GerryNorth-e1342602124661111111111I remember very well my first teenage sexual adventures with gorgeous men, breaking away from what was expected of me as a male by Australian society in the ’70s. That drive to find sex with men and to accept my gay identity was all that being gay meant to me then. Little did I know then that being a gay meant more than just having sex.

By my thinking being gay was only about me having sex with men prevented me from understanding a whole lot more about myself. There were so many other treasures awaiting me, if I just looked at what my total gayness offered me.

Feeling an outsider in childhood and teenage years was disturbing but it also allowed me instantly to see the world differently than my straight peers. They were set for the expected paths in life of girlfriends, weddings, children, home ownership, child education and having responsible career paths to support all of this. A tad tied down.

I on the other hand could think more freely about challenging life in general. My mind could take on newer ideas on how I could live. I was already more sensitive to art forms – (literature, theatre, film, music, cooking, painting, etc) the environment, politics, society fairness and the pursuit, if I wanted to, of a sense of spirituality separate from established religions that supported mainly heterosexual identities.

What I am saying, and to any teenagers especially reading this column, is feel honoured that being gay has the other interesting entitlements. Being gay is not just about just having sex with men, it is a gift to see the world differently and to make you own path through life with this new awareness. You have been given a trump card by nature to enjoy life from a fresh, new perspective. Use it.

Our sexuality is determined by the time we are eight or nine-years-old. Straight people will have their required role to play and it will be harder for them to break away with fresh thinking – from what society expects of them. It is harder for them to take a different look at the world.

You might have feelings of shame of not being created the same as others when growing up. These feelings are natural human reactions at being different. It is also sometimes possible to carry these feelings right into gay adulthood. Maybe it is now time to mentally dump any of those feelings in the rubbish bin where they belong. Being gay is who you are and it was not up to you. You being gay is how it is. So if you carry shame about being gay, tell negative thinking patterns to bugger off.

Being gay has so much more to offer than just having sex. If you accept it as a gift, a gift to see the world differently, you are on the right track to having a happier life. Embrace all the characteristics of being gay. Grab hold of all that new sensibility you can fully own. So get cooking, slap on that new outfit, play that music and get out there and shove any feelings of shame out the door. Express your self and change the world for you and others.

Gerry North is a couple’s counsellor and can be contacted at [email protected] or

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