Friday, July 3, 2009

Gay And Normal

From a journal entry, June 1990:

A miscellaneous thought I had as I strolled the Houston airport on the way to San Francisco for the Catholic Theology Society of America meeting: one of the tensions of gay life is that gays are forced into a defense of the dionysiac while struggling with taboos that thwart our expression of the dionysiac impulses in ourselves.

Since gay sex is by its very nature “frivolous” and non-procreative (in the eyes of society), gay sex appears to be sex for sex’s sake. It has no validation other than the dionysiac (in the eyes of society, I must emphasize again). Thus the deep suspicion on the part of many that gays are sybaritic sex-hounds.

It is true that gays ought to defend the goodness of the incarnate, of the sexual—for its own sake. We need to do so if only to affirm that which society seeks to deny in us.

But this affirmation wars against the deep-seated repression of the “aberrant” sexual impulse in ourselves. From childhood through adolescence, often into adulthood, the name of the game is savage repression, a repression internalized by the gay person who guards against every impulse of the—what does Joyce’s retreat master in Portrait of the Artist call it?—the proud flesh? the unruly member that rears its ugly head.

All this sets up quite a tension—often lifelong—in the gay person . . . . But what attracts me to gay life, to claiming my gay self, is precisely the task to make myself, not merely to replicate the social models, all of which engender often hideous but unseen deformities of the human spirit, offered to me by church and “normalcy.” I may never succeed in finding my way. I may very well die first, an unfinished man. But I shall, I hope, die trying.