What is Gay?

In Berzon’s Dealing With Issues: What Gay Is and Is Not she talks about how society’s current understanding of homosexuality and all that encompasses impacts the gay community. Rather than accept it, she recommends that people speak out when faced with homophobia. she offers a variety of situations where one can speak out against other’s homophobia. She also examines what people know versus what people think they know about homosexuality. Being a homosexual male growing up in middle/upper class predominantly white suburbia, I was faced with my fair share of ignorance regarding my sexuality. There are many pre-conceived notions surrounding one of America’s “dirtiest secrets”. What I mean to say is that for something that is considered impolite to discuss, people in Wyoming, Ohio think they’ve got it all figured out. One example of this was pretty soon after I came out freshman year. This one girl walks up to me and starts talking to me. I try to be polite and pretend like I actually care what she’s talking about until she gets to her point. This girl continues to yammer on for a solid 5 minutes before I start tuning in, just long enough to hear her ask “So, do you wanna, like, go shopping sometime?” It was astounding to me. here I was, a chubby freshman and suddenly I was every woman in the school’s best friend. I mean, I’d heard of the term “fag hag” but this was getting to be ridiculous. Factor in the whole part where for the majority of my high school career I wore only white tees and jeans and this girl asks me if I’d like to go shopping. I could tell I wouldn’t be much help in the shopping department, but that’s just one of the many stereotypes surrounding gay males, particularly in suburbia, a dangerous territory in and of itself. However, it was also disheartening on a much more profound level. I had worked hard to establish myself as my own person in high school. It never even occurred to me that other people would have the power to strip me of that. I’m not gonna pretend like it was hard for me, growing up gay. I dealt with it as anyone else has to deal with the cards that life deal them. What was hard was being reduced to other people’s understanding of my sexuality. It’s a constant struggle.


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