This is my apology to the LGBT community. I do not know where to present this publicly such that it would get the most attention from this community, so I will be posting it on this forum, and any related forum sites I can find.
This has been prompted by a waking-up to myself, and a realization that I have been living as a person who is contemptible, and not who I am. The reason it is under this Topic is because my realization came from pushing away someone I was in a relationship with, a man who I love.
This is going to be a long read, so if anybody is interested, I suggest a cup of coffee and good music to keep yourself alert- I tend to drone.
Before I continue with this, I need to mention that, due to an extenuating circumstance which I have edited out of this, even when I befriended gay men, I used trans/homophobic and offensive language throughout much of my life. There is no excuse for this, but I believe the reason for it was a reaction to the subsequent fear I felt from that experience. No excuse is a good excuse, however, and that is now behind me.
Well, where should I start?
I suppose with the basics- I am a cisgender male. Most of my life I have dated cisgender, straight females, with the exception of my most recent ex, who is a transgender male.
I'm not sure what that says about my sexual orientation, and really, it doesn't matter. I used to think it did, but in retrospect, it was a foolish way of looking at things, and I no longer care.
All of my life, I have been an abrasive, politically incorrect, offensive, and arrogant man. There are a number of reasons for this.
To begin with, I was raised with a man who had many of the same qualities I mentioned; for him, it was a result of his experiences and the fact that he could physically enforce his will when he wanted to.
My father suffered from many problems, PTSD in particular. His father was physically and mentally abusive during his childhood, and he later faced ground combat in Vietnam in Navy special forces.
I was home-schooled for the first half of the day until I reached high school, and there were no other children who lived on my road; my knowledge of how to socialize, indeed the templates I had to base myself on, were limited almost exclusively to my father. My grandparents were all but non-existent in my life. None of my aunts or uncles were around or took interest in the fact that my sister and I were alive, and the other adults who lived around us were disinterested in associating with children.
When I went to public school, it was during the second half of the school-day- I got there in time for lunch. Already socially impaired, the fact that I didn't have the same routine or live in the same place as anybody else further alienated me.
I had few friends, and those who I did have were... Moderately more accepting of me than the rest of the people I went to school with; what glued as together was an appreciation for each other's toys and games.
As you can imagine, this wasn't much. I faced a significant amount of bullying, which varied and included things such as being offered food which was then spit in, to being called demeaning names (my own first name was often used as a slur), to being hit with various objects depending on the circumstance (the most memorable instance being a branch of stinging nettles to my face when I was in boy scouts, but included various sports balls and other things). These are things everybody faces to a degree, but I didn't know how to handle my emotions regarding this.
I was raised under a high degree of stress.
As I mentioned, my father had PTSD in copious amounts. His behavior was erratic and often violent. A combination of his problems, medication he was taking, and alcohol made him a very hard man to live with.
Instances of explosive rage weren't uncommon; within a period of several hours, there could be any combination of yelling, breaking objects (which I was then to clean up), and physical violence. In one instance, when I was 7 or so, for instance, I had a question about a math problem he assigned to me. He came over to my desk and I pointed at the question in the book. He then grabbed the back of my head and shoved my face into the pages, proclaiming "The answer is right FUCKING there!"
I was physically trained to not cry. As you might imagine, dealing with what I did at a young age, I tried to express my frustration, but my options were limited. Any expression of discontent on my face, and any verbal response in objection to the fairness of the punishment was considered either a threat or insolence, and I was punished accordingly. As a result, I felt powerless.
The only way I could vent frustration at my powerlessness was by crying.
I cried frequently- this started around age 5. As I got older, about 7 or 8, it became a source if disgust to my father. He would say things like "You think this is hard? Let me tell you something boy, life is hard," "Get over it crybaby," "Your sister isn't crying- she's more of a man than you are," "Man up," etc. When these failed to achieve his goal of making me stop, he would present an ultimatum: "Stop crying before I give you something to cry about." When I didn't stop crying, I would either be hit, spanked, or thrown out of the house- usually some combination thereof.
As a result, I viewed crying as a source of shame and humiliation, and subsequently stopped crying. It didn't matter what the circumstances were- relatives dying, friends being killed, pets dying, relationships ending, physical pain, a tear wouldn't fall from my face. There is only one exception to this, I cried for about 5 minutes in 2006 when my grandfather died.
As I got older, in high school and college,I viewed this to be a source of strength- I thought that I was master of my problems and could endure any pressure. I believed this because I had to face my issues alone- I had no form of reliable support or friend to turn to.
Ironically, I idolized my father and his opinion of me meant everything. I'm sure there's some psychological component to this, but I don't know enough on the matter to say what.
When I made it to high school, I went to public school full time in preparation for college. I was socially outcast and frequently bullied both verbally and physically- on one occasion, I was choked out by another guy because I happened to be the only other person standing in the hall.
These things happen, but given my history, my regard for other humans was low, and I didn't want any part of other people, with a few exceptions. As a result of my early childhood, I became cold to such things, and, I am ashamed to say, adopted some of these principles in my own friendships.
As I mentioned earlier, the bonds between my friends and I were weak. Our relationships can be summed up in a few simple interactions: insult each other, play video games together, insult other people.
There was one exception to this- I befriended a cisgender gay man my junior year of high school. The significance of his orientation will be explained below.
We were both self-loathing individuals with a dark sense of humor. His mother was a deaf and obese woman- she relied heavily on him for many things because of her conditions. She was also incredibly religious, and in denial about his sexual orientation. She was verbally and emotionally abusive.
His father had walked out on the family with his eldest son's girlfriend. My friend's brothers were physically abusive to him throughout his childhood, and he was not close to either of them.
He too lived under a great degree of stress, and faced many hardships regarding his orientation and his family.
I felt in many ways that I could relate to this man. Paradoxically, and as a result of the issues I mentioned previously, I did many things which would have indicated otherwise. When we would hang out, I would call him "homo," "queer," "fatass," etc. Foolishly, I thought I was using these as terms of endearment rather than slurs. I would make jokes about him being virtually fatherless, etc.
I was a douche bag, and the things I did that hurt him are unforgivable.
While I was very vocal about him needing to tell me when things I said bothered him, he didn't raise an issue about my vocabulary, and in fact he participated with me in what I said, feigned to cry at things I said about his father, joked about my situation with my own father and called me names in return ("breeder" was a notable one), etc. This was not a healthy relationship, and what I did hurt him.
A few years later, everything in our friendship that I had said which hurt him culminated finally, and he told me I made him "feel like shit." That was the end of our friendship.
That was the longest relationship with a single person outside of my immediate family I've ever had- 3 years.
Throughout my life, and most prominently in high school and college, I have been politically incorrect and offensive. I have made racist jokes, I have said homophobic and transphobic things, and I have generally been a mean person.
I did these things not because I believed in what I said- I did this because it is all I knew, and because I believed that anybody who could associate with me under these circumstances and look past my faults was worth-while. Furthermore, I wanted to isolate myself from a world which I viewed as disgusting, and pushing people away, I thought, minimized the chances of me being hurt. The irony here, of course, is that the nasty world I viewed was nasty because of the very behavior I exhibited.
While the people who did put up with me were indeed worth-while, it was very wrong of me to embrace and persist in being this person. Rather than embrace these flaws, I ought to sooner have abolished them completely. Lessons learned too late are lessons learned, but the damage to others which resulted from my behavior is irreparable.
I had a two cisgender girlfriends in college.
The first used the same vocabulary I did and embraced the same humor I used. At heart, she was a good person, however, I saw in her the things in myself which I secretly loathed.
The second girlfriend was a truly sweet girl- the things that I said perplexed and sometimes offended her, but she persisted in our relationship because she saw more to me than what I showed on the surface. Despite this fact, she got tired of my antics and we split up.
This brings me to my most recently ended relationship, and the purpose of this message.
The second semester of my senior year in college (I am now in my third and final semester), I met a transsexual man.
When I first saw him, I didn't know what to do with myself. I found him attractive, and didn't really know how to deal with the fact that I was attracted to and interested in another man. I had always considered myself straight, and never imagined yearning for another man.
The night we met, a person I was talking to had called him over to talk to us for me. She left, and it was just he and I. We talked, and we talked, and we kept on talking. For the next couple of weeks, we talked between 12 and 18 hours a day. I was completely enamored with him.
My college is known for its relatively high LGBT population, and I suspected he might be a transgender male, given his androgynous features and lack of an Adam's apple (though this is apparently not a feature unique to the 'male' anatomy). When I asked him about it, he confirmed this, and I was relieved to a degree, as the prospect of being sexually intimate with the male body still frightens me deeply.
As our semester came to an end, and summer break came upon us, I asked him out, and we entered into a relationship.
For the first time in my life, I had found somebody who truly made me happy simply by existing. When I was with him, I felt safe- when I was with him, I felt I could truly be myself. He was the light of my days, and looking forward to talking to him got me through work each and every day. Until I met him, the source of my happiness revolved greatly around my physical possessions- my technological hardware, the movies and games I owned, etc. These things ceased and still fail to bring me happiness.
If you had seen us walking together in public, however, you would never have guessed this.
The many years of behaving as I had created some very hard habits to break.
To start with, I still made racist jokes or race-based comments. This offended him severely, and despite my gradual attempts to stop this, my success was slow coming.
Not fully understanding the hardships of a transsexual person's life, and arrogant as I was, I was also resistant to some new terminology, namely, "cisgender" and "ze;" the latter of which was, at the time, applied to my boyfriend's genderqueer housemate, until he adopted preference for the pronoun "he."
I never thought of myself as being ashamed to date him, but I was afraid to display my affection for him publicly out of fear of what other people would do or think.
Above all of my other faults and failures, save for one which I will mention below, of this one I am most ashamed.
While I gradually worked into being comfortable with PDA's, doing small things like rub his back in public, or holding his hand in the movie theater, took a lot of time for me to become comfortable with.
The other failure of which I am most ashamed is that, during my summer job, I kept my relationship quiet. My boss was very outspoken in his disdain for the trans* community, and scoffed at the establishment of an LGBT support group which was started in my work place. I placed fear of losing my job above my Love, and said nothing to my boss when he said things that were offensive to my boyfriend's situation and which offended me.
With my boyfriend, just as with my gay friend, the pain I caused culminated, and he dumped me in August.
The progress I had made in becoming the better person I knew I could be was not fast enough.
For a period of two weeks, I thought I would move past my feelings for him, and tried to ignore them as best as I could.
As it turns out, I can't let go of him emotionally.
For the first time in my life, I found somebody I was willing to stop being a spiteful douche for, and I have pushed that person away.
It took me losing somebody who was dearest to me to realize how damaging I have been as a person.
We decided to just remain as friends after our relationship ended. These days, we are both in an odd position- I want him back, but my attempts to win him over are burdensome to him. The damage I did is done, and I can never take that back. I rarely see him even once a week, and every moment without him makes my heart ache terribly.
He came over to my house a few weeks ago, and when he hugged me, I cried. Since then, a night has not gone by where I haven't cried. I can't stop crying, because I know that no matter how hard I try, I have hurt and pushed away somebody who I care about more than anything else in the world, myself included.
In the time that I have been without him, I have done a great deal of reflection.
I do not want to be somebody who hurts other people, or somebody people don't want to be with or around- the world is harsh enough as it is, and I have no right to contribute to this. I want to be a positive force in the lives of people who endure great hardships. I cannot use my childhood experiences as an excuse for my actions which have hurt others, and I do not want to present as anybody other than who I really am. I have destroyed my facade.
To the people who I have hurt both directly and indirectly with my past actions, the LGBT community in particular, either by the words which have come out of my mouth, or by the insensitivity I have shown to serious issues, I am truly sorry. I have done wrong by you, I have done wrong by justice and human rights, and I have done wrong by myself and those I love.
I have since determined to no longer use offensive language related to any demographic, and to be kind where kindness ought to be practiced.
I have since determined that I cannot spend all of my time wallowing in despair of the man I lost, or simply loath myself for the man I was. I have renounced who I was, and sincerely apologize for what I have done.
I will have a different relationship with the LGBT community; I will be a supporting factor to the community as a whole, and a friend to the individuals comprising it who would accept me as such.
I was arrogant and I have been a fool, and I am sorry.
I apologize for the pain I have caused and the power I have taken away from the LGBT community (and others) and the individuals therein. I apologize for the damage of what others like me have done, and I am sorry for the pain that people who do not understand what you go through cause.
If you have made it this far and read what I had to say, thank you kindly for hearing me out. I cannot express the regret I have over what I have said and how I have behaved, or how much I hurt other people- particularly those I care about, but this is only the first step in my pledge to proceed as an "enlightened" individual.
It is now my primary objective to learn about the community, its people, and the issues they face everyday. If I can be there for, better understand, or help a single person who faces the issues I once ignored, I will have begun righting my wrongs.
Last edited by Cisfool
on Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:22 am, edited 18 times in total.