I Wish I Weren’t Gay

Since the day I knew I was different, I wished I were like everyone else. Gay. Being raised in a Baptist church, it was engraved in my head for 18 years that being gay was a one-way ticket to hell. The whole idea of repenting never made sense to me, seeing how gay was a lifestyle and not something you could just “do” and ask for forgiveness for and not do again. And for those 18 years I prayed that one day my feelings would change. I convinced myself that it was only a phase. I took on extra masculine things, like sports (which I hate) and sleeping with lots of women. That’s what all the straight boys did, so that’s what I did. I even kept a girlfriend for four years, whose heart I ended up breaking. But practice never made perfect. My prayers were never answered.

Now, as a grown black gay man who isn’t in the closet – but isn’t “obviously” gay – I’m stuck with many other struggles in this life. We, gay men don’t have any books or movies to guide us through dating and other life lessons. We don’t have many examples of how to maneuver through this lifestyle. Nothing prepared us for this life. We’re just thrown out there to the wolves of hate and judgment. I go through things that I know heterosexuals would never have to go through; things that I shouldn’t have to go through – but living in this world, I have no choice.

I sat in a bad relationship for six years. Looking back, I know I should have left three years into it, but I stayed because I had nobody to talk to about what I was going through. I was alienated from my gay friends because some of them had made sexual advances toward me, so my boyfriend wouldn’t let me hang around them anymore. If I were straight, I would just be hanging with my guy friends. I wouldn’t have to worry about one of them trying to hit on me halfway through a night filled with shots of vodka and partying. I wouldn’t have to go through the anxiety of lying to my mother every Christmas about why I don’t have a girlfriend to bring to the family gathering. I wouldn’t be subjected to the pain in my father’s eyes when he mentions how he may not have any grandchildren who will keep the family name alive because I’m the only boy.

Disappointment. Every time someone finds out this “evil” truth about me, disappointment is what lingers in his or her mind. Or at least that’s what I think. As I get closer to my 30th birthday, it gets harder for people to not notice as I get older. The few and far in-between times I go to church, I’m bombarded with questions like:

“So who’s the special lady in your life?”

“Why are you single?”

“Don’t you want kids?”

I eventually stopped going.

When meeting new people, you never know how they will receive you. With religion and Republicans everywhere, you don’t know if someone will hug or hit you. Building friendships can be awkward when you’re not “clockable.” Girls think you could possibly be hitting on them, but when they realize I’m not, they become Inspector Gadget. When I confirm why… more disappointment.

“You’re too cute to be gay.”

“Why do all the good black men have to be gay or in jail?” (Oh, how I love that line.)

Befriending straight guys in my experience actually goes better. Probably because upon first seeing me, they have no intentions to make me their husband. They normally don’t care. I’ve never hit on them, so they’re cool. But you have your few who immediately grow distant, who are grossed out and who don’t understand. I guess I can’t blame them.

I want to tell myself the world is changing. And it is. But it still has a long way to go. The anxiety before letting the words “I’m gay” come out of my mouth never gets any lighter. It never gets easier. Receiving judgment for something I never chose- and can’t change- is even harder. I’m not allowed the simple things in life that so many other people take for granted. I can’t get married, no matter how much I love that person. I can’t walk down the street holding my partner’s hand without someone passing by with a disgruntled look. And as much as I would want to, I can’t seem to stop caring.

What a lucky life heterosexuals must have, to grow up “normal.” Not having to force yourself to do things you don’t want to in order to hide your identity, and not having to lie about who you are every day constantly praying someone doesn’t notice you. They don’t have to be so very conscious of how their voices sound and not using their hands too much. They are able to love with no boundaries, to walk down the aisle with their husbands or wives. They can start a family without mountains of paperwork and a two-year waiting list. Oh, what a beautiful life that would be! I guess I’ll never know.

  • Brent

    I hope you find your happiness. When I first started reading I though ly this was by someone much younger. Some things just come with the lifestyle of men liking men. Then there are problems for straight people too. You didn’t seem happy when you were straight lying to your parents or girlfriend and now you hate being gay?

  • Adrian

    Yes being gay is difficult. Yes it is not easy to make friends whether you are gay or straight. But throwing a pity party because of the way God made you isn’t going to make things better either. The grass will always look greener on the other side, but for me, there is nothing better than being able to live your life honestly, authentically and on your own terms. People will always find reasons to hate you but that’s their problem not yours. You are not obligated to keep such people in your life (that includes your parents). Instead surround yourself with positive people who support you (they’re out there!). Also, there are many other gay men who are worst off the you. I’m from the Caribbean where homophobia is more prevalent and LGBTs have no rights or legal protections. But, I don’t let that get me down (not for long anyway). I continue to live my life to the best of my ability, so count your blessings! And don’t let anyone make you feel that God doesn’t love you!

  • http://twitter.com/AquarianLogic Jeff † Mugler

    First of all, I think your issue is, you need to stop associating being gay as something negative and evil. I understand where you’re coming from with the religion thing, I was raised in the Baptist church as well. But there is something I’ve learned from church and life, is that you have to separate to see. I think once you separate yourself from those negative and hurtful teachings that being gay is so deplorable, you’d start to find some sort of peace. It is hard, but I assure you that God does not hate you, nor does God despise who you are. Another thing I think is problematic is your indicators on not being “obviously” gay. What exactly indicates someone being “obviously gay”? If you’re talking about femininity, then that’s another whole set of problems you need to get over as well. In this society, dictated by religious and political patriarchy, we see things only through a lens of duality. There is more to being gay or a man, or even a woman, than the socially constructed role we are given. Being gay is not a death sentence (in most cases), nor is a indicator for an unhappy life. I will admit that it is a difficult one, no doubt, but I’m not going to give up on my life either. Happiness is a state of mind and it is a choice. Although it’s not always easy to choose, it is nonetheless a choice. Heterosexual people may have privilege that we do not have, but they have problems too. That’s a big issue about the LGBTQ community is that we have to stop trying to assimilate to their lives. Nothing wrong with wanting to be treated and seen as equals, we deserve it. But at the same time you have celebrate who you regardless of what the majority thinks. Love yourself, first. Be kind to yourself and appreciate your life. You don’t know what God has planned for in terms of anything, love, friends, etc. So try to let the love in. It’s up to you to make the way you want. I pray you find peace and remove yourself from the self loathing you’re clearly immersing yourself in. God bless.

  • untitled

    I read the entire article and the comments, both well written, but I guess at this point I can see more of where the writer of the article is because that’s more of where I am. so I don’t know if I could totally say it’s self loathing (it could be, but I think that was more the premise of the article). Sometimes I do look around and sometimes I do think it would be more convenient to just be straight, meet a man (I’m a lesbian), and start making babies, I’ve went through trying to pray the gay away ( also growing up baptist). In general I don’t let the closed minded folks or actions get to me, but sometimes it will creep up on you, even moreso if you’re “in the doorframe” of your closet like I am (out to everyone but close family). I know eventually it will have to happen, and I think some family may already suspect as I’ve never really brought a boyfriend home or talked about who I’m dating. In any case, well written article, and responses.

  • Guy

    A famous person once said;
    I Never win first place, I don’t support the team I can’t take direction, and my socks are never clean,Teachers dated me, my parents hated me
    I was always in a fight cuz I can’t do nothin’ right
    Everyday I fight a war against the mirror; I can’t take the person starin’ back at me, I’m a hazard to myself, Don’t let me get me. I’m my own worst enemy
    Its bad when you annoy yourself
    So irritating
    Don’t wanna be my friend no more, I wanna be somebody else
    I wanna be somebody else, yeah
    LA told me, “You’ll be a pop star, All you have to change is everything you are.”
    Tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears, She’s so pretty, that just ain’t me. Doctor, doctor won’t you please prescribe somethin, A day in the life of someone else? Cuz I’m a hazard to myself

    Don’t let me get me, I’m my own worst enemy. Its bad when you annoy yourself
    So irritating, Don’t wanna be my friend no more. I wanna be somebody else

    Don’t let me get me, I’m my own worst enemy.
    Its bad when you annoy yourself
    So irritating
    Don’t wanna be my friend no more. I wanna be somebody else

    Doctor, doctor won’t you please prescribe somethin A day in the life of someone else?
    Don’t let me get me
    Yes “PINK”

  • Gee Smalls

    It almost sounds like a man who is still in the closet. You are struggling with issues that most men struggle with when they are still fighting the gay/straight fight. Stop fighting, live and enjoy who you are. In due time, you won’t be so obsessed with what others think of you. I use to wish I wasn’t gay as well…now I truly would not have it any other way. I LOVE being GAY and I LOVE being ME!! You are all you got.. embrace that.