“When I turn 30, I plan to be straight … I’m hoping it’s just going to be a phase, because I never chose to be gay. I never wanted to be gay.”

So said 19-year old Shane on Wednesday’s Tyra Banks Show. Shane is gay, but finds gay men “weak and disgusting.” Men are “supposed to be alpha,” he says, but gay men aren’t. And older gay men are creepy. (They stalk 16-year-old boys on the internet, apparently.)

I wanna have a family, like, with a wife and a kid and a dog – it’s like the old cliche. … I wouldn’t be satisfied with a guy, like, it’s just pure sexual, and I feel like emotionally I’m supposed to be with a woman. Technically I guess I’ll probably still be gay [at 30] … I’ll probably still have my sexual urges, but I’m just gonna try and force myself to be with a woman, I guess. I think if you’re gonna be a guy, then be a guy.

Where to begin deconstructing this nonsense? I feel no offense from the guy himself. He’s young and obviously very confused, though he says it’s all “clear” in his mind. He feels that way because he’s been fed a very limited and warped view of what it means to be “gay.” Doubtless his idea of homosexuality is based on his exposure to just one gay subculture. He admits to having “hook-ups” where he’s “forced” to do things he doesn’t feel comfortable with. If this kind of experience is defining his sexuality for him, is it any wonder he doesn’t want it any more? He needs someone to tell him he can be who he wants to be. He can be who and what he is comfortable with. He can have love and contentment and self-respect without suppressing his sexuality.

The ex-gay movement won’t tell him that. Too many ex-gay and anti-gay ministries trade on limited perceptions like this, exploiting the negative experiences of their followers and telling them that being gay is the problem. Unfortunately, there are many gays who will not tell him that either. There are many who, like Shane, have bought into the idea that being gay is about being in a particular ghetto, living a certain lifestyle and adopting certain values. So it is unsurprising, if sad, that when a person wants to escape from that milieu, they feel their only option is to deny their sexuality and try to be “straight.”

There is only one answer to this situation: honesty. And here’s the honest truth: Shane, you can have happiness. You can stay away from the gay bars and the gloryholes if you want, you can say no to casual sex, and you can have a partner who loves you and respects you. You can build a family and, dammit, you can even have a white picket fence and a dog if you want. And you don’t have to change a thing about your sexuality.

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