Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Are You Gay OR Straight? (Part 1)

It's not a question that I recall anyone asking me in person. Oh, I'm sure that I've had conversations where someone was curious, and hinted at it. But to put it so bluntly when you first meet? Nice to meet you, are you gay or straight? No! No one asked me like that. So why is it that I am expected to put something like that in writing for total strangers?

I have been having difficulty with anxiety and depression, and was suppose to fill out an "intake survey" for a therapist I had not yet met. Among other personal questions, it asked concerning my sexuality. I am semi out of the closet. Some of my family knows, some friends, so on. Still, writing down that information to total strangers on the same paper as my name, address, phone number, Social Security number, just doesn't set well with me. I tore it up, and decided not to get therapy there.

Awhile ago, the government was taking a census, and I got the dreaded long form. Same question was facing me in black and white. This time the paper was to go to the GOVERNMENT! I panicked. I was under the impression that filling it out was mandatory. I am aware that Hitler used the information in a census to round up Jews during WW2. I know that this is not Nazi Germany, (although the Bush administration makes me wonder sometimes. Plus, I didn't want V.P. Dick Cheney coming at me with his shotgun.).

I'm not paranoid, but felt very uncomfortable putting it down in writing for the government. By this time I was receiving phone messages on my voice mail urging me to fill out the census. So I called the police. No, not 911, but 311, a line for general questions and non-emergencies. (I'm depressed, not stupid). They told me that I didn't have to fill out the census. It was voluntary. They did say that I might get bothered by phone calls, and people pounding at my door. So, relived that it wasn't mandatory, I discarded it.

I think that at least one of the surveys didn't have "bisexual" written down as a choice. As I understand, there are twice as many bisexuals as homosexuals. Maybe? Well, that topic is for another day.

It is said that somewhere between 3% and 10% of the population is gay. If it is based at least partly on written surveys, do you think that all gays are writing it down? Some might lie, or might refuse to answer, (for various reasons). So maybe the stats of 3% to 10% are low. And if twice as many are bi, then that's quite a few people who are... Then there is another way to look at the stats... To be continued.

Related Posts: ETC - Electroconvulsive Therapy or Shock Treatments
And: Therapy and Me