Sur­ren­der­ing se­crets

GA Voice - - Black Gay Pride - By RYAN LEE

“There is a good ver­sion of each of us that we present, and main­tain­ing that ‘moral’ fa­cade is of­ten more im­por­tant than nur­tur­ing the to­tal ver­sion of our­selves, and won­der­ing whether that to­tal ver­sion co-ex­ist­ing with the world might be lighter, health­ier and more moral than the lies and pre­ten­sion that shield us from judg­ment.”

I con­fess to hav­ing mem­ber­ships with nu­mer­ous web­sites that fa­cil­i­tate ran­dom gay sex be­tween con­sent­ing strangers. I will not be en­rolling into re­hab or is­su­ing any apolo­gies – to my fam­ily, sup­port­ers or god.

I’ve also sent nude pics via Craigslist, of­fered my eclec­tic apart­ment as the set for a pro­fes­sional porn shoot, and par­tic­i­pated in public sex. Hell, my first time pen­e­trat­ing a guy was when I was 15 years old, dur­ing a 45-sec­ond fling in the pri­vate-ish men’s room of a public li­brary, which we both con­sid­ered a safer space to ex­plore our se­cret de­sires than our own bed­rooms, a friend’s house or any other tra­di­tional set­ting for teenage hanky-panky.

While peo­ple who know me don’t know the par­tic­u­lars of these ad­mis­sions, I don’t think any of the above would sur­prise any­one. Nor do I feel that peo­ple’s base­line per­cep­tion of me is as un­scrupu­lous, and there­fore I am un­able to sur­prise any­one with im­moral­ity.

Rather, I hope they trust my code – my char­ac­ter and judg­ment – and know I con­sider au­then­tic­ity my chief moral duty. Sim­ply, there is not a man or emo­tion, not a sta­tus or pro­mo­tion, that is worth deny­ing the truth about how I ex­ist.

It’s easy for my can­dor to be mis­taken for over-shar­ing, but know­ing the gulf be­tween my be­hav­ior and peo­ple’s knowl­edge of my be­hav­ior, yet the har­mony be­tween my public and pri­vate lives, I be­lieve it is nec­es­sary rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Dis­cre­tion is good, even moral; de­cep­tion is nei­ther, and my se­crets are not in­tended to mis­lead any­one about how I ex­pe­ri­ence the world.

As sat­is­fy­ing as it was to see Josh Dug­gar ex­posed for the pre­dictable hypocrisy of those who con­stantly tell oth­ers they are wrong and evil, I felt bad for the hap­less sch­muck when he was ex­posed as an adul­terer in the Ash­ley Madi­son hack. Of course he de­serves to be hu­mil­i­ated for the mis­match be­tween his pro­fessed mis­sion and per­sonal be­hav­ior, but he also de­serves pity as some­one reared in a value sys­tem with such a pol­luted un­der­stand­ing of hu­man sex­u­al­ity that he con­sid­ered incest and adul­tery su­pe­rior forms of sex­ual ex­pres­sion than ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and fe­male de­sire.

While the Dug­gar house­hold may be su­per­nat­u­rally sti­fling, Amer­i­can cul­ture gives barely more room for sex­ual ex­plo­ration among con­sent­ing adults. The con­no­ta­tions at­tached to most sex be­yond monogamy and mil­i­tary po­si­tion cre­ates the se­crets that leave peo­ple feel­ing self-loathing and sin­ful, and make it eas­ier for them to con­fuse pre­tense with moral­ity.

There is a good ver­sion of each of us that we present, and main­tain­ing that “moral” fa­cade is of­ten more im­por­tant than nur­tur­ing the to­tal ver­sion of our­selves, and won­der­ing whether that to­tal ver­sion co-ex­ist­ing with the world might be lighter, health­ier and more moral than the lies and pre­ten­sion that shield us from judg­ment.

Even with the soul-search­ing re­quired to come out of the closet, many LGBT peo­ple are as con­fined as horny evan­gel­i­cals from au­then­ti­cally rep­re­sent­ing their sex­ual na­ture – pos­si­bly more, since it is in­stilled in us to down­play sex­ual hon­esty in ex­change for so­cial re­spectabil­ity.

I learned that no one other than my­self is re­spon­si­ble for my se­crets, and no one can as­cribe power to them with­out my sur­ren­der.

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