I think one of the reasons I became a writer is that I have always had such a difficult time making myself understood. I’m still trying, and still don’t do a very good job of it. I think I am searching, too, for a way to understand that which I have never understood.
Take the world, for instance. I am homosexual…one of the major components of what makes me me…and I live in a world of heterosexuals. Neither one of us fully understands the other, though I and those like me are outnumbered 9 to 1, so in any conflict between the two, it’s fairly clear who has the upper hand. I was born of heterosexual parents into a heterosexual family of which I am the only homosexual. Not just in my generation, but to the best of my knowledge in all generations. The only possible exception, and this is only pure speculation and perhaps wishful thinking on my part, was my mother’s uncle Peter, who died of tuberculosis at the age of 19 back in the early years of the 20th century. I probably romanticize Peter because he died so young.
So I have, as do most homosexuals—and especially those who recognize their homosexuality at a very early age (I was five)—made my own way, learning social survival skills, playing social survival games (but only to an extent; I have never in my entire life denied my homosexuality). I became an expert at dodging the issue when it got too close. As I have reported before, when I joined the Navy, I marked the box “Have you ever had homosexual tendencies” “No” with a clear conscience on the sound logic that there were no “ever” or “tendencies” involved.
I understand, to a degree, heterosexuals as individuals, but when mixed together as husbands and wives and in-laws and their kids (invariably heterosexual themselves) dating and going to proms and doing all those wholesomely red-blooded American heterosexual things that come so naturally to heterosexuals, I am quite honestly completely and totally at a loss as to what is going on. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like, nor do I have any desire to find out. That, of course, does not mean I am not frequently embittered by the arrogance of many heterosexuals in assuming their numbers make them superior.
I just read an article in which the writer was describing a trip he and his wife had taken with his parents and children and I just stared at the page. I had no real concept of what he was talking about, or how the people involved interacted or interrelated. In a way, my attitude toward the world in which I live is not unlike watching a football game (or basketball game, or baseball game)…I simply do not understand it or its rules and cannot comprehend how others seem to.
One of the things that confuses me most is how straight men and women relate to one another. In a large gathering, they’re together, yet they’re separate. The women tend to cluster together and talk women things—children and clothes and recipes—while the men huddle around the TV glued to whatever sporting event happens to be on, putting on a great display of testosterone and male bonding and making far more to-do over whatever is happening than I can conceive of as being warranted.
I’ve never understood how everyone else…well, get’s it. They walk into a party and mingle and talk and laugh and dance, and to them it is the most natural thing in the world—which I suppose it is: there is great comfort in being among one's own kind.
It’s strange to live in a world to which one does not belong, and in which one is often not comfortable. I’ve been in that position all my life. I take some comfort in the fact that I am not alone, and there are many others who, like me, walk through the zoo that is the world, warily watching those on the other side of the thick glass walls. The question is, who is on which side of the glass?
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).