Many times during my childhood and teens people would infer, usually without any subtlety, that I must be gay. In those days and in that place the most common term for a gay man was “poof”.
(ALEX AUGIER “oqpo_dbdo”)
Quite a few people, including some in my family, thought that I was effeminate and assumed that I was a “poof” because I was a sensitive boy. I blushed easily, I was soft-spoken, quiet and introverted. I was thin and I had bright red hair, which attracted all the more attention. I had very unusual tastes and habits, and I was artistically inclined and not at all interested in mechanics or other “manly” pastimes.
I suppose the only thing that stopped me being physically bullied in an age of gay-bashing and bullying in general was that I was quite tall compared to most boys of my age, and I didn’t look like too much of a “pushover”. That is, I didn’t look like I could be easily beaten in a fight.
By the time I was fifteen I had long hair, which for many was the clinching piece of evidence to prove that I was a poof. But I was getting pretty tall, and my hormones were pumping plenty of aggression around my body. I was indeed no pushover, but had a fiery red-hair temper and would not be messed with.
Inside I had no inclination whatsoever to be gay. I was very much attracted to girls (and girls-the macho boys really don’t always make the best lovers). I had my first serious girlfriend at the age of fifteen. That complicated the opinions of those who had been convinced that I was a poof…would a poof have such a hot, passionate relationship with someone of the opposite gender? (no, I’m not going to apologize for using the “g” word or the word “opposite”).
So why am I writing about this? I’m writing about this because out there in our world are many young men who are rather like I was-sensitive, artistic, quiet and introverted, who are being pressured into thinking that the explanation for their demeanor is that they are gay. When I was young, there was no pressure from society, education or the media to persuade me that I was gay: now things are very different, and I am very thankful that I was born at a time when men were men and women were women. And I’m not going to apologize for that remark either.
There always has been and still is a pressure on men to be “real” men, which popularly means to be muscular, confident, sporting types who drive manly vehicles and wear manly clothes and talk loudly in a forced deep voice. Macho men don’t express love openly-a sad mistake.
Many young men inwardly resent this stale, boring image which they have been expected to live up to-I know I did- and in recent years, with the removal of the stigma of being gay, the push to be macho has paradoxically sent some young men the other way, so that they have become more effeminate than any female has ever been.
RESPECT YOURSELF, AND GOD’S CREATION
Why do people have to be led into a mistaken identity? God made humanity to be beautiful, although our gene pool is running down (not up) so we aren’t all as beautiful as we could be. But generally speaking, youth is beautiful. I don’t mean that in a suggestive, sexual way, I mean it in the same way as I would say the sky is beautiful or the trees are beautiful. God made young men and young women beautiful, and if a boy looks at another boy and sees beauty in him, it isn’t because he’s gay, it’s because he recognizes that natural beauty just as certainly as he recognizes beauty in the sky and the trees. There’s no need to suggest to him that since he finds another boy attractive he should have sex with him, any more that finding a tree to be beautiful should lead us to have sex with the tree. And yes, it is possible to love someone without having sex with them.
The hormones pumping around the young man’s body could be enough to lead him into actions he really doesn’t need and may not even want, given the current removal of societal morays. However, God has set in place certain parameters for us to live by, and we are to recognize those parameters and keep to them, even if it seems to sometimes go against our urges or the leading of those around us.
For goodness sake, don’t try to push the sensitive boy into a lifestyle he does not belong in. And if you are the sensitive young man, don’t buy the line that you “must be” gay. Value your sensitivities, because with them you can build a very unique and beautiful character.