Defining Lifestyle

“Gay lifestyle”

That’s a hot-button topic in some circles. It was one of the first questions my wife asked me when I came out…”Do you want to live the gay lifestyle now?” I believe that the term would be offensive if it were not for the high degree of ignorance it reflects. And it’s mildly offensive because, the (straight) people – in my world, anyway – always mean one thing when they use that term: sex.

I don’t know about you, but I’m more than a sexual person. Much more.

And, we all are.

We are acrobats, bankers, cartoonists, dentists, economists, farmers…you get the drift (…so that I don’t have to go through the entire alphabet). We are all colors, shapes, and sizes. We are all ethnicities and come from every corner of the planet. We are all religious beliefs. We drive all sorts of cars. We live in all neighborhoods. We are in all socioeconomic levels. We are here, there, and everywhere. And we are all totally unique, each and every one of us.

Some people think and say that I would fall into the category of people who want to change the meaning of commonly used words. That I want “lifestyle” to mean something other than what it means. Actually, they only think and say that because they want “lifestyle” to refer to a flaming, outrageous, abrasive, horned up gay guy that is jumping in bed with every guy that walks by who is the least bit attractive.

That’s just stupid.

Here’s my gay lifestyle:
* Husband in a mixed-orientation marriage
* Dad
* Grandpa
* Hold a Master’s degree
* Professional manager
* Accomplished musician
* Christian
* Sexually chaste

Sadly, that last item is the one and only thing that many people ever think of. But in reality, I’m your average guy. Kinda boring, really. Not nearly as exciting as some people imagine.

I think that the main reason people believe what I have described is they haven’t spent the amount of time and shared the amount of heart with any gay people to learn who they really are. We are pretty regular people. I know…big shock, eh?

I’m not a bird…please don’t pigeonhole me.

Neither are you.

-Trevor

What My Gay Is Not

Stereotypes do nothing to further a pure sense of understanding of an individual and everything to do with hiding the true self of that person. Whether they are framed in the context of race, religion, or sexual orientation, presuppositions about another person actually create barriers to understanding a person different from ourselves. No doubt, we are all guilty of using those types of mental images from time to time. This post itself, will contain some of what I’m deriding…which just shows how difficult it is to avoid all the time. But, when those things are made public in speech or in writing and are in a directive opinion or decisive form, they have the potential to become even more harmful than just the silent thoughts of a person.

Recently, my denomination’s leaders issued an interpretation of the official document that guides the polity and theology of the denomination. It was distributed to all areas of the denomination. It included language that basically lumped the LGBTQ community in with those who abuse children and those who are repeatedly in violation of their (straight) marriage vows. To say the least, it was offensive. It has created even more divide and controversy in the church, and depending on how it plays out in my local congregation will determine if I stay connected. Thus, the reason for my recent visit with my pastor as I described in Risky Business and Risky Business – Follow-Up.

So, I thought I would share a sampling of what my gay is not. (And please pardon the assumptions inherent in my list…I’m simply attempting to address the types of stereotypes that I have personally heard.)

My gay is not about fashion, whether it is the latest or the color pink. I’m fairly unfashionable in that I prefer my blue jeans and a t-shirt…in any kind of setting.

My gay is not about musicals. Not my thing.

My gay is not about protests and marches. I’m just not cut out to be an activist.

My gay is not about ruining the value of your straight marriage. Just as I pray daily for the help of God in my mixed-oriented marriage, I pray that yours will be vibrant as well.

My gay is not about cruising for every hot guy that walks by…although, I would say that my gaydar is as finely tuned as the next gay guy’s.

My gay is not about letting anyone make me feel guilty about being gay, because I have absolutely no choice in the matter.

My gay is not about being convinced that God doesn’t love me, because that story line is the offspring of the devil himself.

And…

My gay is not about abusing children. Just like the vast majority of straight guys don’t sexually abuse kids, neither do the vast majority of gay guys sexually abuse children.

My gay is not about playing into anyone’s stereotypical assumptions.

I’m just me.

-Trevor