Monday, July 4, 2011

Learned behavior?

The truth is that I have a lot more to write in relation to my childhood years. I fear a stigma building though and it isn't my intent. I'd like to clarify...

Being in the closet affords me the "luxury" to be in on those "straight" conversations in which the topic of homosexuality comes up. Friends might speculate as to another friends sexuality and/or the conversation goes to a person we know that has come out of the closet. It is common for someone to point out what a screwed up life the person in question had as if the person couldn't be gay and have had a normal life. It seems that the natural assessment a straight person makes when they talk about a gay guy is that there is something messed up about them.

(I will stop for a moment to say that this assumption is by far more common in frum circles.)

The way this affects me though is that I fear talking about my messed up childhood might reinforce that stereotype. Please help me with this. Is it a false perception on my end? Am I more sensitive to this line of thought because I am gay? I wonder if others feel that this stereotype exists. Do straight people think that someone who's gay must have had some element of abnormality or even abuse in their upbringing? This might go back to the conversation about genetics. In so far that someone has a genetic disposition to homosexuality I would guess they could've had the perfect upbringing and it's just built into their DNA to be attracted to guys.

On the other hand, if it is a learned behavior, does that imply a challenged upbringing?

Here's my thinking; if homosexuality is a learned behavior, to me that implies that heterosexuality is a learned behavior as well. Doesn't the logic go there? If being hetero is natural than shouldn't a homosexual need to"unlearn" their natural affinity to heterosexuality and than re-learn to be gay. I realize I am simplifying but it would seem more logical that a child is asexual until life experience "teaches" him sexual preference, be it homo or heterosexuality.

Okay, I am rambling... I understand that all sides of this argument have probably been debated already. I have not researched the debate (I probably will over time, I am new to this). I am sharing this because I believe that there are areas of subtlety within everyone's upbringing, healthy or unhealthy that can cause people to be all sorts of things, angry or happy, lazy or hard-working, stingy or  generous and yes, gay or straight.

That said, I will continue on my next blog entry to talk about some of the conditions of my childhood that have led me to where I am today. I  have confidence that my story of a screwed up childhood and the belief that some of it has led to my homosexuality, doesn't make it the rule of thumb. I hope others will see it the same way.

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