Thursday, January 17, 2013

Anonymous

As I finish up part two of the natural law series (part ZERO and part ONE here) (it looks like it's gonna be more parts than I initially thought), I thought I'd throw in a more personal post. I imagine different readers like different things, and sometimes I just want to talk. So, this post is about, what I guess can be called, "coming out," but it's also about sexual anonymity in general. Here goes.

Being gay sucks. There's really no other way to put it. But I don't bring this up to complain or whine about it; it's just something that needs to be pointed out in order to explain why someone like me would prefer to stay anonymous online and (mostly) closeted in life. Even for the most out and about gay person (unlike myself, who has only told a handful of close friends and who remains celibate), it sucks. It's consistently an uphill battle, and if the out and about gay person happens to have any real religious conviction, forget about it. He has to either drop or reform anything that has any sacred tradition or value. He necessarily has to join some super liberal cause if he wants (he thinks) any hope at happiness, and to do that, he has to place his sexuality above everything.

It has to become his entire identity, no matter what, or else he's going to constantly feel like he's losing the battle, that maybe it isn't really working out. Further, it has to be the standard by which he judges everything. "Is that position necessarily anti-gay? IT MUST BE WRONG!" It's a pathetic outlook, and it's not really concerned with transcendent truth, but he has to have it, or he sinks. He has to say, "no, all that other stuff is stupid; it has to be, otherwise I don't get my happiness!" In other words, if the conclusion is that he might not get to have sexual relationships with men, the argument must necessarily be wrong. This, honestly, is what lies at the root of the entire LGBT movement, I think. No matter how inconsistent or just plain dumb it is, it's a matter of their whole happiness.

If you do happen to be like me and decide to abstain, to not make sexuality the standard by which you judge everything, you don't really feel comfortable telling anyone about it. If I said to my parents or less-close friends, "look, I'm gay," they would automatically assume that it means I'm going to go off and have sex with men, even if I assured them over and over that that wouldn't be the case. And I have great parents and wonderful friends. But I understand why they'd think that. One, pretty much every gay person who says "I'm gay" is about to or will already have had a number of intense sexual experiences. It's just a matter of time. I imagine some of the readers here are even thinking things like "this guy will probably end up in some gay relationship one day." I know my friends who know about me think it.

In fact, I'm not even sure how I should refer to myself. If I say "I'm gay," people'll assume I'm actively gay. If I say "I'm same-sex attracted," they'll assume I'm part of some weird conversion therapy thing or that I'm completely ignoring my sexuality. Even "homosexual" has weird scientificy sounding connotations. Two, people, even people who often preach that homosexuality is immoral, aren't really comfortable with celibacy. They might look up to it and respect it, but it's weird. They don't like it. For a couple of reasons, I think: one, sexuality is an enormous part of being a human being, and two, people cannot really understand a person giving that part of himself up, even if they think it's wrong! I don't know if this is a comment on human nature or it's a comment on modern culture. But I do feel as if people are very uncomfortable with celibacy, unless the person is a priest or something.

For me, this is actually the worst part about the whole thing. Beyond the fact that, as I do have religious and philosophical principles, I necessarily must remain celibate (something I will write about in great detail later), I am mostly annoyed with the strange societal expectations. Even the language for the blog. Starting this blog, the hardest thing for me was coming up with some name or catch phrase that sounded gay enough to show that I know what I'm talking about (that I'm not just some closeted freak who doesn't accept his sexuality) but not too gay as to sound like I'm ready to try to convince the Catholic church that it needs to change its ways. But I'm neither of those things. I've completely accepted the fact that my sexuality is what it is, for better or worse, and at the same time, I recognize that it's not everything; that what I should do with my life is a much, much larger question with much, much more complex answers than "just go find someone to love!"  It's as if I have to whip out a lengthy explanation of my entire life philosophy when I tell someone I'm gay. I don't fault the world for this necessarily. It just sucks.

So I do a lot of not connecting with people. And people like me; I'm funny, I'm smart, I'm good looking, but I can only give them so much. So I end up avoiding a lot of social situations, which makes my parents think I'm scared of girls or awkward or something, which makes me feel even worse because their worry is completely misplaced and kind of sad. So, this is at least in part why I don't really shout it out in the open. And it's certainly part of why I started this blog. If there are people out there like me, you're not completely alone. Don't feel sorry for yourself, because that's the stupidest thing to feel, but you're not alone. You're good.

11 comments:

  1. Have you considered becoming a numerary of Opus Dei? They're celibate, tend to be educated lay professionals, live in community with others of the same gender, and are orthodox Catholics. When I was at Princeton, I knew 2 numeraries pretty well: the 40s lawyer who precepted my Constitutional Interpretation and Civil Liberties courses and a 20s computer programmer. They were both cool, nice guys.

    Of course, Opus Dei only has centers in some cities, but since you're well-educated and aren't married, I imagine that career mobility isn't a huge issue.

    If you're interested in reading more about Opus Dei, I would recommend John Allen's book on Opus Dei. He's a veteran journalist who approaches the organization in-depth and with objectivity.

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  2. "Even for the most out and about gay person, it sucks. It's consistently an uphill battle, and if you happen to have any real religious conviction, forget about it. You have to either drop or reform anything that has any sacred tradition or value"

    So what are you dropping/reforming about Catholicism?

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    1. Perhaps that part was a bit confusing. I'm not "out and about." By "out and about" I meant someone who is actively living the homosexual lifestyle. I'm saying it doesn't just suck for me (someone who isn't living that lifestyle); it also sucks for someone who is actively homosexual but also wants to maintain his religious convictions---because he really can't (not without reforming and ultimately dropping the religion). Sorry for the misunderstanding.

      I don't want to drop or reform anything about Catholicism. At least, I would like more emphasis on natural law, etc., but I have no wish to change anything about Catholicism. Catholicism's position on sexual morality (and pretty much all morality), for example, is pretty much the only valid force left in the modern world.

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    2. You might want to go back and edit some of your pronouns in the post. Sometimes it's hard to tell what are your thoughts and what are the thoughts of the gay movement.

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    3. Fascinating; can you point out an example? I don't want it getting confused.

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    4. Made some changes; hope they help.

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  3. See, this is fascinating, because you're touching on something I've long noticed. Discussing homosexuality is, at this point, incredibly skewed on the most basic levels, in terms of language. I've tried to find alternatives - "person with same-sex attractions" - but it's too clunky. It's awkward.

    I see it showing up in other ways as well, like the tendency to describe even 3000 year old dead greeks as 'LGBT'. That one in particular drives me nuts, since LGBT really seems like a political label more than anything.

    I recall, a while back, reading about how one particular cardinal or bishop or the like was supposedly gay, despite being quite publicly opposed to gay marriage, etc. The article was written in this way that made it sound as if the cardinal must necessarily have been in denial his whole life, been living a lie, etc. The very possibility that the cardinal could have, say... had same-sex attraction, but considered it immoral to act on, came across as utterly alien in terms of thought. It's as if the moment you say 'I'm gay', then all of the sudden the expectation on all sides is, well, time to join up with the LGBT groups and be a diehard activist at least in mentality.

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    1. Thank you, Crude, in a lot of ways you've said what I was trying to get across much more eloquently than I could. This post has given me a lot of trouble, for some reason. It may be because I'm enormously tired, but I keep reworking it and not liking it. I am glad you got something out of it!

      But yes, what you identify is correct. It's sort of a weird new category actually: people who are gay but who don't really want to act on it but also don't really wanna be quiet about it all the time. You're not Really liked by either not-pro-gay or pro-gay people. The not-pro-gays are often like "keep it to yourself, jeez" and the pro-gay people are like "YOU ARE IN DENIAL YOU ARE LIVING A LIE." Even if you try to defend yourself, you are necessarily living a lie.

      But I really didn't want to sound too "woe is me" in the post. Gay people do enough of that. I just wanted to point out the strange position I'm in (and no doubt other people like me), in case someone is like "you're pathetic, you haven't even dealt with it in your own life, but you're giving people advice!" in the future, which I think inevitably will happen. Thanks again, Crude, I was feeling a bit down about it.

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    2. The not-pro-gays are often like "keep it to yourself, jeez" and the pro-gay people are like "YOU ARE IN DENIAL YOU ARE LIVING A LIE." Even if you try to defend yourself, you are necessarily living a lie.

      And that happens to be one of the bigger failings on the side of the modern natural law theorists, the Churches, etc. I was actually going to ask you what failings you saw in the communication on the side of the church, etc, on this subject - and this one seems key.

      I'm tempted to say that it's a problem with the Christian, natural law, etc side of things - but I actually think it's broader than that. Despite the cultural shifts with regards to same-sex marriage, etc, it seems like the actual topics of sex - people's desires, their interests, etc - are utterly verboten in public conversation. Even, maybe especially, on the liberal side of things.

      And by that I mean... there's really a lot of public talk about accepting all kinds of relationships (this goes way beyond some hetero/homo distinction), but when you hit the subject of sex, people clam up. That's extremely awkward, because the objections yo those relationships are very heavily sex-centric in terms of target. But to hear people discuss these things, you'd get the impression that what really riles up the Church is the idea that two guys are living together and holding hands at times.

      Either way, I'm glad if I helped a bit, and I'm really glad to see your blog.

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    3. I plan on doing a more comprehensive post on the Church's shortcomings with respect to how it communicates concerning homosexuality (and sexuality in general). I've hinted at it a couple times, but I want to do something a little more detailed. I think failures in this area lie at the root of a lot of modern problems that aren't directly related to sex.

      That said, there is clearly a much bigger thing going on, and it's hardly something that can be easily remedied. But hopefully more on all that soon.

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    4. Excellent. I look forward to your analysis.

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