Saturday, April 23, 2005

Do you like being gay?

I came across this question a few days back. Also, I am sure you are tired about me going on and on about religion. So, here is something different.

Who I am now is a culmination of 24 years of experience. I can look at this fact positively or negatively. The choices and the decision I made and those I did not, are things which cannot be changed. I am happy at where I am now, but I feel there is still room for improvement.

Not too long ago, I finished reading Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. Morrie was someone who was dying from a disease called ALS and he had about six months to live. Having lived a life filled with love and meaningful human relationships and with death imminent, he had time to reflect and ponder on the important things in life. One of the questions that he was asked was why the obsession with youth in today’s society.

His reply was, he embraced aging. As people grow older, they don’t just age but they also learned from experiences and mistakes. To him, people who wished they were young again had squandered their youth and wanted to do things differently. Morrie said that he wouldn’t want to go back to his younger days when he was not wise to the ways of the world and easily influenced by media and society’s messages. The days when he didn’t know what are the important things in life.

I agree with Morrie. I wouldn’t want to go back to my high school days when I felt there was no one else like me. When I had a crush on my best friend. When I had the feeling that who I am was wrong and it was some sort of punishment. Who I am now is a better version (though this is debatable, according to Hume). There are still some insecurities, but I am definitely more confident. I have come to accept who I am as one of Creation’s intention and not an aberration.

Besides, even though being gay is indeed more difficult, it has its benefits (this is where my superiority complex kicks in ;P). The most obvious difference is that the way gay people see things. Our perception and understanding of people and the world is different. As for myself, I appreciate the differences and diversity of people. I understand that people have different likes and dislikes, and I respect their opinion even though I may not agree with them.

I also understand that labels are just a convenient and lazy way to know someone, without actually understanding them. Homosexuals, transsexuals, heterosexuals, Malays, Chinese, Christians, Americans, etc, these are all just generalisations of a group of people. I mean, how can hundreds of thousands of people think and behave alike? Which is why I always insist that people back up their claims with more than just statements and asking them to be certain of what they said.

Moreover, gay people tend to question things, don’t we? I mean I can’t just accept something as it is, especially when others say that’s how it has always been done or that that is the norm. But if asked, they wouldn’t know the reason behind it. As a personal example, religion.

I don’t profess to any theistic religion, exacerbated by the strong condemnation on homosexuality. I question the rationale behind such dogmas and I extend the same scrutinization to other aspects as well, such as the authenticity of so-called miracles. When we were younger, we depend on our parents to make decisions for us. To a significant extent, people seldom question what they have come to accept while growing up. Usually, there was never a need to. Things like dating, marriage and gender roles. My whole point is that, I don’t accept things as they are, more so when something has the backing of the majority. Indirectly, I think I have hone good critical thinking skills.

Another thing is the whole Mars and Venus and battle of the sexes; it is just mind boggling that men always claim they don’t understand women. The way I see it is that it’s partly biology and mostly social conditioning. How men’s brains are wired plus the effects of the environment they grew up in. Men usually aren’t interested in reading about themselves, only the opposite sex. Even so, I think that their interest would be quite superficial like dating and not something deeper like behavioural or biological. When you can understand yourself, you will then inadvertently understand others too.

In my case, I am curious about myself. And I read to find out more. Now, I understand why males find homosexuality repulsive, why we have tunnel vision as opposed to broad vision, why guys are usually good at parking (visual-spatial capabilities), how guys typically cope with insecurities and fears, why they find it harder to mutitask and lastly, why some guys are plain dumb (males have IQs with a slightly flatter distribution curve). And the way women behave and deal with all these, are different.

I also feel that some of the society’s expectations on males are stifling, especially gender roles. Things like not to cry as to not appear weak, have to look physically tough or masculine, talk with minimal or no gestures at all, cannot be touchy feely, etc. As for myself, I am comfortable giving comments on good-looking guys, I know what beauty and skincare products are in the market (even if I don’t buy them) and I don’t have to pretend to like cars and football (some guys do feign interest for the sake of fitting in).

How good can life get, when being gay allows us to be more in touch with our emotions and expressive? I mean, why should we control our behaviour or be mindful of society’s standards of gender roles all the time? Even if straight guys don’t mind putting up with it or it’s no sweat to them, isn’t ironic that some straight women say that gays make better boyfriends and husbands?

Come to think of it, I might be wrong. There is a breed of men known as metrosexuals who are becoming more common. Still, I read somewhere that women are complaining they can’t find real men anymore. Before this, women complained that a lot of men were insensitive, macho and not in touch with their feminine side. With the metrosexual, women seemed to miss the good old days as the metrosexual is seen as the less masculine version of a man, who might be even more in touch with his feminine side than a woman is. I would think that these comments came from the high-flying and corporate-climbing career women, who have more attributes commonly associated with men. My view is that one woman’s meat is another woman’s poison.

In short, I like being gay. Even if I was given a chance to change, I will choose not to. Why, I even deem a straight life to be boring. How likely is someone to be different, and to what extent is the difference, if he is always surrounded by the same cultural, societal and thinking patterns which are practised by almost everyone he knows?

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