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Friday, August 07, 2009

R U Gay?

It's a provocative question, and one with an all but simple answer. A definitive "yes" or "no" won't quite do.

Consider this, if you are male--especially a young adult male, or even an adolescent. The natural state of affairs is not to be so attracted to the opposite sex. This is a learned behavior.

What comes quite naturally to the young male is to associate with other males.

Go ahead, do a double take. The natural condition is to associate with, be more comfortable with and more attracted to the same sex.

Opposites don't really attract! Not nearly as much, anyway, as those who have so much more in common.

Men Are Attracted to Other Men

Think about it for a minute. To a young male, the person he would have most looked up to would have been an older male--like an elder brother, father, uncle, male teacher, etc.

As a playmate what would have been the preferred choice? A male classmate, the boy next door, the dorm mate in college or even a fellow competitor in sports.

Were the Greeks, who exalted the male form and whose men engaged in sport with one another in the nude the aberration or the norm?What luscious lips! But I digress.                                    

Easy question, you say. Of course the Greeks were weird--perverts, pedophiles, homosexuals! They decorated vases with nude men performing sports and other acts. They created statuary that so realistically depicted the perfect male form.

The Sri Lankan Male Physique
~always yours courtesy Sri Lankan Male

It seemed to be a culture that took male idolatry to its extreme. Surely there was something wrong with that.

Well, if Greek culture was so aberrant, so odd, why did it last for so many centuries and why were the Romans, who are normally recognized as one of the most advanced and powerful civilizations ever, so in awe of the Greeks whom they had come to conquer?

Did the Romans not emulate Greek culture in nearly all its forms? Why is it that the conqueror became more like the conquered than the other way around?

Boys Will Be Boys

...until they are told they must not be

...that to behave as such is unmanly!
Sun + water + boys = fun, fun, fun.

That seems to be exactly what happened. You see, Western culture in time became perverted by the powers who realized that they could control others by instilling fear, and what more effective way to do so than instilling the fear of God. Religion, Christianity in this case, became an effective tool with which to wield one's control over others.

Perhaps by twisting men's minds into believing that what was natural was, in fact depraved, then one could leave the individual in a constant state of fear that he had transgressed the will of the righteous, all-powerful God.

The fantasies of youth: career, wealth and love.

One of the many consequences of this castigation of the human spirit was an Adam and Eve like loss of innocence in the realm of male love and companionship. Brothers in arms--not in armament--but arm wrapped around arm or hand holding hand, came to represent not the innocent expression of affection that it is but something perverted.

Homophobia was born and within a century or two, what was once normal came to be termed queer.

What really is queer, then?

male sensuality                                 
I am old enough to remember when the normative term was homosexual, not gay.

By appropriating the term gay, those men who dared reclaim their natural affections for other men could assert that they were at ease with their choice--not their choice to love their own, but their choice to defy those who would say they could not.

But as much as they wanted to assert this, they still could not escape the stigma imposed upon the notion of male-to-male affection.

It had become necessary to some to go a step further and take ownership of the term queer in an attempt to defang what is an otherwise hateful term.

But this is, perhaps, a step too far. For the true perversion is to define as queer that which is indeed natural--the fellowship of males (and no doubt similarly the fellowship among females).

Sri Lankan dark angel

What is really queer is not homosexuality, but a heterosexualized society where men are afraid to hold hands or express affection toward other men and instead are pushed into lewd patterns of behavior where male-female sexuality becomes a thing for public exhibition.

This is really what is queer--and this is what has been hoisted upon the rest of the world through the expansion of Western civiliazation.

So Am I Gay, or Not?

Is it a question you have wrestled with, or are you more sophisticated than that?

A friend in deed is one you can cherish for his beauty as much as his heart.

The gay movement, as it is called, came to be only because of the restrictions and stigma which were placed on what was otherwise the natural behavior of men toward other men--to admire, respect and have feelings of affection toward one another. It was an affection that could be freely expressed as a matter of personal intimacy.

When this normal pattern of behavior came to be viewed as abnormal or profane, as happened initially in Christianized Western society, a gay movement would eventually emerge as a way to reclaim and reassert the natural condition of the male personality and male sexuality.

The gay movement and gay identity is not, therefore, a reflection of the progressiveness of Western society but rather a response to the regressive forces in Western society which had sought to use religion to create fear among the populace and thereby assert its power over it.

A gay identity, as it were, was not so much required in societies which had yet to come under the strong influence of regressive Western ethics, as concerned male-to-male relations.

One is gay insofar as he is forced to struggle with his natural male identity against the unnatural or queer norms espoused by a Western, heterosexualized society.

It happens that one is gay when his interest in another male goes beyond the artificial boundaries set by a society that is corrupted with notions of homophobia.
  • I have a crush on my male classmate or hostel mate,
  • I have had sex with another male--and enjoyed it,
  • I like to hang out with my male friends, to hold their hands or even cuddle with some of them...
These natural male tendencies, when viewed by the individual as a transgression of what is normal, become to that individual symptomatic of being gay.

In fact, they are simply evidences of being true to one's genuine male identity.

By contrast, where innocence has not yet been lost, two young men may indulge in their crush on one another or two male friends may enjoy the intimacy that occurs naturally to them. Where alien notions of homophobia have not yet infected their own consciousness or that of the community around them, such men need never espouse a gay identity.

Am I gay or not?

There is, as I have stated, no simple answer.

One need not think of himself as gay if he is not conflicted over his attraction toward other males, which will occur from time to time as a natural event. He is not by definition gay, either, for acting on these feelings and even enjoying them.

The mind of a youth is torn by the conflicts of love and lust.
But when one is conflicted over such feelings and when one is restrained to the extent that he must disguise his otherwise natural tendencies, then to assert a gay identity is a means of asserting one's right to be the person he is.

In such cases, to declare oneself gay--whether publicly or within small circles--is the most effective way of being true to oneself.

Increasingly, this is becoming required of men, especially younger men, in societies which come more and more under Western and puritanical expressions of religious and social practice.

Sri Lanka, india and other once more traditional societies are finding more and more that they too must address the struggles of a gay community as they modernize and Westernize.

On a bench, on a beach... where love is found and lost in Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, as Islam begins more and more to regress into a construct that restricts the freedom of self-expression among individuals, the fear of God becomes a tool for exerting one's power over others, just as had occured in the darker days of Christendom.

The Sri Lankan Male

Confident in his masculinity,
  or simply unquestioning?

My conclusion is that many of you are not gay.

You are often not conflicted. You can take pleasure in the warm hand of another man and in any form of intimacy you may feel moved to engage in.

At the same time, however, many others among you do need to assert a gay identity.

What may have arisen out of a peculiar religious heritage in the West has well and truly filtered down to even the most remote of villages around the world.

Gradually the need to assert one's right to be the natural male that he is can only happen through asserting a gay identity.

Simple and unassuming, Sri Lankan masculinity.

An emerging point of view...

What do you, readers of the Sri Lankan Male, make of the notion?

Is it, indeed, the natural state of a man to have a greater sense of attraction and feelings of intimacy toward other males?

Isn't this, rather than overt expressions of heterosexual attraction, a truer normality.

Is it not, perhaps, heterosexual society to which the notion of queer more aptly applies?

What do your own personal experiences in life reveal?

campus camaraderie                                    

So, Are You Gay?

I am--I grew up very much within the clutches of Western world ethics, where an emerging gay identity has had to grow increasingly vocal and assertive, in order to counter the repression of a society that had become heterosexualized and warped.

Yet, my own partner, who grew up within an entirely different cultural context in rural India could legitimately make claim to being not gay, but simply male--having within that identity all of the elements of male-to-male attraction that occur naturally.
A handsome young Sri Lankan man poses, as if to ponder the question.

Most of the images in this post were obtained from the networking site Technohug and have no relation to the accompanying commentary. No claims of ownership of the images are being made by this author, although many of the images have been digitally modified for artistic purposes in accordance with the theme of this post.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the images in this post were obtained from the networking site Technohug and have no relation to the accompanying commentary.

Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the images in this post were obtained from the networking site Technohug and have no relation to the accompanying commentary. ...................... :P

Thursday, September 10, 2009 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger B.D. said...

^^ ?

Friday, September 11, 2009 9:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough my partner did not recognise himself as being GAY when we first got together over a decade ago.He had no sexual encounters with women and had a close but not sexual affair with another Srilankan guy in the village where they grew up , as you say, in their society they have very close male to male relationships but not always in a sexual way.
He is extremely tall and handsome ,doesnt smoke or drink and is a very quiet individual .When he was younger he was very sports conscious and participated in many activities ,thus making him quite a target for future mothers inlaw.
The reason he didnt consider himself GAY,even though we were having a full blown affair was that in his mind he associated being GAY with being uber feminine .Totally not him.
As the time progressed he came to realise that there is NOT a stereotype gay, we come in all shapes ,sizes and from all walks of life and do indeed vary from the ultra camp to ultra normal who dont hide being gay either.
Where we have a home in Srilanka the strangest thing is that nobody there seems to see anything very odd that the two of us live together.
I explained to him once that I personally do not define myself by my sexuality because there is much more to me than just that, as there is to everybody.So anybody who labels me as simply that ,ie GAY is really doing me a gross disservice,and they are demonstrating their own ignorance .
That really seemed to satisfy him,and I wish that idea would satisfy many gay detractors as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2009 6:45:00 PM  
Blogger B.D. said...

^^ You've been with your partner over a decade. Congratulations!

I agree with you in large part on the issue of labels. We are as individuals a lot more than any single label--and a label like "gay" or "straight" is just that, a singular aspect which in no way defines who we are as multi-dimensional beings. What is even more irritating is when people go even further to inquire are you "top" or "bottom". I don't think we need that sort of caricature of our personalities or identities.

Still labels have some use. They're adjectives and when combined with a whole lot of other adjectives, they provide a profile of who we are. That can be very useful at times.

In a relationship, however, I don't think it matters at all to know or define who is GAY or not. What matters is how people get along with one another.

Monday, October 26, 2009 2:34:00 AM  
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