I first suspected I was gay in my teen years, although I never acted upon it. I came out when I was 21. I lost a lot of friends at that time but I made up for it by making new ones.
I come from one of those families that didn’t deal with an alternative sexuality to the heterosexual cookie-cutter program very well at all, so I remain distanced from my family by being different. Some members of my family have improved, but it tends to be tokenism.
At work I get the “Some of my best friends are gay” comments. Occasionally I’d get the heterosexual male who’s never come across a gay male in his life, trying to understand and share his stories to try to get an understanding of me. It’s sweet in some sense, but sometimes it’s very funny because they’re coming from planet Z as far as I’m concerned.
My sexuality would probably be a main component of my overall identity, mainly because the big trips in life are birth, marriage and death. Being HIV positive causes you to assess the gay aspect of your identity in a particularly serious way, and how you conduct your identity, and yourself, from that moment onwards. I’ve been HIV positive for nearly thirteen years now, and it’s given me an opportunity to learn a lot about my character from a tragic situation.
I don’t believe in any formalised religion and that’s probably coming from the viewpoint that most formalised religions exclude gay people as an identity, so I don’t want to be in their environments. I believe in spirituality but I wouldn’t say that it is formalised. I mean, I don’t want to come back in the next life as a cockroach…
The big things in life that we all probably need are faith and hope, whether it is in formalised religion or something else. Gay people, probably more so than heterosexuals, have a lot more negative life experiences, so I guess you develop a thick skin, and some sort of personal system of faith, hope and spirituality within you to get you through.
God I love being gay. It’s taken me a long time to love it, because we inherit that cultural training from a very early age that we’re heterosexual. As soon as you realise you’re not, you have to rebuild yourself, and that’s an opportunity that a lot of heterosexual people never get.
I’m more of an outgoing person. Most of my experiences of myself are in stored memories, be they conscious or unconscious, or they’re about sharing with other people. I have an ego but I don’t tend to concentrate on it too much. I think Scott will do. I could talk it up and down, and say I’m a set of contradictions held together loosely by a few biases, but ultimately, at the end of the day, I’m just happy with the label of Me.