To Be Happy and Fulfilled As Gay Men We Need To Break Out Of The Box

When Did You Come Out?

If you’re over 40 you might have come out at a time when you had to fit in as the “acceptable” gay. So you came out, but you still had to fit in!

As gay men we have lived lives of not always speaking our truth, of withholding who we are from others, and subsequently feeling shame for doing so. But when you unbox your hidden, suppressed truths, you give them life, and yourself freedom.

This is where change begins, with awareness of our closeted truths, of held back secret dreams and desires.

You can be out, but not expressing your complete identity. You’re out, but you’ve boxed yourself in to conform to social norms.

You may have lovely things like a house, a partner, a quality car, and fashionable clothes and accessories.

You may enjoy the finer things in life like the freedom to travel, to eat out at nice restaurants, to contribute or volunteer for charitable causes.

You might even have adopted the perfectly straight lifestyle and got married. Continue reading “To Be Happy and Fulfilled As Gay Men We Need To Break Out Of The Box”

Kevin Spacey, #MeToo, And The Problem Of Gay Shame

“As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behaviour.”

The above is Kevin Spacey’s response to Anthony Rapp’s accusation of unwanted sexual advances by Spacey when he was 14-years old.

The challenging aspect of this article, for me, is to create an empathetic discussion about the potential “origins” of Spacey’s behaviour.

What I ask of you is to read through with an open mind. I am not condoning Spacey’s behaviour whatsoever.

When this news first broke I had hoped it would be a single incident. Unfortunately it wasn’t. Spacey clearly made unwanted sexual advances on men, underage men, and women; allegations which span decades.

The Upset Over His Coming Out

It’s good Spacey finally came out publicly. It’s good that he admitted wrongdoing.

But what I find extremely problematic and complicated is how people have reacted to his explanation and reason for finally coming out. Continue reading “Kevin Spacey, #MeToo, And The Problem Of Gay Shame”

Today I Saw My Body in the Mirror and It’s Ageing

today I saw my body

Actually, I wanted to write that my body has betrayed me.

That sounds more dramatic and outside of my control.

The truth is that as I was leaning in towards the bathroom mirror to floss my teeth the other night, I looked down.

I looked down and in a moment of self-preservation unconsciousness I let my stomach out.

Couldn’t see my abs.

The hair on my stomach is going grey.

Fuck! I can even see how the tone and elasticity of my skin is changing.

For years I’ve had a stellar bod.

Yes, bod.

Not body. A body is just, ‘Meh, whatever.” A “bod”, oh ya, now that’s something to strive for! Continue reading “Today I Saw My Body in the Mirror and It’s Ageing”

What I Learned About Loving My Body As A Gay Man

loving my body - jason-schjerven-383577

Everyone has a story about their body. Some of us want to look great for the beach, to feel powerful and sexy when we’re in bed with someone, or to move easily without pain or discomfort.

My body’s story has everything to do with being gay.

As a kid I was always sick and had more allergies than you could count. I had allergies to foods, dust, pollens, and fragrances. I reacted in many ways, from a skin rash to hives, earaches that were beyond painful, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, and days spent sick in bed. To make matters worse, I was diagnosed as ADHD. Imagine pairing an allergic reaction and ADHD together! Suffice to say I never felt like I had much control over my body as a child.

Being sick a lot made me aware of how my body responded to food and foods that did not agree with me. Perhaps because of my mother’s intervention and perhaps because of being so reactive to food as a child, I never got fat. I was always skinny. When you’re sick all the time it’s difficult to gain weight. Continue reading “What I Learned About Loving My Body As A Gay Man”

The 10 Commandments for Being a Respectable Gay Man

10-commandments

Behold!

The 10 Commandments of heteronormativity for gay men who want to fit in, fall in line, and be respectable.

1. “Thou shalt judge other gays.”

The way to fit in and never be suspected of being gay is to make fun of people who are clearly gay. Flamboyant much? Sound like a sissy fag? Perfect targets for humour and distain. Subvert the shame of your closet by making fun of someone else in an attempt to falsely make yourself feel better.

2. “Thou shalt hold your voice silent when others make homophobic comments.”

Don’t rock the boat. You wouldn’t want to be outed. Even if others don’t suspect you of being gay, just keep silent. The status quo loves it when you don’t support or stand up for the other. Continue reading “The 10 Commandments for Being a Respectable Gay Man”

By Fitting In Have You Left the Best Parts of You In The Closet?

fitting into boxes - ricardo-gomez-angel-355247

One of my biggest realizations from reading The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs was that my success in life is directly related to my experience of having grown up in the closet.

The truth is I’m not afraid of success. Rather, I sometimes shy away from other people SEEING me as successful! I have been successful in many areas of my life and I’m aware of the difference between success and accomplishment, which I talk about in, “How Does It Feel When You’re Living Your Calling?”

An Interesting Paradox

If I want to help people think more queerly, the think outside of the status quo, I need to be fully out, vulnerable, and take risks. But at the same time, the young Darren that once lived in the closet likes the safety of not being recognized. Continue reading “By Fitting In Have You Left the Best Parts of You In The Closet?”