A Bear's Tale #TBT: I'm Coming Out and I Want the World to Know
May 3, 2018
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I don't care what anyone or any church says, we are born who we are. Whether it's straight, gay, bi, pan.

When I was growing up, we didn't have the gay role models we do today. Instead, we were ridiculed and mocked and forced to stay in the closet to hide from the demons (aka school bullies).

I was so programmed by society that I really didn't think about being gay or that I was denying my identity. I just thought this is how it's supposed to be.

​Sure I did have a girl friend in high school and dated a girl in junior college. Heck, I even had sex in elementary school with a girl.

I went to counseling at school for a whole year at the university asking a counselor “why my friends don’t like me as much as I like them.” We reviewed all of these options the entire school year and perhaps my counselor knew the answer: I was gay and they weren’t and you can’t make someone have romantic feelings for you. I had three close friends in school that perhaps I had crushes on but didn't know it. I buried these feelings.

I suppose I must have known I was gay. Other kids at school sure did by calling me "faggot" or mimicking my feminine treats. Sometimes those words and that mockery still come to mind.

But after years of choking on a hanger, I came out of the closet...slowly. I remember the summer before my last year of college, my friend Jeffrey told me he was gay. I was surprised as Jeff didn't act gay - but now I realize that's just a stereotype. Jeffrey liked a lot of sports. The first thing that came out of my mouth when Jeffrey told me this was, “Me too.”

Jeffrey was surprised of my news. Actually, I was even surprised of my news. He said, “You know as friends we don’t have to have everything in common. Just because I am gay, doesn’t mean you have to be.”

True, but in that moment I realized at that Jeffrey is still the exact same person as he was before he told me. The news didn’t change who he is and how I felt about him. And while several religious groups or cults would argue, we do not become gay we are born gay. This is who we are our entire life.

People like me who say it later in life are born gay, but we’re just afraid to face our own truth or afraid of what society will say or do to us. For me, it took me so long to admit it to myself or to anyone as I wanted to be liked and befriended and I didn’t want to be ridiculed for being different.

I used to think that quite frankly, it would be easier to be straight. I'd never have to face prejudice for being who I am. I wouldn't need to try to get equal rights or be fight to be offered the same insurance and privileges everyone else gets.

Jeffrey's admission started to make everything clear to me. This is who I am. This is what I am. My sexuality is I am gay. I like the word “sexuality” as “preference” sounds like I had a choice like if I preferred Coke over Pepsi. I don’t have a choice. And “orientation” sounds like I had to go an assembly and learn how to be gay.

So now that I'm out, now what?

Recently when I saw the move "Love, Simon" it reminded me of something I used to ask - why do we need to tell people we're gay? Straight people don't need to come out, so why do I?

It certainly shouldn't make a difference in friendships or the work place. I still have the same interests and would perform the same at work. If people think or look at me differently when they learn I am gay, that's on them. Before or after the hear the news, I will be the exact same person they already knew.

In retrospect, if you look into my life, history and habits, I am obviously gay and fall into the stereotype in many ways. Of course, there can't be stereotypes if there isn't some truths to them.

I do remember my first exposure to finding men attractive is when my sister's first husband used to take us to the drive-in movie to watch some soft-core sexy movies. I even remember some of the titles - "The Swinging Cheerleaders" and "The Swinging Stewardess" come to mind.

I used to claim "equal rights" when they would show female nudity and why not men. I guess I didn't want equal rights I really just wanted to see dick.

The second clue is I like  Barbra Streisand. For those who wonder why gays are so drawn to Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Bette Midler, Cher, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé or Madonna - or anyone that inhabits the diva spirit. I have a theory.

I think we like them because, first of all, the are singing songs that often have our feelings. You know words like “I love that man of mine” or “you are the wind beneath my wings.”

But I also believe that these women are so over-the-top, and in many ways, bigger-than-life in their musical performances, costumes or demeanor, that they basically seem like drag queens! Come on think about it, Cher and Madonna don’t need female impersonators - they are practically impersonators themselves with their outlandish costumes and caricature behavior.

But back to me.

So I really need to explore me being gay - so where do I go...maybe I do need that orientation after all.

I remember the first things I did was buy gay porn magazines. Fortunately, a porn store wasn’t far from my house. I don’t remember the magazines I bought, but I remember looking through them and seeing men touch each other and that seemed so natural to me. That’s what I need to be doing. I need to be touched and held by a man. Yes there were dicks and fucking and I liked that a lot, but the first thing that got me was just that a man showing any sort of affection for another man and that seemed so natural to me.

After awhile on gay magazines, I needed to upgrade to videos (this is #tbt so no DVD or streaming). But I was way to nervous to go back to that same store.

So I went to Hayward to rent these movies. I didn’t want to be caught in my town coming out of the porn shop. And school was still on break so I didn’t need to worry about bumping into anyone from Cal State.

So in Hayward, I went inside the porn shop in the middle of the day. Was hoping for some super queen to wait on me or some barely legal person who didn’t care. I was so fearful it might be someone  I knew! They’d tell...they’d call and tell me mother I was some big fat homo.

Anyway, I get into the store and there’s a little old lady wanting to help. Why wasn’t the super queen on duty! She asked me what I needed and I said a video. Guess she knew I was nervous as she started holding up titles like “Shaved Beavers” or “Giant Jugs.” I said not those. Something different. Guess she knew then because the next movie she offered me was “Huge Part 2.” I said I’ll take it. And a couple of similar ones. I mean, if I am going to be embarrassed, I really need to get as many movies as possible.

After months of satisfying myself with porn inspiration, I needed to work on the real thing. I remember a bar Jeffrey once pointed out when we were in San Francisco. So I made note of it for future reference. This is the time.

So I took BART to San Francisco as this place was actually downtown and easy to reach. I don’t remember the name of it but it was more a gay bar for businessmen.

I entered and my heart was in my throat. I was scared and nervous.

I noticed a cute man nearby. I made a little small talk. So small I don’t know remember what we talked about. I do remember it didn’t last long as he left. So I chased off my first man. In hindsight, he probably wouldn’t have worked out. We were both bottoms. I guess I was realizing I was a bottom at that time. But since I had no experience, I couldn’t really label myself anything. But, in following stereotypes, that cute guy was probably a bottom because I remember he was wearing a kimono type of jacket.

So it’s best it ended before it began. But I knew this was just a step to a life of love, sex and education.

#ABearsTale #ComingOut #ComingOutStory #MyFirstTime #TBT

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