children growing up, I felt different from everyone else. Like an outcast that didn't fit in, or belong to any group of people. Also, like most children growing up, I had no clue that pretty much everyone else at the time felt this way. Perhaps that can be contributed to how easily we all got along and played in the first 5 to 6 years of our lives, before we learn to segregate ourselves based on things that are almost always beyond our control; at which time we only notice ourselves being shunned, and see everyone else as still going about in total bliss.

Whatever the reasons, it was around this time (the end of 2nd grade) that I truly started to feel different from everyone else. Home life wasn't ideal, but what child of the 80s and 90s can really say their home life was ideal? I was another product of the times. A child with divorced parents being raised by his grandparents. As I got older, I discovered this was far more common in my area than the typical nuclear family.

I was one of the shy kids that didn't know where the middle ground was between being super shy, and being the obnoxiously loud class clown (this did not change until I was in my early 20s, and even now I often have difficulty). I had a couple of friends, but no matter what group of friends I was with, I was always the odd one out. Too skinny, too much of a sissy, too weird, etc. If I was with the athletic friends, I was too analytical of everything (a.k.a. nerd), and with the smart kids I was too dumb. I only really felt accepted when hanging out with my aunt, but she was getting older (she is 5 years my senior) and her older friends all treated me like a baby, which is something people do far too often to those younger than themselves. I really can't think of too many things more frustrating than someone talking down to you because you are younger than they are.

I spent the rest of my academic career like this. Finding a group of friends, and feeling just a tad bit out of place with them. The older I got, the more dumb and broken I felt. I was in and out of special ed until someone mentioned I might have a learning disorder that medication would help, and then I spent the next decade medicated with little to no follow-up by the doctors giving out the pills.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself.

When I was around 10 to 12 years old, I started seeing talk shows that were talking to gay men and women; and noticing movies dealing with discrimination against homosexuals. I watched and listened to these people explaining why they should not be hated for who they are, so long as they are not hurting anyone. It made sense to me, but no one around me seemed to agree. At least not anyone that was vocal about the subject.

After a while, I noticed how diverse these groups of people being interviewed were. How open and accepting they seemed to be of everyone, regardless of where they were from, what they believed in, what color their skin was, etc. They didn't even care if you were gay or straight, just so long as you were yourself and open to loving and accepting everyone for who they were. And on top of everything, not a single one of them seemed to be shy once they were openly vocal about their sexual orientation.

That was all I needed. It was what I had been searching for: A group that wouldn't make me feel weird, that wouldn't see me as the dumb kid, or the eccentric boy talking to rocks. They were like hippies that shaved and bathed.

But I had no clue how to contact any gay groups for the West Georgia area, and Atlanta was a long way for a 12 year old to ride his bike.

Then one day I overheard my mother and sister talking. My sister was on the couch, and our mother at the sink in the kitchen. I don't know how the conversation started, but the parts that I caught were all about me and my sexuality. Apparently my sister thought my being too shy to speak to girls was a sign that I was gay. Now, coming from the area that we do, and knowing how most everyone we knew reacted to things back then, I was shocked to hear our mother say it didn't matter if I was gay or not. She said it was my choice, and no one else's. My immediate reaction was to come out of the hallway and tell them I wasn't gay... Which I did. I felt like someone being blamed for a fart that wasn't theirs, only looking more and more guilty as they tried to deny it.

The comment stuck with me for a long time, though. It was my choice. So I made that choice. I decided if I couldn't fit into a heterosexual world, I was going to fit into a homosexual one. I just needed to figure out how to make myself like dudes.

 As it turns out, that's damn near impossible. I'd like to say it is impossible, but I've met some people that can convince themselves into believing just about anything.

I knew not to call myself gay, because that would get me beat up more than I was already getting beat up, and it would likely be a lot more brutal. I'd seen an episode of Hard Copy (could have been another late night show), that talked about the death of Brandon Teena. I wasn't about to get myself killed over something I had not yet become.

I tried to make myself think about men in the same manner that I thought about women (which was all the fucking time). I couldn't do it. The thought of being with a man physically, even before I had ever been with a woman, was disgusting. You could just say the word "woman" and my mind was instantly filled with the most perverted thoughts imaginable, while my bodily was immediately looking for a place in which to release these thoughts. Try to throw a guy into the mix, and my penis would try to crawl backward inside of me in order to rip out my intestines and shove them out of my ass. The thought of anything entering my butthole made me want to cry, and hesitant to even go to the bathroom.

It just wasn't happening.

I eventually gave up trying to be gay, and gave into my obsession with women. Then it happened again. Two people talking about my sexuality while they thought I was passed out drunk. When I was a kid I was gay for not talking to girls. Then, as an almost adult, I was gay because of the number of women I was with. Apparently I was overcompensating, rather than being a young guy doing what all young guys want to do.

Maybe they were right. Maybe I was overcompensating for regressed feelings that I was unable to bring to the surface on my own. Perhaps I needed to experiment to find out the truth. To bring the Gay out of me, so I could be who I'd always wanted.

Yeah, that didn't work. That didn't even come close to working. In fact, all that did was show me how gross other men are, and how easily my lifestyle and personal hygiene could easily be called "girly" in comparison. Men are filthy whether they are straight or gay, and it makes me glad I was raised in a home full of women. Seriously guys, you're all fucking gross.

It wasn't until I had a conversation with a homeless man (I recommend talking to any homeless person that has not asked for money, given a long bullshit story, or that has something for sale that isn't stolen; like flowers. They'll share a wisdom and outlook with you, that no one else can or will) outside of a bar near Ft. Gordon, that I truly accepted my heterosexuality. He told me how, when he was a kid, his parents sent him to one of those camps that are supposed to make gay children straight. No matter how hard those children tried to be straight, or even how straight they acted; at the end of each day, they were still gay. The only thing they were learning, was how to deny what they were, and how to convince others that their denial was truth.

Then he asked me why I'd want to put myself through the same thing, just to get onto the underdog's team.

Three things hit me then:

1. I didn't need to be a part of any group, especially if it meant changing who I was.
2. I am was more comfortable sitting on a sidewalk talking with a mentally unstable homeless man like Phillip, than I was inside the bar behind us.
3. The only choice in sexuality, is the choice to accept or deny who you are. A gay man having straight sex, is still a gay man; and there are a lot of straight people in prison willing to confirm that gay sex doesn't make someone gay.


That night I stopped wondering if I was secretly gay, and just unaware, and realized I'm just too fucking awesome to fit into any one group.



For anyone that may be reading this and thinking my explanation for why I wanted to be gay but couldn't, is just anecdotal bullshit that does nothing but show how my mind is a little warped and broken; I am posting links below.


Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men’s sexual orientation

The Science of Homosexuality

Biology Behind Homosexuality

Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture

Because I can't not post a Cracked article

16 September 2011

Assumptions

There are a lot of assumptions that are made about me all of the time. For instance, whenever someone I know discovers Goatse for the first time (yes, there are still people that have not even heard of this), they send it to me with a message saying that it made them think of me and they knew I'd love it.

What. The. Fuck. ?. !.

I've never done anything to make people think that I'd enjoy something like that. At least, I hope I haven't. Sad thing is, that isn't even the worst of the disgusting fetish shit on the Internet that people have sent to me. Just the most well known.

The truth is, I don't search for links to anything anymore. I haven't in years. I don't have to, because people are constantly sending them to me. Everyone else does the work for me. So the content of the things that I post should really be judged by the people that share them with me, and I should get thanked for filtering out the things that I do. ;)

Another example of this is my views on Politics. It is constantly assumed that I am either Liberal or a Libertarian. Occasionally I'll get someone that seems to think that I am a Conservative. I am not any of those things. I am anti-political party. If I had to be labeled a party, it would be a Centrist. Which roughly means I fucking hate Political Parties, and think that the idea of choosing ONE party with any kind of agenda, to run our country; is fucking retarded. Each is flawed, each is wrong; and the lesser of any evil, is still evil.

It is rare to find anyone that is as knowledgeable about the entire Political System (each candidate, what is being voted on, how each option will truly affect our country, what claims being made are true, why the promises made cannot be kept immediately if at all, etc.) as they claim to be. I'd go so far as to say that NO ONE is as knowledgeable as they claim to be. Politically charged people spend way too much time finding reasons why opposing opinions and ideas will not work, rather than actually testing and truly researching the ideas and opinions of all sides to determine why this or that will or will not work. Meeting in the middle just isn't going to happen, even though that is where the answers are waiting. It is no different than the way religious people spend more time justifying their beliefs to others, than actually trying to understand why they believe what they do.

Speaking of Religion...

Religion was the inspiration for this entry. Or, at least, the subject of religion helped to inspire this entry. I'm an Atheist, and the worst assumptions about me are made by other Atheists. Many seem to take my view of religion as being one of Hate and Animosity. While, yes, I do feel that way when it comes to religion and certain subjects that it boils over into; I do not hate the Belief in any God or Gods. If Religion was just a belief system held by people, that had no impact on my life, I would not care about it. Atheists like me get asked all the time why we even care what others think, and then not given the chance to really explain. Usually assumptions are made that we have some cliche reasons for it. That just isn't true at all. At least not for me.

My issues with Religion are not at all with the belief in something that doesn't exist (or that cannot be proven to exist), but with using those beliefs to push an unethical agenda onto others. Using a politician's religious beliefs to convince others to vote or not vote for them, regardless of their stances are on relevant topics; is wrong. Using Religion to influence any kind of government decision, and ostracizing everyone else with any kind of belief system that does not match it; is wrong. Using Religion to define a personal and spiritual commitment between two people, and then making it law so that any two people making that commitment outside of the guidelines set by said religion are unable to make this commitment; is fucking wrong. If Religion is going to have the right to define what marriage is, then the Government should not reward people that are married with financial and legal benefits. Forcing schools to teach the "Theory of Intelligent Design" instead of Evolution, is so retarded I shouldn't even be mentioning it. A public school is paid for with tax dollars from the American public, and they do not all believe in Fairy Tales, and should not have to pay for it. We deserve to have the truth taught to our children, and any religious views taught at home and church. And do the people that call their faith "The Theory of Intelligent Design" even know what a Theory is? No. The answer to that question is "No."

All of those things [and more] impact my life on a daily basis, and have nothing to do with belief itself. Believe in your God, Love like your God says you should love, follow any rules your God gives you (so long as they do not involve forcing your bullshit on others), and keep it to your fucking self. If you want to discuss it with someone, then do so (and allow others to respond), but do not try to force those views on others.

Now for the Atheists that take my being an Atheist as a sign that says, "Hey everyone! I'm an Activist and Extremest in the name of Atheism! My goal is to make you feel stupid because I'm right, and you're wrong!"

That's bullshit. I'm far too lazy and narcissistic to be an Activist or Extremest for anything. I can't even stop eating at Chic-Fil-A to protest their support of Anti-Gay organizations. I know they are not Anti-Gay, and that they do not support those organizations for their Anti-Gay beliefs, but for the other things they support. But they should understand that when you financially support someone/something, you have to make sure you support EVERYTHING that they do. I know this, but I can't stop eating there. Have you had their Chicken Club Sandwich or Nuggets and Polynesian Sauce? That shit is amazing! You can't taste hate. But if you can, and it tastes like Polynesian Sauce, then I might have to reevaluate my entire outlook on Life.

I digress. That's a subject for another day. What I'm getting at here, is that just because I don't believe in God, does not mean that I automatically want to team up with other Atheists to attack the religious without just cause. Hell, I don't even want to do it with just cause. At least not for being religious. If they are protesting abortion clinics or protesting against homosexuality, then fuck yeah I want to attack them. But that is their personality and social mentality more than their religious faith. Their faith is just the excuse they use to justify their hate, ignorance, and fear of the things that they do not understand.

I don't want to be known as Jason the Atheist. I'd much rather be known as Jason. Just Jason. If I had to be given a title, I'd hope to get something better than Jason the Atheist. Something like Jason the Writer, Thinker, Engineer (if I ever finish my degrees), Scientist (again if I am ever able to finish my degrees), or perhaps just Jason the Awesome.

I have no agenda, and I do not want to be lumped into anyone else's agenda based on one asinine opinion that we may have in common.