What Defines a Person

I have been enjoying a renewed conversation with a gay man who is coming out now to his friends and family. It’s been a long process for him. What he’s going through reminded me of what I went through when I came out — starting when I was in college (photo shown, circa 1977).

The guy with whom I am communicating is deeply thoughtful and introspective. He has asked me questions that have caused me to think. He shares analogies to experiences in his own life that are strikingly similar to things I’ve gone through — and also some experiences that I haven’t had.

One thing he said recently was this:

Through the example you’ve provided you’ve reinforced my belief that being gay doesn’t totally define your existence and there’s not a predefined mold you have to fit in. Sexuality is as natural as breathing and just as some people are tall and others are short, some are gay and others straight and some are in the middle. Although I don’t feel the need to made any grand announcements, I also won’t skirt the issue of my sexuality in conversation with friends and family.

I totally agree with his statement, and with his permission, I reproduced it here. I have never felt that being gay defined my total existence. It’s just a part of what makes me who I am.

While I appreciate the compliment in that whatever I have said or shown as an example, I’ve learned that coming to terms with what defines a person is complex and not related to one specific thing. It’s not related only to being gay, or only to being male, or only … to … anything!

As I have conversed with another masculine gay man (who happens to be from the same state as the man who inspired this particular post)… one defines himself in a variety of ways. How he lives, with what activities and people he engages, with what he does for a living, how he conducts himself, and many other factors. My buddies about whom I am writing share similar traits with me in having self-confidence, maturity, intelligence, and just being regular guys — not trying to be someone he’s not, nor hiding from being who he is. He just “is”. I admire men like that. No pretenses. What you see is what you get.

Thanks, guys — for reaffirming that guys can be guys and being a gay guy doesn’t define who that guy is. While you have said that I’ve helped you, you have helped me, too. I don’t “have” to identify as or with any particular identity, because what makes my identity as a masculine gay man is a combination of things. Just like for my friends. (And we like to wear our boots, too! That’s great!)

Life is short: be who you are, and wear your boots! (LOL!)

1 thought on “What Defines a Person

  1. Best blog post I’ve read in a very long time. Gay is never who you are. Gay is only who you are programmed biologically to desire sexually and to love. People whether straight, gay, male, female span a great spectrum that goes way beyond stereotypical traits. The sooner people realize this, the more freedom minorities will have.


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