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LGBT Later in Life A support and discussion forum for older members who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender etc.

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Old 21st Apr 2017, 07:14 AM   #21
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Re: Embracing my sexuality - can I take a mulligan?

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So going forward, my advice is and will be, first deal with the shame and deal with the internalized homophobia, with that build confidence and build self esteem, thereby embracing our true selves and our sexuality - in that order!
I fundamentally agree with this approach, which is how I approached things once I came out.

The caveat that I would add is that healing the shame and internalized homophobia is a non-linear process and the implicit serialization doesn't reflect my experience. All 3 aspects are terribly interrelated. Yes start with the shame and internalized homophobia. At some point as we start to embrace our sexuality we discover additional areas of shame and IH (for example discomfort going to an LGBT event, holding hands in public or being vulnerable), which requires more healing of the IH. Eventually there is an inflection point and upward spiral as things begin to click.

It seems that this post is a form of closure for you?
Maybe my sentence construction is off a bit, but yes, I agree with your point - when working through shame AND internalized homophobia, those are not linear between themselves. However, I do believe shame AND internalized homophobia (taken together) would better be addressed in the first instance, which would then help towards building confidence and self esteem, leading one to embrace whom they are - in that order.

And as I have suggested previously, I do not think shame and IH can ever be completely healed. I wish I could one day say I have found complete closure from both, but until we live in a utopian world, I will remain a bit cautious

Rather than closure per se, this is more along the lines of "it all simply clicked together".
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 08:39 AM   #22
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Re: Embracing my sexuality - can I take a mulligan?

I've been thinking about my aunts a lot lately. Actually since I started this whole thing about two years ago. I think it baffles many people that I was essentially raised by a lesbian couple and yet have so much trouble being comfortable with my sexuality and my reality, whatever it is. But knowing my aunts and looking at them subjectively, I see now how much sense it all makes. And sadly, I think it comes down to a lot of shame that they've never worked through on their own. I've applied the approach I've been taking to those who don't want to be romantic with me or whatever else (that it's their "stuff" and not necessarily me) to my aunts.

It doesn't change though that the potential role models I had for being gay while growing up, the ones who could have in theory put me ahead of many teens figuring out sexuality, more taught me to keep those feelings to myself than anything. As I've said before, I was 16 before I even realized my aunts were a romantic couple. Mind you, I had spent many nights, almost every weekend, vacations, etc with them since I was a baby. That's how little they "show" their romantic status with each other. I never doubted that they went together, but realizing that they were in love wasn't a thing for me. To this day I've still never seen them kiss and only once accidentally caught them holding hands.

They dealt with a lot of bullying for being gay when they were younger. I imagine they also watched gay friends, probably male, deal with the same thing and maybe even worse during the 1980s.

What tells me that they still have shame that they haven't dealt with themselves is them refusing to get married now. Particularly one of my aunts refuses this. I can't logically chalk it up to her being afraid of commitment when they've been together for 38 years. I've tried telling them that they should do it for the most basic reasons at the very least now, like if one of them was on their death bed god-forbid, so the other would have the rights to make decisions for them. But she argues that it wouldn't be a problem. It isn't like they need to have a big wedding, though they certainly could if they wanted to. They could also go to City Hall and just make it legal. The only reason they don't, I have to believe, is internal shame.

I love my aunts with all my heart and I really think they've done the best they could for me. I wish that they would come to terms with these things for themselves.
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 08:51 AM   #23
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Re: Embracing my sexuality - can I take a mulligan?

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Originally Posted by CameOutSwinging View Post
I've been thinking about my aunts a lot lately. Actually since I started this whole thing about two years ago. I think it baffles many people that I was essentially raised by a lesbian couple and yet have so much trouble being comfortable with my sexuality and my reality, whatever it is. But knowing my aunts and looking at them subjectively, I see now how much sense it all makes. And sadly, I think it comes down to a lot of shame that they've never worked through on their own. I've applied the approach I've been taking to those who don't want to be romantic with me or whatever else (that it's their "stuff" and not necessarily me) to my aunts.

It doesn't change though that the potential role models I had for being gay while growing up, the ones who could have in theory put me ahead of many teens figuring out sexuality, more taught me to keep those feelings to myself than anything. As I've said before, I was 16 before I even realized my aunts were a romantic couple. Mind you, I had spent many nights, almost every weekend, vacations, etc with them since I was a baby. That's how little they "show" their romantic status with each other. I never doubted that they went together, but realizing that they were in love wasn't a thing for me. To this day I've still never seen them kiss and only once accidentally caught them holding hands.

They dealt with a lot of bullying for being gay when they were younger. I imagine they also watched gay friends, probably male, deal with the same thing and maybe even worse during the 1980s.

What tells me that they still have shame that they haven't dealt with themselves is them refusing to get married now. Particularly one of my aunts refuses this. I can't logically chalk it up to her being afraid of commitment when they've been together for 38 years. I've tried telling them that they should do it for the most basic reasons at the very least now, like if one of them was on their death bed god-forbid, so the other would have the rights to make decisions for them. But she argues that it wouldn't be a problem. It isn't like they need to have a big wedding, though they certainly could if they wanted to. They could also go to City Hall and just make it legal. The only reason they don't, I have to believe, is internal shame.

I love my aunts with all my heart and I really think they've done the best they could for me. I wish that they would come to terms with these things for themselves.
Based on the numerous exchanges you and I have had on this topic, I think you are spot on with your assessment! Glad you recognize it for yourself.
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Old 21st Apr 2017, 03:43 PM   #24
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Re: Embracing my sexuality - can I take a mulligan?

Some people here have commented that coming out late atleast had advantages in that they had kids. I realised my orientation late but don't even have kids to show for it! Sometimes I feel i am in a really bad situation - alone and lonely. Wonder what I did to deserve this?
Just some thoughts....
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Old 23rd Apr 2017, 07:13 AM   #25
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Re: Embracing my sexuality - can I take a mulligan?

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Some people here have commented that coming out late atleast had advantages in that they had kids. I realised my orientation late but don't even have kids to show for it! Sometimes I feel i am in a really bad situation - alone and lonely. Wonder what I did to deserve this?
Just some thoughts....
It seems to me that you have a somewhat pessimistic appraisal of the situation. Another way to look at this is that you came out when you were ready and have a lot of life ahead of you. Why do you feel alone and lonely? A better question is what are you doing to change this? Maybe you want to start a new thread and get some pointers.
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Old Today, 01:42 AM   #26
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Re: Embracing my sexuality - can I take a mulligan?

Thanks SiennaFire. I was feeling down when I wrote that and after reading your views I do feel better. Maybe I should write a new thread and get some pointers. That will be helpful.
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