There is a book I recommend any young gay man read entitled Androphilia by Jack Donovan. I found it in 2008 and was confused, perplexed and challenged by it. I found it in 2008 and was confused, perplexed and challenged by it. It shattered everything I thought I knew about gay-ness and the gay identity. Donovan explained how gays needed to reject the gay community and reclaim the mantle of masculinity, as androphiles.
I’ve always been very interested in what it means to be a man (as I am one) and have found that as I get older — I get more and more in touch with my masculine side. Donovan has become a very prolific writer for me and has inspired many writings, creative and political, over the past couple of years. As someone who has always beat to my own drum, I find that I toe the line very smoothly between the gay and straight world. I never quite fit in with any one “community” or group of people. I’m an individual, believe in rugged individualism as an American ideal, am very patriotic — and have worked through and accepted many conservative view points. I could talk at length at how masculine I am or am not perceived to be, but I know that deep down, who I am, is unabashedly male.
The short end of the stick was being raised primarily by my mother with an ineffective father, who was taught from a young age to acquiesce to all the women in his life. Being raised and surrounded by, I grew up speaking the language of women. I was rejected by the boys on the playground as I was “too sensitive” and didn’t learn, til much later in life, how to man up and be part of the tribe.
As Donovan did, I found the gay community as some shelter from the storm of a world I thought didn’t understand me. But now, as I edge closer to 30 — I have begun to awaken the warrior within me. Men are violent, we are assertive, we are aggressive — but we are also noble, loyal, passionate and courageous. That is the man I am and aspire to be.
Now all this talk of gay marriage? I’m borrowing from Donovan’s thoughts on it — but I agree with him.
Marriage has historically, religiously and culturally been about men and women. It has historically been about the woman leaving her family, marrying a man, who protects and provides for her — and she in return, takes care of him as well.
The customs and traditions (white wedding dress, walking down the aisle, father giving the daughter away, it being “her special day”) have all revolved around the timeless unity that is man and wife. The union helps continue survival of the species. Of course not all couples get married for that reason today and don’t have to. And many partnerships today shun gender roles completely, but they still call it marriage.
I also could get married if I wanted. To be considered a marriage, as a man, I’d have to take a wife. I don’t want one… so therefore, I can’t get married.
I’m not going to speak for lesbians here, because I’m not one and don’t have any experience being a woman.
As someone who is same sex attracted, I fall in love with and primarily admire other men. Honestly, I love everything about men.
And what goes unsaid, is that there have been time tested rituals, oaths and sacrifices made — as described in Blood Brotherhood (another book, also by Donovan) — of the special relationship men have taken (albeit for the most part non-sexually) with each other. The idea being you lay down your life and are willing to take a bullet for your “blood brother.” In some circles and societies these relationships were more respected and of higher clout than a traditional marriage.
What Donovan, and I to an extent, are asking is why aren’t we creating and appropriating some sort of bond or union that reflects our unique relationship to one another, as two men? With of course, legal hospital visitation rights, property taxes, joint income tax relief — etc etc — that is undertaken by anyone who chooses to commit their life to one another.
Why do we have to take a tradition that’s not ours and try to appropriate it? Why not make our own? Something inspired and honored by the unique Mars/Mars combination that make up an intimate same-sex relationship. There is no woman in my relationship — yes opposites always attract — but that doesn’t make one of us the “girl.” I am a man. We are men — there is no bride. There is no wedding dress. My dad sure as hell isn’t giving me away to anyone. I choose to give my life for someone else.
Why not create something honorable, unique to our relationships with each other, that are – separate from marriages – but equal in the legal context. The problem with this whole ‘equality’ argument — is that it essentially gay sounds like spoiled brats who want something just because they can’t have it. I am gay, it is a behavioral trait — I do not choose to feel desire for men — but I do choose to act on it. And I’m good with that. I take responsibility for it. No one owes me anything. I’m not a victim. I’m not oppressed. I’m not embarrassed. I’m not “proud” because I didn’t pass any test to be into dudes. I just am.
I’m a man who loves other men.
One day, I will meet a dude that I will want to lay down my life for. And him for me.
I’d love to have some sort of ceremony that honors that — perhaps without a minister or someone ordaining it — perhaps just between us. Perhaps no one will else will be around for that — where we will make a sacred, spiritual vow to defend each others honor, protect and care for each other, for the rest of our lives. I don’t need a priest or the state to bless my vow. It is my choice to align my life with another man.
And then we can go down to city hall, file some domestic partnership paperwork and be done with it. Or even get a lawyer to work out some finer details.
I don’t need the state or the government to approve of my life or my choices. All I’d like is to be able to be entitled to the same tax breaks as anyone else slugging it out in a partnership. But marriage? No, that wouldn’t be it was — it would feel weird and inorganic for me. I don’t want to be “married” to a dude — I want to, like Jonathan and David from the Bible, bind my soul to another. It’s for me and him to decide what that means and how it works.
I sincerely hope the Supreme Court doesn’t redefine ‘marriage’. And I say this as a gay men who isn’t ashamed of his sexuality. But it’s not all I am and all I want to be. There is so much more to me than that. I’m more a man than I am a ‘gay man.’
In fact, perhaps I will stop identifying as gay altogether.
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