Throughout my twenties, I engaged in the heterosexual lifestyle. I sang “Son of a Preacher Man” at karaoke with the best of them, even once enjoying a sandwich from Chick-fil-A. Then last year, I fell in love with someone of the same sex. SuddenIy, I found myself recoiling from my boyfriend’s touch and getting depressed whenever I spotted an attractive woman on the subway who turned out to be a seventeen-year-old boy with an alternative lifestyle haircut. I had no choice but to see this for what it was: A sign from God that I am intended to love women.
My straight phase was probably influenced by my relationship with Dad, which was amazing! I grew up really confident around boys, and shared with them a natural kinship. Given how our culture sexualizes guy-on-girl, romance was the next logical step when I came of age. What could be more comfortable than dating your BFF?
In college, I loved the attention I got from being straight. While most students at my Liberal East Coast University did the routine sexual awakening and cocaine that was expected of us, I just had to create a scandal by signing up to work for the homophobic cult Dad joined when I was ten. As a sensitive prepubescent, I’d internalized their doctrine that everyone is innately heterosexual, reflexively dismissing my homoerotic tendencies as “a straight thing” long into adulthood. Nobody’s bougie-ass story about some acid-fueled orgy with their Yeats Seminar over winter break could compare to this shit. I always had the coolest freakin’ Dad!
I know it’s not PC to say girls sometimes “go straight” because of “Mommy issues,” but for me it holds some truth. Crazy, unstable Mom refused to support me and Dad on our spiritual journey. It definitely gave me some serious trust issues with women.
Some might attribute my drastic shift in preference to “sexual fluidity.” “Sexual fluidity” means different things for different people. Sometimes it means you were completely fulfilled dating men but the love of your life is a woman who you’re marrying in the fall and you don’t need labels! Sometimes it means you were an unactualized gay kid whose Dad became a Scientologist and invited you to join him on the Bridge to Total Freedom™.
Female sexuality is especially fluid. That’s because of evolution. Depending on the needs of society, it can boil, freeze, or evaporate entirely. It’s science. Male sexuality is solid, like the stainless steel, titanium-cased tablets that L. Ron Hubbard engraved with his religious texts and buried beneath the deserts of New Mexico.
To my friends and loved ones in the straight community, I say, “Though you’ve lost a member, you’ve gained a stalwart ally.” Sexual violence and oppression remain central themes of straight art and politics, along with the newer dangers of assimilation. In fact, my parents were in an openly straight marriage and, though I now have urgent questions for my Mom, at least one of them was predominantly heterosexual. Some might argue that having straight parents can “turn you straight” but that’s impossible. All kinds of people have a straight phase, regardless of their upbringing. There is no “straight agenda,” or conspiracy to “turn everybody straight,” least of all in Scientology, which does not concern itself with controlling anyone’s sexual activity. Scientology is concerned only with bringing everybody on the planet up to higher levels of spiritual advancement. These higher levels of spiritual advancement are indisputably characterized by heterosexuality on the Hubbard Chart of Human Evaluation, but that’s neither here nor there. “Ha ha ha! Remember your ‘I inhabit a physical body’ phase?” we’ll laugh to one another from across the cosmos!
I will miss the sense of inclusion I felt under the far-reaching label of “straight.” The straight community is so warm and welcoming, I didn’t even question my absence of actual physical attraction towards men, or unnamable void at the center of every romance, or all those topless women I drew in my high school notebooks to “practice figure drawing since women’s bodies are just more aesthetic.” Scientology is a religion that has always celebrated the artist.
When asked to choose a label, I identify most with “Retro 1950’s Repressed Lesbian Housewife” since it gives a wink to my past life. 1950’s America, the birthplace of Scientology, is said to more or less exactly resemble what our society looked like 75 million years ago at the moment when Xenu rounded up trillions of Thetans throughout the Galactic Confederacy and sealed us into volcanoes on Planet Earth.
Experimenting with heterosexuality for 28 years has been life changing. I have made discoveries about myself, many of them gay. It’s like digging up a time capsule in the backyard, but instead of old copies of Highlight’s Magazine and my Lion King CD from 1995, the time capsule is filled with stunted childhood emotions and unresolved psychological issues. Like Scientology, this knowledge has given me the tools to think more clearly, access new levels of potential, and is non-denominational—except it’s all completely free of charge!
Thanks for listening so patiently. By the way, did you notice the cutie with the normcore ‘80s power-executive haircut and military shirt who’s been glancing at us this whole time? OH SHIT!!!! THAT’S NOT A WOMAN!!!! THAT’S A TEEN BOY SEA ORG MEMBER!!!! WHAT IS HE DOING AT A SUPPORT GROUP FOR LATE-BLOOMING LESBIANS???? THEY’VE FOUND ME AGAIN!!!!