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This blog is a hate-free place, dedicated to the spreading of awareness and understanding of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Community, their shame experiences and their potential to be resilient. Our goal is to increase your empathy and compassion.

We do not claim to be experts on this topic, however, we recognize the importance of sharing what we can in the hope that at least one person feels compelled to re-evaluate their thoughts, feelings and perceptions.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Giving Shame a Voice: Kyle

This is the second edition of our Giving Shame a Voice series.

Read, and learn.

We hope this brings you one step closer to understanding the shame experienced in the GLBT Community, and an even larger step closer to developing empathy and compassion for them.

1. When did you first know that you were gay?

I first (truly) new when I was a freshman in college. I began having doubts about my sexuality my junior and senior year in high school.

2. Have you ever felt shame? Describe it.

Shame about being gay, yes. I think most gays have felt ashamed of themselves at some point or another, even if it was just for a short period of time. I felt ashamed of being something other than what God, my family, my friends and society intended me to be, so I thought. I felt like I was not deserving of so many blessings in my life and that I was having feelings that went against what the Church and my family had taught me.

3. When, and how, did you become aware that you were experiencing shame?

For me it was during my first year in college. I think it was evident when I met other gays that were my age and acted completely normal, as if they’d been gay all their life. I was not 100% comfortable and the fact that I did not act like them or “live like a gay” was a sign to me that red flagged it as something that was not acceptable. I was trying to repress the fact that I was gay. It’s something many do when they’re beginning to feel more and more attracted to the same sex.

4. Describe a time when you felt isolated or alone in the world?

Being the oldest, I had a lot of pressure. I had to absorb many of the family problems and was forced to grow up fast. I did not have anyone to turn to or talk to other than God. Although I’m surrounded by friends and a loving family, when I accepted that I was gay was another time when I felt alone. However, it was because I chose to keep this to myself for some time. As soon as I was O.K. with God and told my friends, a huge load was lifted off my back.

5. Explain a time when you weren’t comfortable with yourself. When, or how, did you get to a place where you eventually were?

This would be the first three years after I accepted I was gay. It has to do with body image. I felt I did not fit the gay image: fit, muscular, health and body conscious, fashionable, etc. By my senior year in college it all had changed.

6. If you could go back and see yourself at a time when you were experiencing shame and darkness, what would you say to your past self?

Hey buddy, it’s completely OK. This is who you are and there is no need to try to change it. You are yourself, and nothing is wrong with you. God made you this way. You’re a good person. Now get up and go be yourself and share your love with everyone.

7. What stereotypes apply to the GLBT Community? Have you ever been the victim of such labels?

Good and bad stereotypes: Promiscuous, polygamous, dirty, HIV/AIDS, freaks, suicidal, depressed, go against God’s will, fashionable, have good jobs, earn good income, vain, self-conscious, like to party/drugs, travel, cultured, high maintenance, smart, ambitious, etc…