by Dennis M. Myers, 02/22/2020
When I was young, whenever I saw a straight couple kissing, it always made me feel good. Seeing two women kiss gave me the same feeling. Seeing two men kiss made me uncomfortable. Something inside me felt wrong. It took me decades to figure that one out. I eventually realized that when I see a straight couple kiss, I put myself into the kiss in place of the man. I feel myself kissing the woman. When I see two women kissing, I do exactly the same, but it can be either woman. When I see two men kissing, well I don't want to kiss a man. There's no place for me. And that thought is where I found my answer. It's not my kiss. I needed to stop projecting myself into other people's kisses. It takes a while. Hard habit to break. But eventually, I came to the point where two men kissing doesn't affect me in the slightest. It's not my kiss. They seem to like it quite a bit, though. Good for them.
People used to say that being gay was a lifestyle choice. I still hear that from time to time. I believe that you can only hold that belief if you have no gay friends. I mean, all it takes is a simple conversation between friends and you realize that being gay isn't a choice, just as being straight isn't a choice. When I was a teenager I never wanted to go hug the quarterback, but those cheerleaders in skirts and tight sweaters... yeah. A gay teenage boy feels that same feeling for the quarterback, assuming the quarterback is a guy. It's simply not a choice.
Except when it is. Like everything, there are exceptions. Bisexual men and women are attracted to either gender to various degrees. So there, they might actually have a choice, and might even make one.
In the end, I realized that human sexuality was not a binary switch. It's more of a gauge. Most men's gauges are set pointing at women, and most women are the reverse. But there is a huge range of people where that gauge is set closer to the middle, where there is a lot of overlap.
An additional aspect of the gauge is that the needle can be larger in some people than in others. What I mean is that some people have a big sexual appetite, while others have a much smaller one, much less desire. Even none at all.
The wide variety of people make this a very interesting combination. I find it to be a good way to look at it. It allows me to be the kind of person who doesn't judge another on who they love.
Speaking of variety, transsexual people come in quite a variety as well. I remember as a child being confused by the term. I thought wearing women's clothing was all there was to it. Oh how naive I was. Wearing the clothing of the opposite gender has nothing to do with your gender identification. Transvestites are not necessarily transgender. Or even gay, for that matter.
Being born transgender simply means that someone is born with the wrong equipment. A woman born with a penis, a man born with a vagina. There is still a large contingency of people who believe that the body dictates gender. However we know this isn't true. The example I always give is, when talking to a man, imagine someone grabbed you off the street and forced you into surgery. You come out with large breasts, a vagina, and no male member. It's gone. Now you tell me, are you a woman? Or a man who has had his body altered?
Invariably the answer is the latter. Making those changes would not alter who you are. And that's the key. Who you are is not connected to your body in that way. So a man born with a vagina knows something is wrong from a very early age. This is actually a diagnosable condition. It's not a little boy wanting to be a sister. It's far more than that.
Once you accept that fact that nature can get it wrong, the next group are the intersex folks. They're born with nothing down there. At least, nothing that fits into the neat male / female categories people might wish for. There are plenty of stories about gender assignment surgery for these children that pick the wrong gender. Because guess what, just because the body doesn't tell you what gender it is, doesn't mean the child won't know later. Nowadays doctors are waiting to let the child tell them which way to go.
So this all gets back to my philosophy, in a roundabout way. Compassion. Understanding, and love. Let people be who they are. Don't project your own expectations onto them. And don't worry about the expectations of others. Be true to yourself. Be who you are. I wish the world would just realize that people are different, and accept that.
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