Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Gay Teens Coming Out in the New York Times
The September 27th 2009 New York Times Magazine section had an interesting article entitled "Coming Out in Middle School" by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. [I believe he's the same guy who wrote the piece about young gay couples a few months ago, the one with the weird photos that made the guys sort of look like Stepford Wives.]
According to this piece young people are coming out earlier and earlier these days, at 13, 14 or 15. These are not even high schoolers, but junior high schoolers. Most of the boys at that age identify as gay; many of the girls as bisexual. [Are there no lesbians anymore? Of course there are!]
A good point is made that it's offensive to ask a gay kid if he's sure he's gay when nobody ever asks a young person who identifies as straight if they're sure they're straight. No one tells straight-identified kids that they're just going through a phase, so why should anyone say it to gay kids?
Now it was awhile ago -- don't laugh, and you know who you are! -- but I recall having an attraction to men not long after reaching puberty, although by no means did I identify as gay. That didn't happen until I was in my early twenties.
I rigidly repressed my attraction to men all through high school and through most of college. I did not have sexual fantasies about any of my college roommates. It wasn't until I was 19 or 20 that I got a full-fledged "crush" on another male classmate. [Joey, what ever became of ye? He was a hot little guy. What is there about hot little guys?]
If these kids can avoid all the angst and drama and have a secure sexual identity when they're younger, so much the better. And for those who ask if they're "boxing themselves in" with a gay identity, what's the problem if they are? What's wrong with a gay identity? What's wrong with being gay? [Frankly I've had enough of this "sexual fluidity" bullshit.]
According to this article, some of these kids knew they were attracted to their own sex as early as age ten! Now I have on occasion met gay men who say they knew they had homosexual feelings as early as nine or ten, but it does seem a little remarkable as most people don't reach puberty until 12 or 13. Perhaps the "attraction" they felt wasn't exactly sexual in nature -- until the hormones kicked in. As for me, who remembers that far back?
As for the "how do you know you're really gay if you don't try it with women?" -- well, just try saying that in reverse. I tried it with women, and it was no big deal. Definitely not my cup of java. And please don't send me emails insisting I'm really bisexual just because I fucked a few women in my younger days. It certainly doesn't make me more of a man than gay guys who've never slept with a gal. But in our macho American society if you don't fuck women you ain't a stud, which is why so many guys who are -- if they're honest with themselves -- gay keep insisting that they're bi. Get real!
The article was hopeful in many ways. For instance: "Many parents just don't assume anymore that their kids will have a sad, difficult life just because they're gay."
And: "This is the first generation of gay kids who have the great joy of being able to argue with their parents about dating, just like their straight peers do."
Now, more than ever, self-hating homos just seem so ludicrously out of date.