This paragraph from a Shattering the Silence newsletter, describing a male survivor of child sexual abuse is very problematic:
“He later said that he started dating girls at age sixteen, and even though he liked girls, later married, and was never involved in any homosexual relationships, he still wonders if he’s really a man. ”
Homosexual, bisexual, and trans men (survivors or not) are also “men”. I am a bisexual male survivor of a sick pedophile ring run by my father. I do struggle with “Am I a man?” questions, but because of my years of abuse, not because of my orientation. The idea that only heterosexual males are “men” or “real men” is erroneous, not to mention blatantly homophobic.
Update: I have received a courteous clarification from the poster of the quote above (he was quoting a friend) and I do appreciate it:
“When he speaks of being a man he means ‘feels the way he assumes masculine beings feel’ I know him and I’m sure he didn’t refer only to heterosexuals. Sorry for the confusion.”
Unfortunately in my experience, many people and advocates often seem to be ignorant of, forget about, or downright ignore LGBTQ survivors. Too many of their resources and myths pages sound like “gay = bad/disgusting” and for LGBTQ survivors, this can be devastating. If resources are attempting to allay the fears of straight male survivors who are afraid they “might be gay”, such sections of information should be clearly marked as being intended for heterosexual survivors; preferably with an addition intended to address LGBTQ fears in a similar page or section.
I hope the day will come when sexual orientation has very little to do with how we speak to survivors, or which survivors are perceived as worthy of our help. For now, my thanks for the much-needed clarification above.
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© W.R.R. 11/20/2013
For all survivors of any form of rape or abuse; you are not alone. Seek help. Speak out. Find your path to healing.
Thank you for reading.