Sunday, June 28, 2009

Internalized Homophobia?

When I came out to my wife and members of my extended family more than a decade ago, I sought hugs and I got them. Slowly my situation faded into the background and so did much of the physical affection. I still want it, but I no longer initiate it, and except for the occasional hugs from three women in our family circle, it rarely happens.

Every now and then I'll let a handshake with a brother-in-law linger a little longer, but they'll usually break it off. Sometimes I'll put my arm around someone, but the gesture is rarely reciprocated. I look at the photo above and wish that kind of easy, affectionate touch could again happen in my life. But for some reason I have become largely untouching and untouchable. It seems rational that this is but a spiral that can be broken.

I can even imagine a scenario where I give someone a bear hug which is warmly reciprocated and I say "Thanks, that sure felt good. I've needed that for a long time." And the person I'm hugging says, "Well it felt good to me, too. I've missed your hugs. I hope you'll continue to give them." And then he gives me an even longer, tighter hug than I've just given him.

But a darker part of me says, "It's not about breaking a spiral, it's that you're broken. From the moment you came out you've been damaged goods and there's no amount of fairy tale scenarios that will change it. The real reason they don't touch you is because they find you and your desires repugnant. They did back then and they still do. They haven't forgotten what people like you want to do. Spare them any more nausea. Keep your hands and your thoughts to yourself."