Falling in Love Through Environment

Danielle - Chesterfield, Missouri
Entered on May 3, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that men and women can fall in love by the influence of their surroundings. My belief sparked as I befriended my school’s gay community and played with a curiosity of both genders. I realized what affected my exploration until recently.

Whenever I walked the halls at school, I was unaware of the gay community. They were the freaks that stood right in front of me and blended in. One glance at them, and I saw nothing special.

During my sophomore year, I nervously attended my first Gay-Straight Alliance meeting with fears of being an outcast and too “straight.” Instantly, I found myself accepted. This led me to be surrounded by West’s small gay community.

Within my new circle of friends, I started contemplating homosexuality. As I began to question my orientation, I explored an attraction to girls. Fully aware of my feelings, “(I) became more focused in (my) sexual behavior and in my preferences” (Malott 130) and acted on my emotions.

The intense desire to act grew when a friend came out to me. “Social programming forcing (me) into the sex role (I) acquired” (Malott 130) assisted me in the exploration of our mutual attraction. I felt eager to see her each day with hopes of finding love and determining my sexual identity. For once, I felt like I would succeed and could further explore my sexuality. By exploring my specific attractions, I wanted to determine my identity.

Although my friend and I dated for a short two weeks and kissed, she was both the beginning and the end of my exploration of sexual orientation. Currently, I am dating a guy and cannot imagine dating a girl. Though the gay community at school has changed because of another graduation and a new year, I still work to promote the idea that people can love whomever they desire.

I believe that nurture dominates over nature when it comes to loving people. Although multiple studies blame a “gay gene” for homosexuality and feel strongly against its “immorality”, my experience shows me that being gay is not genetic and homosexuals still have strong morals (Malott 130). In a time when I surrounded myself with a group of gays, I questioned my sexual orientation and wondered if I was a lesbian. Through a “variation within the culture” of my school, my environment created “learned, culturally programmed” personal emotions ((Malott 133). As soon as these friends graduated, I felt silly for even thinking about girls in a sexual way. I transitioned into who I am in today’s environment: a straight, loving person.

In the past few years, I have discovered my existing identity of a happy, straight girl. Currently, I believe my environment affects the perceptions of my identity. Although I once labeled myself bi-sexual, I now believe that this label does not exist. “We are born bisexual or even multisexual” and our thinking changes based on our surroundings, “emotions, life’s stresses, and numerous other environmental factors that alter the brain” (Malott 131).