For many men and women, confronted with their true sexuality for the first time, realization that they are Gay can be something of a heart-stopper. Brought up in a predominantly heterosexual world where everything is geared towards male-female relationships, the thought that they are different - to use one of the more harmless terms - is a fact which can be very difficult to come to terms with, especially when the thought of family and friends, acquaintances, work colleagues and their potential reactions to a Coming Out or, worse, an unwanted Outing are taken into account. Being Gay is, however, a fairly simple fact of life; it is everything which surrounds this fact that is complicated and, for many, extremely disturbing.
Firstly, there is nothing wrong with being Gay, nothing amiss with loving a person of the same gender. It is a perfectly normal biological fact and, as such, one which should not be relegated to the darker recesses of their mind or completely ignored. The worst thing that a person can do, once they realize that they are Gay, is to try and lead a so-called normal life by suppressing their true self, their feelings and emotions and pretending that nothing is out of the ordinary. While this idea may seem easy enough when set down on paper, real life is often not quite as one would wish and each individual has a different way of dealing with uncomfortable facts of life.
For many, coming to terms with their sexuality is the first step towards realizing that being Gay is an absolutely normal part of life. Coupled with the knowledge that they are not alone, that many, many thousands of others have gone through exactly the same process, the same thoughts and emotions, it is easy enough to find enough balanced and informative assistance. This is not to say that each individual should seek help or try to solve their predicament through advice from others, but the experiences of thousands of Gay people are readily available for anyone who wishes to see what sort of life is lead, what is expected of members of the Gay community and how they, as an individual, fit into the whole.
In essence there is nothing different between a Gay person and a heterosexual one, aside from their sexual preferences. All live their lives as best they can within their community: work and play are exactly the same, according to each person’s interests; friendships are exactly the same, bearing in mind that some people are either prejudiced against Gay men and women and others merely cautious; Gay people have pets, interests, jobs, cars, a house and family exactly the same as most other people.
For many, when they first come to realize that they are – or may be – Gay, the hardest part of the whole is convincing themselves that what they are, what they feel, the way that they act is perfectly normal. It is not just a case of balancing personal preferences against the normal, accepted social standards which surround them, accepting a different sexual preference after a lifetime of heterosexual influences can be akin to beginning from scratch. Everything that has been taught them, all the mild taunts towards other people, general and more specific attitudes, the news reports of attacks, vilification, forced Outings, all these things make personal acceptance difficult and can appear to turn a well-ordered and settled life completely upon its head. And yet, walking down any street in any town, who can say which of those people seen are also Gay, or which have some other secret in their lives which we, as outsiders, are not privy to? Each one of them appears normal, exactly as we do. Is it all right to be Gay? Is it normal to be Gay? The answer to both questions is a resounding: Yes, it is perfectly normal to be Gay.