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It’s a shame there isn’t a time clock at family reunions. Floating amongst the long-lost relatives and strangers is as damn near a job as one could ever get. The whole ordeal would be much easier if I was getting paid for it.

There’s always the uncomfortable hug from Aunt Dee, the drunken political debates between Deb and Louise, and Uncle Ted’s greasy macaroni salad. And then there’s my second cousin removed, Tim.

From a very young age Tim stood apart from the rest of the family. He was quiet, reserved, gentle, and soft-spoken. While cousins David and Kevin tossed around the pigskin, eight-year-old Tim quietly sat at the adult table and sipped tea. In a room full of country folk cousin Tim was dressed in crisp and fashionable clothing. He stood apart from the rest of the family from his first baby steps.

Once, when I was a teenager, I over-heard drunk family members talking about Tim. “Oh, he sure is different.” I knew what they meant. My family all thought that Tim acted “gay” – even before the moment he showed up at the 1986 Christmas party with a Barbie doll.

Twenty five years have passed. Cousin Tim is happily married in California with his husband, two cats, and one dog. Surely tucked deep in his mind are those awkward family reunions. As an adult Tim’s personality could safely fall under the umbrella of “stereotypical gay” traits. Tim is very comfortable with his effeminate nature, as he always has been.

Which brings me to the question of the “gay chicken or egg” Is Tim’s femininity a result of homosexuality, or did his femininity exist first and his homosexuality develop later? Tim was a very feminine five year old. Exactly how true is Lady Gaga’s song? Are we really born this way.

Any remedial intellectual is smart enough to know that one would never choose their sexuality. It is because of this that the term “sexual preference” was replaced with “sexual orientation.” Deeply examining my own psychology, I recall my first homosexual feeling at five. Did the fact that my parent’s got divorced and that my neighbor showed me how to do “gay things” factor in at all? I have no idea. In the debate of nature vs. nurture in regards to homosexuality, your guess is as good as mine.

A strong argument against “homosexuality due to environment” would be my cousin Tim himself. Being raised exclusively in a family of good-ole-boys Tim’s life-long feminine traits seemingly popped out of nowhere. Can you think of any children you knew were going to turn out to be gay?

Is our orientation determined in our mother’s womb, at age three, or is it the toss of a coin?

I remain perplexed at the answer of the “gay chicken or egg”. I do know that as gay males, both myself and my cousin Tim aren’t sure if we were born this way or not. We only know that we turned out this way.

Lady Gaga, please go re-write your song.