Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rites of passage

During my visit in San Diego, I visited the Museum of Man.  ( more anthropologic than anatomic lol). One of the exhibits was about rites of passage in different cultures.

In my opinion, the rites of passage in many cultures were much more important and valuable than those in the occidental world.  Let's just think of the young australian aborigenes who go in the outback of the country for more than a week if I remember well to become a man.  In another culture,  boys become men once they have achieved to run naked on top of a row of bulls 4 times.  In another, boys are brought outside the village and are thought by other men the rules of their society, how to hung and they are also teached about sex.

Compared to what we have in the occidental world ( sweet 16, prom, drivers license -- all rites outlined in the exhibit), I realize that we have lost something along the way.  Our rites of passage have multiplied, while their real impact on a boy or a girl is not as lasting.

Somehow I feel like I've missed an important rite of passage in my life.  While in the museum, I unvolutarily had tears to my eyes, as I think that it must be something very fulfilling to achieve these rites in these societies.

However, there was one particular rite of passage that cought my attention: the coming-out.  I was surprised to realize that I had not seen my coming-out(s) as a rite of passage.  However, it definitely was, in retrospect.  And I think that I totally saw it as a rite of passage, since I needed to do this difficult step, prior to try to become what I want to be.  I needed to achieve my rite of passage before even considering being with another man.  In other words, I needed to do it to become a man.

In a way, I feel glad to be gay to have lived this rite of passage, because straight people don't have to do it before becoming a man or a woman.  Somehow, I feel like I have proven better who I am and that I belong here and that I deserve what I want.


  1. Yeah, you're right, JF and it is rather sad. At the same time though, I'm very happy to not have to be jumping on the backs of bulls.

  2. My first rite of passage that I had to go through was compulsory military service when I was 18-20. That was when I really needed to start maturing faster and being able to think quicker on my feet in various seriously exhausting mind-over-matter situations. I'm glad I did it, although I wouldn't do it again :/