A fellow asked me the other day, “why do you think that there are so many gay men in (redacted)?” I thought about it for a second and I offered my opinion. I figured that the percentage of gay men, or women, in any country is about the same. If the gay man lives in a country where being seen as gay becomes life threatening immediately, gay men will either keep it way on the down-low or just give up the idea completely. Reject it. Force themselves into the straight life. But if a gay man lives in a country where no one seems to really care about that fact, he can let his true colors shine. My point was that there weren't necessarily more gay men in (redacted) than anywhere else, but in (redacted) they could just be themselves. No one particularly cared.
I focused there on gay men, because it's very different for them. Regarding gay women, lesbians, nowhere are they considered nearly as offensive as gay men. Straight women quickly figure, okay, that could happen. Straight men, of course, are titillated by the prospect. So it's a whole different scene.
We were speaking together in (redacted), and I happen to know a thing or two about (redacted). I've taught English in grammar schools here, and I can tell you, if they have a Christmas show, somebody has to play the Christmas Angel. That will be one of the kids, one of the kids that understands the value of makeup. That will be a gay boy, and they are valued for the talents that they bring to that and other enterprises.
The entire question is very interesting. I've known a lot of gay men in my life, and a lot of gay women too. One thing that I can guarantee you is that their being gay was not some conscious choice. They didn't “decide” to be gay. They were born that way. I've talked about this before. The whole idea of “deciding” to be gay is more ridiculous than believing as an adult that Santa Claus lives at the north pole and has a reindeer sleigh. Gay people are born gay. Go ask an enlightened medical professional to explain the physical mechanics of the phenomenon to you, because I don't swim that deeply in those waters. But I'll tell you, all of the homosexuals that I've ever known were sure that they were homosexuals from an early age.
It gets funny when ambitious straight people start to wonder if they're missing something. What's up with that? No one wants to miss out on some available action. No one in my generation did, anyway.
To make it in the gay community, it really helps to be great looking. And fit, one must be fit. In shape, that's what we call it in America. And handsome, one should also be handsome. And young. When men in my generation, the Baby Boomers, considered the prospect, we were all young. That's about 30% of the way there.
I'll admit, when I was young, I wondered if I was missing out on something that could be interesting. My entire being was oriented towards the female sex; my sun rose and set on the primary and secondary sexual characteristics of womankind. A ridiculous portion of my day was devoted to thinking about women. But still, there was a nagging thought that I could be missing out on some easily attainable source of what, entertainment? Certainly, sex is entertaining. I'll be honest, I got as far on one occasion as trying to set something up, but it failed far in advance of any consummation. You couldn't really even call it a conspiracy. Even so, there was no act in furtherance. I was happy to let it go at that. I was happily heterosexual. There are worse fates.
I had just been thinking that there might be something that I was denying myself. To me, that kind of question always needed to be addressed. I was fit enough, and I had a hip wardrobe, and I knew plenty of gay men. My gay friends would see me at movies, or rock and roll clubs, in the company of other gay friends, and they would often assume that I must be gay, married or not. But no, my heart was never in it. Nothing ever happened. Unless you count the many wonderful friendships.
I never gave up the idea completely, and much later I made another half-hearted go at it. My lack of sincerity and enthusiasm shone through, and the entire thing was a total failure long before it even got off the ground. By now I have faced the fact: I am irredeemably straight.
It is very clear to me now that I was always handsome enough, and fit enough, but the most important element was missing. The truth of it is that while any very handsome gay man can become popular, and any wonderfully fit gay man can become popular, there is another way to achieve extreme popularity. That is to be as hot as a pistol. To be wild about having it all four ways, to insist on the home-run every time, to grab every opportunity and not let go, to use up entire days, to never cool down until you are three-fourths dead from the exertion. Those guys always get invited back. They can be chubby and acne scarred, and they will still be in demand. I was a very enthusiastic heterosexual, ardent, considerate, and energetic, but regarding a try at playing for the other team, I was lukewarm at best.
At this point in my life, I give myself a measure of credit for even considering it, but I'm just as glad that it never came to be. My personality is complex enough. One more level of complexity might have kill me.