Dear Readers: Since this blog is hosted by Google, I’ve used the Google function of adding “friends” who are also Google users in order to promote the blog. I recently tried adding someone who denied my “friend” request. Our brief email exchange went like this:
(Name redacted): So the message from you is (and this is what causes suicides among gay youth), if you're going to be openly gay, you had better decapitate yourself in your photos? I'm not going to add you back based on that alone.
(Jason): Hi (name redacted), I completely understand your concern. I'm openly gay, but it's being an openly sexual person and writing the way I do that is the issue for me. You'll find if you read me that being openly gay is getting easier (I post my face pics on gay sites a lot and am out to everyone). But identifying as openly sexual and writing openly about sexuality is a different matter unfortunately in our culture. Do you see the difference?
(Name redacted): I did not force you to post this particular content in this particular profile, but I agree that being openly gay does not mean sharing your bedroom fantasies publicly as being gay is not about sex. However, in a social networking site, I expect men who add me to have some common courtesy and properly introduce themselves if they want a reciprocal link, compliment, etc. Feel free to add me with your uncloseted profiles since you claim to have those. There is a time and place, as they say....
Oh and your lack of contact information gave me no choice but to post here. You could have provided an email but since you're anonymous anyway, it is not likely to offend you that I posted semi-publicly.
I don’t think this gentleman clicked on the link to my blog as he would have seen my email address there. I don’t think he read any of my writing. But I’m as frustrated as he is with the headless, decapitated picture of me on this blog.
Jason Armstrong is not my real name. When I started this blog, I had to decide how much of my identity I was willing to share. I have a friend from Serbia who now lives in Canada. She once went for a job interview and the interviewer asked her about her dog. She had not mentioned having one, and the interviewer shared that he surmised she had a dog from a picture he’d seen on her blog after he googled her. He would have had to surmise this since her blog is written in Serbian.
I don’t make my living from writing. And I was well aware that there are many people who would find my ruminations on male sexuality as upsetting as the man above who denied my “friend” request. Although it’s becoming quite alright to be gay in Canada, there is still a phobic response to being gay and sexual – and talking about it openly. But am I really just writing about my “bedroom fantasies” as the man’s email to me suggested? He writes that being gay is not about sex. Not even a little bit? Is being gay only about getting married, moving to the suburbs and adopting a foreign baby? Then will I be accepted?
He references the suicides of gay youth, and attributes the issue partially to me and my hiding behind a headless pic on my blog. He is partially right. But what I’ve always hoped is that my naked writing about sex might help those experiencing shame about their sexuality. There are many links on other gay sites wherein I advertise my blog and those sites all show face pics. But I have a phobia about putting the face pics right on my blog. I’m a coward. I don’t yet have the fortitude to be as out and proud about my sexuality as I’d like to be. The threats seem real. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t. I’m still trying to figure it out.
In spite of all this, I just can’t throw in the towel and stop writing the way I do. The email exchange above indicates to me that being gay and sexually open is a volatile issue and for that reason alone, I think it’s imperative to keep this kind of dialogue going.
And so, bless both myself and the man who emailed me, as we both try to make sense of what it is to be gay in the these politically correct times. Bless us, two gay men seemingly at odds with each other but both hypocritical to varying degrees. Bless us all as we try to live openly and without shame. Thank you to all of you who read me with an open mind. And thank you even to those who don’t, but push me to question my own fears. Thank you.