My sponsor was joking with me just over a year ago when he said he wondered if I was a straight man stuck in a gay man’s body. I had a good chuckle with him over it back then, but in all actuality, there have been plenty of times since when I truly feel I’m the polar opposite of the majority of the gay community. And this is precisely how I felt the other day when I went to a gay pride picnic and fundraiser with a friend of mine.
Upon arriving at the event, I already felt like a fish out of water given that I hardly knew anyone there. But thankfully, two friends of mine from recovery showed up just as I was walking in, which relieved that feeling somewhat, yet I still remained a little unease. It wasn’t because I have a problem socializing with the gay community nor was it because I’m uncomfortable with my sexuality, because I’m not. I guess what was most challenging for me as I stood there and tried to mingle were the stereotypes that so many of the gay community fall under, of which I have such a hard time relating to.
Acting campy and flamboyant, wearing loud clothing, listening to diva house music, and watching men dressed up in drag while they lip sync and strut their stuff on stage isn’t really my idea of a good time. And given that alcohol often seems to be consumed in great quantities at many of the gay events, I really struggled to feel a part of this picnic from the onset.
Ironically, it was held at a park where a Frisbee golf course was present and I actually spent more time watching the people play that game more than I focused on what was going on around me. But maybe that was also due to the fact I was trying to tune out my old thoughts and desires of what I did at every single gay event I used to attend in the past.
Many years ago, my only goal at any gay get-together would be to act out in my sex and love addiction in some way. Whether that was to get a person’s phone number, fool around or establish some type of sexual intrigue, the memories of most of my bad behaviors were done at events just like this one. This is why I was so grateful for my two recovery friends showing up, because I know on some level that God was watching out for me by having them there. After they left, I didn’t stay much longer, although I did try to watch a segment of the drag show and socialize for a moment before I did. But in all honesty, I must admit I felt slightly relieved when I finally got in my car to head home.
Look, it’s not my place to judge any of the gay community, especially because I’m always going to be a part of it. And frankly I’m actually ok with all the behaviors that fall under those gay stereotypes. It’s just not me though. My interests over the years have changed so greatly, and I feel far more comfortable hanging out these days with a few friends talking about spiritual interests, life in recovery, and helping others.
Maybe I’m just getting older and this was always bound to happen, or maybe my spiritual journey has shifted me away from the demographics I once was so much a part of. Regardless, I’m still glad I went to this pride picnic and enjoyed the laughter I did there. I’m also thankful I was able to see how much I’ve changed from how I used to be, especially at events just like this one in the past. Nevertheless, I guess you can say I’m still chuckling at my AA sponsor’s joke because this picnic reminded me how I really do sometimes feel like I’m a straight man stuck in a gay man’s body…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson