Sexual Attraction Goes Beyond Sight.
Here at The New Gentleman we are a tolerant publication, in fact, when this website was founded we aimed to shake up the out-dated model of the old-fashioned gentleman. Recently a askreddit question captured the curiosity of the internet. The question: ‘Blind gay people of Reddit, how did you know you were gay?‘
The question is an interesting one, because if you ask most people about their sexual orientation their answer will be based on the sexual attraction they have for different genders. Normal sighted people can see the world, we can see the people we are and aren’t attracted. When you are blind you can’t make this distinction, this shows that sexual attraction is more than looks as is common with non-blind people.
The best authority we have found on this topic is Robert Feinstein, he published the article BEING BLIND & GAY, it first appeared in a French Canadaian magazine. In this article Bob as he is known, detailed how he realised he was a gay man.
Bob recalls being treated differently as a child, not only by the sighted kids but also by the blind kids because he didn’t enjoy playing the rough games they played and preferred to associate with the girls.
“I knew that I was very different from the other kids, and I felt horribly lonely. I didn’t fit in with the sighted kids, but what was worse, I didn’t fit in with the blind kids, either.”
He then goes on to describe his moment of realization:
“What is surprising, and very important, is that I began to realize that I was attracted to other boys and men, and not to women. I realized that I had a strange feeling when close to people of my own sex that I did not have when I was with women. I somehow knew that this was not the way it should be, and never mentioned it to anyone.”
And then his brief experiment with girls:
“I tried dating girls, and forced myself to kiss them, but I knew it wasn’t working. I wanted to talk about my feelings, but had nobody to express them to. When I was a senior, some students who I had heard were gay decided to start a discussion group. I wanted to go, but was afraid to ask for directions to where the discussion was taking place, because I did not want others on campus to realize I was gay.”
Bob’s gay dating live has been a hard one, because he is blind, his experiences in bars and clubs have been memorable but for the wrong reasons. For starters, he cannot see who is alone in a bar and who is there with their partner, as a result most of his attempts to strike a conversation usually end in failure.
“I couldn’t hear a thing. Second of all, because I couldn’t see, I had no idea what was going on around me. I was basically rendered deaf and blind because of the noise level. I sat at the bar, and felt worse and worse as time went by. Nobody tried to talk to me. I finally got the courage to tap the person next to me, and to try to strike up a conversation. The guy was polite, but after talking with him a while, he told me he was with someone. I realized that I had no way of knowing who was alone, who was with someone, and what was going on. I went to other bars on subsequent days, but had no better luck.”
Bob’s story is an interesting one according to a description on his article he now lives with his companion, Harley, in Brooklyn, NY. Bob speaks Spanish, French, “and an obscure Yugoslavian dialect of Yiddish.” Harley understands all three. Bob is the current moderator for DisGayTalk, the online discussion group sponsored by BENT. His second BENT article is “Alone in the Crowd.”
You can read his full article here.