How do you think your development might have been affected if your sexual orientation had been other than it was?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I am a straight man.  I started high school in 1982 and finished college in 1990.  I believe that my personal development would have been very different if I had been gay.  I think this would have been the case because I would have been forced to deal with society from the point of view of an outsider even more than I already had to.

As adolescents develop, they are trying to find an identity.  They typically want to be accepted by their peers and by society as a whole.  They may want to be unique, but they typically do not want to be so unique that no one can understand and relate to them.  I believe that this set of desires would make it much harder to develop (all other things being equal) as a gay person than as a straight person.

I, personally, had some difficulties in my development because I felt I was an outsider.  I was an American growing up outside America.  Therefore, I did not completely fit in with the people of the place where I was raised.  However, since I lived outside the country from the time I was two years old, I was also not truly 100% American in my attitudes when I came to this country to attend boarding school in high school and to attend college.  Feeling like an outsider, I often felt that I could not get people to accept me as much as I wanted them to.

I would surmise that growing up gay would have been like this only much harder.  As it was, I was different.  If I had been gay, I would have been seen as worse, not just as different.  It is different now to a great degree, but back then, there was a real stigma to being gay.  I would have had a much harder time developing into a secure person who could feel adequate and competent.  I think that this would have made my personal development more difficult.

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