During the summers of my early teen years while my brother Josh and I were romping about our suburban neighborhood committing various acts of arson, minor cases of animal cruelty, and other semi-criminal activities, our younger brother Kyle was usually at home. Inexplicably, Kyle preferred cooking a gourmet meal or playing house with the neighborhood girls, to detonating rudimentary homemade explosives lodged in cow excrement, or the thrill of exploding a grasshopper with compressed air.
Deep down, we knew that Kyle was fundamentally different than us, and that of course led to massive amount of teasing. The insults we hurled at him seemed to roll off the tongue so easily, “fag”, “homo”, “butt pirate”. Actually, I’m not sure we knew the term “butt pirate” back then, but if we did, we most certainly used it against him. The funny thing is that for all the verbal tormenting we bestowed upon him, implying that he was attracted to the opposite sex, the thought never crossed my mind that he might actually be gay.
I do not recall his exact words when he came out to me, but I do remember the feeling of utter surprise. “But what about your ugly girlfriend you were always sucking face with?”, I replied. Kyle always had questionable taste in women. In retrospect it all makes sense. How could I have been so oblivious? In my naiveté I found myself wondering- maybe we turned him gay. Maybe we told him how big of a cocksucker he was one too many times, to the point where he actually believed us.
You see, growing up in a highly Mormon, suburban neighborhood in Utah, I had never personally known anyone that was openly gay. So to have someone so close to my life diagnosed with this “condition” kind of blew my mind.
Over the years Kyle and I reconciled our differences, and I now consider him one of my best friends. He has been my gateway to meeting hundreds of people who live an alternate lifestyle which has contributed significantly to me becoming a more open-minded person.
A few years ago I came across some research by Alfred Kinsey that suggests human sexuality does not normally exist as an absolute condition. Rather the sexual preferences of the majority of people fall into a spectrum somewhere between heterosexual and homosexual. He developed the Kinsey scale to numerically describe a person’s sexual orientation. On this scale, 0 means completely heterosexual while 6 represents purely homosexual. Based on my experiences during the debauchery Kyle and I have gotten into, I think I can confidently say that we are outliers on the Kinsey scale and find ourselves diametrically opposite each other on our respective sides. Maybe this created the balance that has allowed us to come together as friends.
I have to admit that he does make a hell of a wing man. More than once I can attribute his dedicated service to my getting lucky, and I believe he would say the same about me. I never had to worry about competing with him for women, and thank god because they always go on about how “gorgeous his eyes are”, to which I reply with a smirk, “yeah, it’s just too bad he’s really, really gay.” Likewise I have never been insecure working the gay bars with him, because I know that there is really nothing there that interests me at all. I find nothing repulsive about homosexuality, it’s just not for me. I know Kyle has the same feelings about heterosexuality, and this is why I am certain that it is not a choice. He could no more choose to be straight, than I could choose to be gay, and that’s exactly the way we like it.
NOTE: Dan’s brother, Kyle, did a Video Story, and their mother Gay Lynn shared a written story. You can see them both here.