Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I reach over and feel his warmth, and I know he is still alive, and I know, at least for this moment, my whole world won’t come crashing down.
He didn’t like the line that was drawn between what’s allowed for men and what’s allowed for women.
- Karen Faye, longtime makeup artist to Michael Jackson, explaining why he wore lipstick and eyeliner
What could easily be the most beautiful skyscraper in the world, the Shanghai Tower in China, just reached its epic final height of 2,073 feet/632 meters. Construction began on the tower in 2008 and is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
I used to think what happened to me when I was a child was what made me attracted to males. I blamed my uncle for my sexual orientation for many years, and while I definitely believe what happened shaped my sexual interests, I am not so convinced of the connection anymore.
Those encounters are my first memories of sex, and they greatly altered my views of affection and intimacy. As a counselor once told me, the guilt the victim shoulders is because the attention and sexual activity feels good even though it shouldn’t.
Because I was too young to understand what was happening completely and enjoyed the attention, I didn’t want it to stop. When my parents found out what was going on, I was upset because I knew it wouldn’t happen again. It didn’t.
From that point, I acted out sexually with boys whenever I had the chance. There were only two that I did anything with, but it went on for several years. It was always just fooling around to me. I never felt emotionally attached or like I had a crush on either of them. Even though I know it is normal for kids to mess around while they are learning about sex, I have had a lot of guilt over the years about those encounters.
There were guys that I did have crushes on who I fantasized about incessantly, but I never acted on those impulses. I was too scared and also too ignorant to really understand my sexual inclinations. These guys were like idols to me. I watched the way they walked and talked, admired and imagined their bodies, and rarely ever said a word to them. I had them placed so high on a pedestal that they were unattainable.
As I grew older and began to figure out what it meant to be gay, the crushes continued. I fell really hard for a couple of different guys my age, but, again, I was too scared to act on it out of fear of rejection. We would have sleepovers and spend as much time together as possible, but nothing physical ever happened. In my juvenile mind, the guy would be my boyfriend. Both times, the parents of the guy stopped the friendship because they grew uncomfortable with all the time we were spending together. Both times, I about lost my mind from the grief.
When I finally grew up a little, I met a much older man who took advantage of me in many ways. I was ignorant and inexperienced, so I poured everything into a clearly dysfunctional relationship. When that relationship ended, I began another with a man several years my senior. It was also dysfunctional for many reasons.
Looking back, I realize I was substituting sex for affection. If a guy liked me, I felt like I was supposed to sleep with him. Friendship needed to progress to sex in order to mean anything. This was obviously a direct result of what happened with my uncle. Sex equals friendship equals affection equals love. It wasn’t enough to just hang out and have a good time; I needed them to prove they liked me enough, and the ultimate expression of that was sex.
Over the years, I have changed that line of thinking. I met someone 9 years ago who cherished me from day one. He didn’t expect me to show my appreciation for his company through sex (even though I wanted to). He has been patient and kind and anything but a user. I am one of the lucky ones.
My uncle never faced the consequences for his actions 35 years ago, but I know, one way or another, he will. He denies it happened now, even though he admitted it when it was first revealed. I am a forgiving person, but I refuse to consider forgiving him until he admits it and accepts responsibility for his actions.
I said all of that to say this: It would be easy to assume what happened when I was a kid made me gay, but that is oversimplifying it. I know plenty of gay people who weren’t molested, and I know plenty of straight people who were.
Regardless, I am what I am. Whether I was born this way or made this way, I didn’t have a say in the matter. I know being molested shaped my views of sex and intimacy, but those are things I have struggled with and continue to work on. It makes more sense that I was born with this orientation, and the sexual abuse was just a terrible thing that happened to me along the way.
Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune is the best LGBT novel I have ever read. I liked it so much that I bought a physical copy after reading the electronic edition on my Kindle.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that Klune won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award Winner for Best Gay Romance, even though labeling this book “romance” seems far too limiting. It contains unexpected death, painful mourning, paranormal activity, love, mystery, chill-inducing terror, and some absolutely superb writing.
After finishing the book and going online to research the author, I discovered the heartbreaking events the author and his fiancé, Eric Arvin, have been going through over the past several months. An online support fund has been established to help them through this trying time.
When I comment on my own blog, WordPress is supposed to automatically add the .bypostauthor attribute to my comment so that it can be styled via CSS to make it stand out from comments by other users. After recently exporting my blog from WordPress.com to self-hosted, I noticed that new comments were getting the .bypostauthor attribute, but older ones had nothing.
I spent quite a while searching online for help to no avail, so I decided to dig through the database on my web server. This is risky, because it is easy to make a complete mess of things if you don’t know what you are doing. I didn’t, but I pay for a backup service in case I ever need to restore things.
I opened my database using phpMyAdmin and browsed to the wp_comments table. I quickly discovered that recent comments I had made (which were getting the .bypostauthor attribute) had a user_id of 4. Older comments had a user_id of 0. I manually changed a couple of them from zero to four to see what would happen, and was pleasantly surprised to see the .bypostauthor attribute and CSS styling being added to my comments when I refreshed a blog page.
My next challenge was changing the 0 to 4 on all of my comments, which numbered close to a thousand. I started doing it manually, but quickly decided it would be too time-consuming. After searching online for SQL queries, I found something that worked.
UPDATE `wp_comments` SET `user_id` = '4' WHERE `comment_user_email` = 'authoremailaddress';
I entered this under the SQL tab of phpMyAdmin, made the necessary changes, and anxiously clicked Go. It worked!
Hopefully this will help someone in a similar situation. You will need to look under your wp_users table to see what the user_id is of your admin account first, then change the code above to reflect your user_id and your email address.
Good luck and be careful!