What is Gay?

by Sam Farrell

Hi! My name is Sam and I am the G- representative for the QUB LGBT+ society in the academic year 2015/2016.

The pronouns I use are he/him/his and I identify as a homosexual and homoromantic male. This simply means that I am sexually and romantically attracted towards other men the same way a straight man is attracted to a woman and vice versa.

Being gay is NOT

  • An illness
  • A perversion
  • Being a freak/sub-human
  • Being promiscuous
  • Fake
  • A definition of who you are
  • Needing to conform to the stereotypes enforced by society
  • Having constant exposure to the HIV/AIDS virus
  • A phase
  • A choice

Coming to terms with my sexuality had not been easy. The heteronormative environment that I grew up in convinced me that I had to have romantic and sexual feelings towards women because I’m male. However, viewing females in this light was something I could never do and when I was 12 I discovered I had attraction towards men. Yet I wasn’t able to admit it to myself. And how could I? The word gay was always used as a derogative term by my peers, I was terrified when I heard of gay people encountering unnecessary violence and I had it in my head that I needed to get with one of the stunning girls at my school to fuel a sense of pride.

As it turned out, the hardest person to come out to was myself. The first half of my puberty years were full of confusion as I kept dismissing the thought of having feelings for other guys, had thoughts of possibly being bisexual/asexual and wishing the whole girlfriend thing would work out. Yet at the age of 16 I was able to come to terms with this part of who I am through lots of self-reflection, observing the support the LGBT+ community received in recent years and binge watching coming out videos on Youtube. All my stigmas that were preconceived about the possibilities of myself being gay seemed to fade away and I managed to tell other people about my sexual preferences in a casual manner (most of the time I don’t even have to tell anyone!)  

2016 is now a better time for gay men like myself to come out than it ever has with the recent lifting of the blood ban on gay/bisexual men in Northern Ireland, the legalisation of gay marriage in many communities around the world and the many tv shows/films and other media having some sort of homosexual representation to draw attention to the issues people face in real life.

The gay community, however, still faces backlashes proving that we still have a long way to go for overall equality. I was heartbroken when I heard the news of the recent Orlando shootings where 50 people were killed and 50 people were injured because of who they loved (or was an ally of the LGBT+ community). This kind of hate must stop. And the only way to achieve this is through the uniting of people from different backgrounds to celebrate the gay community as people who are still people who breathe, eat, and sleep just like straight people and shouldn’t face discrimination for having attraction to people of the same gender. The campaigning to someday achieve marriage equality and more education on homosexuality in schools is a step in the right direction for gay people and the rest of the LGBT+ community to thrive in society.

The best piece of advice I can give to anyone struggling with sexual identity or are receiving bullying because of it just remember: You are loved. You matter. Love yourself. You are not alone in this at all, ask for help. Just be your fabulous self!

With love

~ Sam xox