I was puzzled to find the following search that directed a visitor from Lidon, Utah, to a post on this blog titled, “Low Self Esteem, Insecurity, and Homosexuality.”
The search read, “sterotyping alpha male turns boys into gays.”
This search term can be interpreted several ways, but here is what I think, from the perspective of a married, masculine gay man —
First, I believe that the writer is straight. I arrive at that assumption because straight people tend to use the label “gays” while people who are gay do not. We do not refer to each other as “gays.” That term is offensive to many in the gay community. Likely the writer does not know that, so I’ll give him or her a pass.
Second, the writer is misguided, probably by the culture in which he or she lives (you can make your own interpretation of what the culture is in the U.S. state with the largest concentration of followers of the Mormon faith.)
Third, the writer has some made some false assumptions, again probably based on inaccurate, false, and misleading stories he or she has been told and read. Sadly, that happens often — straight people arrive at wildly wrong assumptions about gay people because of several reasons: 1) they do not question what they are told by people they respect; if their elders say “it is so,” they blindly believe it; 2) they don’t know any openly gay people to confirm or deny what they hear; and 3) they may believe stories told by their religion and do not believe scientific fact — that being homosexual is not a choice, not a “lifestyle,” but a matter of genetics.
I was born gay — not “turned” gay because I did not adopt and demonstrate stereotypical alpha male characteristics (physically strong, athletic, a “lady’s man,” so forth and so on.) Being “boldly male” is still strongly approved by society, and adults tend not only to foster that behavior in boys, but do all they can to support it. If a boy talks about a girl in a certain (sexual) way, often other adult males in his life wink and nod approval. If a boy does not exhibit those characteristics, then some less-educated, misinformed adults jump to a conclusion that the boy is gay. To them, there cannot be any alternative — you’re either strong, virile and athletic or… you’re gay.
There is not much I can say about this situation other than to have pity for people who think this way. I wish I could sit down with each one, one-on-one, and have a conversation. Some of the more open-minded people may come around to a better understanding with education. However, sadly, some may not.
Life is short: listen, learn, and don’t hold to folklore passed down through the ages.