Last night I spent a few agonizing hours trying to write something specifically about being gay. It was difficult task which resulted in me archiving this piece in favor of the short piece you may have read last night. I have read this post again and I have decided to post it. This blog is an unapologetic expression of who I am and how I feel. I have decided not to censor.
I do not identify with the 'gay community'.
I am sick of being gay. I am tired of having this label that is attached to what I do, how I talk and what I say. I hate having to guess what the other person is, I am tired of having to explain myself or worrying what the other person will think. I am fed up with feeling uncomfortable in the bars and clubs which are supposed to be for my people. I am disgusted with most of what is presented in local gay media, specifically Xtra West. I have also had a series of very negative interactions with those who are gay recently.
I do not hate myself, in fact I think I am really awesome. I am one of the best runners in Canada, I am attractive, I am optimistic, I am smart, I have a good career and do a great job (most of the time) and I am well liked. It happens that I have these qualities and want to engage in a loving sexual relationship with a man which means I am gay.
I have written before that I thought labels were helpful, and I still believe they are. Labels/stereotypes become less useful when used to group items that are potentially unrelated, hence my recent difficulty with being gay. I do not identify with the big, hockey playing jock. But wait, we are both the same, we are gay. I do not identify with the skinny cute raver with an IQ of 70, no education and a part time retail job. But wait, we are both the same, we are gay. Using gay stereotypes I have the potential to be labeled jock or a twink but I am neither. I am undefinable.
The fact that I have been hard wired to be sexually attracted to men does not make me part of the gay community. There is nothing at this moment that makes me part of the gay community. My lifestyle as an elite athlete makes me think of myself as a runner. I compete all over the country and participate in a running club. I belong and am a welcomed member of the running community. My career makes me think of myself as an OT. As such I belong to a community of quirky individuals who see the world through a different lens. When I walk into a room I do an environmental assessment and if with a group of OTs will comment on the wonderful use of universal design. I belong to the OT community. I have a group of friends with similar values and ideals who are both gay and straight. We do not usually participate in 'gay' activities. We have a collective community of friendship. I do not feel I belong to whatever the gay community is.
Recently I have been thinking of quitting running to be gay and to enable joining the gay community. I have considered ditching my friends so that I could be with the gays so that I belong and I become my authentic gay self. I have thought about giving up everything that makes me happy so that I could be a real gay, which made me realize something very important.
I am happy in my life with the exception of one thing, I am gay. The gay part of my life is pulling me from all that makes me glow, all that makes me a person others want to be around. I am becoming a bitter old queen which is not a good thing. I do not want to lose my 'joi de vivre', my love and my passion. I do not know how to be both and I am getting sick of trying.
When I started this blog I wanted it to show that people who happen to be gay can be everything. I do not even know what it means to be gay. I wanted to be an example for young athletes that they can have it all. I do not really believe that anymore. There will come a point in your life when you will be faced with a very important decision. You will have to decide between going to the club to party, try some drugs and have a good time or to go to bed early to get up for the workout the next morning. One day the decision will be to go to the club. You will be gay, the athlete will die (is this the reason many elite gay athletes do not come out until after their career is over?).
As for me I am choosing to be an athlete. I am not willing to give up what is my passion for something that I am struggling to both understand and which I do not trust.
This is now my training blog. As for the gay aspect it has become nothing more then a label. I hope you enjoy.
I got a nice message today after my post last night which has changed my perspective a bit. I still feel alone in the big gay world but I think this is a valuable perspective to share. The solitude of running gay.