This is one of three articles that will appear in the upcoming issue of Side By Side, the RC journal about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, queer, and Transgender liberation.

Not Limiting My Closeness, with Any Humans

I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s in the Midwest USA in a Protestant working-class family. There was no mention of “sexual identity.” What was considered normal was that a man and a woman would marry in a Christian church and be committed to raising a family. I didn’t see or learn about any other options.

It was understood that I would follow the lifestyle of my parents. My family never discussed any other ways to live. In my church and school, and everywhere outside the family, no information was offered as to what life would be like as an adult other than what my parents believed and modeled. In my mind that became normal, without question. None of the five children in my family expected a different life.

I am a fraternal male twin. A major part of my Co-Counseling, from the beginning, has been to discharge about my experience of being a twin and living with my twin brother. Being a twin has defined my humanness. It has given me a picture of what it means to be connected to another human being. I can’t picture life without the closeness and deep commitment to my brother. It is the model for me of human relationships.

My brother and I were socialized as twins, but a series of events, starting from birth, set us up to be connected differently to our parents. The result was an unspoken contract between my parents that my brother was my father’s responsibility and I was my mother’s.

We weren’t raised the same, which led me to conclude that I was a different kind of boy. As I passed through puberty, an internal struggle began. I became mildly worried that I wouldn’t be able to fit into the heterosexual culture of my family. But I still assumed that the life my parents lived would be mine in the end.

I reached my late teen and young adult years at the end of the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s. Many of my peers were starting to question the culture in which we lived. I saw changes happening around me that I didn’t understand, and it was not usual in my family to think about or find out about such things. My friends were sharing experiences that were contradictory to my life. Their stories were both scary and exciting.

When I went to college, my contacts and friends were more diverse. My peers were more independent, open, and experimental in living their lives.

I became friends with a man my age who was testing the boundaries of how to present himself as a male. He wore colorful, bold, and what might be called gender-neutral outfits. His hair was long—mid-back length—and styled. At the time I would have called his style of dress feminine. Another friend told me that he was having sex with men. He never called himself a homosexual or Gay. He was excited about experimenting with inhibitions and boundaries.

I became interested in living differently from my family and culture. This matched my feelings of not being a “regular guy.” I was scared but still wanted to change. Prior to that I had started having sexual feelings toward other men. I hadn’t acted on them, but acting on them became my masturbation fantasy.

Ten years later, after my last romantic relationship with a female, I made the decision to identify as a Gay man. This was before I had started RC. I could write a whole article about that decision. It was made in isolation, with little understanding of what it meant. I learned RC a year later.

As I became committed to my Co-Counseling practice and understood RC theory, it became clear to me that I needed to start discharging on identity and oppression. I began counseling on claiming, cleaning up, and throwing out the Gay identity, along with working on early sexual memories. The Gay liberation workshops, early sexual memories workshops, and regular sessions on these things added up to a change in my thinking and a more informed perspective on choosing a sexual identity. I saw that I had a choice and that my feelings from the past were not a reliable guide to making choices in the present.

For fifteen years I had lived as a Gay man who had been out [open about being Gay] to his family and friends. I had marched in the local Gay Pride parades, spoken about Gay liberation, and been an active member of a Gay organization. The idea of no longer identifying as a Gay man was just as scary as coming out as a Gay man.

Discharge had led me to conclude that identifying as Gay was, for me, based in my distress. However, concluding that did not diminish the significance of my early decision to identify as Gay. That was a profound decision. It had changed my life in many ways. It had deepened my relationships with men and connected me more to myself. I had become less shy and taken more leadership.

But I had also found the Gay identity to be just as “tight“ as the “straight” identity. Both have limitations, sexual distresses, and isolation structured into them.

As I deepened my understanding of RC theory, developed my Co-Counseling skills, and formed committed and loving Co-Counseling relationships, I was able to undertake discharging about sex and my Gay identity.

My journey of discharging about being a Gay man has taken a considerable amount of time and effort. I have had to take my re-emergence seriously. This has meant strategically planning my sessions. To clean up the internalized oppression I have had to work on sex and identity. I have discharged many hours on my early sexual memories and masturbation fantasies. I have also discharged regularly on my internalized oppression from having identified as a Gay man for fifteen years. I have discovered that the early hurts of separation from my dad and brother, as well as male oppression, played a role in my decision to identity as Gay.

Doing this work as client has led me to new conclusions about how to live my life as a man. It has clarified my relationships with men and taken the pressure of sex off my relationships with them. Men will always be important to me, and now I get to have them more broadly, in a way that has little to do with identity or sex. My desire to be connected to my twin brother has become a model of closeness instead of a frozen longing preoccupying my mind. I am more confident about my desires, interests, physical appearance, and sensibilities. I have myself as male. I am fully male just as I am.

My relationships with women in this period have allowed me to see what from my early life had been messing up and making impossible my relationships with women. Surprise—my relationship with my mom had set up a patterned model that had left me unable to protect myself from the frozen needs and demands of a female partner. I have had to discharge on my patterns of being helpful, submissive, and non-communicative with women while on the inside feeling resentment and upset.

I value my relationships with both LGBQT and heterosexual folks. I have never believed that re-emerging is about limiting my connections or closeness with any humans.

Related to identity, I will never see myself as heterosexual the way the culture defines it. My sense of myself is bigger and broader than any identity.

My priority is to end Gay oppression. To that end I have tried to look at, and not hold back from looking at, every part of how I have been hurt—by oppression related to being born and raised male and conditioned to adopt male domination, by sexism, and by sexuality. So far I do not see any other way to end the oppression of women, LGBQT folks, and men.

“JS Chardin”

 


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00