William DuBay

Author of the articles "Gay Identity" and "Homosexuality: What Kinsey Really Said" (both republished on this website)

Born: December 24, 1934

I was a Catholic priest for six years and married for three years. After that, I came out in Gay Lib Seattle in 1971. When I moved to Alaska in 1975, I noted there were a lot of people having gay sex but were not gay-identified. I began questioning what made me different from them.

A VISTA worker told me about "secondary deviance" and said, "It's all in Howard Becker's The Outsiders." That was to be my introduction to the studies on how society affects our perception of people who behave differently.

I became convinced that gay identity is a role that society has created to limit and control the behavior. It is a function of the oppression. People adopt the identity-role to explain the behavior and avoid the anxiety of choice: "I do these things because I am this way." In 1987, I wrote a book about all this, Gay Identity: The Self Under Ban. If there were no oppression, there would be no homosexuals or lesbians.

Since then, I have been trying to live my life as if there were no oppression, as openly as possible but without the label. I am very open with everyone about my gay relationships and the fact I like guys. But I don't have to explain my behavior by first presenting my credentials of belonging to the gay club. It's just what I like to do, with no other explanation required.

Whatever we believe about the causes of homosexuality, we always have choices about our behaviors, our lifestyle, and especially our identity. To deny choice is not freedom. It is dehumanizing. It takes us from a closet of secrecy to one of gay identity. We come out, but not very far.

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