Gay Identity And Authenticity
Many years ago, when We worked in education, We spent my summers directing outdoor park district activities for kids. The children would come from a nearby to play various video games. Twelve months I recall a teenage boy arriving at the park with a desire to talk to me. He'd attend a youth ...Many years ago, when We worked in education, I spent my summers directing outdoor park district activities for kids. The children would come from a nearby to play various games. One year I recall a teenage boy arriving at the recreation area with a desire to talk with me. He would attend a youth group at his church (which was located nearby) and then meander to the park facility. At some point in our conversation, he told me that he was gay and that he experienced ashamed consequently his church’s anti-gay porn sentiment. He felt very alone because he previously told no-one in his youth band of his sexual orientation. His parents were not informed, and would have been mortified had they known of his gay identity. Each time he found the park we would discuss his struggles with getting gay. Because I acquired trained pupil leaders to work with the park kids, I could devote some focus on this troubled young man. This is my first direct exposure in conversing with someone who professed to end up being gay. I discovered a great deal about a segment of society that played out their lives in agonizing silence.
We learned that gay people, like additional minorities, are used to being stereotyped. Those of us who are direct, perceive gays to be effeminate, flamboyant, impulsive and artsy. Most of the gay people I've met do not suit that design. They typically feel isolated because their behavioral patterns are in fact heterosexual in nature apart from their sexual affinity toward others of the same sex.
With the advent of multicultural thinking, gays are beginning to feel convenient and accepted. Their degree of confidence affects their romantic relationships and style of associated with the world. The acknowledgement of being gay requires supreme courage. The chances have been stacked against those who choose to make their gay identification known. Many adults, now in midlife, are just beginning to acknowledge their true sexual identity. With such exploration comes the awareness that “I feel a stronger sexual reference to those of the same sex.” Such a realization may signal the emergence of terror – “I am not who We pretended to be.”
When you listen to the stories of those who are gay, you get a feeling of the conflict and stress they have experienced in their battle to be authentic. Most have known from an early age that they felt different about their sexual identification. So that they can conceal their feelings and behavior, many gays worked feverishly at removing any vestiges of gay characteristics from their behavior.
Adolescence is a difficult period of turmoil for most youngsters. Increase that the issue of sexual identification and it certainly makes the procedure of navigating adolescence that much more strenuous. Many colleges are afraid to acknowledge their gay students and provide little if any support for all those in need. Ideological and political pressures play a role in keeping college administrators and school panel members from upgrading to the plate in support for gay youth.
In my own professional counseling practice, I've personally witnessed the anguish and conflict experienced by those individuals who have professed to be gay. I've also noticed the courage that many patients have demonstrated in the process of emerging from their silence over their sexual orientation. Learning to be authentic is an important element of counseling and to truthfully determine one’s sexual identity may be apart of that process.
Although right now there is little evidence to aid its efficacy, many counselors remarkably continue steadily to espouse reparative treatment for gay clients. Counselors, who often disguise their intentions, choose a subscription to the archaic notion that sexual orientation is a learned design or choice rather than lifelong identity. Reparative therapy sights the gay individual as disordered and in need of transformation. Generally, counselors who conduct reparative therapy for gays look for deep-seated traumas as a causative element in the “identification conflict” of these they serve.
Counselors who insist on touting reparative therapy for gays typically maintain their own biases regarding homosexuality. They carry these biases into treatment and negatively affect the self-worth and integrity of those they serve. Their insistence in curing gays produces a weather of self-question and defectiveness among those they deal with.
Many in the spiritual community cannot reconcile their beliefs and faith and so are reluctant to identify with those that define themselves to be gay. This reality causes many gays to reject their faith or live in a consistant state of religious conflict. Years ago, a pal of mine decided to spend a weekend of solace at a spiritual retreat center. This is to be a time of isolation and reflection. However, her period quickly took on a fresh meaning. Gay males from churches through the entire nation flew into this retreat middle. Most of them were table users, elders, and pastors of their congregations. Nobody understood of their sexual orientation apart from the a huge selection of Christian colleagues who met as of this retreat center to worship together once a year. Every year, these men got together in the freedom of their true identification and worshiped God. They talked with my pal, expressing their sense of liberation and love for the God they embraced. My pal said it had been a moving knowledge as she was asked to become listed on them within their religious services that have been filled with energy and passion.
Denial is a dangerous thing. Those who choose to disregard their accurate sense of self pay a price for their own personal deception. It takes courage to live with the way things are really. There are pitfalls on the way, but it is even more honest and authentic. Those in the gay community possess the right to define themselves the way they wish. However, for openly gay people, there are implications for living with an identification they didn't choose.