That's the question that kept coming back in my head all weekend.
It's something I've been asking myself for a while now. I came out to four close friends, and my brother, last year. It was a terrifying experience and they hadn't seen it coming at all but accepted me and I just couldn't believe it. Especially my brother. You see, my family is kind of religious and I was half expecting him to run to my parents and for my life to essentially be over as they would cut any sort of financial help, halfway through college in a foreign country.
That's the important part: foreign country. Because being away from family naturally offers a new sense of privacy. I can be myself here, not that it's actually different from what I usually am. Just means that when someone asks me if I have a girlfriend, I reply truthfully. About a year ago I was terrified for anyone to find out. Now, my co workers know. If people ask, I will tell them the truth. I sometimes wear an LGBT bracelet, when I feel like it.
I feel so grown up. I feel so proud.
I'm not going to lie: the fact that it's not something you can really guess unless I mention it in the conversation certainly helps, but I don't see why I shouldn't use what I call a "natural advantage". Advantage in a sense of factual statement, as in it literally makes things easier, not because feminine gays are unnatural. Definitely not that.
And so the past year I've done a lot of soul searching, and this past weekend I binged on Glee which, with its gay storylines, seems to have accelerated whatever thought process was slowly taking place. I also discovered this dude called Rich Juzwiak who writes a column on this site, of which I have read every single article. And I wonder now: what does it mean to be gay? If you had asked me just 6 months ago, I would have told you that I'm not defined by my sexuality, and that I'm so many other things before being gay. But just like what I would have told you if you had asked me 6 months ago if I would date a fem guy (my answer would have been "I'm into masculine guys, sorry"), my thoughts on these matters are evolving, are more...thought out?
The truth is, today, right now, I kind of want to do more. I want to go to gay bars, I want to have gay friends, and I want to help out at LGBT associations. I have no clue how to do any of those things; signing up on dating websites has showed me that people only really care about hook ups. If you just thought "No kidding", don't forget I only started exploring all of this maybe 2 years ago, one year in the closet and terrified, and the other a bit more freely. I'm 23, but I'm not sure whether I'm late or early to all of this. I learned just a few months ago that I am classified as a "cub" (or is it bear cub?) and that means I shouldn't even try out the most popular dating website in my country, but rather the bear specific one.
That hurt a bit.
The truth is that I don't know how to meet other gay people my age who share my interests, whether for friendship or romance. I don't know how to get involved in the LGBT community without being caught up in some sort of bigger cause: I really just want to be in something fun, not something political or with an agenda, not that I even know where that community is. On top of all, I don't know if trying to do all of these things will help me answer this nagging question of what it means to be gay, because for some weird unexplained and maybe naive reason, I feel like I should be able to answer it in due time.
But to be honest, I'm a bit freaked out to meet other gay guys. The flaming gay kind makes me really uncomfortable, and I really can't stand gay dudes that call other gay dudes girls or bitches. When I told this to a stranger online, he responded that I still had internalized homophobia. What does that even mean and why would I have that?
All of this is so complicated. I'm 23, I'm a gay guy: right there is enough for a life of complications, without even getting in the fact that I'm Muslim and despite my best efforts, I do believe in my faith, even though it clearly says I'm an abomination.
All of this is so complicated. I really wish I knew what it all meant.