Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To Be. . or. . Not to Be : "US" vs "THEM"

May I ask a few questions and add a few comments. . . .all prompted by comments written about "being gay" and "not identifying or taking refuge or hiding behind any group[s]".

How did our personalities develop and grow?  Where did they come from?  There is an olde New England saying "The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree."  It is commonly and widely accepted that our sense of self and thus our persona and personality is affected and largely shaped by the people with whom we live, especially in our early years, before the age of 3.  So our parents, or those who may have taken their place, the physical, emotional, social and spiritual  environment into which we are born and grow up, the other people in our "hemisphere" or world - friends, teachers, school, church, era and tume all work to help us shape our personalities. . . . because we grow with  and from the persons, environment, society with which we identify.  In other words we we are "made the same as" those/that in which we live and move and have our being.
The word IDENTITY comes from two Latin words:  idem [the same as] + facere [to make] .

So I think it is safe to say we all have been part of / identified with groups of one sort of another all of our lives.  We can not and do not grow in a vacuum..  Remember the scary experiment made with babies?  One group received all the "nescessities" of life plus lots of affection, attention, touch, hlding, cuddling etc.  The other group had the food and shelter, with only minimal human contact and interaction.  These babies died.
Sad way to learn human needs, facts, right?  Yepper.

Now I am going to speak out of my personal religious belief system.  It's what I know.  OK?  The writers of the Book of Genesis, first in the Bible order, try to explain human origin, needs and results.  So the writer after "having God create the various strata of the universe, portrays God as creating  THE MAN, the crown of God's creative work.  Then the writer shows G-D observing all he had made. . . and realizes all the animals have partners.  So G-D says "Ahaaaa. . .it is not good for The Man to be alone. . .therefore I shall make for him a partner like unto himself. . ."  So God puts 'Adam to sleep and from a place just under his heart he takes a rib and makes from that The Woman "taken from her man". . . 

So en ho geneto. . in the beginning God created them male and female, gay and straight He created them. . . .I believe I /we are created in the image and the likeness of GOD. . . .and that my sexuality and sexual orientation is God's gift to me.  This is part of my way of being to the world.  Hmmmm. . " is not good for Justin to be alone, therefore I shall make for him a helpmate like unto himself. . "
Just as the hetero man finds fulfillment and completion with the hetero woman, so the gay man finds fulfillment and completion with a gay man, his partner and "the light which lights up his life", to add to the poesy.

The Genesis writer shows God placing The Man " h'Adam - taken from the earth" and The Women ' " h'Eva- the mother of all the living" in  a garden of delights so they may be happy and enjoy their lives together. . . . So ALL of us are made for happiness.

We all naturally try to be happy and find those persons and places and things which will make/contribute to our fulfillment and happiness.  When these are lacking, the restless HUNT begins. .loking for that mate, partner, one who will complete and make us happy.

Look at our life experiences. . . .all the way. . .we've all done this. . .we've found and  hungout with people like us, people with whom we can belong. . . .not to hide out in and lose our individualities. . but those companions  --- look at the word from Latin cum pane. . .with bread, the staff of life. . --- companions with whom we can share our lives, learn from one another, grow up with, be happy with. . . . 

We all need a balance of aloneness and companionship in order to survive and live. . . and grow. . . so we do identify with various people, or groups if you need that word. . . otherwise we wouldn't be the wonderful lively loving and lovable people we are. . . etc etc.

I /We are able to have empathy/compassion for people like us, people we know and can understand. . ."we know what they are feeling because we do or have felt the same ways in similar circumstances. That is the human condition.

I am a gay man and I do identify with others like unto myself. . .  .I am part of them, of this minority in our society. . . .I do not isolate. .. because if I do, like the babies in the experiment, I too shall die.
Obviously none of this is carved in rock. . . .I use similarities and analogies and some poetic license  to try to explain my understanding of the things we've been discussing these couple days.  Basically what  I express here comes from my working all this stuff out into a communicable expression. . .by which I live and also part of the approach I take in my classes in Intro Psych when I talk about persons, personality, human development, etc.

There!  I've got to run.  I have a class in one hour and I cannot go dressed like this. . .hahahahaaaa

ciao ciao


PhotosbyErich said...


Your post today demonstrates your comprehensive grasp of Latin! Well placed, well used!

Your observation about the natural, inherent, logic that your helpmate in life would be gay as you are a gay man makes brilliant, simple sense.

The nudist in me would point out that God's natural plan for man and woman's happiness included placing them in that garden nakey... a perfect state for contributing to happiness IMHO.

I'm sure your class wouldn't mind too much if you showed up in swim trunks, but it could get the floor wet I guess.

JustinO'Shea said...

Get the floor WET??????

HOW?????? lol

Coop said...

I sympathize with those who are homosexual but don't want to identify themselves with Gay people. I can identify with that 115%. I used to feel the same way. Part of my life story can be read as follows: [Yeah I'm homosexual... and I'm cool with that. But "Gay" . . . No!]. I've already shared those details. I won't bore you guys.

I am a gay man and I do identify with others like unto myself. . .

Stew said...

A while back, my husband and I joined a club that met every month in various events. While everyone in the group is gay, not once did we engage in sex with any of them.

We identify with them. But that doesn't mean that we need to bed them.

It really helped us both to feel more comfortable with ourselves, just being around others that thought similarly.

Anonymous said...

Lol Gary, some mischievous logic there, brilliant!
...and I agree "I still think me and them beats the hell outa us and them." And your final comment takes us full circle, imagine, God-Gary!

Like me you don't NEED the "us", but it seems you do like immersing yourself in the "us", here, on this blog!

And Coop, it would be a stretch to say that I don't like to identify with gay people and don't need sympathy for taking that choice/paty,(although I do appreciate the offer, hee hee)
I just prefer not to be openly, loudly and flamboyantly "gay". It's just my personal preference for how I present my (private) self to others.

THrough my working day I'll reflect more and comment a bit later.
Greg in Adelaide

JustinO'Shea said...

Where is it written that a gay person has to be flamboyant? I'm not. . .and most of the gay guys I know and hang out with are not flamers or flamboyant.. . nor is it exclusively a gay trait, right?
I know str8s who are quite flamboyant. . .it is just one of a person's traits. . . often by choice.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere is it written Justin, as far as I know.

But that is often the character that we get shoved down our throats in film and on TV.

I personally know very few gays like this, but it is often/generally(?) how gays are perceived by the straight masses, unfortunately.

So, I just don't like the thought of someone perceiving me like this...and perhaps while I have enjoyed Will and Grace and other similar shows, I'm a bit rotten on the entertainment industry for presenting the silent majority of "us" that way I guess.

In fact I cannot think of ever seeing a 'normal' gay person portrayed on the screen....but no doubt there have been a few that others will now tell that I've made that statement, haha.

Yeps, it is a person's personal (!) choice, indeed I know FAR more straight people that are well flamboyant, and whilst I respect that choice, the style is just not for me. That's all.

JustinO'Shea said...

Well Greg from A. . .I DO get your point very well! As for THAT perception of the "screaming queens" or "Flaming Faggots" I am in the same camp as you! I do not want to be perceived or thought that I am "them" or . . .well, like you say. I do want to be ME. . .with my style of being. . period.

I guess it is "Jack". . think that's his stage name in Will and Grace... that I don't want to be ID-ed with/as. I don't mind WILL as he is portrayed.

I think about it and it is the word and idea of "sissy"/flammer
. . .like I never dressed up in my sister's clothes. . .she borrowed some of MY stuff! LOL While some drag queens may look quite stunning, that isn't me. . none of that attracts me.

I am trying to get my mind around the trans-gender thing too. Harder for me than others styles or ways of being. Intellectually I can begin to grasp something of the inner psychology behind that but I cannot identify with it. . I cannot imagine even going from male to female. . .especially the surgical re-assignments. Wouldn't you find losing male genitalia very traumatic. . .to say the least?

I have talked with a lady minister on campus . . .she is a big help for me to get a clue about this even. S/He was married with children and minister of a large church. But all her life she felt trapped in a man's body. The day she had the re-assignment surgery, the wife told the children "Daddy died on the operating table." (By this point they had been separated for some time. The wife has refused to allow her to see the children. . . "Daddy died.")

This is very painful for her but it is what she had to do to truly be herself. But this is a different. . . .or is it, really? I don't know.

As for characters in films, I was able easily to identify with the two lovers in "Brokeback Mountain". Or the Mormon boy in "Latter Days". In the Intro Psych course we watch that film as part
of our study of homosexuality. In talking about films girls tend to like BBackMntn better than the guys do. Guys seem to be more uncomfortable with the rawness of it. Whereas in LatterDays guys seem more comfortable and sympathetic to the boy over the harsh reaction of his parents and the Mormon Church.

Another film is "Walk on Water". I can identify easily - for the most part - with the German guy in his friendship with the str8 Israeli mossad [sp?]soldier. . .A very good film, by the way.

Yes, it is unfortunate when society takes the caricature for reality.

Anonymous said...

Oh shit Justin, now I'm going to have to go get BBMntn and Walk on Water! Just to see what I think of them and compare it to your impressions!

Not sure what else to say right now, I'm just checking mail before I go to's 2.30 am here and I've had a great evening with a straight mate (who is asleep in front of the TV and fire right video show playing the words .."this is the friend..." Jim Morrison....
A great evening)
But I just had to check in and see what comments arrived today.
I'll have to add something in response to your comments in the morning when I'm slightly sober and awake. Too many things in my head to say right now and I don't trust myself to say 'em right...haha.....but we're sorta on the same page.

G'night mate, seeya in the morning.

Greg in dark Adelaide

Anonymous said...

It's now early arvo, a slow dreamy warmish day, recovering from excesses of the night (morning!) before. Decided to check wot I writ last night, scary expectation?
But no, it was not too incomprehensible, amazing.

Yes, after re-reading your comments I agree, and I might add that I cannot begin to understand the cross-gender roles and transgender stuff.

I have no concept of how those people think and feel, I cannot begin to comprehend the insecurity/confusion/reasoning/drive etc of these individuals.

I feel no revulsion or anything like that, only perhaps some sympathy for their need for change in their sexuality and outward appearance and being.

I've never understood or even remotely felt an urge to dress or act feminine...or queeny etc. I just don't get it. And while I am not judgemental of those that do, I just know it is not me and I do not like to be lumped in with that kind of "us".

To each his own, and I'd be happy to go on my way through life without other's having an incorrect perception of who I am. Perhaps that is why I'm not openly out?
I simply like to be perceived as me, as an individual, not a stereotype.
I'll swim or drown on my own thank you.

Hmm....yes, maybe that is why I have chosen my course, I prefer to be known as me.

Interesting, thanks Justin.

Greg in Adelaide

Coop said...

Hi guys,

I've been busy and pondering the recent comments in my head. Greg, thanks for your thoughts. I still have trouble with "sympathy" vs. "empathy". I think I may have used the wrong word.

I have the same opinion as Greg and Justin. My struggle with identifying as "Gay" can be boiled down to the fact that I still wanted to keep my own identity.
How could I be "Gay" if I couldn't relate to the "Jack McFarland" or the "flaming f**g" or as a drag queen.

I respect trans-gendered people and the struggles that they go to.
I'm a homosexual Dude trapped in the body of a 28 year old male... so everything is peachy keen.

I think the problem with our silent majority of normal Gay guys IS that we're silent.