“You Can’t Go Back.”
My parents found out I was gay when I was 14 thanks to some choice pictures of Matt Damon shirtless in our internet browsing history. If that wasn’t embarrassing enough, nothing could compare to the subsequent conversations that I would have with my father on our lone car rides home from work late at night.
You can only imagine the awkwardness that I felt as I pressed my head up against the window of my Dad’s pick-up and pretended to be asleep, trying to endure his prying and ill attempts at wisdom. He said many things that burdened my 14-year-old shoulders for a very long time.
* * *
We were 20 minutes away from home and he hadn’t brought “it” up yet. I figured I was in the clear – no talking about my secret tonight. He didn’t know it but all I felt was shame when he’d bring “it” up. I felt pressured and corners. I was cornered; cornered in this car and now he’s telling me that I’m cornered in life by uttering that jumble of words:
“You know Justin, you really need to think about the repercussions of this if you come out. You can date girls and it’ll still be ok to date guys, but if you date guys, girls won’t want to date you anymore. You can’t go back.”
I didn’t look up. I felt like a child, put in the timeout corner for being bad.
* * *
My father said it 10 years ago and it’s still true, but it’s not just him saying it, it’s society. I’m not going to argue for or against bisexuality as some people believe that it isn’t real, or that it’s “a stop on the way to Gaytown.” That’s not the point. The point is that there is a double standard in dating. Think about woman. Guys find lesbians or girls hooking up with other girls acceptable, but find two dudes doing it to be appalling.
Or you can look at it this way. A guy and girl are about to get married. They’re so in love and preparing for the day, but the bride-to-be wants to get something off her chest the day before the wedding. She tells her fiancée that back in college, years ago she dated a girl for a short while, but she’s totally in love with him and can’t wait to start their life together.
Most males I know would react one of two ways: think it was hot or not really care. I don’t think many of them would think their future wife was a lesbian and doubt their love or devotion, but that I what would happen if the roles were reversed. Guys are not allowed to have any affection or caring for another guy without it automatically being labeled as “gay”.
In my opinion, I hate labels for this particular reason; sexuality is defined by whom you have sex with and I think it should rather be defined by whom you love. You can hook up with whom ever you want, but who you love is the true tell of a person’s desires, so why let there be a double standard on who someone can love or hook up with for that matter? It doesn’t make them any different of a person.
If you knew a gay guy had had sex with a woman you wouldn’t think he was less gay, so why say that a straight guy is less straight for hooking up with a guy?
Justin is a 23 year old senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is working on his bachelors in English and looking for Mr. Right. You can read more about his escapades in dating at his personal blog, "A Gay College Guy in Virginia".
“Once more people realize same sex attractions do not mean you have to be any kind of label, just yourself…”September 19, 2016
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