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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » How did you learn about sexual orientation/identity?

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Author Topic: How did you learn about sexual orientation/identity?
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Can you remember when you first learned or got some sense of what sexual orientation/identity were?

When was that? What information did you get, and from whom? Did that information present orientation and identity as diverse? Did it present all orientations and identities as equally valid and acceptable, or did it privilege or marginalize/admonish any or some?

If you think back to some of those earliest messages, how in alignment are they with your own ideas and experiences now? If you're still in contact with the same person who gave you that information, do you think they'd give the same information at this point, or that they'd say/present something different?

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Natalie H
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My sister and her partner have been together since I was just a little kid. They met in middle school and started dating in high school. I was still in elementary school, but I remember distinctly asking my sister one day if her and her friend were more than just friends. I'd seen them sitting in each others' laps and kisses on the cheek, small things. And she was embarrassed, but told me yes, they were dating. She explained that they love each other, and it didn't matter that they were both girls. It seemed to make perfect sense to me, if you fall in love with someone you can't help what their gender is.

I believe it's because of this early tolerant influence in my life that I'm the open minded person I am today. Learning from that made me being bisexual (and now lesbian) very easy to deal with, because I've been around it all my life. Nowadays I think I'm more proud of identity than my sister is! Some day I'm gonna drag her to a pride parade. :-]

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Bicycle? I prefer a homocycle.

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julzy
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
Can you remember when you first learned or got some sense of what sexual orientation/identity were?

When was that? What information did you get, and from whom? Did that information present orientation and identity as diverse? Did it present all orientations and identities as equally valid and acceptable, or did it privilege or marginalize/admonish any or some?

If you think back to some of those earliest messages, how in alignment are they with your own ideas and experiences now? If you're still in contact with the same person who gave you that information, do you think they'd give the same information at this point, or that they'd say/present something different?

i dont know when i FIRST learned, but when i was in fifth grade (already knew by that point) my aunt and i were watching will & grace, and she said that gay is when a man loves a man, and lesbian is when a girl loves a girl, she didn't say anything about bieng bi, but i think i already knew. anyway, i am bi.

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cut my life into pieces, this is my last resort, suffocation no breathing, dont give a f***k if i cut my arm bleeding.

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Summerchill
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The first time I ever really got a sense that there was something else besides just a man and a woman was when I was seven and I was watching a movie with my mom that had a gay man in it. I remember she explained to me what being gay meant and told me that it was wrong to make fun of them, like the movie did. I didn't really take her words to heart. At school everyone would make fun of these two boys and call them gay and make up rumors about them. I joined in, I still really didn't understand what I was doing. I really regret it now but luckily there was no damage done to the kid's feelings and theyre normal, happy, and accepted in highschool. I don't know what happened to make me understand but I lost my sense of prejudice by the time I was in sixth grade.
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Kawani3792
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Well, my mom's first husband was gay, so I understood that he liked guys from when I was around six or seven. I remember he ran a little shop and we would go visit him sometimes just so mom could say Hi. He gave me a really beautiful hinged egg with a little carved chick inside. So I got an idea of guys being in love with guys back then.
My mom was always the one who mentioned him, and he was a really great guy, so I sort of got the idea that gay people were okay, because obviously, this guy was really nice, so gay people were good because otherwise this gay person wouldn't be good. I know it's kind of a weird logic, but at the time, it made sense.
Aside from that, the majority of real info I got was from my best friend, discussing how cool Ellen Degeneres was (she absolutely loved that show at the time) and mentioning that she was a lesbian. That's probably the main reason I'm so close to that friend, is because when I was a 11 or 12 year old asking what that meant, she told me, clearly, without dancing around the subject or anything.
And I'm pretty sure she'd still give me the same info, without dancing around the topic, because she's the only person who even knew I was questioning. I sent her a link to the forum post where I was asking people on another site for help/advice, and after a couple of days of no response flat out said "Ok, you don't have to acknowledge me, since I pretty much ignored your coming out via status update" and she said that she wasn't ignoring me, she was just a little stunned, that she was there for me no matter what, and we agreed that all the guys we knew were jerks. She was my entire real source of helpful info on LGBT matters, even before coming out. My school had girls-only sex ed, with an awesome teacher who told everyone that they could call her anytime if they needed a pregnancy test and she would take them to a clinic without telling parents unless asked to help, but everything we learned about was penis-in-vagina intercourse.
(which seemed to work, since there's only four girls in that class of fifteen who aren't pregnant or already given birth, and I'm one of them...)

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mizchastain
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When I was a kid I read a lot of books like the Narnia series which contained outdated slang, and when I was nine I was briefly made fun of for using "gay" with the only meaning of it I actually knew, i.e. cheerful. When I was told what it meant by the other kids, I thought they were making it up until they actually showed me in the dictionary. I found the idea pretty icky for a couple of years, but in my defence I found het sex and romance icky at that age as well. I'm better now, I promise [Smile]

[ 12-24-2010, 05:21 AM: Message edited by: mizchastain ]

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Atonement
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I must have been about 10 or so, and my friend and I were sitting in a grafiti-ed golf cart while my parents looked at cars at a dealership.

I was home schooled at the time, so she knew a lot of things that I didn't, not being able to hear things from other kids.

Anyway, on the golf cart, someone had written "Charlie is gay".

She asked me if i knew what it meant, I said no, and she told me "It means Charlie likes to go out with other guys."

I don't remember thinking too much of it. I thought it was a bit strange, since it was nothing I'd ever heard of before, but I wasn't shocked by it.

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littlemoon
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This is an interesting question for me because thinking back, I don't have any memories of learning about homosexuality at all. It seems like something I was always aware of.
When it came to learning that same sex relationships were "bad" and "unequal" (which is how I internalized homosexuality as a child) the biggest pushers were the church and the LACK of talk about same sex relationships.
I do remember in grade school, not using the word gay in front of my mom because I thought it would offend her.
The most influential thing that shaped my views about sexual orientation was the very eerie kind of silence from family and friends after someone mentioned that Mary is seeing Jane or Bob is living with John. I knew it was bad if we couldn't even talk about it.

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Smthng56
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I think I've heard about sexual orientation first time in school, we had some short typical course about sexuality, sex life etc. Everyone was getting loud and excited when teachers talked about homosexuality. Also, I remember pupils using word "fag" as a curse a lot. Within my family I heard only negative comments about homosexuals.. or just did not heard anything. Lot later I got to know about orientation quite more when was studying in medical university at psychology/psychiatry courses, i think. But, i guess, most part of information i got from my own researching of articles and books. And from my job too, at some point...
Have to say that sexual education is pretty low here, lot of people, who does not exclusively study psychology or psychiatry, still think that homosexuality is a disease, disorder or perversion. What more to say, i even heard such saying from specialists. Talking openly about homosexuality is a big NO in most places. Meh.

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