Psychotherapist Ernest van den Haag : “I am reminded of a colleague who reiterated “all my homosexual patients are quite sick” – to which I finally replied “so are all my heterosexual patients.” 

Say it loud, I'm straight and I'm proud

My motto in the ’70’s

Years and years ago in the mid-70’s, I was a college student and was also working part time at a well-known burger joint that employed a rhyming-named clown pitching the deliciously greasy product!

I was ambling through the local mall one day when I bumped into Brian, one of my burger-making co-workers. I really enjoyed working with Brian, he was a good guy with strong manly looks, and a great – somewhat Monty Python’ish-style – sense of humour.

I saw that he had a logo design on his T-shirt that I didn’t recognize, and so I asked him what it was about. He didn’t hesitate a second—

-Oh, THIS? This is the symbol for the Gay Association of Hamilton.

-REALLY???

Anderson Cooper Gay?  In the 70’s I would have been surprised — NOT now!

I swallowed just a wee bit of vomit in my mouth as I took in what he just told me! I’m sure my face turned a dozen shades of red as I tried in a panic-filled moment to try to respond. Until this moment in my life, homosexuals were something that I considered a weird, fringe element that was occupied by a teensy  tiny portion of the population. The few homosexuals that I figured existed were easily recognizable by their flamboyant and ultra-feminized behaviour. LESBIANISM?…well, it just didn’t exist at all in those days!!

At high school, my male friends and I made a 4-year career of ridiculing the GAY-faggoty ones who may or may not have been truly gay. I don’t think any of us really contemplated what damage we might be doing to a fragile person dealing with what had to be an extremely difficult and traumatic time of life. For us real boys it was just good fun and a diversion from our monumental lack of success with real girls!

Brian changed my view of gay-ness forever that day when he told me about his role as President of the local chapter. Brian was a funny, masculine, smart, with-it guy… AND he was gay!  He was even the DJ at the dances put on by the group. After I got over the shock I felt when Brian “came out” to me, I never looked at or thought of homosexuals as separate – better or worse– than heterosexuals again.

But that’s just background to what I really want to discuss here.

Previously “straight” men and women are coming out to the closet in startling- to me–  numbers. The whole arena gets muddled by those who consider themselves as bi-sexual and those who come out as truly homosexual. In Canada, studies indicate that less than 5% of the population identify themselves as either homosexual or bi-sexual. Only 1 in 20?? I gotta tell you here…I’m a bi-skeptic!!

In my small sphere of contact, I’m encountering a substantial number of women, who, after marrying/partnering and having children with a male lover, decide to leave the heterosexual relationship to join in a sapphic (ie. female-female) partnering later in life. NHL hockey teams are not the only ones making big trades in the off-season…women are exercising their options and switching teams in large numbers.

Three times married actress Meredith Birney with her later-in-life partner Nancy Locke

I get the idea that homosexuality isn’t a choice…I buy into this concept. But a new reality of those who jump later in life is different, isn’t it? Is sexuality a fluid or fixed thing?

This confuses the hell out of me as I try to understand just what’s going on:

  •  Is this a person who has hidden the truth from their partner and family over years and possibly decades before making the fateful leap?
  • Is it a recent discovery and acceptance by the affected individual of their true orientation?
  •  Is it a rejection of what heterosexual relationships are about, and a statement of the profound disappointment of men as partners?

My spidey-sense tells me that there’s probably a germ of truth in each of the scenarios I’ve described above. Like so many areas of study, the more we know, the more we realize we don’t know and understand. I suspect our knowledge and ideas about sexual orientation are still in their infancy .

Do YOU get it? I think I’m going to track down my old friend Brian and have him explain all of this to me!

Can somebody help me understand this?

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